Entre Guillemets // Quote Unquote.

On December 4th-5th 2018, artist Joseph Edwardes Evans presented a new series of small sculptures in an exhibition entitled Entre Guillemets // Quote Unquote.

The works, made entirely of found objects and ‘scrap’ or ‘waste’ materials, emerged in response to the conversations Joseph and I had about post-traumatic landscapes.

Joseph writes:

Made of found metal and severed branches, the sculptures’ construction and display is tightly post-traumatic: they perform as citations by re-appropriating and putting forward material extracted from elsewhere, as if plucked from the receding past at the moment of being consigned to it. This extracted material is made to enter (the “entre” of “entre guillemets”) the present as a vase-type object, testifying to, presenting, or pointing towards histories of use and waste. But at the moment of enunciation, the vases are suggestively illegible as to what their specific material past is. Haphazard, contingent and diverse, they are an uncertain record. […] Whilst the vases represent citational space, an ambiguous plane, they can only bring the idea of the past to us. What we do with it then – what we put there – remains to be decided.

During the course of the two days, visitors were invited to create works around, and in response to, the sculptures. We provided watercolours, typewriters, marker pens, ink, glue and pencils on a large table in the rather chilly foyer of Jessop West.  What emerged was a collaborative scrapbook and an agreement that mental health and wellbeing might be significantly improved if we were able, in our cities and public spaces, to create similar spaces of conversation and creativity. 

What were the key insights of the two days? 1) Coffee has become a tax on interactions; 2) we need spaces to make a mess, be directionless, take a risk and not fear being unproductive;  3) art makes space – it isn’t a thing we add to space. This table, then. as ‘ritournelle’ – a space that emerges through the scratching of pencils and the putting of paint on paper; through conversations and encounters, and a shared desire to do this again.

With thanks to Joe, Lucy, Seth, AJ, Emma, Jordan, Neve and Rebekah for all their hard work, creativity and insight.

Free writing workshop at Furnace Park, Saturday February 22nd

Anne Grange will be running a free writing workshop at Furnace Park on Saturday February 22nd, 2pm-4pm.

Places are free but limited. To reserve, please email a.j.jackson@sheffield.ac.uk

The workshop, which will focus on the Furnace Park site, will begin with collecting items, taking photos, discovering facts and listing colours, textures, smells, sounds – possibly not tastes!
Then we’ll go to a nearby cafe to share what we’ve discovered and to do some writing exercises based on the things we’ve discovered. At the end of the session – about 4pm, participants should have come up with several pieces of writing that are either finished or could be developed further and published online.
We’ll also do a collaborative exercise, combining lines of poetry into a villanelle – a poem with repeated, interconnected lines.


Moving With Thought

On Saturday 23rd June, poet Matthew Clegg led a poetry workshop, Moving With Thought, hosted by plastiCities in collaboration with the Longbarrow Press.

You can now listen to some of the workshop participants read their poems (in a range of urban landscapes) on the Moving with Thought SoundCloud site.

You can also read poems by the participants by clicking on the links below:

John Barron
Emma Bolland
Matthew Clegg
Mark Doyle
Chris Jones
Oliver Mantell
Mary Marken
Julie Mellor
Gareth Parry
Karl Riordan
Steve Sawyer
Zoe Walkington


another free plastiCities workshop – photographing urban wildscapes with Matthew Conduit

plastiCities will be hosting a free photography workshop exploring urban wildspaces on Saturday July 21st.

The workshop will be led by photographer and artist Matthew Conduit.

More details will be published her shortly, but you can register your interest and reserve a place by emailing Amanda at amandacrawleyjackson@gmail.com

Places are free but will be limited.

Please note that in order to participate, you will need to bring your own camera.

Exhibition of artist books – Saturday June 30th

On Saturday June 30th, artist Victoria Lucas is running a plastiCities workshop on book making at Bloc.

Following the workshop, at 4pm,  there will be a small exhibition of artist books, featuring works by Victoria Lucas and Isla Badenoch, as well as workshop participants. We will also be showing a selection of pamphlets made by people in Sheffield about the city in which we live.

All welcome!

For more information, please email amandacrawleyjackson@gmail.com

Short film – Moving with thought: a trance-walk with Matthew Clegg

A walk and poetry workshop with Matthew Clegg and 16 attendees in Sheffield, Saturday 23 June 2012 (part of the occursus / plastiCities summer programme). The walk began at 7 Garden Street and continued through Shalesmoor and Neepsend to Parkwood before returning to 7 Garden Street (where the attendees would develop a series of poems based on their observations during the walk). Script and narration by Matthew Clegg. Filmed and edited by Brian Lewis for Longbarrow Press.

