83 Freelance arts and culture workers based in Sheffield are benefiting from cash support to develop their creative and business practice, thanks to funding from Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Culture Consortium members including the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Theatres and Site Gallery.
273 applications were received, for small grants ranging in size from £500 to £2000, to support Sheffield-based freelance arts and culture workers to adapt their businesses and develop their creative practice through research and development, training or upskilling and creating new work.
The fund was developed in response to a University of Sheffield survey of freelance arts and culture workers in Sheffield, which highlighted the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic on those working independently in the cultural industries. Many have seen a dramatic decline in work and loss of income from royalties, commissions, revenue and ticket sales as a result of the pandemic.
When the scale of demand for the fund became clear, the funders found additional resources to increase the pot from £50,000 to £77,000. This has meant that the original target of supporting 60 artists has been exceeded, and 83 have been able to benefit.
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Culture at the University of Sheffield who is leading the UKRI project on the impact of Covid on freelancers, audiences and venues, said:
“While this grant fund can only go a small way towards supporting Sheffield’s freelance cultural sector, all the grant contributors are delighted to be able to offer this support and make a difference. The evidence from the university’s research project provided data to demonstrate need, and it is great to be part of a very practical response to the serious impact uncovered. The Culture Consortium, City Council and University of Sheffield will continue to look for other ways to help freelancers in future’.
One of the successful applicants, Tchiyiwe Chihana, said:
“Thank you! Being awarded the Sheffield freelance arts and cultural fund is empowering and will enable me to continue to introduce Sheffield to the artistic talent from marginalised and less visible communities, especially those from the African diaspora and refugees.
Recognition from notable local arts and cultural organisations in a city and sector that I have worked in for many years will propel me to do more.”
Musician Sarah Sharp explained:
‘This funding is a lifeline in a difficult time. It provides a bit of certainty in what has been a year of just trying to get by, month by month. Knowing I can afford to stay in my studio space and invest in some proper recording equipment means I can throw myself into the actual creative work of making my next album, which is all any artist wants to focus on!’
Successful applicants to the Freelance Arts and Cultural Workers Fund
Sam Holland, Letty Butler, David Riley, Daisy Lee, Linda Bloomfield, Roanna Wells, Eelyn Lee, Sam Turner, Tchiyiwe Chihana, Otis Mensah. Sarah Sharp, Lucy Revis, James Green, Andrew Welland, Laura Page, Beverly Ward, Daniel Bale, Melanie Crawley, Liam Gerrard, Jon Cannon, Jennie Gill, Sian Ellis, Chris Jarratt, Olivia Bliss, Ellen Martin, Elle Stocks, Gina Walters, Steven Levers, Rebecca Perry, Sarah Grace Dye, Lora Krasteva, Maud Haya Baviera, David Orme, Kate Sully, Jeremy Abrahams, Adele Wragg, Katy Dixon, Philippe Clegg, Dave Jackson, Will Rea, Sean Ryan, Jon Harrison, John Burton, Joanne Rosenhal, Rosie Carnall, Nisha Lall, Kate Shipway, Ella Hardy, Charlotte Barnes, Teah Lewis, Sian Williams, Tom Robbins, Lucy Starkey, Lucy Vann, Robyn Haddon, Rebecca Solomon, Mark Stoney, Joe Bunce, Chella Quint, Charlotte Newton, Jayne Harrison, Peter Griffiths, Sam Proctor, Arran Cross, Brian Holland, Lisa Maltby, Mir Jansen, Simon Brock, Panni Loh, Natalie Hunt, Sharon Borkowsky, Ben Johnson, Zoe Genders, Vicky Morris, Stacey Sampson, Alfie Heffer, Philip Lee, Andrew Cook, Rachael Kidd, Kier Mucklestone Barnett, Chris Woodward, Tracey Schawsmidth, Emily Thew