AN artist is set to challenge homophobic abuse with public pansy planting and a book reading this Friday.

Paul Harfleet travels the world to visit sites of homophobic abuse to plant pansies at the nearest source of soil to where the incident occurred as a gesture of quiet resistance and documents the process.

He started the Pansy Project by planting flowers on the streets of Manchester to mark his own experience of homophobia but has since visited cities across the country and throughout Europe, the US and Canada to plant them for others.

To date he has planted almost 300 individual pansies at sites of homophobic abuse and hate crime.

With this in mind and to mark this year’s Homotopia, the UK’s longest running LGBT+ arts and culture festival, Paul will plant a pansy in Thatto Heath at a public planting event on Friday at 4.30pm, by Thatto Heath Library.

It will be a busy day for the artist, who’s also hosting a family friendly author talk and Q&A session at Newton-le-Willows Library at which he will read from his book, Pansy Boy.

There will also be a launch event at Chester Lane Library at 7pm where he will talk about his life, his work and activism and unveil an exhibition of his work that will be on display until November 20.

The exhibition features a combination of photography, original illustrations and drawings made in libraries, informed by the Pansy Project and his unique book Pansy Boy.

Cllr Anthony Burns, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for public health, leisure and libraries, said: “I’m proud to welcome Paul back to St Helens following his positive work with local young people earlier this year.

"We want everyone to know that St Helens is no place for hate crime of any kind, we all deserve #BetterThanThat.”

All events are free to attend, but spaces are limited. Book your space online at

Find out more about Paul and his work at