“If you have an idea, a dream, a goal in this city, and you approach it with honesty and a real desire to do something good or interesting, this city will always have your back. That's the beauty of Sheffield.”
Meet the Locals
Our interviews with some of the creative folk who happily call Sheffield home. Get to know local artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, poets, and more.
Get to know some of the community of artists and makers who are based at Yorkshire Artspace's two sites, and who are continuing Sheffield’s proud tradition of making.
A collective of artists with learning disabilities.
Writer Akeem Balogun talks to Annalisa Toccara ahead of his appearance at Off the Shelf Festival. Here they discuss The Storm, his new short story collection about human survival, and why he co-founded the independent publishing company Okapi Books.
A theatremaker whose work centres on community, representation and comedy. Tommi co-hosts monthly variety performance night Sounds Queer, and is currently developing a one-woman musical about a trans Disney princess.
An artist whose work uncovers hidden histories and connect past figures with autobiography – currently exploring the Sheffield legacy of writer, poet, activist and socialist Edward Carpenter (1844-1929).
A British-born Nigerian artistic director and founder of Utopia Theatre, working with those underrepresented in the arts and celebrating African culture. Here she talks about lighting the way for the theatre industry in these difficult times.
A treasure of the Sheffield arts scene, turning venues all over Sheffield into alternative cabaret nights with eccentricity, DIY props and sincerity.
At social enterprise Bright Box Makerspace, Kisha creates playful spaces to explore tech, engineering and arts. Getting kids curious and confident to try new things.
Sheffield's first poet laureate. A radical performer with a clear vision of poetry and rap as a means of communicating emotion.
A group of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as other local people, who come together over songs of love, solidarity and belonging.
A background in philosophy and archeology and a love of climbing inform Paul's art practice.
An artist and filmmaker, exploring race, identity and ‘othering’, and challenging commonly accepted narratives of past, present and future.
The playwright behind the Park Hill-set musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge talks about tackling big ideas through theatre, and finding honest human stories that an audience can connect with.
An artist based at Bloc, whose practice references the feminine and sees seeming irreverence jostle with political poignance.
Bus stops, tram tracks, alleyways. Andy Cropper takes these ordinary, unremarkable, utilitarian places – the sorts of places we pass every day – and turns them into quietly, almost eerily beautiful oil paintings.
The writer – and DJ, journalist and mentor – talks to Annalisa Toccara about being inspired by ordinariness, making space for change, and curating the Black Women Write Now strand at Off the Shelf Festival 2020.
A theatre director driven by a desire to create social change, directing the first northern staging of My Name is Rachel Corrie.
Working with textiles, electronics and computer art, Toni is an artist who brings the traditional and the progressive into dialogue to create something entirely new.
Site Gallery's brand new Artistic Director introduces herself, tells us about Site's exciting 40th birthday plans, and shares her love of barges.
A sound artist, musician, producer and organiser whose work often blurs the boundary between the visual, the audible and the digital.
Sheffield is as much a city of ale as it is a city of steel. Get to know its finest small, independent breweries.
A lyricist reflecting on authenticity, masculinity, existential angst and the power of creativity, especially as expressed through rap.
A painter and printmaker capturing the essence of the area around Long Island, an overlooked part of Sheffield at the core of this city's rich history.
A slam poetry champion, medic and comedy connoisseur – observing different social phenomena, expressing them in writing, bringing them to life on stage or in front of the camera, and inviting reflection.
A sculptor working with wire, welding and weaving it into ethereal forms and bringing in light and sound to create immersive installations.
A multi-instrumentalist and Afro-fusion pioneer, making positive connections and "linking Yorkshire to the rest of the world" as frontman for the eight-piece K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade.
An artist-filmmaker investigating the histories of post-industrial cities and amplifying voices that have traditionally been silenced.
A monthly gathering over coffee, breakfast and creative ideas, taking place in cities around the world. Find out more about what makes CreativeMornings worth getting out of bed for, from the Sheffield chapter's Leanne Mallinshaw.
A curious, enthusiastic and creative collective of 14-to-19-year-olds, chatting, making and curating art from their Site Gallery base.
An artist and instrument builder from the experimental fringes of electronic music. See him live at this year's AlgoMech festival.
An artist with a multitude of interests – music, film, visual arts, archiving – investigating social and political histories, and exploring the ways that stories of Black people in Britain are told.
An indie publishing house, boldly trying to transform the world of books.
Sheffield’s Forced Entertainment were once the "enfants terribles" of the avant-garde theatre scene. Now, after 30 years, they’re the elder statesman of contemporary performance.
If you've spent a decent amount of time in Sheffield, chances are you'll have come across, and come to love, the work of graffiti artist-musician-printmaker Kid Acne in one form or another.
A master doodler, Geo creates work with "plenty of colour, character and narrative to sink your eyes into".
Working at her huge dobby loom, Seiko creates yarn sculptures inspired by nature that are full of calm and beauty.
Bringing people together over the joys of queer culture since 2016, through drag king cabarets, film, music, poetry, and cake.
A firm fixture on Sheffield's poetry scene, weaving the ills of society and its oppression within each word and unravelling the personal-political.
Headed by creative director Dawn Walton, Eclipse is a company dedicated to bringing a more diverse audience into theatres and adding stories to the British canon.
No musician has as deep a connection to Sheffield as Richard Hawley. Here he talks about the "grim up north" myth and how Sheffield inspires his music.
A grassroots collective putting black artists, storytellers, filmmakers and talent front and centre through pop-up events and the annual Melanin Fest.
The joint CEO of Warp Films on the company's origins, This is England, and Sheffield's independent spirit.
A pioneer of the algorave scene, creating music through live coding.
A polymath artist whose playful work tests and disrupts the ways that we understand art.
