There are a handful of overused aphorisms which often get wheeled out in conversations about Sheffield.
It’s not London, it was once known for the production of large amounts of steel, there’s bleeps, there’s bassline, there’s bands.
Having distributed Crack Magazine in Sheffield since the very early days, it’s long been one of our favourite UK cities. And beyond the obvious history and banal observations, we’ve always believed there’s a creative community at the heart of the city who exist firmly in the here-and-now.
Ahead of the Weekday Store Opening party on 28 November, and official launch to the public on the 29th, we photographed 5 creatives from the city’s new generation and asked them what makes it such fertile ground for art and self-expression.
Photography and Art Direction by Michelle Helena Janssen and Ade Udoma.
Genesia KalsiActor and Theatre-Maker
Performer and theatre-maker Genesia Kalsi grew up in Sheffield and first got inspired by the city’s thriving independent theatre scene. In 2019, her work is driven by promoting visibility in the arts. “The city is diverse and accepting, the people I’ve met and grown up around makes me want to spread that vision,” Kalsi says, “the industry is more that one or two faces. It should involve POC, plus size people, people from every gender and every religion.”
Ashley HolmesArtist and DJ
Ashley Holmes is a multidisciplinary artist who works across installation using “archival material, personal histories and the re-telling of stories and experiences of Black people in Britain.” Holmes’ monthly Tough Matter show on NTS Radio mirrors his borderless creative approach. It’s an outlook which Sheffield has helped to shape. “People are supportive here too and that breeds a good energy. “There’s a beautiful balance of a real nurturing quality alongside a no-frills kind of attitude. The city cares about people and it has an honesty that I think it should be proud of.”
Paige Graham-BuckleJewellery Designer
Paige is an artist and the creator of jewellery brand She’ll Grow Out Of It. In her own words, the brand create “weird jewellery for weird people.” Paige designs and sculpts all of the jewellery herself using clay and recycled unwanted jewellery. She moved to Sheffield from Hull to study and found a creative climate that helped hone her craft. “Sheffield has a great appreciation for independent businesses. In my short time growing my business I have met many other creative business owners and feel we all look out for each other. It’s important to harbour as much creativity as we can in the North so not everyone feels the pressure to move to London.”
96 BackDJ and Producer
Producer and DJ 96 Back (Evan Majumdar-Swift) exists in a lineage of Sheffield musical innovation. His dad helped form legendary Sheffield party Jive Turkey and he’s released via the city’s iconic Central Processing Unit, the imprint which brought Sheffield’s underground electronic sound to a wider audience. But Evan’s not in the business of nostalgia. “I spend most of my time trying to explore whatever interests me in the realm of electronic music. This tends to manifest itself in the form of hours sat in front of a computer screen trying to figure out how to get sounds from my head in to the real world.” Meeting him for our shoot at Hope Works, the city’s most well-known club, it’s clear he’s learned from the city he was raised in and is now finding a creative language of his own. “You genuinely feel like people throw their all into every project here. I’d like to think I inherited this attitude – give your heart to everything you do, and regardless of whether you walk away burned-out or successful, at least you gave it 100%”
Armel BrindouFashion Blogger
Armel is a fashion blogger who moved to Sheffield at a young age and immersed himself in the bold outlook of the city. At Thrifty – a huge vintage store in the city-centre – he’s greeted with a heroes welcome by staff who have watched him refine his unique style over the years. “Everyone’s trying to be as different and as unique as they can be and show who they are in a different way.” Looking forward, Armel plans on growing his already-sizeable social media following and develop a YouTube platform where he can share the worldview the city’s helped him form. “Living in Sheffield has opened my eyes. It’s totally okay to not look the same at all and to actually stand out.”
RSVP here for the Weekday Sheffield store opening on 28 November. Enjoy free drinks with music from 96Back and Ashley Holmes.