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UK City of Culture 2013 Sheffield Bid



In July 2010 the city of Sheffield will find out whether it is to be the UK City of Culture in 2013. Three other cities in the United Kingdom have been nominated alongside the city of Sheffield, including Derry, Birmingham and Norwich.

The City of Culture team in Sheffield has promoted 10 key areas of culture. This week BBC Sheffield will be looking at four of the areas which Sheffield is proud of, including music, new talent, stories and its heritage and business.

BBC Sheffield has asked John Palmer, the Head of Communications at Sheffield Hallam University to write about the city's thriving talent.

Part of John's role is to attract people to study at the University. Not only through courses that are on offer, but enticing potential students to a city they have probably never visited before.

John Palmer, Head of Communications at Sheffield Hallam University
"There are a lot of creative artists who have come out of Sheffield and it inspires and attracts young people". John Palmer

UK City of Culture bid: Sheffield
By John Palmer, Sheffield Hallam University

The moment you emerge from Sheffield Station, you're immersed in a colourful and sensual collage of architecture, attractions and displays, welcoming you to a city where students play a prominent role in shaping the creative heart of the city.

If you drive in from the Peak District, you will look up at the iconic and historic University of Sheffield Arts Tower, close to a former maternity hospital that is now the home of a different kind of creativity, as the University's music department.

The cultural contributions of the city's two universities are well and truly woven in.

In front of you at the station is a stunning water feature, designed by artists who also teach at Sheffield Hallam University whose threshold you are about to cross.

Facing you on a ten-storey teaching building is a poem of welcome, specially commissioned from the-then poet laureate Andrew Motion inviting you to enjoy your stay in a city full of inspiration and expectation.

He's one of a number of literary giants that has an association with Sheffield's two universities. Joanne Harris and Hilary Mantel studied at the University of Sheffield, Marina Lewizka was at Hallam.

To the left is the Showroom independent cinema complex and the Workstation, home to the edgy music and film production company Warp, whose bosses include graduates from both Universities and whose offspring include the band Cabaret Voltaire and the films "This is England" and "Four Lions".

Sheffield train station
One of Sheffield's welcoming gateways, the city's train station

Beyond that is the country's most unlikely-looking students' union building, four upturned saucepans at offset angles, where the bright young Turks who run the city's internationally renowned companies like Wandisco and Zoo Digital share a coffee and a chat with tomorrow's aspirant trailblazers who are studying at one of the country's most prestigious Institutes of Art - or at the influential Sheffield College with it's amazingly-designed eco-friendly yacht's sail building on the horizon. .

Move further into the city centre from either direction and you'll soon find award-winning art galleries, the country's only modern winter gardens and the largest theatre complex outside London, built around the prestigious Crucible.

Both universities are major partners with these organisations and play a significant part in the city's major arts and culture festivals - Off the Shelf; the Showcomotion young people's film festival and Grin Up North.

The University of Sheffield also has a partnership with Music in The Round, host regular classical concert seasons, and hold a Summer Music and arts festival with Sheffield Cathedral.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Hallam is heavily involved in the Galvanise Festival of metalwork and jewellery making and the energetic Children's Festival.

And both universities have their own galleries, showing students' work and important exhibitions specially curated for them. The University's new Western Bank Library Exhibition Space bring national quality exhibitions to the city.

Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Grommit.
Former University of Sheffield student Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Grommit.

And students and tutors from both universities play an active part in contributing to the city-led programmes of events as well as coming up with their own highly imaginative and innovative creations.

Sheffield Hallam hosts an award winning Nights Out programme, which has featured guests ranging from Richard Hawley to Karen Mellor and Brian Blessed to Margaret Drabble.

Alumni from both universities have also set a high benchmark for current arts ands culture students to aim for, as they carry the story of Sheffield's creativity around the world.

The University of Sheffield boasts comedian Eddie Izzard, director Stephen Daldry, and authors Lee Child and Nicci Gerrad, whilst Hallam was the alma mater of Wallace and Grommit creator Nick Park, fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, designer David Mellor and Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere.

Who will be next? Maybe they will emerge from the Sheffield City of Culture bid.




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