Why and how did we create the campaign?

Find out why and how we created our sexual violence education and prevention campaign – Show up for Leeds – in partnership with students and LUU.

Why did we create the campaign?

Our sexual violence education and prevention campaign – Show up for Leeds – was co-created by students and in partnership with the Harassment and Misconduct team and LUU. We've been working towards launching this campaign since autumn 2021, following the rise of drink spiking incidents across the UK. Throughout 2022 and 2023, we worked closely with student groups across the University to understand what matters most to them regarding safety on campus, and importantly, how we can communicate authentically and meaningfully about topics impacting our student community. From May to July 2023 and during Welcome 2023, we ran our first awareness campaign about the Harassment and Misconduct team, the University's specialist student support team who offer confidential support to any student or PGR impacted by violence, abuse, bullying, harassment, hate crimes, and discrimination. Following the campaign and the team's first year on campus, data pointed us towards sexual violence as a key issue impacting our student community. 

How we created our messaging

Using anonymised data from student disclosures, we identified common scenarios being reported by students at Leeds. Working with student groups, we defined an approach to messaging that students felt was bold, attention-grabbing, relatable, and authentic to their experience. 

Through numerous focus groups and randomised testing with hundreds of students at Leeds, we selected four messages that touch on different types of sexual violence including attitudes and beliefs (e.g. objectifying sexual partners), verbal expressions of violence (e.g. making rape jokes), the removal of autonomy (e.g. sharing intimate photos without consent) and physical expressions of violence (e.g. sexual assault). By directly addressing problematic behaviours in language that students felt familiar with, calling out common excuses that students say they see, and reframing behaviours as forms of sexual violence, we aim to educate students about what sexual violence really looks like at Leeds and begin engaging students as active bystanders to address sexual violence in all forms. 

All messaging is gender neutral, ensuring we maintain our focus on building community and highlighting how each one of us can show up to help make Leeds a place where all students belong and feel valued, respected, and safe.  

How we created our photography 

Like our messaging, students contributed directly to the creation of all visuals used in the campaign through a series of in-depth focus groups. Across our range of posters, postcards, and digital screens, there are four prominent locations featured where students identified they see and experience sexual violence: academic spaces like seminar rooms, locker rooms, student housing, and bars.  

Student feedback highlighted the importance of featuring real people in real environments at Leeds, without showcasing specific individual identities or stereotyping. As such, all individuals are anonymised in final artwork, and there is a balance of different ages, ethnicities, and genders depicted to represent our diverse student community.  

How we work with students as partners 

All students who contributed to the development of the campaign were paid for their time, including students creating content, appearing in photoshoots, acting in our campaign video, or participating in focus groups.