In 2015, Bank Street Arts founder and former Creative Director John Clark was commissioned by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, to compile information on the arts community in the Sheffield region. The aim of the report was to create a snapshot of the visual arts scene in Sheffield and the surrounding area, and to investigate the number of studio complexes, studios, and artists in Sheffield in contrast to other UK cities. Originally intended as preliminary research that would generate funding for Sheffield’s Year of Making, the report is one of three covering music, art, and the brewing industry.
John and Arts Administrator Ellen McLeod conducted qualitative and quantitative research in the form of surveys, in-depth interviews, and case studies that yielded a large quantity of data on the demographics, practices, working environments, and perceptions of Artists living and working in Sheffield. The study successfully created a picture of the studio groups, individual artists, arts professionals, and arts institutions within the city, and created an understanding of how these interact with and support one another.
The findings of the report suggest that while Sheffield may not have the highest concentration of artists in the UK, its art scene is lively and vibrant thanks to affordable living and studio space from organisations such as Bank Street Arts. It also showed that the arts scene in Sheffield is very dynamic, resilient, and resourceful. The full study- Independence and Interdependence: a Snapshot of the Visual Arts Scene in Sheffield– is available below and you can read about the background of the research here.