Next Sheffield speaker

Steve Roche AKA Stonemason

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May 31, 8:30am • Peter&Paul • part of a series on Preserve


When different people come into our lives, they bring gifts. We can blend the best of our wisdom with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce closer circles that foster community and commit to diversity. People who include with intention, raise their hand to do the work of embracing what is unfamiliar. Inclusion is an attitude to consciously be open to ideas that come from outside of our settled ways of thinking or feeling. It’s about making a decision that comes from a place of love, of caring for others. When you place inclusivity at the center of how you live, it has great power to heal, elevate new voices, and change the narrative of who belongs. As diversity advocate Vernā Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Our Grand Rapids chapter chose this month’s exploration of Inclusive, Libby VanderPloeg illustrated the theme, and is presenting the theme globally.

Jack Wakelin AKA Cocktail Master at Public

“If we don’t protect our waters then what will happen to life?”

It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies. It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly.
We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life?

“Sheffield has always been a city of makers, way before cocktail shakers”
Jack Wakelin AKA Cocktail Master at Public got into the industry accidentally but soon fell in love with working behind the bar. Six years later Jack is Drinks Manager for the Rockingham Group, the people behind three of Sheffield’s most loved bars – Picture House Social, The Great Gatsy and Public, plus brand new all day café Ambulo.
Nestled on the ground floor of the Millennium Gallery, Ambulo has been open just a few weeks but is already a firm Sheffield favourite with its chilled, family vibes. Much like the Rockingham Group’s other venues, creating a venue which is kind to the environment was a top priority when opening Ambulo, and sustainability runs through everything they do.

“There’s obvious things we can do to conserve water. It’s the little things.”
At Ambulo, wine is served on tap straight from the keg, saving around 120 glass wine bottles from the recycling bin every week. Cocktails are batch made too, to reduce the ice waste that comes from shaking each drink individually. It follows a pattern of sustainability in drinks which Jack has been championing since his time at Picture House Social.

When Public, a cocktail-lead bar in the former public convenience underneath Sheffield Town Hall, opened 15 months ago, reducing waste was at the core of everything done behind the bar. With menu inspiration coming from trips to the Peak District, branding inspiration coming from former council caretaker Paul Greenwood’s logbook handwriting, and sustainability at its heart, it’s no surprise that Public was soon winning awards, and became the Observer Food Monthly’s Best Place to Drink in the UK 2018.
“Waste at bars is absolutely disgusting. You can waste absurd amounts of water in a bar, I dread to think what big chains do.”
At Public, spent coffee is used to make sherry while unused and stale bread from the kitchens is infused into a gin, which goes on to become the key ingredient in a breakfast martini. Fruit peel and other citrus waste is transformed into cordials while the ends of charcuterie is distilled with a mescal. Bananas which are past their best are used to make cocktails, which taste exactly like their foam counterparts.

Cutting down waste is key for Jack, and something he believes all bars should be doing. And it’s not just on the cocktail menu that waste can be reduced. Energy can be harvested from coffee machines, waste water can be used to water plants or in toilet systems. There’s always an opportunity to save precious, water, energy and other resources, it’s sometimes just a case of being inventive. For Jack, it’s important to take that time to find ways to reduce waste.
“If we don’t protect our waters then what will happen to life?”Words by Molly McGreevy.

Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled.

“Surreal begets surreal means those bizarre dream like situations I found myself in, for me, have led to more of the same random situations, which I actually really like.”

Sharna Jackson AKA Artistic Director at Site Gallery, author, animator and boat enthusiast has been at the helm of Sheffield’s contemporary art space since July 2018. Site Gallery is CreativeMornings Sheffield’s home for the morning, with breakfast provided by Kollective Kitchen, the gallery’s new café.

“I think I might be the only black, female, young artistic director in the country which is great for me but terrible.”

Sharna wants people from all walks of life to visit Site, which has undergone a multi-million pound regeneration over the last couple of years and reopened its doors to the public in 2018. Sharna draws on experience from her work with Doc/Fest, the Children’s Media Conference and with the Tate to produce and curate a gallery which welcomes all through workshops, events and exhibitions.

Through her work with Tate Kids, Sharna has written activity books for kids and her first novel High Rise Mystery will soon be released. The next project is an animation for pre-school children, which Sharna is currently in the process of scripting.

“People say you go into autopilot when you’re grieving but for me that wasn’t the case. My grief manifests itself in a way that’s a catalyst for both personal change and creativity.”

From a gravestone obsession to her three Dutch barges (and another boat, but we don’t talk about that) Sharna has found herself in some surreal situations since her mum died in 2010. From funeral arrangements - Sharna fancied the funeral director. To the funeral itself - there was singing, dancing and even a fainting. To the wake - Sharna got drunk.

“That process has been one of the most defining moments of my life.”

