Public Engagement

Our research is not an end in itself and we pride ourselves on the variety of our non-academic partners and the quality of these relationships. In 2011, Sheffield was nominated Times Higher Education University of the Year, partly in recognition of our commitment to public engagement.

microhabitats pubeng microhabitats2

Research impact and innovation are jointly supported by the Research & Innovation Committee and the External Relations Committee, and below are some examples of where our research has made a difference.

Arts Enterprise


Arts Enterprise brings together an exciting programme of knowledge exchange and civic engagement activities across the Faculty. It connects the power of our research and creative activities with local and regional partners, bringing benefits for staff, students and our communities.


Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies

Hidden Perspectives


Directed by Dr. Katie Edwards and Dr Minna Shkul, this innovative public engagement project aims to open up interpretations of biblical narratives to underrepresented groups. Working with groups and individuals from a range of faith and non-faith backgrounds, the project aims to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and diversity in which biblical texts can be interpreted.

Hidden Perspectives works with various schools, community organisations and social groups to develop knowledge exchange events and each year the project will focus on a different theme of identity, set to run until 2018.

Department of Archaeology

Art and Craft in Sheffield: Our History in 100 Objects


Supported by the Faculty’s Arts Enterprise fund, the project is a collaboration between the voluntary members of the Sheffield Visual Arts Group (SVAG), Museums Sheffield and staff in the departments of Archaeology and History.

Led by Dr Karen Harvey from the Department of History, the project sought to draw upon and celebrate Sheffield’s cultural and historical heritage to create a new people’s history of Sheffield told through 100 objects, by taking groups with little history of engagement with museum collections into Museums Sheffield’s stores. The project concluded in a display at Weston Park Museum.

School of English

Storying Sheffield

Storying Sheffield is an exciting project in which narrative and storytelling are utilised in a variety of contexts to enhance our understandings of society, people, and culture.


The project includes modules in which undergraduate students and people from the city with no family background in higher education work and study together to produce, record, and collect stories, fragments of stories, and many other diverse representations of the lives of Sheffield people, and the `life´ of Sheffield. The project is run by Professor Brendan Stone and Dr David Forrest.

Projects range from Sheffield Arts and Wellbeing Network, connecting existing Sheffield-based arts and wellbeing initiatives, to Stories of Change, a series of short films investigating how public services can be better connected to the actual needs of people who use them.

Department of History

Stories of Activism

This project, led by Dr Gary Rivett and Dr Adrian Bingham aims to bring to life Sheffield’s rich history of civic and social activism by collecting and archiving the materials and stories that make up these experiences.


It is a collaboration between local activists, campaigners and academics in the Department of History, University of Sheffield.

As well as a series of city walks based on oral histories collected by activists themselves, oral history training will be provided to activists who want to record the stories of their predecessors and the project is now engaging Sheffield residents with the archive through the creation of web resources, providing workshops with community groups and schools programmes.

School of Languages and Cultures

Furnace Park

Furnace Park project transformed a derelict site in Shalesmoor into a cutting edge creative development, arts and performance space for students, artists, creative practitioners and the local community.


The project is part of the plastiCities research initiative in collaboration with SKINN which explores how the Arts & Humanities might participate creatively in considering how our cities are imagined, represented, planned and inhabited. Furnace Park has a number of sponsors including the Faculty of Arts and the Arts Enterprise committee at the University of Sheffield, the Sheffield Crucible (funded by NESTA), Roxspur and DLA Piper.

Department of Music

Investigating the Impact of Music in the Community

Through this Arts Enterprise project, Professor Stephanie Pitts along with Cathy Nutbrown from The School of Education sought to help Music in the Round, an organisation promoting chamber music, understand and uncover the impact of its music learning and participation project, Music in the Community.

It looked at the early development of music-making skills, its potential impact on other basic skills and its capacity to develop the skills of bursary teachers, primary teachers and parents to support children’s early music making.

Department of Philosophy

Philosophy at the Showroom


Philosophy at the Showroom is a series of sessions probing the philosophical questions raised by some of cinema’s most intriguing films, and discussing books that have philosophical themes.

The talks do not presuppose any prior knowledge of philosophy, but the aim is to develop a thriving community of those interested in the subject in the city. Following the showing of the film, there is usually then a short talk from a philosopher relating to the film, and then general discussion.