A New View: Recentring Attention


In late 2020, Arts Catalyst is relocating from London to Sheffield in South Yorkshire. Recognised as one of the UK’s leading art and research organisations, we regularly work in collaboration with artists, scientists, communities and organisations around the world to activate new ideas, conversations and transformative experiences across science and culture. 
Arts Catalyst has always worked on a national and international scale, developing projects across the UK and abroad which address critical issues about the world that we live in. As a core part of our mission is to be a dynamic organisation that responds to our changing world, we are interested in bringing our approach to collaboration and long-term research into a new geographical context, where arts organisations that champion research-based art practice are scarce and sought after. 
Since initiating the Test Sites: Calder Valley project in 2017, we have been building partnerships and connections in Yorkshire, where this summer we presented two new artworks at arts festivals in Hebden Bridge and Mirfield. We are keen to continue developing these connections and conversations in a meaningful way, extending the project to connect with the rich history and ecology of Sheffield’s waterways. 
A vibrant city with a fascinating past, Sheffield’s geographical position situates it at the heart of the UK. Considered England’s ‘greenest’ city, it is a place known for its independent spirit, industrial heritage and history of collective action, and it boasts a thriving arts scene underpinned by a DIY culture that forms a central part of its identity. Over the past couple of decades, in the wake of major post-industrial change, the city has experienced rapid growth which has triggered a shift and an opening up of new conversations around its cultural future. This is a conversation that we want to be a part of. 
Thinking ahead, we are excited to initiate new work in response to this new context. Our move to Sheffield is an important transition in refocusing and re-centring our attention from London, towards creating stronger national links and an embedded relationship within South Yorkshire. 
By situating ourselves where our work is most relevant, within a landscape that we believe will help ensure the future sustainability of the organisation, we hope to signal the start of a wider discourse around re-centring art and cultural practices beyond the boundaries of the capital, in order to activate a shift towards a more holistic cultural landscape in the UK.


Over the next 18 months, we will embark on a new strand of programme for Sheffield, Recentring Attention, to build on the knowledge and relationships that we have begun to form with the city. 
The exploratory phase will begin in September 2019 with a series of public workshops, deep mapping sessions, talks and informal gatherings across Sheffield with artists, scientists, architects, urbanists, sociologists and anthropologists, to question what institutions are and reimagine what they could be. 
A collaborative process of listening and learning from and with the city, Recentring Attention offers a creative, public space for transdisciplinary exchange and conversation with Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire communities.
If you have any questions about our move or are based in Sheffield and would like to get in touch about the possibility of working together in the future, please contact Claudia Lastra (executive director) claudia.lastra@artscatalyst.org