Soul of Sheffield: after the dam, the monster (Ric Stott)

Wednesday, 14 September, 2011

Ric StottRic Stott discusses what happens when the dam bursts.

A group of us in Sheffield have got together to develop an idea we're calling the Soul of Sheffield. The plan involves exploring the stories of the city and how places hold meaning for us, how our lives are shaped by the places we live and work in and how they in turn are shaped by us.

From autumn 2011 we will be using an open space in one of the empty shops in the city centre where we will be building a model city based on the plan of Sheffield.

Artists, local businesses, schools, community groups and passers-by will all be invited to contribute – to build the model city in as concrete or imaginative a way as they wish. The exhibit will evolve and grow over time just as the city has done and will be a celebration of the history, the stories, the joys and sorrows of all who make the city a living and vibrant thing.

There is a great creative energy in our group, but all of that energy is being held back behind a dam as we try to find a suitable venue. But when the dam bursts and those with the power say 'yes' then that creative energy will be released.

In recent weeks we've been shown round some of the empty shops in the city centre for possible use. One or two of them look quite promising, so it seems that we will be able to press ahead soon.

Whilst there's an excitement at the dam bursting, along with that comes trepidation. If we had a firm 'no' then all our dreams and ideas would have been able to stay pristine, if unrequited. Now we have the dirty business of trying to make a dream work in the real world. Talking with other artists who are involved in this project, I get the sense of a seething mass of untamed energy that somehow needs to be corralled into something concrete and real without losing its life and vitality. As the dam bursts, so the monster emerges.

About the author: 

Ric Stott is a VentureFX pioneer minister, art psychotherapist and artist working in Sheffield to explore Christian spirituality and community based around the creative arts.


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