A History of Steel: “Sheffield speaks”

Storying Sheffield - Project Logo.“Steel Stories” exhibition marks a century of steel manufacturing in the city.

“Storying Sheffield” is a project based at the University of Sheffield, engaging both students and the people of the city to explore ideas such as narrative, storytelling and the city’s history: bringing together a diverse range of people to learn about and then produce their own stories.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the invention of stainless steel, “Steel Stories” is a specific strand aimed at producing a series of vivid portraits and narratives of a diverse range of individuals, who have worked in the steel industry. Involving three Sheffield-based photographers and film-makers; Shaun Bloodworth, Andy Brown and Richard Hanson, the trio have produced a series of visual narratives about the steel industry in the city – accompanied by undergraduate students who have written their reflections about their visits.

The project uncovers the forgotten histories of steel and, using these as a lens, traces the complex meanings of the industry and its impact on shaping culture, identity, migration, and heritage. Utilising a variety of techniques, including stills photography, video, audio slideshows, podcasts, soundtracks, and textual narratives, the project’s aim is to produce a compelling set of resources and stories, which can then be showcased at public events.

The following short film “The Putter” is one such story, capturing the work of Cliff Denton who literally is a putter together of scissors and has captured the attention of audiences across the globe, gaining “staff pick” status and over 500,000 views on Vimeo in the last few weeks.