I hope the dam bursts

I have written before about creative blocks, particularly that internal experience of fear and trepidation when confronted with a blank canvas and the prospect of our own infinite creativity. But at the moment the obstacle I’m facing is an external block – and it’s really frustrating.

A group of us here in Sheffield have got together to develop an idea we’re calling the Soul of Sheffield. Here is the plan:


“We are a group of Sheffield artists interested in exploring the stories of the city, how places hold meaning for us. How our lives are shaped by the places we live and work and how they in turn are shaped by us. 

For a few months during the autumn 2011 we will be using an open space in the city centre, possibly an empty shop, where we will be building a model city based on the plan of Sheffield.

Artists, local businesses, schools, community groups and passers by will all be invited to contribute – to build the model city in as concrete or imaginative way as they wish. The exhibit will evolve and grow over time just as the city has done and will be a celebration of the history, the stories, the joys and sorrows of all who make the city a living and vibrant thing.”

In the light of what has been happening in this country over the last week this seems quite timely – we need to build relationships across communities, to celebrate the stories and explore the identities of our towns and cities.

There is a great creative energy in our group (I so love it when creative people get together – it feels like anything is possible) and yet at the moment all of that energy is being held back behind a dam as we try to find a suitable venue in the city centre for the project to happen. We are following various avenues to find a space but they seem to be reaching bureaucratic bottle necks.

I can imagine the relevant email asking for the permission to use a certain empty shop in someone’s inbox, they’re busy, working hard, and a request from a bunch of strange creative types is probably very low on their agenda to consider. But when the dam bursts and those with the power say ‘yes’ then so much creative energy will be released.

This feeling of being blocked is uncomfortable. It’s different to the internal blocks that have the feel of a barren desert, directionless and empty. This feels like we are welling up to explode, like a pregnant woman really ready for life to burst out, but being told that the time isn’t right just yet.

I was going to wait until we had this all sorted out and the project had the go ahead before I started writing about it. But I’ve decided now I want to tell the story properly, honestly, right from the start. It may not work; we may face dead ends wherever we look. But I have faith that when we begin to take creative risks then the Universe/God/Love/Beauty* responds. Time will tell if it is true in this case.

I will let you know what happens and will, I hope, in the end get the chance to tell the story of the Soul of Sheffield.

(*Take your pick – they all lead to living life to the full)

One thought on “I hope the dam bursts

  1. Please do tell your story, its great to hear stories from after the fact that tell how things have gone well, but my experience has been that there are also other stories about things that haven’t worked out as you’d planned, they need telling too.Given that, I hope your story has a happy ending :)Get in touch with Dan Thompson (@artistsmakers on twitter) – amongst lots of other creative things he runs something called the ’empty shops network’, might be able to help you. http://artistsandmakers.com/staticpages/index.php/emptyshops

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