Castlegate Hoardings Commission: Manor Lodge Primary School

In the historic Castlegate area of Sheffield, arts collective Glassball are working with the good folk of Sheffield to create an artwork for the hoardings around the former site of Castle Market.

Since the beginning of November 2015, artists Cora Glasser & David Ball have listened, read, talked, seen, photographed and recorded the many aspects of the multi-layered Castlegate site for which they have been commissioned to produce an artwork.

They've delivered a number of public engagement activities already, including organised walks around the area with a local historian, impromptu on-site photo/story exchanges, plus a busy series of workshop sessions at Manor Lodge Primary School.

Within all of this activity there has been an emphasis on making the working-process open, transparent and inclusive for members of the public; a continuation of a co-creative processes that defines their work.

As Cora Glasser says, “Just before Christmas, David and myself had the opportunity to work with the Year 5 pupils from Manor Lodge Primary School. There was plenty of excitement in the air, with familiar festive jingles greeting us in the dining hall as we set up our equipment for the first session. We worked with 25 pupils over the course of the day, splitting the class into three groups with about an hour each. They were quick and intense sessions with each group getting the chance to see and hear about the developments at the Castlegate demolition site and what our project was all about.

Following that each member of the groups had a chance to select an archival or contemporary image connected to the site and draw, photograph, scan and interpret their findings. These were then projected onto large sheets of paper for further re-drawing by the whole group, working towards a collaborative final piece of work. As interests developed, pupils could explore recording conversations taking place during the session about this area of Sheffield, become a documentary photographer of the activities or assist with the projections and larger drawing developing throughout the session. There was a moment at the end of each session to reflect on their work individually and as a group.”

Glassball have also undertaken many site visits and explorations of the area, as Cora says “it was a joy to visit some of the accessible castle ruins, through an unassuming concrete hut, to view them for ourselves. Conversations, from the mundane to the academic, have also taken place and have been guided by the many people who are passionately involved in this fascinating site.”

More events are planned over the coming weeks, including ‘Talk with Me…’ on Sunday 17th January 2016 from 11-3pm, starting at the Peace Gardens (weather permitting!). They're also planning a ‘Message to a Hoarding’ event around the end of January 2016 with an accompanying mobile phone app.