Free symposium, free lunch: occursus/plastiCities in conversation with Art Sheffield


occursus/plastiCities in conversation with Art Sheffield

Friday June 29th, 10am-4pm, with music and drinks at 4pm

Jessop West Exhibition Space, 1 Upper Hanover Street, University of Sheffield, S3 7RA (for a location map, please click here)

Art Sheffield and The University of Sheffield are collaborating on a new series of participatory symposia and workshops reflecting on art in the city. The aim is to generate debate around different aspects of contemporary art practice. It is intended that these discussions will feed into the planning and rationale for the next Art Sheffield Festival, which will be launched in October 2013 and will cohere around the central theme of new and old models of social and civic participation and work.

The first symposium, to be held at the University of Sheffield on Friday 29th June, will provide an opportunity for contributors from a wide range of interests and backgrounds relating to this broad field of enquiry to tease out strands to be used as ‘provocateurs’ that, over the course of the next year, will encourage debate and dialogue.

The symposium will adopt a non-traditional format, interspersing speakers with performances, readings, screenings, a city walk and a collaborative roundtable discussion. As part of the programme, we will also be offering a free lunchtime picnic, during which participants will have the opportunity to meet and talk informally. The resulting content will be documented and available online.

The themes we would like to explore on June 29th include (but are not limited to): 

  • works: the architecture of historic workplaces around the city
  • craftsmanship and sites for creative activity
  • spaces that have been taken up by both artist communities and developers
  • devotion and vocation
  • the reconnection with meaningful labour and talents; work removed from economic gain, as a counter to a meaningless, boredom or inertia – ‘waste of time jobs’ all relating to the shifting economy of the city
  • social cohesion within the city; the construction and perpetuation of class systems preventing solidarity  and new media as an alternative model
  • the architecture and social and economic history of the city

Please register here for a place and free lunch.


  • 10am – introduction by Amanda Crawley Jackson
  • 10.20am – Bhavani Esapathi
  • 10.40am – Bryan Eccleshall
  • 11am – Simon Marginson
  • 11.20 – break and informal discussions
  • 11.40am – Dan Smith
  • 12pm – Florian Kossak
  • 12.20pm – Luke Bennett
  • 12.40pm – SKINN
  • 1pm – Lunch, walk (depending on weather), informal discussions
  • 2pm – Angelina Ayers
  • 2.15pm – Rachel Genn
  • 2.30pm – Cristina Cerulli
  • 2.50pm – Carolyn Butterworth
  • 3.10pm – Matt Cheeseman
  • 3.25pm – Discussion led by Laura Sillars and Lesley Guy
  • 4pm – music, wine & informal discussions
  • 5pm – close

Quiet flows the Don (Тихий Дон)

Pauline, who’s 71, came up to Shalesmoor for the day from Maidenhead to try and find the places where her parents and grandparents lived. Her grandparents were Ukrainian Jews who came to Britain in the late nineteenth century. Fleeing persecution, they left their hometown of Novograd-Volynsk and sailed to Liverpool from Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea. Pauline doesn’t know how her family came to live in Sheffield, but told us about the large Jewish community that lived in the slum dwellings around Scotland Street at the turn of the century. Her father was born in 1902 and is buried in Sheffield. The family ran a grocers shop at 51 West Bar Green from 1910 until as late as 1951. She told us her memories of hearing Yiddish spoken at home, of chicken soup and matzah bread, and of the rich, enticing smells in the family shop. She told us that she remembered how, as a child, she would be given old Bisto posters and empty boxes, so she too could play shop. She used to love the Blue Riband biscuits she was given as a special treat and remembers the sound of the cellophane packet being torn to release its contents. We walked together to Allen Street, but the family home that once stood there has long since been demolished or destroyed. We couldn’t work out which school her father must have gone to, although we wondered about the Infants School on Blue Boy Street (so named because of the blue jackets that the schoolboys were made to wear). Pauline ran away to New York to marry her husband. When she told her mother she was going to start researching their family history, her mother warned against it, saying that there were ‘too many skeletons in the cupboard’.

It was a strange kind of serendipity that minutes before we met Pauline and asked if we could take her photograph for the (Sheffield) Don magazine, we had been discussing the fact that there’s also a River Don that flows through Russia and Ukraine.

The magazine, which we wrote, edited and produced in 24 hours, will be launched on Friday June 22nd. See here for more details and to reserve a place at the launch.

24-hour magazine today

Welcome to the 24 Hour Magazine. In this ambitiously small period of time we are attempting to write, design, edit and produce an entire publication, starting at 9am on Saturday 9 June and ending at 9am on Sunday 10. This project is a collaboration between Article, independent magazine publishers, and Occursus, a project based at the University of Sheffield.

