Sheffield Creative Guild will unite and showcase the creative talent, energy and output of the city, formally launching on May 20th, with a party at creative cooperative, Roco.
The Guild, which has been backed by Arts Council England, Sheffield City Council, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, has already attracted over 130 pioneer members, from stonemasons to music producers, performers to designers, managers to students.
“The idea is that it can unite Sheffield’s wonderful array of creatives, whatever stage they are in their practice, in the spirit of equality”, explained Luisa Golob, chair of the Guild and director of Ignite Imaginations. “We’ll all learn and teach each other and I’m excited to see what happens when these people team up.”
The Guild, which is open to individuals, businesses and organisations will also connect the city’s many and varied creative groups and networks, acting as a bridge between worlds.
Artist and maker Henk Littlewood, who has been instrumental in the thinking behind the Guild, says that this will open new doors to the city’s creatives:
“I tend to just work in my own little bubble, but when you are pulled out of that bubble and you start to rub shoulders with someone in a completely different discipline, that's sometimes when you get your best ideas. Whether you’re a writer, a musician, photographer, or artist, you are a ‘maker’ - that ties us all together so it is an idea that is very much of its time.”
Central to the Guild’s offer is a timebank, whereby members trade their ‘hours’ as currency. All hours have the same value, no matter what service is offered. This system can create lively, diverse, thriving ‘economies’ between members, and really encourages the cross-pollination of disciplines. If it achieves its ambition, Sheffield Creative Guild’s timebank will be the largest, most diverse creative timebank in operation in the UK, and a shining example of how resourceful we can be when we are connected.
“Networks have always been really important to me, but it can take time to climb up through the informal ones that exist… this feels like a shortcut to it, which is great,” says Stacey Sampson, a Sheffield actor with stage and screen experience, including roles in two of the award-winning This is England series. “I feel like the Guild is offering a network at your finger tips, a mix of established and new people and really diverse forms. Anyone thinking of joining should go for it – the Guild will be stronger for a really rich mix. Ours is a great city and we should embrace it.”
There are lots of benefits to membership, including the opportunity of a ‘shopwindow’ for members, who will get a profile detailing their skills and specialisms. This ‘directory’ will be accessible to the non-members as a showcase of the city’s talent, and an events calendar will also be available to the public, bringing together all of Sheffield’s creative events in one place.
Pioneer membership is open until the end of May 20th, offering a reduction on membership rates. Go to www.sheffieldcreativeguild.com/join for more information and to join.