We are a city to make you think

We are a city to make you think

25 June 2020

In the first in a series of blog articles sharing local folk's thoughts on what makes Sheffield feel like home, our own Marketing Manager for City Campaigns, Mark Mobbs reflects on his role in promoting the city and what this means in the new normal…

"I’m privileged to be the person with the most responsibility for communicating Sheffield’s brand, which means I tend to either meet people who know about Sheffield and already love it, or I meet people who haven’t really heard much about the city (if at all). I love how easy it is to convert the latter group into the former group – and my job is to try to do that on a larger scale to help the city’s economy.

One of the ideas we came up with for external and international markets was positioning Sheffield as ‘a city to make you think’. The reason being there is so much amazing stuff about Sheffield that relatively few people know about that you tend to witness people having ‘moments of realisation’ when they experience what it’s really like.

I think the easiest of these to achieve comes from the common misconception (possibly because of our overused nickname of ‘Steel City’) that we are still a grimy industrial place, when actually we are one of Europe’s greenest cities. I took the above picture on Blackamoor, and it’s genuinely one of my favourite spots in the world (so thank you to whoever was responsible for putting that bench there in memory of Pat Pryor!). Not just because it’s incredibly beautiful, but also because people are amazed when I tell them that this is actually within the city limits – hence our less commonly used but more appropriate nickname, The Outdoor City. Cities around the world just do not have that kind of environment within their boundaries, and it blows people away.

In short, it makes people think. Think about changing their perceptions of Sheffield. Think about the opportunity this brings to residents. Think about how lucky we are. Think about how important this all is in the context of modern times.

So let’s not beat around the bush – we’re a funny sort of place. Perhaps a bit misunderstood, but this home we call Sheffield is something we tend to be incredibly proud of, even if we find it easier to say what we’re not, rather than what we are sometimes.

We get on with things with friendly determination, despite not having much of the limelight and needing to tackle the inevitable social differences encountered as the country’s fourth largest city.

But there are some things that when you put them together make you think that this is a city of nice little surprises; of opposites that attract and of people who make it all happen.

Here we can effortlessly combine well-being and quality of life with education and careers to build a multi-dimensional future for people in forward thinking sectors such as digital, health, advanced manufacturing, education, sport and the voluntary sector/civil society.

We're not perfect by a long stretch, but as a bunch of inventive people in a city that cannot stand still, we’ll keep trying to make things better for our communities, working together in ways that help to get things done. Sheffield has always been a city that makes things. Making is in our blood, it’s just the things that we make continually change, as the world around us does too.

What does all this mean in a post-Covid world, I hear you ask. What is our role and purpose as a city? How will it impact the investment our city needs to sustain businesses and help those in need? Will it see more people want to move somewhere like Sheffield?

I don’t have the answers, but this article is the first in a series to give opinions and thoughts on it. We will be featuring a guest article weekly on what ‘home’ means to people, and how Sheffield can make you think. If you, or someone you know would like to write a piece, then please drop us a line on wms@sheffield.gov.uk.

For now you can watch this video that we produced to explore those sorts of questions here https://youtu.be/hfDdAgzOL7U and please visit www.whatmakesSheffield.com for more (pre-Covid) stories of Sheffield and why this is such a special place."


Written by Mark Mobbs, Marketing Manager for City Campaigns, Sheffield City Council