Revealing Sheffield as a cultural destination

Arts Council England has awarded £150,000 to Sheffield Culture Consortium in a bid to drive tourists to the vibrant city.

Food festivalThe grant will be used to run campaigns and highlight Sheffield as a destination for regional, national and international cultural consumers.

Sarah Maxfield, North Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “This is fantastic news for the North. This investment will capitalise on the rich variety of arts and culture on offer here - positioning places as diverse as the rural Lake District, the metropolitan borough of Calderdale, and cities such as Sheffield and Manchester as leading cultural destinations. Over the coming years we hope to see these ambitious projects encouraging growth in the local visitor economy, and attracting more people from across the country - and indeed the world - to these great places.”

Working with Sheffield City Council (Marketing Sheffield), the University of Sheffield (City and Cultural Engagement team) and Our Favourite Places culture website (, Sheffield Culture Consortium will bring together cultural partners across the city to strengthen the visitor offer by promoting ‘joined-up’ and authentic Sheffield experiences. In particular Our Favourite Places will expand the website to highlight campaigns around five key themes that demonstrate Sheffield’s cultural strengths: street art, festivals, modernist architecture, music and beer, plus major events and festivals.

Kate Dore, Chair of the Culture Consortium, said: “It’s great news for Sheffield that the Culture Consortium has been awarded further Cultural Destinations funding by the Arts Council. Over the last three years, the first phase of this funding has really helped to cement the relationships between Sheffield's outstanding festivals to the benefit of a wider audience, and to spread the word about our incredibly rich and authentic cultural offer through Our Favourite Places. Now the Consortium is looking forward to working in partnership to develop the diverse, year-round programme of festivals and arts events as a way for people to navigate the wealth of cultural opportunities in Sheffield and to drive more people to come and enjoy our vibrant and exciting city.”

Mary Lea, Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “While we know that we have a thriving cultural scene here in Sheffield, with a vibrant mix of major events, festivals, art and much more, we know that we can always do better when it comes to shouting about it.

“That’s why this grant money is so important. With the funding, we will be able to raise the profile of Sheffield’s unique offer and encourage even more people to come here to sample our real ale scene, see a varied and eclectic range of artworks, and enjoy our events calendar.

“I look forward to seeing what the year ahead has in store.”

Building on the success of its existing Cultural Destinations project, Sheffield Culture Consortium and partners will work together to further increase national and international visitors to the city. The project will include the commissioning of three local artists of major international significance to make new work, as well as continuing to develop the culture website Our Favourite Places. This will position Sheffield as a cultural destination for cutting edge culture.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin , Director of City and Cultural Engagement, at the University of Sheffield, who led on the bid for the Culture Consortium said: “We are excited that the university will work with the Culture Consortium around enhancing, supporting and demonstrating our cultural vibrancy as a city as recognised by this award. Together we will celebrate our international artists, our amazing art, music and other areas where Sheffield leads the way. We will showcase a city that attracts visitors, enhances the student experience and benefits the residents - a city we are justly proud of.”

Additional information

Sheffield Culture Consortium aims to provide strategic leadership for the cultural sector. The Culture Consortium also supports the creation and development of new organisations and networks to take forward initiatives, such as the SNAP network, the Festival Network and the Sheffield Creative Guild.
The current Chair is Kate Dore (Director Yorkshire Artspace) and members/organisations comprise: Sheffield Theatres, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Museums Sheffield, Site Gallery, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, SNAP (Sheffield Network for Arts/Cultural Providers working with children and young people), Sheffield Creative Guild, Music Hubs, Sheffield International Venues, Workstation/Showroom, Marketing Sheffield, Doc/Fest, Sheffield Dance Network.

University of Sheffield City & Cultural Engagement Team is led by Professor Vanessa Toulmin. Recent projects include the inaugural international street art festival, ‘Feature Walls’ and commissioning 3 reports looking around the City’s vibrant art and music scenes, and the development of craft beer. The team also helps city centre entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground with the Re:New scheme. Professor Toulmin is Director of the Festival of the Mind where the University teams up with Sheffield’s creative and digital community for a celebration of ideas, culture and collaboration.

The three commissions. Three major projects will see the Culture Consortium working with artists from/based in Sheffield who have significant international reputations and recognition. These artists will take centre stage in curating programmes of original work that we believe will attract new audiences to Sheffield as a city with a strong and eclectic cultural offer. The projects will be rooted within our key themes – Music City, Street Art City, Modernist City, Festival City – and these internationally celebrated artists will create content that positions Sheffield as a distinctive cultural destination for the contemporary visitor.

Mark Fell is a Sheffield-based electronic musician, whose work encompasses installation, exhibition, screening, performance and curation. Mark is described by the Royal Festival Hall as ‘one of the
most important electronic artists in the world’. Mark will create and commission content for our Music City theme – an extension of Sheffield Makes Music/BBC Music Day in June 2017.

Phlegm is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, renowned for his signature street art work. He has major commissions across the world and throughout the UK, and has recently completed an
eight-storey high mural in Toronto (possibly the tallest street art work in the world)Phlegm will create and commission content for our Street Art City theme – for Sheffield’s Street Art Festival in 2018.

Tim Etchells is an artist and a writer based in the Sheffield. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as Artistic Director of the world-renowned performance group Forced Entertainment, which was awarded the International Ibsen Award 2016, for extraordinary
contribution to art and culture. Tim will create and commission content for our Modernist City
theme as part of Off the Shelf 2018.