Making history for a successful city: Sheffield’s first heritage conference

A one-day heritage conference, a key event in Sheffield’s Year of Making, will be held in the city on Saturday April 16. It will be a major feature of the Year of Making.

“This is a first for Sheffield - a conference that explores how our past shapes the present and how it can guide the future,” said Brian Holmshaw, chair of the conference steering committee.

“We have an opportunity to talk over the future of this city’s heritage - from our world renowned industrial legacy to the lesser known corners we all cherish - picture houses of the 1920s, Tudor buildings fit for a Queen, churches, cemeteries and civic buildings, pubs and parks ... right through to the gritty histories of our established and more recent communities in their homes, streets and workplaces.

“We want to inspire and challenge the many people in Sheffield that we know have a keen interest in heritage to discuss the place of heritage in Sheffield’s life’ added Brian. “This conference should foster an understanding of the contribution heritage makes to a successful city and to community cohesion, better awareness of Sheffield’s heritage players, and knowledge of how we can design and deliver a city heritage strategy – something Sheffield conspicuously lacks at the moment.”

He added: “I’m very excited about the keynote speakers – Harry Bowell of the National Trust and Paul Seddon from Nottingham City Council. They are experts in their field. I hope they will put the jump leads on Sheffield’s heritage offer, bringing us into the league of twenty-first century cities that truly care about their history. Sheffield needs a heritage strategy, drawing together its diverse people, buildings, archaeology and other community assets and rewarding the volunteers who keep them going. It will bring in investment by showing what Sheffielders know already; that we’ve some of the finest buildings, green spaces and views in the country. Just because we’re an industrial city that doesn’t mean that’s all we are.”

The one-day conference, supported by the University of Sheffield and hosted by Sheffield Hallam University, will be built round four main themes: Economic Vitality and Tourism; Health and Wellbeing; Cohesion and Community Pride; A Quality Heritage Environment. Delegates will take part in workshops looking at how heritage can contribute to each of these.

“The workshops will be active and participative,” added Brian. “And we’ve secured a highly experienced group of individuals to lead and contribute to them.”

The conference will take place at Sheffield Hallam University. Bookings will open soon and full details will be published shortly; register for all the details via heritageconference2016@gmail.com