Series of public lectures and events explores life ‘in the city’

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  • Annual celebration In The City is hosted by the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Academics, cultural critics, politicians and artists will speak about different aspects of urban life.
  • Events include public talks, exhibitions, films and performances.

Urban existence, heritage, forgotten places and activism are just some of the themes which will be explored during a month of events celebrating city life in Sheffield and beyond.

The University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities will begin its annual programme of public talks and events on Thursday (1 May) exploring the role ‘the city’ has played in human life for thousands of years.In The City

In the City will see an impressive line-up of academics, cultural critics, politicians and artists speak about different aspects of urban life.

The series will begin at St George’s Church on Thursday, when members of The Write Way, a Sheffield-based collective of people who have experienced coma, brain injury or both will share their second anthology of creative writing whilst discussing their experiences.

Author of Concretopia John Grindrod will explore the drive for social housing in the mid-20th century and speak about the stories of social upheaval, protest movements and political determination behind ‘grand designs’ of buildings such as Park Hill Flats on Tuesday 6 May.

On Saturday 10 May, anyone who has objects or heirlooms which could help shed light on life in Sheffield during World War One is invited to bring their objects and share their stories at Western Park Museum. Experts, curators and a professional photographer will be on hand to add a picture to a new Europe-wide history archive Europenana 1914-1918 and give extra insight into the artefacts.

Dr Tristram Hunt, MP for Stoke on Trent, will give a rare talk about his constituency – a city with a rich and proud history, which was a major player in the Industrial Revolution and the birthplace of the finest ceramics industry in the world. The historian and politician will speak about Stoke’s role in the past, its present state and his aspirations for its future on Thursday 15 May.

Music features prominently in the program too, with the Showroom Cinema hosting a live scoring of Charlie Chaplin’s City lights by the Sheffield Rep Orchestra (24 and 25 May). On Friday 30 May, critically acclaimed Sheffield band The Payroll Union will explore their long term project with the university’s History Department to bring 19th Century Philadelphia to life through music, with contributions from other academics and musicians, in Sheffield’s Library Theatre.

On Saturday 25 May, WJT Mitchell, a Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, will give a survey of the way the Occupy movement employed a variety of images, media and performative acts to take possession of urban spaces.

Other events during the month include film screenings at the Showroom Cinema, exhibitions and performances.

Professor Jackie Labbe, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield, said: “In the City showcases the Faculty of Arts and Humanities' signature strengths in debate and engagement by exploring what it means to be 'urban' and 'civic'.

We have an impressive line-up of speakers, from politicians to leading cultural critics. The event will encourage all participants to explore what it means to be 'in the City'.

The majority of In The City events are free of change (with the exception of films shown at the Showroom Cinema) and supported by Arts Enterprise, which funs activities which connect the power of university research in the Arts and Humanities and creative activities with local, regional and national partners.

For a full timetable of events, or more information, visit

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the University are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2011 it was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline and Siemens, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

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