VIDEO PREVIEW: Heaven 17's Martyn Ware gets the Power to showcase steel industry heritage

Sheffield's world famous steel industry is about to be showcased in a new free entry soundscape art exhibition by high profile artists including the city's own Heaven 17 music legend Martyn Ware.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 12:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 12:40 pm
Power artists Martyn Ware, Sarah Hopkins and Tracey Moberly

He has teamed up with Tracey Moberly, famed for her work with mobile phone text messages and author of Text Me Up!, plus contemporary printmaker Sarah Hopkins.

Power, described as a multi-disciplinary, immersive experience, will get its world premiere in the heart of the city at the huge Trafalgar Warehouse, in Trafalgar Street, Sheffield, from March 30 to April 13.

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It features 3D immersive soundscapes with visual projections of the steel making process, including blast furnace pourings to rolling out steel strips and will even include smells, created by famed scent artist, Sissel Tolaas.There will be an exhibition of high resolution prints, Instagram and mobilography, plus screen prints and collagraphs, along with a series of textile banner structures influenced by the tradition of trade union banners.

Plans are to showcase the installation in Sheffield and Port Talbot, in Wales - highlighting the steel heritage of both places, where two of the artists were born - and tour it, with supporting artwork and memorabilia, community workshops, talks, lectures, seminars and conferences

Sheffield's own Martyn is a founding member of the city's iconic 1980s electronic bands The Human League and Heaven 17, who celebrate the 35th anniversary of their Luxury Gap album with a UK tour including homecoming at Sheffield O2 Academy on Saturday, December 8. Full tour details at

But first comes Power - an immersive, multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary exhibition designed to engage with all five senses.

Screen prints highlighting the heritage of steelworks

Today the trio described how and why they decided to combine their artistic skills to celebrate and reflect on the spirit and legacy of steel manufacturing heritage in post industrial Britain.

United in their passion for creativity in all its forms, with a fascination of industry; industrial architecture and processes, they discovered a closer bond, working together on the project.

They discovered that all their fathers had life-long careers associated with the UK steel industry and they were brought up appreciating the significance and importance of industry and manufacture on their doorstep.

Now they hope the Power exhibition will help to encourage others, including new and younger audiences to appreciate Britain’s industrial heritage.

Martyn Ware

The artists had an in-depth guided tour of Forgemasters in Sheffield and Tata steelworks in Port Talbot, where filming and photography for the exhibition also took place. It helped to highlight and further extended the wealth of collaborative possibilities. It also outlined the planning for potential touring exhibitions.The ongoing work has resulted in a range of collagraphic works along with a series of limited edition screen prints; photography; film and an immersive sonic steelworks created at Martyn’s London studio – featuring his company Illustrious’ bespoke 3D sound technology, called 3DAudioScape.

Also planned are a series of textile banner structures informed by an in-depth socio-political history of the areas in part influenced by the tradition of trade union banners.

Temptation star Martyn, whose Heaven 17 hits also included Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry, said: “Sheffield Forgemasters epitomises the innovation of this country's great industrialists and the visit was a must.“This industry is important to me personally as I grew up in Sheffield and understand the huge part that steel played in building this city and supporting so many generations of families.

“When Sarah, Tracey and I came together and shared and developed our practices, we found that our fathers had life-long careers associated with and within the UK steel industry. We were brought up appreciating the significance and importance of industry and manufacture on the doorstep.

Filming took place at Forgemasters in Sheffield and Tata steelworks in Port Talbot

“From a creative perspective, what we have seen at Sheffield Forgemasters and also at Port Talbot Steelworks is incredibly high-impact, both visually and through sounds. These spaces offer a cathedral-like experience for artists and it has been fascinating to see the skills and choreography employed in working with molten and forged steels

"We had to learn each other's skills. I think that's a very important part of it, because what I've always believed is when people learn each others skills, that's where the interest interesting stuff is - that meniscus between the different skills.

"I'm hoping the final product, within the DNA of the the exhibition, will be something that's genuinely innovative.

"I think what you will end up with its the most incredible experience for the general public and also for the younger generation, who have never really understood the importance of the manufacturing industry.

"I think our love for the subject matter will shine through in the final exhibition.There is a beauty not only in the Industrial architecture but in the process and manufacturing."

Sarah, from Wales, who uses hand-cut paper stencils and blocks of colour, creates screen prints turning locations generally perceived as industrial wastelands and places of social decay into striking images of everyday beauty.

Screen prints highlighting the heritage of steelworks

She said: "The idea came from the fact all of that all of our parents worked within the steel industry

"From Martyn's perspective it's about three dimensional soundscapes. From my side it's print making and fronm Tracy's it's about multimedia, including photography, embroidery and print."

Socio-political artist Tracey added: "It is the celebration of power of manufacturing in what is becoming post industrial working class Britain."


Martyn Ware
Filming took place at Forgemasters in Sheffield and Tata steelworks in Port Talbot