S1 Artspace was set up by a group of artists in 1995 and has been responsible for one of Sheffield's most exciting contemporary art programmes ever since. When it's not bringing in exciting new pieces by contemporary visual artists from around the world – for instance the brilliant, climbable Brutalist Playground in 2016 – the S1 gallery regularly showcases the fruits of its own studios, which are home to around twenty of the city's most exciting young artists.
The studio complex and gallery outgrew its original spot above Corporation in 2010, expanding to the side of the nightclub. A few years later, it was on the move again. This time, it was over the tram tracks, far away from the quad vods, and up to Park Hill, the 1960s housing estate that greets railway passengers in brutalist style as they pull into Sheffield station.
At the end of 2016, S1's artists took up residency in a corner of the sprawling estate that's yet to be renovated, together forming a creative home and a valuable support system. Since S1 is a collaborative, artist-led operation, these studio-holders are involved in all decision-making, and work closely with the curators when it comes to exhibitions and events.
While the artists have been getting settled in their new home, the builders have been at work in the gallery side of S1. The S1 Artspace gallery will reopen in July 2018, and it couldn't mark the occasion with anything more fitting: an exhibition of archival photography and film of residents who formed Park Hill and neighbouring Hyde Park's original communities.
The return of S1 marks the start of an exciting few months for contemporary art in the city centre, with Site Gallery following it with its reopening in September.
- Words by
- Kathryn Hall