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Shadow Universities Minister praises Sheffield Hallam’s approach to arts

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16 May 2022

Shadow Universities Minister praises Sheffield Hallam’s approach to arts

The Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Matt Western MP, has praised Sheffield Hallam University’s approach to teaching the arts in a special visit to celebrate this year’s degree show

Press contact: Jo Beattie | j.beattie@shu.ac.uk

Matt Western speaking to the ark Sheffield team in the Atrium

During his visit, Mr Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, first heard about ark Sheffield, a community-performance project which tackles issues around climate justice and its impact on local communities. 

ark Sheffield is a collaboration between academics in the Humanities and the Natural and Built Environment and is part of the University’s Future Now Festival of Creativity, which showcases creative work from Sheffield Hallam’s graduating students. ark Sheffield provided an opportunity for students to take part in a collaborative co-build with award winning interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE. 

The Shadow Minister then toured Sheffield Hallam’s old Head Post Office building, home to its Art and Design courses, where he met students from product design and fine art, including Kristina Drmic (BA Hons Product Design). Kristina was recently shortlisted for the prestigious RSA (royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce) Student Design Awards 2022.

The old Head Post Office, a Grade II listed Victorian building, had become run-down since its closure in 1999 – until Hallam refurbished and repurposed the iconic Sheffield city centre building to become the home of the University’s Art and Design courses. The building now hosts courses and research across fashion design, interior and product design, graphic design, and fine art, as well as studios, workshops, and exhibition spaces.

Sheffield Hallam’s association with the arts dates back to its foundation in 1843, when the Sheffield School of Design was founded to provide skilled designers to support Britain's industry, before becoming the Sheffield School of Art in the 1850s. 

Almost 180 years on, the University still has a strong arts tradition, with one of the biggest degree shows in the north of England, and its Art and Design research recently rated as “world-leading” in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. 

Matt Western MP said: “It was so refreshing to meet students involved with the ark project. 

“They show how important universities can be when they embed themselves in communities, offer creativity and art for public consumption and attract inward investment and cultural curiosity for the places they represent. 

“These students also reinforce the importance of arts degrees in a moment when the government is treating universities like a political football rather than a force for public and economic good. 

“The students I met today are Britain’s artists and creators of the future, and Sheffield Hallam – like other great arts universities - nurtures and grows them.”

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Sheffield Hallam’s history is steeped in art and design and its application in the real world. That tradition continues today through the applied nature of our courses and our exceptional links to industry. 

“It was a pleasure to welcome Matt to Sheffield Hallam to demonstrate just how valuable the arts are to our culture, our communities, and our economy – and of course to showcase Sheffield Hallam’s outstanding students and their work.”

In this story

Explore the people, themes, departments and research centres behind this story

Departments

Art and design

Press contact

Jo Beattie

Contact us

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

On social media

 Twitter (press office)
 Twitter (university)
 Facebook
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