Sheffield Creative Guild was founded in 2016 and is now made up of over 550 artists and makers of all persuasions.
You might be a theatre producer on the lookout for a gifted prop maker for an upcoming show. A dance artist in search of a filmmaker to skilfully capture your latest choreography. A curator with your eyes constantly peeled for new talent across the visual arts. The Guild's website acts as a directory of creativity in the city, while its social events help members make these connections in real life. Its timebank, meanwhile, is an innovative model of creative exchange based on hourly credits, which members can spend on tapping into the valuable skills and knowledge of others in the Guild (over 300 hours have been traded so far).
In short, the Guild is all about bringing together creative people who might not otherwise find one another, and seeing what wonderful things can happen when inspiration is shared, ideas pooled, and collaboration nurtured. Here, Jane and Brett from Sheffield Creative Guild tell us more.
How would you describe your work?
On a daily basis we’re about supporting our members and sharing opportunities and news with them. Some days we act as a bit of a support network, other days we’re out there lobbying or hunting down opportunities. There’s always a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that doesn’t necessarily go out in our newsletters or social media. Everyone who works for the Guild is a creative themselves so we understand the challenges of working in this world – we just want to make life easier for our members.
What inspires you?
When we see all the incredible work and projects being initiated by our members we realise what an incredible city we live in and how lucky we are to be at the centre of this bustling community of makers. When we see all of this stuff being produced on a daily basis we’re inspired to do all we can to ensure it finds an audience and gets the notoriety it deserves.
What’s your workspace like?
We’re based out of the Union St co-working space which has been fantastic. Every day we get to work amongst all these freelancers – which is it’s own little support network. It helps that the coffee is good and that there’s a different popup restaurant downstairs every day!
What do you love about Sheffield?
Where do we start? This has always felt like a very special city, a place where people support one another rather than try to clamber over each other for opportunity. We’re a hotbed of independent stores, eateries and creators all with uniquely Sheffield voices. We’re a city bursting with potential – there’s an intangible quality to the work and people coming out of Sheffield, it feels good to be part of such a special place.
What would you do to improve the city?
Everyone here seems to say this but we need to get better at shouting about all the things we do and create. Manchester and Leeds are highly skilled at blowing their own trumpets (and there’s no shame in that!) but they’ve got nothing that we don’t have. We want the city to be recognised as the creative jewel that it is both nationally and internationally.