Sheffield Speaks: Why Channel 4 and Sheffield just makes sense
02 August 2017
It’s been a few weeks since a Government consultation into the impact of Channel 4 outside London generated wide-spread interest in the possible relocation of their Victoria, London headquarters. Sheffield was clear from the off that they wanted to work more closely with Channel 4 – whether that would become about a relocation or about partnering with them on a national institute of digital talent and technology – Sheffield has been making a compelling case about why the city and the broadcaster are such a good fit.
Since Sheffield’s bid was submitted, there’s been a huge amount of support online from digital and creative communities across the city. Today, we hear from Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture Office of Regional Engagement and Partnerships for the University of Sheffield, on why Sheffield is the prefect city to partner with Channel 4.
Written by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, University of Sheffield
Sheffield does not seek to imitate other cities or transplant wholesale concepts from its neighbours but only has to look within to see what can be achieved. Sheffield allows space for the creatives and maintains the spirit of independence and quirkiness that sets us apart from shinier counterparts.
Making is in its blood and ‘Made in Sheffield’ is a globally recognised brand. We are a welcoming and inspiring home to a diverse and innovative array of makers who produce everything from music, film and theatre to jewellery, video games, advanced technology and digital art, following the long standing tradition of independent, small scale, artisan production. Much of this creativity and innovation happens in the many studios and workshops that cluster around the train station, our proposed home for Channel 4.
Ours is a city where its seven hills allow us to keep our feet on the ground but our head in the clouds. Where the citizens continue to celebrate a city which is both local and global, looks forwards but learns from our industrial and radical heritage and continues it in innovative ways. We are a city of learning, makers, charity and sanctuary.
We celebrate a city where our 60,000 students are embraced as locals. Home to more than 10,000 international students from 25 countries, where our universities play an increasingly important role as place makers and future talent producers. A city that is home to the incredible Sheffield theatres, the largest theatre complex outside London, with its three stages presenting more than 700 performances a year. A green city, with 10,000 climbers and 14,000 park runners, one third of which is situated in a National Park.
Our world-leading Advanced Manufacturing Park is home to the University of Sheffield’s AMRC, creating world class partnerships with Boeing, Rolls-Royce and now McLaren Automotive and forging new models for training and apprenticeships for new industries.
Our creative digital sector is characterised by a preponderance of individuals and small independent organisations working across the city, scattered but often collaborating, with a DIY feel and a high degree of creativity and innovation.
- Warp Films, the production company behind several BAFTAs including “This Is England 88” is based in the iconic Park Hill flats in Sheffield, overlooking the Sheffield train station.
- Doc/Fest, the UK’s premiere documentary film festival and the third largest in the world, was started and grown in Sheffield. Not only does Doc/Fest attract some of the best known names in literature and the media from over 50 countries, millions of pounds worth of deals are done during the six festival days.
- Sheffield’s Children’s Media Conference attracts over 1,100 delegates and speakers from Radio, Television, Film, Interactive Media, Games, Licensing, Toys, Publishing, Museums/Galleries, Theatre and the digital education sector to shape the entire range of media, entertainment and educational experiences available to kids.
- Home to Joi Polloi digital agency, winners of two BAFTAs for work on TV programmes (Humans and Live from Space), also received an Emmy nomination for their ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ campaign.
- Sheffield has 19 studio groups providing 362 artists with studios and 70 rehearsal rooms providing space for over 450 active bands
Sheffield is a unique and creative place, interesting and out of the ordinary, much like Channel 4. We have a fantastic creative industry on the cusp of something big. We fit. We’d work well together. We could do great things together.