bloc projects


Adjunct Programme: One Great Workshop

Wednesday 17 June 2015
6.00 - 7.30pm

13 – 28 June 2015

Part of Sheffield Design Week and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities Festival.

Visit the One Great Workshop project website.

Weds 17 June – 6-8pm – One Great Workshop Launch – 5 – 7pm

Sat 20 June – 12.30pm – Heritage Walk with NowNThen walks.

Sat 20 June – 3pm: Steel Experiences with artist Nicola Ellis.

Thurs 25 June – 6-7.30pm – Stuart Mitchell (Stuart Mitchell Knives) and Joe Smith (Open University / Stories of Change) in conversation.

In the 19th century, the city of Sheffield was referred to as ‘one great workshop’. The network of factories in Sheffield shaped the physical, social and economic landscape of the city; today the city is still home to making at a range of scales. The past, present and future of Sheffield’s industries large and small is tied to changing relations with energy in the workplace.

The Future Works strand of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Stories of Change project, based at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, aims to uncover stories about the relationship between energy, industry and landscape in the English Midlands. One Great Workshop will focus on the stories of Sheffield and include an exhibition, talks, walks, workshops and activities linking visual art and design with a focus on energy and making.

Sheffield Design Week is a city-wide celebration of design in all its forms. The AHRC Connected Communities Festival supports co- production and wider engagement between communities and researchers and is taking place between June 15th – 29th at locations across the UK.

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Dr Joe Smith and Stuart Mitchell in Conversation

Join the One Great Workshop team along with Dr Joe Smith and Stuart Mitchell for an informal discussion exolpring the the past, present and future of energy and industry in Sheffield, in relation to the wider Stories of Change project and themes of climate change and manufacture.

Joe Smith teaches Geography at The Open University. His research spans environmental history, policy and politics and he has consulted on over 30 hours of BBC broadcasting on environmental themes. Joe currently leads two AHRC funded (£1.9m) research projects: ‘Earth in Vision’ and ‘Stories of Change’. He is Director of Smith of Derby, a 160-year-old public clock making company.

Stuart Mitchell makes bespoke custom knives. He has worked from his workshop in Portland Works since he joined his mum and dad’s business “Pat Mitchell Knives’ when he was 15. He started his own business in 1996, and has since gained a reputation for exception quality and design. He is the chair of Portland Works Little Sheffield Ltd, a community benefit society that owns and manages this grade II* listed cutlery factory. Over 500 shareholders successfully bought the site in 2003 to retain it as a place of making in the city. He has recently appeared on Heritage Heroes and Ade in Britain demonstrating his craft.

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Saturday 20 June 2015 – 3-4pm

As part of One Great Workshop, artist Nicola Ellis invites individuals, groups and companies who are connected to the steel industry in Sheffield, to a special event at Bloc Projects, Sheffield on Saturday 20 June 2014.

In the lead up to Ellis’ exhibition More room for error, produced in association with Mark Deveraux Projects at Bloc Projects in August 2015, Ellis would like to share experiences and reflections of working in the steel industry in the city with those who have been part of it in the past or present.

You may have first hand experience of working within the industry or your partner, friend or family may have been involved. Maybe you know someone who was a welder, a cutlery maker or worked in the steel mills? We want to hear your stories…

Artist Nicola Ellis is currently developing techniques within welding and steel fabrication, to create a series of new art works. Interested in the culture surrounding the steel industry, welding and bespoke production, she aims to encourage discussion between those who are central to, or on the periphery of this culture, past or present. This will enable Ellis to learn from your individual experiences whilst uncovering common ground between visitors at the event.

Sheffield is a place brimming with manufacturing, so if you are not involved in the steel industry but have connections to industrial or bespoke manufacturing, we would like to meet you too. The results of the conversations on 20 June 2015 will be drawn together and used to not only help the artist develop new work but also help her understand where she fits within the wider context of industry and steel fabrication.

The event is free to attend and refreshments will be provided. For further information please contact

The event takes place as part of One Great Workshop, part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities Programme and Sheffield Design Week.

More room for error is a touring exhibition of new works by artist Nicola Ellis examining the physical join between objects and the space they inhabit. Commissioned and curated by Mark Devereux Projects, the project will visit Arcadecardiff (Cardiff), &Model (Leeds) and Bloc Projects (Sheffield) in 2015. More room for error looks at the purity and constructs of what is so often intentionally hidden. Exposing the weld or stitch between materials and intentionally highlighting the imperfections of this process, raises underlying tension and questioning over the object’s place within space.

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Nicola Ellis graduated from the Manchester School of Art in 2011 with an MA in Fine Art. Her work recently featured in exhibitions including You won’t see that bit anyway (solo exhibition), 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, UK, (2014); Head to Head: Nicola Ellis and Aura Satz, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, UK (2013); Part of the Programme, FAFA Gallery, Helsinki (2012); and Cabedal, Plataforma Revolver, Lisbon (2012). Nicola Ellis is Supported by Mark Devereux Projects.

Mark Devereux Projects supports visual artists through mentoring, critical dialogue and curatorial production. Each practitioner’s artistic and career development is paramount, as the organisation provides bespoke guidance, information and opportunities. Our vision is to increase the provision for bespoke support to visual artists during the transition from early to mid-career. We do this in two ways: by working on long-term professional development and production projects through our funded Supported Artists programme; and by providing one-to-one mentoring, critical dialogue and exhibition opportunities within our open MDP Associates programme. Through collaboration from external partners and individuals, Mark Devereux Projects aims to bring artists, galleries, collectors and audiences closer.

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Find out more about the One Great Workshop exhibition, events programme, partners and funders here.

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