Artist Research

The Pansy Project

The Pansy Project was founded in Manchester by Paul Harfleet. Harfleet plants pansies at the site of homophobic abuse; he finds the nearest source of soil to where the incident occurred and generally without civic permission plants one unmarked pansy. The pansy is then documented in its location, the image is entitled after the abuse. Titles like “Let’s kill the Bati-man!” and “Fucking F*ggot!” convey the reality of LGBTQ+ experience, which often goes unreported. This simple action operates as a gesture of quiet resistance; some pansies flourish, others wilt.

Paul Harfleet began by planting pansies to mark his own experience of homophobia on the streets of Manchester UK, he now plants pansies for others both on an individual basis and as part of various festivals and events. Pansies are a flower, which have gay associations. However, the word pansy is derived from the French verb, penser, which means ‘to think’.

Here are a couple of examples of the pansies throughout the UK.

“I’m not racist, I tell jokes about poofs too” From Bernard Manning, North Pier, Blackpool
“Fucking F*ggot!” London Bridge, London
“Punched” For James Parkes, Stanley Street, Liverpool

The Pansy Project is very touching and moving. As A LGBTQ+ Artist myself, I tend to use my homophobic experience in a more satire, tounge in cheek way, but after viewing Harfleets work it has moved me to reclaim back these experiences into something more empowering for those going through or have experienced the same. It is great seeing a peaceful protest to raise awareness about such things still happening around the world and even in the UK where homosexuality is legal and celebrated.

Coming up is May 17th.

May 17 is The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Here are a couple of links if you, or someone you know is struggling with some of these heavy subjects.


Information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities on sexual health, wellbeing, groups and events, Manchester.


Stonewall working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans people.


A group of sexual health, support and information projects working with Gay and Bisexual men in the region.