the city talking: sheffield, a-z 2016 • c—eBack
The City Talking
For our first A-Z issue in Sheffield, we asked our friends — people we’d featured in the paper — what they had enjoyed this past year, and what they were looking forward to in the next one. We then shared the questions with their friends, acquaintances and a whole bunch of people we’d never met but wanted to hear from anyway. Some of these people have always lived in Sheffield; others have travelled from far-away places to make the city their home. We’ve tried to talk to a diverse group of people from a wide range of sectors; artists, festival directors, CEOs, florists, musicians, wedding planners and picture framers have answered our questions.
The A-Z issue is compiled of hopes, dreams, memories — the ones you share as friends, colleagues and strangers in a city. Next year, we hope to include even more.
— 2015 —
In November 2015 I worked with the members of the Latin American community in Yorkshire to host a full day of Día de Muertos celebrations in the Winter Gardens in the city centre. It was a fantastic day, full of colour, reflections, dance and music and an extremely fitting way to remember people known and loved across the city and the lives they had led. I look forward to being involved in many more of these festivals as we embrace a culture of engaging with all aspects of living, including dying!
— 2016 —
In March we will be launching a co-authored, bilingual, twin town book. It’s the first of its kind, written by teenagers in Sheffield and Estelí , our twin town in Nicaragua. The book is a collection of stories and recollections gathered from older people in both places, transcribed and translated in Spanish and English for people in both towns to enjoy. We’ve many more plans for joint projects, including muralism, music workshops and more visits so I’m looking forward to getting some of them off the ground.
Studio Court design
— 2015 —
I moved to Sheffield from Alabama in June, so I was still very new to the city when I went to Tramlines. Not only was it a great music festival, but because it takes place in venues throughout the city it was a great way for me to get acquainted with my new home town. My favourite act of the festival was K.O.G. and the Zongo Brigade. My husband and I first saw them at a secret concert by SoFar Sounds at Union St, but we loved their sound so much we went to their gig at the Queens Road Social as well.
— 2016 —
One of my favourite things about Sheffield is its proximity to the Peak District, and I love the outdoors, so this year I’m hoping to explore more of the Peaks. I’m looking forward to more walks, more gorgeous views and perhaps a camping trip this summer.
— 2015 —
My favourite memory from 2015 was seeing De La Soul on The Ponderosa at Tramlines. It was the first time I’ve seen them live after listening to their music for twenty years and a great weekend all round.
— 2016 —
I’m looking forward to working on a exhibition of Sheffield’s Best Photography with Social Sheffield. It’s very early stages but it should involve a lot of great local photographers with images on display in venues across the city.
— 2015 —
In 2015 I celebrated a not insignificant personal milestone. It marked the thirtieth year of my residence in the great city of Sheffield, emigrating as I did from my parental home in Dublin. In 1985 I found what I can only describe as the biggest village in the world, emerging from the angst of a highly divisive miners strike, and its people clinging to the remnants of what was left of the golden age of steel, cutlery and coal industries — all major economic powerhouses of the city and the region. And while all this had life changing, even generational impacts for those Sheffield families affected, I was making my own life changing decision to accept a job as a junior engineer at Husband & Co. The ramifications of my decision to accept the job only on the basis of the beautiful scenery en route to Sheffield and, perhaps most notably, the disarmingly friendly disposition of the people here, were far reaching and affected the entire course of the rest of my life. I have loved Sheffield and its people ever since that first encounter three decades ago. I met my wife here, my daughter was born here. I have made lifelong friendships here. The city has given me a great career thus far. But most of all, I have found a city that has a unique ‘vibe’ or village-like feel all of its own. When every major city in the UK was rioting and looting a few years back Sheffielders were tweeting #SteelnotSteal. There is simply nowhere else on the planet quite like it. I can honestly look back and say that thirty years ago I did make the right choice, one that has affected everything that has happened since for the better.
— 2016 —
2016 has seen me make another one of those monumental and possibly life changing decisions for myself and my family. I have just started my own business, Ollio. Following three decades working for some great building engineering consultancies located here in the city, Husbands, Arup and then Mott MacDonald, I decided it was time for a change. The problem with big business is that as you move up you begin to get more constrained. Constrained in what you have to do and constrained in what you can say without it affecting lots of other livelihoods. I have been feeling for a while that I needed to unshackle myself, to get back to doing what I love doing, which is influencing great design in low carbon and healthy buildings. I want to work in a company that really cares about its end user customers, about how buildings can be made to positively influence the productivity of business and the productivity of the people who work in them. I don’t think one exists, so I have decided to make one. Have I made the right decision, will it succeed? I believe so, but time will tell. In 2016 Sheffield is also at its own crossroads. Decisions made by my peers in this next twelve months will be pivotal, potentially of generational significance. The redevelopment of the city centre, the rollout of the economic plan, the planning of future strategy to 2030 and beyond, is all happening now. Things that everyone who loves Sheffield should be part of. Let’s hope when we look back together in another thirty years, our children will say — we got it right.
Originally published in The City Talking: Sheffield, issue 05