What does Sheffield's Kelham Island have in common with New York's Brooklyn?

Researchers from the University of Sheffield will hold an event exploring the roles of art, culture, and heritage in urban regeneration.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 8:42 am
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 10:35 am
Kelham Island

The Symposium - from Brooklyn Works to Brooklynism - is inviting artists, creatives, academics and members of the public to a day of talks and activities on July 11, to explore and challenge the kind of urban regeneration, gentrification and the rise of hipster culture seen in neighbourhoods such as NYC’s Brooklyn and Sheffield’s Kelham Island

The event is part of new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Kelham Island Museum. Kelham Island was once the beating heart of industry and is one of Sheffield’s oldest manufacturing sites. However, as the face of industry and manufacturing changed in Sheffield and other northern towns and cities in the UK throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, many of the area’s steelworks, factories and workshops closed and fell into disrepair.

The Kelham Island quarter has since been transformed into one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in the country – with it recently being named as the Best Neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland at the 2019 Urbanism Awards.

According to Sheffield mythology, Brooklyn Works in Kelham Island is the place where steel was manufactured to build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Now researchers from the University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities are collaborating with Kelham Island Museum for this day of talks and activities, which will run from 10am to 5pm.

Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson, director of impact and engagement in the university’s faculty of arts and humanities, said: “Kelham Island has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, much like Brooklyn in New York City and many other neighbourhoods in the UK, US and around the world that have experienced gentrification and a rise in artisanal economies and hipster culture. However, what we must not forget is that there are winners and losers in this kind of urban regeneration, and this is what we’re hoping to focus on at the symposium.

“We hope that artists, creatives, members of the academic community and, importantly, members of the public can join us to explore and provide a new perspective on urban regeneration and urban identities.”

Professor Susan Fitzmaurice, vice-president for arts and humanities at the University of Sheffield, added: “Sheffield is a distinctive city, rich in heritage, culture and creativity, infused with a spirit of independence and entrepreneurship. Now, as development begins to transform the city of Sheffield, questions are being raised about whether it is the right kind of development.

“Are we pricing communities out of their neighbourhoods? Are we ignoring the very things that make neighbourhoods great to live and work in? I believe the symposium will generate fresh perspectives on these matters as artists, place-makers, community activists, geographers, archaeologists and academics come together to share their views and debate the issues in a series of panel discussions. The day promises to be provocative. It will also be a celebration of all the individual and community endeavour going on in this city on the move.”

The symposium and collaboration forms part of the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities’ wider Knowledge Exchange project, Co-Constructive Humanities, which aims to bring the arts and humanities’ unique perspective to dialogues and debates on the cities in which we live.

From Brooklyn Works to Brooklynism is being held on July 11 at the Kelham Island Museum. Visit Eventbrite for more information and the full programme of talks and activities being held throughout the day.