Friday, 26 August 2011


Let the minutes show: yesterday was possibly the best day in the history of the Sheffield Publicity Department.

We took some intrepid workshop participants up to the Park Hill, to fill in their tree-rubbing posters, and make a one-off poster about our urban forest. Here's what happened. Click on these photos people. They're worth it.

The weather was incredible. The sun shone down through the canopies. The views were spectacular. It was wonderful.

Thanks to everyone who came down: we'll get the pictures of you with your posters up soon.

Mega thanks to Gemma Thorpe for the lovely photos.

And ultra, super thanks to Jane and Natalie at the Site Gallery for asking us to get involved. Site Gallery has suddenly got amazing. Well done all.

PS if you couldn't make it down, the packs are now on sale at the Site gallery for £3.50. We're talking perfect Birthday/Christmas gift.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Look. At. These.

The posters are back. The header cards are folded. The crayons have been paired off like rare, beautiful animals in a zoo.

To get your hands on one of these, come down to our Tree Rubbings workshop at the Site Gallery tomorrow, Thursday 25th August. It's going to be bloody lovely.

If you can't make it tomorrow, the packs will be on sale in the Site Gallery from this day forth.

(Thanks to PDF in Sheffield for the printing, and Gemma Thorpe for the photo.)

Friday, 19 August 2011


Exciting times in the SPD office. The crayons have arrived.

Two of these beauties will be in each of our DIY tree-rubbing packs. You'll have to choose your favourite colours from the selection. No mixing.

Plus, if you're into late capitalist bling, we even have a couple of gold and silver crayons doing the rounds. Note would-be looters/scrap thieves: they're made of wax.

You know what we really love about these crayons? It's the smell. Straight back to childhood. We literally cannot wait for the workshops.



Sunday, 14 August 2011


Sheffield has over two gazillion trees, making it the greenest city on planet Earth. As part of Site Gallery's DIY Summer, we'll be holding a tree rubbing workshop on Thursday 25th August, to celebrate our urban forest.

We'll be leading people on a short walking tour up to the trees of Park Hill, where we'll help you create your own unique, DIY publicity poster through the medium of wax crayon rubbings.

We'll be running a number of workshops throughout the day. The workshops are open to all, and cost a mere £3. To find out more click here. Or to book a place, click thusly.

Stay tuned for more info. Check out the incredible new logo. That is all.



Wednesday, 3 August 2011


First published in the Tramlines Times, Sunday 24th July 2011.


Number 3: Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Now, as the city's tourist board, we're used to making bold claims. But here's one that's undisputed: Sheffield has the most glorious sunsets on planet Earth.

We don't know really know what causes them. Maybe it's the shape of the city, the hills around us, that means you can always see the point where the sky meets the ground. Who knows? And of course it doesn't happen every evening. There's no way of telling when. But suddenly, out of nowhere, you'll notice the colour pink from the corner of your eye. And from that moment on, all you can do is stand and watch.

Sometimes the sky looks like Super Mario, cartoon blue with perfect pink, popcorn clouds. Sometimes it becomes a vaulted ceiling above the city, like pink bunting. Sometimes it's darker, with heavy bruised clouds like black eyes. And sometimes it seems to magnify the clouds on the other side of the sky, so that they look like mountains hanging over the city. Like Sheffield has been moved to the Alps.

And then the colour balance is turned up, and everything starts to get brighter and brighter, until it looks like a chemical fire, or a new cosmos being born, just out of sight in the Rivelin valley. And then the sun disappears from view, pulling the evening behind it like a blanket, and the sky turns turquoise, then dark blue, then purple like a chocolate wrapper. And then it's over.

All this happens slowly, over a half hour period, like a movement in classical music. Some people will notice, and get out their iphones to take a picture for the kids. Others will carry on regardless, oblivious to the heavens above them.

Of course, it's difficult to market a sunset. We can't really arrange tours. And photos don't do it justice: they have to be seen to be believed. And the Sheffield Publicity Department can't guarantee that you'll see one. It's outside of our remit, alas.

But maybe you'll be lucky. And suddenly, the puddles on the floor will turn pink, and the drab office buildings will light up in gold; and you'll see that this poor, hollowed-out, hollow cheeked city, is rich beyond anybody's wildest dreams.

