Bloc Projects is a not-for-profit, artist-led space that’s been curating, commissioning, and providing floor space for new and established artists for over fifteen years. The studios and gallery are nestled around a courtyard in a collection of buildings at the intersection of Arundel Street and Eyre Lane.
Its recent archive retrospective exhibition included an essay by Dr Matthew Cheeseman, documenting his shifting but fond relationship with the space over its decade and a half of operation. It’s that constant shifting that makes Bloc an interesting figure in Sheffield’s contemporary art landscape.
The plurality of Bloc’s projects is very much intentional – there’s not one singular pursuit, but a multitude of things happening at once. The ongoing Test Bed series, for instance, is a curatorial platform that allows artists to put on a solo show, whilst experimenting with the parameters of what that means: “Test Bed is focused on providing artists with a publicly facing gallery space to experiment with new approaches, and techniques and to engage with audiences in new ways”.
It also plays host to discussion sessions with incumbent artists, providing opportunities to get close to the work, whilst commissioning specific pieces allows artists from around the country to make an impact in a city other than their own. An extension of the gallery, meanwhile, the Bloc Billboard on the exterior of the site on Eyre Lane features commissions by contemporary artists and changes every couple of months (it also forms part of our Street Art Trail). This all sits alongside their activity as space-for-hire for local students and organisations.
Bloc Projects operates in an area that's become known for its art institutions and DIY spaces. As a long-standing resident of a part of town where the cogs of cultural renovation are beginning to turn, it’s interesting to watch where they’ll go next.
- Words by
- Lucy Holt
- Images by
- Will Roberts