Faculty students showcase work to City Council Chief Executive
Four groups of students from the Faculty of Social Sciences visited Sheffield Town Hall to showcase artefacts that they had made during the Faculty’s State of Sheffield module to the City Council’s Chief Executive, John Mothersole.
The State of Sheffield module is part of the University of Sheffield’s Achieve More programme. It introduces students to what it means to be a social scientist by bringing together first year students from across the Faculty of Social Sciences to explore some crucial global issues and how these are having an impact in our city.
They work in groups with students from other departments in the Faculty to look at issues as diverse as inequality, migration and climate change, and how these are impacting on Sheffield. The projects are led by enthusiastic academics from across the social sciences and all relate to the central concern of social scientists - people and societies.
The first-year students who visited the Town Hall had produced artefacts relating to their project, ‘Fair Food for Castlegate’, one of 26 inter-Faculty projects that ran across the State of Sheffield module week. The project encouraged students to research topics like food production and scarcity in the city’s Castlegate area.
They showed the Chief Executive a map that indicated where food sold in the Moor Market was sourced, a model of an entirely self-sufficient and community driven café, a presentation about how aquaponics could benefit the Castlegate area, and a video of local people discussing how they would like the area to be developed.
It was left to John to select the winning project and he chose the map, adding that Sheffield as a city is changing and customers no longer go to markets because they are cheap, but because they are better quality.
The students in the group which produced the map interviewed stall owners in the Moor Market and Castlegate area. When asked if they found anything surprising, they said that stall holders had completely different perspectives on the meaning of the word “local”.
“Many of the traders place an importance on local trading and want to support local businesses”, said Evie Gowlett, a Law and Criminology student. Yet they were surprised that tea which had been imported, was classed as local because it had been blended in Sheffield.
They told the Chief Executive that they would like to install an interactive version of their map inside the Moor Market so shoppers could better understand the source of their food.
John challenged the students throughout their presentations, asking how they defined the “Castlegate community” and warning them not to become too attached to the nostalgia of the area’s history.
“The projects are really thought provoking, it’s encouraging to see the students thinking themselves into the future of Castlegate and the social commitment behind their ideas”, John said.
Another group presented a model of a pay-as-you-feel community café that was designed to help the rejuvenation of the Castlegate area. It was designed to be entirely self sufficient, give the local homeless population a chance to develop working skills and to educate primary school children.
“We wanted to make a community space”, sociology student Eve Bramley told John.
All four artefacts were displayed at the State of Sheffield exhibition alongside winning artefacts from the other 25 projects.