Chloe Wooldrage’s Tak A Stand exhibition has moved from Kirkwall to Edinburgh Napier University:
Tak A Stand against sexual abuse
Degree Show project opens up conversation on incidents of abuse and harassment in Orkney
An Edinburgh Napier student is helping give a voice to those affected by sexual abuse in Orkney with a powerful final year project.
Fourth year graphic design student Chloe Wooldrage has created Tak A Stand which shines a spotlight on incidents of sexual abuse, assault, violence and harassment on the island.
The Tak A Stand project focuses on an Instagram account which offers an online space for people to anonymously share their lived experiences of sexual violence.
The page – which is managed by Chloe with support and input from Orkney Rape and Sexual Assault Service (ORSAS) – has received more than 300 submissions since it was started in December 2020.
In April this year, Chloe moved the project from the digital space to the real world with a special Tak A Stand exhibition in Kirkwall.
Featuring a number of the anonymous quotes and stories submitted through the Instagram page printed on A1 posters and presented on heras fencing, the walkthrough exhibition encouraged visitors to reflect on their personal experiences and behaviours.
The exhibition also encouraged visitors to Tak A Pledge by signing a commitment to actively take a stand against these types of behaviour.
Over the weekend, the pledge received more than 200 signatures, with young and old coming together to start a conversation around sexual abuse and harassment.
Chloe’s exhibition will now be shown this week as part of Edinburgh Napier’s online Degree Show. The annual event is a showcase of the best and brightest work from the University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries.
For Chloe, this project is about starting conversations and raising awareness of sexual violence so that the lines between what people think is right and wrong are obvious.
She said: “The reasoning behind the Tak A Stand project is that I wanted to shed light on the normalisation of sexual violence in rural communities. I wanted to create a community where survivors could feel comfortable to share their stories. It’s important that people know that these type of things happen – not just in Orkney but everywhere – and I believe education is key to raise awareness that this type of behaviour shouldn’t be normalised.
“The response to the Instagram page and the exhibition in April was incredible. I was really proud to see so many people turn out and sign the pledge alongside having conversations with each other about some of the types of behaviour described in my posters.
“Orkney Rape & Sexual Assault Service (ORSAS) has been fantastic in supporting myself through the project. Every submission to the Instagram page is screened by ORSAS so that true anonymity remains for the survivors that have bravely shared their experiences. ORSAS has also provided lots of avenues of support, advice and resources which are available on the Instagram page for all who visit it.
“This project isn’t about making out that Orkney is a bad place to live in as it’s not. It’s about using the island as a case study for something that has went on across Scotland and further afield for far too long. It’s now time to Tak A Stand to ultimately ensure that places are safer for all.”