The first panels of new hoardings have been installed at the former Castle Market site, which will form part of the longest artwork in Sheffield.
It will eventually be longer than 11 double decker buses, two football pitches or the length of three Starflyers.
This new artwork, created by arts collective Glassball for the hoardings surrounding the former Castle Market, will span 175 metres in total and tell the story of one of Sheffield’s most historic sites.
Artists Cora Glasser and David Ball have worked with local historical groups, including the Friends of Sheffield Castle, and children from Manor Lodge Primary School on designs for the artwork – which will reference the history and heritage of the site but in a unique and contemporary way.
The artists have also worked with Picture Sheffield, Museums Sheffield, ArcHeritage, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Newspapers Archives on the project.
Cora said: “David and I have been working at the former Castle Market site since October last year and have held various creative activities and workshops.
“In particular, a series of ‘Talk With Me’ exchange events took place, where we gave local people a portrait photograph in exchange for a story or anecdote about the site. Many of these comments are to be found within the artwork.
“The artwork is layered reflecting the physical nature of the site. As the layers of heritage were being removed we were exploring the many aspects of the site as revealed through conversations with those who had a personal connection to this area.
“The artwork contains historical facts about the site, alongside personal recollections -placing the stories of Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at the castle, on the same level as a story about working on the markets in the 1950s. We wanted to give the same level of importance on these events, as a way to interact with the distant and more recent past, enabling viewers to gain an understanding of the complex nature of this site through statements that they would be able connect to personally.”
The project has been managed by Yorkshire Artspace on behalf of Sheffield City Council and the work reflects the future of the site as well as its rich medieval and more recent history.
Rachael Dodd, programme manager at Yorkshire Artspace, said: “This has been a truly fascinating project to work on. The site has historic importance but also holds personal meaning for many people in the city – all of which Glassball have managed to capture and represent in this amazing artwork.
“Through our partnership with Sheffield City Council, involvement with this project and the Exchange Place Studios in Castlegate, we are really pleased that art, artists and people’s creativity are part of the regeneration and future plans for this part of the city.”
Councillor Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Castlegate has a fascinating history and these hoardings help us to celebrate that.”
This commission is part of a wider programme of cultural activities and events that focused on Castlegate over the last two years under the banner of Castlegate Vibrancy.
For more information about the hoarding public arts project delivered by Glassball please go to www.castlegate-art.info
Castlegate is where Sheffield history starts. Here were the meeting of the Rivers Sheaf and Don at the ‘Sheaf Field’, the Norman castle, the city’s first bridge crossing, markets and later the first purpose-built Town Hall and Courts. Despite serious wartime bomb damage the area retains significant historic importance including Lady’s Bridge, the Old Town Hall and Courts and the remains of the Castle buried in the foundations of the former Castle Market site.
Whilst the centre of retail and local government has gradually shifted away during the 20th century, Castlegate continues to perform an important if changing role in the city centre including a number of large and smaller retailers, a significant number of professional and office employers, the largest concentration of city centre hotels, Snig Hill pol and Magistrates Courts
Sheffield City Council:
Sheffield City Council has established a Castlegate Partnership including the Friends of the Old Town Hall and of Sheffield Castle, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, the Culture Consortium, local hoteliers and traders as well as the city council has been formed to promote a collaborative and innovative approach to regenerating the area.
Plans include an archaeological and structural investigation of the Castle Market site, aimed at creating a new green space on the Castle site and defining potential small development sites, removing River Sheaf culvert which runs under part of the site and the creation of a new riverside pocket park to be known as Sheaf Field.
Other plans include reclaiming areas of redundant former ring road for public space, sustainable drainage and other uses with improved connection to Victoria Quays through the next phase of the Grey 2 Green Corridor, restoration and new uses for the historic Old Town Hall, completion of the office and mixed use development on Broad St West/Exchange St known as The Square and imaginative new uses for other buildings such as the listed Castle House Co-op Department Store other vacant shops and the former multi-storey stables on the riverside.
Yorkshire Artspace is one of the largest and most established studio providers in the UK, currently offering affordable workspace to over 160 artists and craftspeople in 3 buildings in Sheffield. Yorkshire Artspace opened Exchange Place Studios in 2013, located in the Castlegate area of Sheffield city centre. There are now over 80 artists, makers and designers renting studios at Exchange Place.
Yorkshire Artspace provides support to artists and makers through high quality studios, business support and other opportunities and they work with schools and communities to enable people of all ages to access art and artists.
Over the next few years they are focusing programme activity including residencies, microgrant projects and open studios on Castlegate to complement and celebrate their presence in the area and contribute to the cultural vibrancy of Castlegate.
Glassball is an arts collective that works across the UK, exploring people and place through public art, interventions, collection re-interpretations, printed and online media. Cora Glasser at Glassball (http://www.glassball.org.uk/) may be contacted on 07810 801410.
About Friends of Sheffield Castle:
The Friends of Sheffield Castle is a voluntary group which aims to protect and promote the archaeological site of Sheffield Castle for the benefit of the people of Sheffield and surrounding areas, and for future generations.