Unique course gives a voice to stories of Sheffield

The culmination of an innovative University course, which looks at Sheffield through the eyes of students and people of the city, is to open this week (11 June 2010).

Storying Sheffield is the outcome of a unique course at the University of Sheffield, which has seen students and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC) service users working and studying together to collect, record and produce stories about their lives in Sheffield through creative representations.

Half the participants on this year's course are second-year undergraduates, who chose the module as part of their degree in English Literature and the other half, who are short-term students, are SHSC service users who come from families who have never been to university.

The exhibition, which will be displayed at the University's Jessop West Exhibition Space, includes a range of video, digital art, paintings, conceptual art, objects, poetry and sound files, which provide an insight into the lives and experiences of people who live Sheffield.

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Alan Law, and Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, will officially open the Storying Sheffield exhibition, on Friday 11 June (2pm) at Jessop West.

Kathryn Littlewood, one of the short-term students on the course, has put her newfound confidence and access to employment down to the success of the course.

Kathryn said: "This course has given me confidence to express myself in ways I never thought possible. I have been astounded by the enthusiasm, determination and empathy shown by the students we have worked with. They are an inspiration.

"This course is right at the centre of everything I believe - breaking down barriers, inclusion and education. Storying Sheffield has given me the confidence to apply for jobs, at which I have been successful and I start my new job three days after the exhibition. It's been six years since I last worked. I hope this course runs every year so that more people from marginalised groups can benefit from it."

Holly Willis, a student from the University of Sheffield, said: "Storying Sheffield has been an experience like no other. It's opened up doors to people which may have been closed before.

"The course has opened up our eyes, encouraged us to look beyond the walls of the University and is helping bring together students and the community of Sheffield. For that I feel very privileged."

Dr Brendan Stone, the course leader from the University and a SHSC Governor, said: "Storying Sheffield involves undergraduates and local people sharing their skills and experience in order to create artistic representations of life in the city.

"It's a wonderful project to be involved in as people from very different backgrounds are learning and collaborating together - and also creating some fabulous work. The enthusiasm and commitment of all the participants has been inspirational, and I think everyone involved has benefited hugely from involvement. The project is continuing and I'm really excited about developing it further."

Notes for Editors: For further information on the course, please visit the below link.

A formal showcase event will take place from 2pm, with the Vice-Chancellor and Lord Mayor presenting certificates to participants at 3pm.

For further information please contact: Lauren Anderson, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2221046 or email l.h.anderson@sheffield.ac.uk