Photo exhibition shows Sheffield at a crucial turning point

A new photography exhibition in Sheffield captures the city as it hit a crucial turning point in the late 1980s and ’90s.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 12:30 pm

The Sheffield Project: Photographs of a Changing City will bring together images by acclaimed photographers at Weston Park Museum.

Sheffield in the last two decades of the 20th century were a time of great upheaval and hardship at the hands of the Thatcher government, which led to the miners’ strike, the decimation of the steel industry workforce, mass unemployment and widespread dereliction.

But the city also began to imagine its future, one that would include the Meadowhall retail development, the transformation of the lower Don Valley, the arrival of Supertram and the building of sports facilities to host the 1991 World Student Games.

Berris Conolly, Castle Square, 1989 © the artist

Recognising the significance of the time, Sheffield’s Untitled Gallery, now the Site Gallery, engaged a series of emerging local and nationally-based photographers for The Sheffield Project, which sought to document the changes happening.

The photos were shown in a series of exhibitions at Untitled Gallery’s original home in Walkley and at its current base on Brown Street.

The new exhibition, curated by Matthew Conduit, director of Untitled Gallery from 1985-88 and initiator of The Sheffield Project, revisits this remarkable collection.

Anna Fox, Regeneration 1, 1988 © the artist

It features work by Mike Black, Matthew Conduit, Berris Conolly, John Darwell, John Davies, Anna Fox, Graham Gaunt, John Kippin, Kate Mellor, Ken Phillip, Tim Smith, Bill Stephenson, Ian Stewart, Patrick Sutherland and Adrian Wynn.

A spokeswoman for Museums Sheffield said: “The compelling photographs these artists and photographers created captured the often complex nature of change.

"Subjects depicted span the steelworks’ furnaces firing for the final time, abandoned buildings soon to be demolished, and depictions of the changes to ways of life that the regeneration bought for the communities on its doorstep.

"The photographs also reflect the hope in this new vision for the future and the energy of the World Student Games and legacy it sought to leave behind.”

John Davies, Durham Ox, Sheffield 1981 © the artist

The exhibition runs from October 23 to May 3. Entry is free but pre-booking is recommended. Go to

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Ken Phillip, George Turton and Platt on night of closure - circa 1984 © the artist
Patrick Sutherland. Buffer, 1985 © the artist
John Darwell. Atterclife 1987 © the artist