The sun goes down tonight at 21.14, precisely. Keep your eyes peeled.

With love
Sheffield Publicity Department.


First published in the Tramlines Times, Saturday 23rd July, 2011.



Here at SPD HQ, we've got a book about the city, published by our forerunners, the City Council's Civic Information Service, in 1964. The book is called SHEFFIELD, England, with a foil-blocked title. It's completely beautiful. Inside the front cover, there's a quote from Confucius, ancient Chinese scholar. It reads thusly:

"How may I recognise a good craftsmen? First, by the reputation of his ancestors for honesty and sincerity; then by his ability to create something new with an experience that is old."

Pretty deep shit, we think you'll agree. Why are we telling you this? Well, Sheffield, as you probably know, has always had a reputation for making amazing stuff. For a long time, that stuff was mainly made out of steel. For 100 years or so, Sheffield pretty much made cutlery for the whole of planet Earth.

Today, a lot of people think those times are gone. That we don't make anything here anymore. But that's not really true. Yes, Sheffield steel no longer fills your Nannan's cutlery drawer. Yes, some of the factories have closed down. But the spirit that fueled them is still in the air.

And one of the best places to see that spirit is in the pub, with a pint in your hand. Some of the best beer in the world is made here, in Sheffield, in micro-breweries attached to amazing pubs. There are too many to mention here, and far too many individual beers to name. So here are the greatest hits, with tasting notes, like some sort of BBC Food and Wine programme. Look out for:

- Pale Rider, Kid Acne's beer of choice, made by Kelham Island, tastes like power.
- Easy Rider, it's softer younger brother.
- Farmers Blonde, by Bradfield, like summer and cows and meadows in a glass.
- The Tramlines special beer, by the Sheffield Brewery Company, which, like that wine you had on holiday, will remind you of the good times.

But, here at the SPD, there can only ever be one favourite. Moonshine, made by Abbeydale Brewery. Weapon of choice. Ticket to ride. Moonshine is a whole pint of Ron Burgundy shouting: HOA! LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

So this weekend, put down the Corona, and do us all a favour. This city makes its own beer, for the people who live here, and it tastes bloody brilliant. Just another Sheffield product. In the service of mankind.


The Sheffield Publicity Department.


First published in the Tramlines Times, Friday 22nd July 2011.


Wilkommen! Bienvenue! 欢迎!

We're the Sheffield Publicity Department, and we're here to introduce you to our lovely city. We'll be suggesting Things To See and Do throughout the Tramlines weekend, to help you understand what makes Sheffield so special.


If this is your first visit, let us say this: don't panic. Yes, it may appear that the city is just a random collection of scruffy modern buildings, competing bus companies and one-way streets, with no attempt made to join them together. And yes, the uninitiated may be shocked by the sheer amount of wasteland, as if Sheffield has only recently lost a war.

But rest assured, this is not the full picture. There's a way to see our city in a different light. It's just about knowing where to see it from.

Let us take you to a viewpoint. It's only five minutes away. We'll start at the train station. Go inside, up over the bridge towards the trains, and out the door at the end. Keep going, up those rusty steel steps in front of you, all the way to the top. And then turn around.

Here, below you, is our city. From here, the city centre is a pop-up history book, where 60s office blocks rub up against mock-tudor Victorian pubs, and 1980s science parks. And from here, the empty spaces are like breathing space for the city, where the weeds blossom every spring like a post-industrial flower show. And somewhere in this mess are the musicians and artists and designers, working now, even now, to put the name of this city on the lips of the world.

And above the city you can see our hills, covered with terraced houses, like the crowds at a football match. And from here you can see our trees, bursting out of the roads, covering the suburbs with green. And further away, at the edge of the frame, you can see the bare brown lines of the Peak District, the space where the city spends its weekends.

And as you sit and look out, teenagers flirt in the grass at your feet, and insects land on your jeans, and a fat man pants up the steps, and a mother herds her children down and says 'look at the view!'.

This, then, is our happy, ugly, beautiful city. We hope you like it.


Sheffield Publicity Department

Here's the original, in case you want to look at it: