Art project dividend for city centre Co-op

Castle House co-op, to close
Castle House co-op, to close

Sheffield’s former Co-operative department store at Castle House is to become a ‘bazaar’ for the arts next month.

Twenty art installations will go on the ground floor of the grade II listed 60s building in Angel Street as part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind, from September 18 to 28. The £46,800 project is being financed by the Arts Council.

The rest of the former Co-op will used during the festival to showcase 150 projects and ideas emerging from collaborations between academics and local creative talent.

Visitors will be able to explore the old department store, which was renowned for its cantilevered spiral staircase.

The initiative has developed from a year-long partnership between the university, council and some of the city’s young entrepreneurs, accelerated by a visit by regeneration expert Marcus Westbury last February, who spoke about vacant buildings being revived in his home town of Newcastle, Australia.

Sheffield has started to follow suit, and this is the most ambitious project to date.

The city’s cultural community was invited to apply for funding to take part in the ‘Sheffield Bazaar’, and there are longer-term ambitions.

Felicity Hoy, of Common People CIC, said: “Castle House sits in the centre of a very prominent and important area of Sheffield that is undergoing a major transformation. We hope that the regeneration of Castlegate will give independents a chance to shine in this area and that Castle House will eventually act as the central creative hub.”