But each surreal situation has led to something creative, a new idea or in the case of the gravestones, hours of design only for the finished product to be despised by her wider family when it did not turn out to be the minimal, sleek gravestone Sharna envisaged for her mum.

From the surreal process of grieving have come friends from all over the world, much loved  barge Anna Maria and books, animations and the rebirth of one of Sheffield’s favourite galleries.

“Life is too short to not live it how you want and I know that sounds like a Ronan Keating lyric but it’s absolutely true.”

It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies. It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly. It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge. We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans. We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives. We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life? Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varanoillustrated the theme.

Jack Wakelin AKA Cocktail Master at Public.

Jack Wakelin, originally from South Staffordshire, has lived and worked in Sheffield for the past six years, five of which have been for the ‘Rockingham Group’, comprising of Public link, The Great Gatsby link and The Picture House Social link.

After accidentally falling into the industry (working weekends for a little extra cash) Jack soon fell in love with working within a bar environment. Although, it wasn’t until he started at Picture House Social, where, given the freedom, did he really start to thrive creatively.

Working closely with both photographer India Hobson link and group director James O’Hara link, a thriving relationship emerged. Cocktail menus based around trips to the Peak District and Cleethorpes, making drinks out of the back of Jack’s Mini, were at the centre of this. These excursions were the start of the fun storytelling and more playful approach which has now taken Public – a cocktail-lead bar in the former public convenience underneath Sheffield Town Hall – to become ‘The Best Place to Drink in the UK 2018’ (Observer Food Monthly).

Jack, now the general manager and drinks director for the group, has seen Public embark upon a remarkable journey in just 15 months of opening, winning national accolades, and making a name for both the bar and himself across the industry in the UK.

We will be gathering at the group’s latest venture with Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys. They have teamed up with Museums Sheffield link to launch Ambulo link, an all-day cafe concept across two historic Sheffield sites. Ambulo launched last month at Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum. Offering all-day dining, specialty coffee, wine and cocktails.

We are at the Millenium Gallery site, where after Jack’s talk on #CMwater you can go view their current exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing link. Amongst the works on display in Sheffield is The head of St Philip (c.1495), a study for one of the world’s most famous paintings, the Last Supper. And his observations of the movement of water, and more.

The genius of Leonardo da Vinci also provides the inspiration for an immersive experience from internationally-acclaimed digital studio, Universal Everything link.

This new installation is a 21st century response to the artist’s ground-breaking Studies of flowing water (1510-13), on display in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. Centuries before the advent of photography, these drawings revealed the complexity of fluid movement in a way never seen before. The Vehicle of Nature, named after Leonardo’s own description of water, brings together the latest display technologies to create a digital river, which swirls and eddies across the gallery space.

Based in Sheffield, Universal Everything have collaborated with some of the world’s leading digital innovators, from Apple, Google and MTV to the city’s own Warp Records.

Basically, jam-packed all-around rockstar greatness for this month’s discussion on Water. See you on the 29th!

If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives. Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.

“I’m probably more of a fan of asymmetrical stuff rather than the symmetrical.”

Nick Clark worked in symmetry with Tim Hubbard to co-found 93ft, an agency which brings together graphic design, interiors, branding and digital to create incredible spaces, ideas and brands.

One such space is The Mowbray, headquarters of 93ft and home to CreativeMornings Sheffield for the morning.

Originally built in 1889 to house a steel and iron merchants, it took 93ft three years to restore two derelict factory buildings into The Mowbray, an events space, bar, kitchen, herbarium and roof garden. Above is 93ft’s design studio, suspended in the rafters of the ex-factory.

“When you take two people like me and Tim. Two designers, two guys. From two of the same you’ve got an opportunity to create something new and different. And I think different is pretty great.”

Nick and Tim work together to create spaces like no other. At The Mowbray, everything has been designed in house and made within a mile radius of 93ft’s Kelham Island workshops.

“All our projects have a lot of individual parts that need to come together to create the unique”

Bringing the digital together with the physical, interiors together with branding requires working in both the asymmetrical and the symmetrical. 93ft believe in authenticity and provenance, they create what cannot be found elsewhere.

“It was a pile of dirt but in it we found gold.”

For 93ft, anything could become the focal point of their next project. Old school gym floors become parquet headboards, the reclaimed is refurbished and takes on a new use in a bar, hotel or take up home in either The Mowbray or The Chimney House, 93ft’s second venue on Kelham Island.

It’s bringing the symmetrical together with the asymmetrical, refurbishing the old and reinventing the forgotten that helps 93ft create award winning projects in Sheffield and beyond.

January is SURREAL

When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly? Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers. This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds. Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience.Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled. Happy New Year! Our Brussels chapter chose this month’s exploration of Surreal and Charlotte Dumortier illustrated the theme. SURREAL is presented globally this month by