Derelict spaces set to be transformed through new university project

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STUDENTS from Sheffield University are set to team up with people living around the Upperthorpe, Neepsend, Hillsborough and Kelham Island areas of the city for a new project that aims to transform derelict areas of land.

Launched by MP David Blunkett, the “Plasticities” scheme is led by Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson from the university’s French department, and is inspired by French philosophies of “creative urban engagement”.

Dr Crawley Jackson said: “Our students have been working with local artists and residents to gather drawings, texts, photographs and memories of Sheffield.

“Our longer-term aim is to transform disused or neglected spaces into places that the community can enjoy and interact with.”

Collaborative projects include working with local groups such as the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery to revive the graveyard, where some victims of the Great Sheffield flood of 1864 are buried.

The project will also curate a series of exhibitions, building on public workshops that will run in various parts of the city from this month onwards.

Mr Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “For all of us, a sense of identity and belonging is critical.

“Rejoicing in the history of our community and the often unrecognised outstanding heritage and environment helps to cement our well-being and reinforce our mutuality.

“That is why this project including, as it does, all those interested in history and our environment, can bring people together to make a positive contribution to protecting what we value and improving what has been neglected.”

Richard Wright, executive director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said the Plasticities project addresses “an important priority for the city”.

He added: “In my opinion, we have the opportunity to create something unique in the UK, utilising existing craftsmen and new students leaving our universities.

“We can use the famous ‘Made in Sheffield’ brand and the opportunities from the Assay Office to create bespoke and unique manufactured objects that people will come to the city to buy.”