Once branded by George Orwell as “the ugliest town in the Old World”, Sheffield’s past and its cultural present are founded on one thing: the steel industry. During the 19th century, Sheffield witnessed explosive growth, the city we see today shaped by its industrial prosperity of old. So its leafy suburbs, for example, were purposely built up hill so that domestic residences would sit above the smog-blanketed centre of foundries and furnaces.
The cutlery works of Sheffield’s past have found new purpose in driving forward the city’s creative life; many now house galleries, independent shops and artist studios. Sheffield’s current status as the country’s greenest city is also, in some incongruous way, due to its industrial heritage: open spaces like the Botanical Gardens were designed to offer Victorian residents a much-needed breath of fresh air. While other cities bustle between high rises and shopping precincts, Sheffield is a place to pause and look around, whether inwards from its hillsides, over spires, chimneys and curling valleys, or outwards from the city centre, to the breeze and birdsong of the moorland that continues to inspire so many artists, designers and makers.
Nordic by Nature: modern design and prints, a new British Museum touring exhibition opening at Weston Park Museum, will explore how nature and landscape is at the heart of Finnish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian art and design.
Interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE will transform the gallery at S1 Artspace into a ‘living archive’ that reveals and records our emotional responses to the city.
Site Gallery in Sheffield presents A Strange Weave of Time and Space – an exhibition and research project exploring notions of aura and authenticity in the post-digital context.