These freshers are opening a vibesy new art space

It’s in an old printing factory

English Lit freshers, Sam Dickinson and Sam Ward, are opening the previously derelict Rutland Hall for their first exhibition this weekend.

The space is a 20 minute walk from the Students’ Union, near Yellow Arch Studios where Arctic Monkeys first recorded after the building was converted from Victorian factory workshops.


The area is industrial but compared to larger cities like London and Manchester, Sheffield is lacking any development of an art scene. “I don’t think Sheffield has a scene” says Ward. “Even the music scene is quite sporadic.”

“We want to create a concentrated area where art can be exhibited and performed” says Dickinson. “I’ve been setting up venues in unusual places for the last three years in Bristol, working in basements and garages and warehouses. I know it sounds very arty, but there’s something very romantic about working in a space that’s unused.

“It relates to the typical artist life, you know, surviving on coffee and cigarettes. There are so many spaces nowadays that there’s no way in. One of our biggest hopes is to involve people who aren’t just artists, who might actually be secretly interested in it”

Sams with the van

Though most of us will have to walk to Neepsend to see the exhibition, Dickinson and Ward tend to get around Sheffield in Dickinson’s van, that he parks near Sheffield 3 accommodation.

“The van is called Lady and she is a very loyal 30 year old beauty” says Dickinson, “I’ve had her for a year. I’ve taken her all around Europe but she breaks down every week. She’s had police escorts, an engine explosion, some very strange noises, but she’s warm and cosy and bigger inside than you’d think.”

Location, location, location

The exhibition and lease of the building is being funded by local charity In2change, who work with disadvantaged young people and ex-convicts. “The charity is very important in what we want the space to represent” says Dickinson. “We’re looking at rehabilitation in the arts and working with the arts in order to bring the community together in a drugs free, sober environment. Well, there might be a bit of alcohol.”

“In the new year we’re hopefully going get some lights in, get a stage in, get some pictures up on the wall, make it aesthetically pleasing and then in the new year we’re gonna get in some theatre that we’ve written ourselves” says Dickinson. “I think a lot of people shy away from art because they think it’s pretentious or that it’s for people who don’t have a solid understanding of the world or it’s just a waste of time, but that’s because most of the art that’s happening is very pretentious, elitist and snobby.

“Our friends don’t know much about it yet because we want to keep it mysterious until it opens properly in the new year, but they seem excited cause it’ll be a sweet ass place to go and hang out and see bands, theatre and art.”

The Rutland Hall Exhibition is on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December from 10am til 3pm at Rutland Hall, Hicks Street, Neepsend S3 8BP. It’s free so come along and be part of Sheffield’s new art scene from the start.