Telling city’s untold tales

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REAL Sheffield stories told by real Sheffield people are coming from an innovative new project which sees students teaming up with members of their local community.

The Sheffield University initiative aims to get students more involved with the city they live in.

English literature undergraduates have adopted the motto ‘telling untold tales’ for the programme, called Storying Sheffield.

Many of the people who’ve been working with the students have suffered mental illness, come from disadvantaged backgrounds or may have previously felt higher education wasn’t for them.

Now an exhibition due to open on Friday, June 17, will showcase some of the work completed so far.

Undergraduates and their partners have been working together to tell a story from the local person’s life, though writing, film, art, performance or poetry.

At one session they were joined by the university’s new Professor of Poetry, poet and screenwriter Simon Armitage, producing excellent results.

The Storying Sheffield exhibition includes four three foot canvases, an amateur film and a chest of drawers filled with memories.

Neil Bates’ installation involves a Sheffield Wednesday-inspired goal post and audio that takes the listener back to Neil’s childhood growing up as a foster child in the seventies.

He said: “Storying Sheffield has helped me prove myself, away from my troubled past. It has given me the confidence to pursue further education and I am looking into courses in journalism.”

Degree student Rebecca Holland said: “Storying Sheffield is unlike any other module on my course. It gives you so many different tools which are applicable to real life, aside from providing an insightful approach to narrative.

“I feel like I am really engaging with the city as opposed to just living in a student bubble. At the moment the value of arts and humanities degrees is being questioned and I feel this module proves their worth.”