Sheffield Political Cultures / Commonwealth Café

We are delighted to announce the start of an exciting new, AHRC-funded cultural engagement project based in the Department of Archaeology that brings together academics from across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Faculty (including Professor Dawn Hadley (Archaeology), Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson (French), Dr Gary Rivet and Dr Adrian Bingham (History) and Dr Jane Hodson (English)). Between February and May 2013, new research will be completed around the history of working-class Sheffield, socialism in the city, the life and times of Edward Carpenter and the more recent history of political activism in Sheffield and this research will help to inform a theatre production that will be performed three times in various venues across the city. These venues will engage with non-academic spaces to ensure that the production is available to the widest section of the local community. Dates, times and venues will be announced in due course. Project researchers Helen Smith and Dr Catherine O’Byrne will be completing the research and working with Charlie Barnes of the local applied theatre company Dead Earnest on the production.

The project links two innovative research projects already in progress within the University:

The Commonwealth Cafe Project

Helen is working on researching Edward Carpenter’s Commonwealth Cafe and the impact that this had on politics and society in Sheffield. The location of the Cafe was in Scotland Street in the Shalesmoor area of the city where Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson is currently working on the Furnace Park project in that area of the city. See Sheffield Furnace Park for further details.

Stories of Activism – Oral history project

Catherine is conducting oral history interviews with local activists to contribute to an archive of such interviews that will be housed at Sheffield City Archives for posterity. Parts of these interviews may also be used to inform the theatre piece. Further information can be found about the wider ‘Stories of Activism’ project run by Dr Gary Rivet and Dr Adrian Bingham at Stories of Activism in Sheffield.

For further information about the project, updates or if you are interested in becoming involved contact:

Helen Smith h.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Catherine O’Byrne c.j.obyrne@sheffield.ac.uk

The Sheffield Political Cultures blog can be found here.

Edward Carpenter and his lover George Merrill who helped to found and run the Commonwealth Café
Edward Carpenter and his lover George Merrill who helped to found and run the Commonwealth Café (copyright: Picture Sheffield s09115).

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Scotland Street, Sheffield. Number 51 formed part of the premises of the Commonwealth Café
Scotland Street, Sheffield. Number 51 formed part of the premises of the Commonwealth Café (copyright: Picture Sheffield s19281).

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