A ceramicist creating kitchenware inspired by, and made for, the people, history and character of Sheffield.
Lucy Vann is an artist preoccupied with small-scale weirdness and the surreally mundane. From her studio in S1 Artspace she works with video, sculpture, performance and installation.
Creators of forward-thinking, affecting and unforgettable theatre since 1995.
A ceramicist based at Yorkshire Artspace, creating "vessels with heart".
Introducing John Hoyland (1934-2011), the Sheffield-born abstract painter who took on the international art world.
Welcome to the wonderful world of TADO!
An artist whose work is both politicised and playful, drawing on a sense of not quite belonging to create something multi-layered, sensory and often collaborative.
Builders of dream bicycle frames, bespoke to each rider.
A graphic artist whose large-scale geometric murals invite interaction and inject a shot of vibrancy into the city.
Peek inside fabric designer and screen printer Sarah's Yorkshire Artspace studio, shared with pugs Lola and Ethel.
My Indie Wardrobe is a website dedicated to promoting sustainable fashion. We speak to its Sheffield-based founder Hannah Clugston to find out more about the project and how to be kinder to our environment when choosing what to wear.
A documentary photography collective that has taken on the role of storyteller for the people of Sheffield.
Peter Martin is an artist and S1 Artspace studio holder. As well as his own video-based art practice, he is involved in a number of projects in Sheffield – each connected by the desire to do good through creativity.
A record label and self-confessed labour of love, fuelling the fire of Sheffield's alternative music scene.
Jeweller Chris constructs his bold and unusual rings from the most beautiful stones.
Jane weaves charming bags by hand, capturing the spectrum of colour found in nature.
A community cinema that transforms spaces into magical cinematic wonderlands.
A loveable and inky t-shirted aquatint pro, working in the most incredible studio we've ever stepped foot in.
Precious stones and metals glimmering in all directions – Jennie's jewellery workshop is a delight!
An artist working with clay to capture organic textures and movements in abstract sculptures and vessels.
Playful creations to bring a smile to the dullest of days.
The Showman Sculptor with a huge collection of cast figures lining his studio walls.
At his Narnia-like studio, Henk turns tree trunks into magical sculptures and pieces of furniture.
An illustrator with a clear love for nature, whose pen-and-pencil world is full of trees, houses and landscapes all captured with charm and warmth.
One of the most distinctive illustrators in town, with a back catalogue of creepy creatures and writhing skulls.
A creator of photography, film and performance art exploring glamour and gilded architecture, and asking audiences to reflect on entertainment and the ways in which women display themselves.
Capturing stories of cities in paint.
Donna finds inspiration in "big winter skies" for her giant canvases of dark landscapes.
Gemma focusses her lens on issues including migration, homelessness, identity and belonging – in each case telling you just enough of the story to make you keen as mustard to find out more.
We tasked a group of students to create imaginative maps of Sheffield. The results were funny, charming and surprising – read on for some highlights.
Madeline Shann is a theatre maker, choreographer and writer whose work meets anxiety and absurdity with a mixture of laughter and fury. Get to know Madeline ahead of her new solo show, Here's Looking at UKIP.
Jonathan Wilkinson's architectural illustrations are a celebration of our unconventionally beautiful city.
Support your local Girl Gang.
Get to know Sheffield's growing community of coffee roasters.
Makers of magnificent works of sculptural furniture.
A poet with one foot in Sheffield and another in Derbyshire, who finds inspiration at the top of hills, in ghost stories, pubs, friendship, the aftertaste of whisky, the miners' strike, and in lost love.
A community of over 800 creative members, sharing inspiration, pooling ideas, and nurturing collaboration.
DIY arts charity and Sheffield's go-to guys for artists' studios and unique event spaces.
With his Arrivals project, Jeremy took photos of one person who arrived in Sheffield from overseas for every year since 1945.
The writer, artist and artistic director has some amazing ideas on how to improve the city.
The witty illustrator lets us in on his way of working, his inspirations, and his thoughts on the 'quite zen' city of Sheffield.
For his recent screen printing project, The Plant Room, Peter spent the summer gathering inspiration in community gardens.
In her monochrome embroideries, Roanna substitutes people with stitches to create stunning, often dramatic, new perspectives on human gatherings. Crowds never looked so pleasing.
An artist working across performance, writing, drawing, video, and photography, aiming to ask questions about the world in a sensory, open and poetic way.
The so-called Cutlery King, who also designed traffic lights, park benches and 1960s bus shelters.
A linocut printmaker with a love of donkeys, dinosaurs and views of Sheffield.
A pop-up cinema bringing modern classic films to incredible locations.
A charity dedicated to connecting, inspiring and enlivening Sheffield communities through creativity.
Glorious food, made in Sheffield.
A Sheffield-based filmmaker dedicated to seeing our city represented in film in new and interesting ways.
"A force for good in Sheffield." Opus has been giving platform to ideas for change in since 2008 – whether that's through Now Then magazine, Wordlife, or Festival of Debate.
Nick's playful and irreverent illustrations cheer us right up.
An indie games studio founded by brothers Jon, Michael and James Brown, responsible for creating the hilariously silly Gang Beasts.
An artist painting people caught in moments of tenderness and silence.
A South Yorks poet, whose candid, vulnerable and vigilant work will leave you open-mouthed.
Limited edition and rather lovely objects for the home.
One of the longest running DIY comedy producers in Sheffield, responsible for bringing some of the best comedians in the country to the intimate function room of the Red Deer at the Square Hole Comedy night.
Curator Jose Snook on the life and work of the late Barbara Wasiak, a photographer known for capturing the Sheffield music scene in the 1980s and 90s.
Show Sheffield's creative community some extra love after a rough year, and shop for presents the independent way this festive season with gift tips from OFP contributors.