The magazine will be focussed on the Upper Don Valley, examining the river Don from Hillsborough to Kelham Island. We want to produce something that explores the river, the spaces around it, the people and businesses and the way that it’s represented and imagined.

We hope to incorporate wildly varying approached to create a magazine of contrasting features, images and interviews – all exploring a predetermined geographical area. We want the magazine to be a fascinating publication in its own right, as well as a record of what’s happening on the day.

Our editorial approach is simple. We want to gather pieces of content that dig into the details of the area, finding out and presenting specific places and people that make it what it is. We’re not looking to illustrate a particular point about the city by using this content, but rather to try and draw out themes, contrasts, fascinating snippets in the context of what subtly links them – the river itself.

At the end of the 24 hours, we will print and present the finished magazine. This will be sent to print and produced as a limited run of magazines. All participants will receive a copy around a week after the event.


We don’t want to tell you what to write, but here a few vague themes you can consider if feeling stuck.

Design, history, texture, experience, memory, taste, typography, industry, nature, architecture.


Making a magazine is not just writing a piece or taking some photos. It is an emmersive process. People with different talents must work together, to shape ideas and create something together.

In this spirit, when you are finished working on a piece or a project – that isn’t the end of it. There is editing and changing to do. We want you to stick around and talk to people, work on the content together. Over the course of the day we will be printing out the content people have made and putting it on the wall. It is up there for you to read and comment on. Please do read it, and then write your thoughts and put them on the board, or go find the person who made it and talk to them about the piece if you think it needs changing, or simply if you liked reading it.

Reading Loop takes a summer break

Reading Loop is taking a summer break. We’ll be returning in September.

In the meantime, don’t forget our upcoming events:

Saturday June 9th – Sunday June 10th24-hour magazine (with Article magazine)

Saturday June 16th – free plastiCities workshop with artist Daisy Frossard

Friday June 22nd – a series of exhibition openings (Joshua Holt, Bryan Eccleshall, Eddy Dreadnought) and poetry reading by Matthew Clegg

Saturday June 23rd free plastiCities poetry workshop with Matthew Clegg in conjunction with Longbarrow Press

Saturday June 30thfree plastiCities book making workshop with artist Victoria Lucas, followed by opening of exhibition featuring works by Victoria Lucas and Isla Badenoch

Moving with thought – free plastiCities workshop

Moving with thought: a poetry trance-walk – Upperthorpe to Hillsborough

occursus / plastiCities is pleased to announce a workshop with poet Matthew Clegg. Places are free but limited and booking is required.

You can book online here.

12.00pm – 16.00pm Saturday 23rd June

Matt Clegg will lead a guided walk and poetry workshop designed to explore the roles of movement and trance in the composition of poetry. It will explore ideas and modes of practice that begin with Wordsworth and continue through such moderns as Basil Bunting and Ken Smith.

How does movement through the ‘edge-land’ landscape shape our thought and state of mind? What pace and shape of route facilitates poetic ‘trance’ most effectively? What is the role and predicament of the poet in that landscape?

The walk will encourage participants to think through their senses: the workshop will help them adapt or depart from poetic forms. There will be a focus on the use of resonant imagery and on crafting emotive rhythm and sound.

Brian Lewis will record the results and shape them into a suite of poems and ambient noise to be exhibited on Soundcloud.

Please bring a pen and notebook, and dress for walking.

Meet at 7 Garden Street, 12.00pm prompt.


12.00 – 12.45 Introduction and reading workshop.
12.45 – 14.45 Walk from Upperthorpe to Hillsborough and back, following the Don.
14.45 – 15.00 Refreshments
15.00 – 16.00 Poetry Workshop

There will be a reading by Matthew Clegg on the evening of June 23rd. More information to follow.

Dates for your diary

occursus/plastiCities are pleased to announce that on Friday June 22nd, we will be opening exhibitions of work by

Bryan Eccleshall

Joshua Holt

Eddy Dreadnought

Isla Badenoch

The exhibitions will take place at a variety of venues across the city, linked by a specially commissioned site-specific installation by Suki Sehmbi.

The exhibitions are accompanied by a series of 6 free workshops, led by artists and practitioners including Daisy Frossard, Victoria Lucas, Homeland and Matt Clegg. (For more information, including dates, click on the workshops tag on the right-hand side of this page).

Homeland will also be making a series of 3 radio broadcasts as part of the occursus/plastiCities summer project. More information will be posted here very soon.

On June 29th, occursus/plastiCities will host a public symposium in collaboration with SCAF. More details to follow shortly.