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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Sheffield Libraries are bringing a little hope into these cold, dark days with their latest series of online talks, workshops, and podcasts. The Hope Season is aimed at bringing people together and offering some optimism and inspiration, or maybe just some distraction for an hour or two when you might need it.

The Hope Season programme:

Dear 2021: The Start of it, was a series of writing workshops run by
Sheffield Libraries Writer in Residence Nik Perring led a series of writing workshops with a group of Sheffielders, reflecting on the past year and looking forward hopefully to the future. Watch the contributions filmed at home by participants.
View on YouTube

Rootbound – A Conversation with Alice Vincent
Alice Vincent, editor, blogger and author of new book Rootbound, Rewilding a Life, talks about how plants and gardens can mend the soul.
View recording

Mindfulness for Parents
Tuesday 2nd February, 1:30pm
Mindfulness is concerned with paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. In this introductory session you will work through the basics and explore the benefits of mindfulness in your everyday life. This session is part of the libraries' new Parenting Pod series.
Book now

Tea and Verse
Thursday 4th February, 2:30pm
Pop the kettle and sit back for a relaxing session poetry. You can share your own favourite poem, if you'd like.
Book now

Stoicism and Hope
Monday 8th February, 7:30pm
Join John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism, a deeply thoughtful guide to the philosophy of a good life. The book shows how the works of the Stoics have inspired readers, speaking to some of the perennial issues that face anyone trying to navigate their way through life. Their works are about how to live – how to understand one's place in the world, how to cope when things don't go well, how to manage one's emotions and how to behave towards others.
Book now

Weird, Wild, and Wonderful! With Poet James Carter
Wednesday 17th February, 2pm
Want to sing to a woolly mammoth? Hear the moon speak? Fancy finding out what an elephant might say to a dung beetle? Or learn how to play air guitar in under 20 seconds? Tune in for a lively, madcap hour of poems and music aplenty, with Steve the melodica, Keith the guitar and Erik the disco ukulele. The second half of the session is a mini-workshop in writing your own weird, wild and wonderful poem. For kids aged 7+.
Book now

The Great British Bucket List
Monday 22nd February, 7:30pm
Travel writer Richard Madden shares his ultimate British must-do list. As well as offering an insight into the life of travel writer, he also looks forward to his next book about British wildlife experiences.
Book now

Skin: It Takes Blood and Guts
Tuesday 23rd February, 7pm
Lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+ activist and all around trail blazer – Skin is a global icon, and she has been smashing stereotypes for over twenty-five years. Her journey from Brixton to one of the most influential women in British rock is nothing short of extraordinary. Her success has been ground-breaking in every way, which has come at a personal cost. She has always been vocal about social and cultural issues and was championing LGBTQ+ rights at a time when few artists were out and gay. This is an LGBTQ+ History month event in partnership with Lambeth Libraries.
Book now

Digesting History
Thursday 25th February, 8pm
Take a seat at the digital dinner table for a menu of poetry, conversation and film. Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon tradition of feasting, Digesting History will bring folks together in their homes for a unique dinnertime experience to share recipes, riddles and brand-new poetry from Rachel Bower, Kayo Chingonyi and Joe Kriss. Sparked by conversations with communities across Sheffield, this new body of work spans the evolution of local dialect, women’s inherited objects and what it means to be British. Using Anglo-Saxon life as a starting point, the event will explore the importance of community spaces to local identity through talks, discussion, and the premiere of a new film by award-winning filmmaker Eelyn Lee that celebrates Sheffield’s communities and the outstanding efforts of food banks.
The first 300 Sheffield residents to sign up will receive a curated package of poems and recipes delivered to their doors from interactive arts company The Bare Project.
Book now

Digesting History

Sanctuary in Sheffield: How Sheffield became a Cosmopolitan City
Monday 1st March, 11am
Author and local historian David Price gives an illustrated talk exploring the history of migration to ‘England’s biggest village’. Based on his book, Welcome to Sheffield, David will describe the current diversity in the city and explain why different ethnic groups came, how they have settled, and the way in which migrants have been received.
Book now

