Bringing our readers together : Every year we hold an event which enables our readers to meet and learn from each other.
At our annual event In 2012 we spent the day in the Sheffield Quaker Meeting House, sharing the books we enjoyed, being interviewed by Radio Sheffield interviewer Trisha Cooper and watching the 1956 film A book in Hand made by Sheffield City Libraries to celebrate their world famous municipal library service. The event was recorded by film maker Michael Watts.
In 2013 Sheffield Central Library gave us use of the Carpenter Room where Sheffield author and journalist, Rony Robinson was interviewed about his development as a reader by Dr Erica Brown from Sheffield Hallam University. Our interviewees also brought pictures of themselves as young adults and were photographed by photographer, Tom Stayte. In the same year a Reading Sheffield Research group was formed by Mary Grover, Loveday Herridge and Sue Roe. At present Sue is researching reading in the 19th century, and Loveday reading in the 18th century.
In 2014, due to generous funding from Sheffield Town Trust, Reading Sheffield were able to explore and celebrate contemporary children’s responses to reading. We held workshops in Weston Park Museum, Netherthorpe School, Stradbroke School and the Central Library.
Flying Off the Page Jean Compton, a community artist, ran a series of workshops in which 30 Netherthorpe children created three-dimensional aerial sculptures celebrating favourite moments from favourite books.
The Story Telling Cloak Jean also ran three drop-in workshops in Western Park Museum for children and their families to create Sheffield’s first Story Telling Cloak made of images created by a huge range of Sheffield readers across generations.
At our Celebration Event 2014 the sculptures and ballad featured at the annual celebration event. This year the annual celebration was included in Off The Shelf Festival of Words. The Mayor opened the celebration surrounded by the children’s models of flying creatures and in the company of a large paper and willow sculpture lady wearing the Story Telling Cloak. Ray led the children in a rendering of the Ballad of the Spooky Books, and local poet Eleanor Brown ran a Word-Hoard workshop. In a Carpenter Room transformed by sculptures, Jean demonstrated how they were made, we finished off the day with home made tea and cakes.
Reading Sheffield Website Launch 2015 On 10 October members, friends and participants of Reading Sheffield met in the Quaker Meeting House to mark the official opening of the new website. The site makes available audio recordings and transcripts that provides a window into the variety of reading patterns of a cross section of Sheffield readers during the first part of the 20th century.
White Ink Stains: On 19 October 2016 we welcomed over 60 friends and poetry-lovers to the launch of the most surprising outcome of our project – a series of stunning poems, inspired by Sheffield readers, from Eleanor Brown, the award-winning Bloodaxe poet. They are a unique and highly persuasive way of honouring readers’ experiences. We thank the Off the Shelf Festival for their generous sponsorship and Sheffield Libraries for their hospitality.
In 2017 Lizz Tuckerman in collaboration with the Reading Sheffield team created an art exhibition in recognition of the Sheffielders who had contributed to the Reading Sheffield project. In Praise of Libraries an intimate and nostalgic collection of digital collage, sound, and photography ran at Bank Street Arts from the 6th to the 21st October. The title comes from the vital role that the libraries played in the lives of the readers. During the exhibition we held a special viewing, an artists talk and a vintage tea party. The Lord Mayor Councillor Anne Murphy visited the exhibition on the 21st October. The exhibition was generously funded by Off the Shelf Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Town Trust.