Deep-mapping the Seven Hills of Sheffield

Dr Dave Forrest, Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sheffield, tells us about a new interdisciplinary project within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

This project will involve undergraduates from different modules at Level 2 and Level 3 in the School of English, and from Level 2 in the Department of Archaeology working together to produce a multi-layered reading of the city of Sheffield, which will explore issues of cohesion, culture and history, and which will inform and draw from current TUoS priority themes in learning and teaching, research, and public engagement. The project has a close fit with themes emerging through the Achieve More programme.

The project focus will be to produce a deep-map and citizen-led narrative accounts of Sheffield, exploring the whole city through an engagement with its ‘seven hills’. Students from the modules, under the supervision of the academic leads and the external partner (Eleven Design), will work with seven communities across Sheffield to co-produce research and publish narratives which will see participants reflecting on their everyday lives and the heritage of the city.

The funded part of the project will be undertaken over a five-month period, between February 2015 and June 2015. It will bring together students from two departments, two year groups, and four modules. Upwards of 100 students will be involved in the project, along with several members of academic staff, a local design studio, and many Sheffield residents and citizen groups. The project will help to inform several University priorities, including engaged learning and teaching, and the engaged university.

Between February and June, students will work in small subject-specific teams gathering a selection of both historic and contemporary narratives from communities around or connected to the seven hills. This ‘deep mapping’ will uncover the many layers of places and communities, and the complex connections between past and present. They will review and analyse the narratives through the form of weekly learning journals under the supervision of the project leads, before working in the weekly sessions with Eleven Design to conceptualise and convey the narratives using creative methodologies.
The project outputs will include a hard copy and digital publication, co- produced by students and Eleven Design, a Sheffield-based design and visual communication studio whose work includes a creative focus on locality, place and identity. The publication will be circulated widely inside and outside the University, and will be launched at events in Summer/Autumn 2015.

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