Writing Workshop: New Beginnings
Saturday 6th March, 10:30am
A creative writing workshop for new or established writers, where we'll be looking at new beginnings in literature and poetry, then writing creatively on this subject. You'll need Zoom to access the event.
Book now

Paradise is Here: Building Community Around Things That Matter
Tuesday 9th March, 10:30am
Ruth Nutter is the author of Paradise is Here: Building Community Around Things That Matter. At this event, Ruth will discuss connecting local communities with each other, unearthing creativity, re-energising local buildings and spaces, and giving people a voice in their local future.
Book now

Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old
Thursday 11th March, 7:30pm
Join Dr Andrew Steele for a look at the science driving biology's biggest story: why we get old, and how we can stop it. With audience Q&A.
Book now

Poetry Meet: Springtime
Friday 12th March, 10:30am
Join poetry lovers online to share poems that celebrate springtime, life, and hope of new beginnings. Bring along your own or someone else’s poem to this online poetry event.
Book now

Peter May: The Night Gate
Tuesday 23rd March, 6:30pm
The international bestseller discusses his story of mystery, resistance, and hope.
Booking opens 15th February

Join the Library Community
Even though people can't gather together in the library, they can still come together online to share their common interests. Join one of these regular free activity groups for adults:

  • Poetry Meet

  • Play Reading

  • Writing Group

  • Tea and Verse

  • Shared Reading

  • Craft Group

  • Parent Pod

  • Book Clubs

Book now

Tune in to hear librarians, archivists and guests delve deeper into the subjects, stories and collections that they find interesting. Listen to previous episodes online or through your favourite podcast provider.

Read about some recent and upcoming highlights in the podcast series:

Radical Acts of Love: How we Find Hope at the End of Life
Janie Brown chats about her book, Radical Acts of Love. Janie is an author, a leader in oncology nursing, and the executive director of Callanis, a nonprofit organisation in Vancouver, Canada. Full of wisdom and warmth, Janie's book is part of a global conversation about living, healing, death and dying.
Coming soon

New Year, New Reading!
Alex, Alexis and Dan from Sheffield Libraries chat about the books they enjoyed during 2020 and the reads they're looking forward to in 2021.
Listen now

Archive Recordings from the Living Knowledge Network
Sheffield Libraries is a member of The Living Knowledge Network, a UK-wide partnership of national and public libraries created by the British Library to exchange knowledge and develop memorable experiences for public library users.

Here's a selection of recordings to accompany the Hope Season:

Stephen Fry in conversation with Shappi Khorsandi
Actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry talks to comedian and author Shappi Khorsandi about writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated him to the status of national treasure.
Watch now

Walled In: Ben Okri, David Hare and Samira Ahmed
Writers Ben Okri, David Hare and Samira Ahmed consider walls in literature and in our lives; physical, political, societal and spiritual. This event was livestreamed from the British Library in September 2019 to public libraries across the UK as part of Banned Books Week, the celebration of the freedom to read.
Watch now

Michael Cashman in Conversation with Ian McKellan
Michael Cashman has lived many lives, all of them remarkable: as an actor; as a campaigner for gay rights; as an MEP; and as a life peer. To mark the publication of his biography back in February, he joined Ian McKellen in conversation about his extraordinary life.
Watch now

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In Conversation with The Slumflower

Chidera Eggerue preaches her messages of self-love and body positivity to thousands on her blog The Slumflower. Hear her discuss her campaigning work and plans for a documentary questioning ideals of beauty, in a talk filmed at Doc/Fest 2019.

You Don't Own Me: Tales of Resistance

Sat. 6 March 2021 — Sat. 13 March 2021

An online programme of art, music and film created by women and marginalised genders. Presented by DINA, Reel Femme and Boxie.

The Bank Vault

The Bank Vault from Sheffield Theatres is a place for theatre makers to submit anything they've created in the time of lockdown.

Sheffield Adventures – your city is a film set

Tue. 21 July 2020 — Wed. 31 July 2030

As a film fan, you might think movies only get made in places like London, Paris and New York, but films and TV are made in Sheffield all the time. Can you make one too?