An exciting collaborative art installation is due to be projected onto the side of The Straddle building on Friday 4 May as the finale to a week-long collaborative art project linking Sheffield and Venice.

‘We are not an Island’ is a collaboration between local artists Sheffield and Ca’Foscari University in Venice, both creative art practitioners collaboratively known as Poly-Technic. The project is supported by The British Arts Council England, City Makers and the Cultural Consortium.

What’s happening at The Straddle?

On Friday 4 May, Poly-Technic will be projecting their latest project on to the side of the Straddle from 9.00PM. This will be the finale to a week’s worth of activity on the project around Sheffield and Venice.

Poly-Technic have created text-based posters with groups across Sheffield and Venice, focusing on people’s feelings, ideas and conversations. This week, they have set up a poster-making workshop in Sheffield, as well as hosting other events around the city including talks and exhibitions. Their finale, which will be projected onto the side of The Straddle, will be a participative social piece, projecting significant elements of discussion from the week’s activities onto the building until it is eventually covered in text.

Steve Pool and Kate Genever of Poly-Technic have been working together for ten years to create art which asks difficult questions, and have come together again to explore the ways in which words have different meaning in different places.

As well as being a collaborative art project, it will also secure international partnerships and help to support the production and showcasing of contemporary arts to diverse audiences in sites across the UK and Italy.


What’s the link between Sheffield and Venice?

When asked why Venice? Steve Pool commented, “We are interested in the hidden city, the city that exists behind the myth or the tourist’s view. I live in Burngreave, and late on a Saturday night you can still hear the thud of a steam hammer forging steel, or the thump of music from the speakers at Hope Works. Venice is the same. It shows one face to the world, the face that drowns under a stream of people eager for a piece of it to take away as a memory. Venice has another face, where people go to school, grow old, laugh and secretly drink cappuccino after lunch. They fight to keep a heart beating that sustains a living city, a city where people can live a full life. Sheffield feels like this. We have many hidden faces.

“Most people don’t see a strong connection between Venice and Sheffield, yet they are both cities that are deeply proud of, yet in some ways held back by, their histories. If you walk along the side of the River Don or the canal, or take the time to look carefully at many of Sheffield’s old industrial buildings, there is a strong visual and physical similarity to many parts of Venice.”

Alan Stubbs, Chief Executive Officer of Servelec HSC, tenants of the historical Straddle Warehouse commented; “Servelec’s central location at the heart of Sheffield, is one of the key draws for us being able to recruit and retain the city’s strongest technical and digital talent. As specialists in developing market-leading software systems that are core to the delivery of quality care and early intervention across healthcare, social care and education, playing our part in our community and wider society is part and parcel of the company’s ethos. We are proud to be playing our part in this exciting art installation which exemplifies the strengths of the city and the Sheffield region.”