Union StUnion St

By Matt

Tony Gibbs

What will you be doing at Union St?

I plan on making Union St my main base of operations – working on designs for clients, self-initiated projects and everything in between. While I’m at it’d be nice to meet new people and the opportunity to do a little networking is a bonus.

How did you get into this area of work?

Through lots of learning. I studied Graphic Design throughout School, College and University, and with each step upwards discovered more inspirations and more to like. These days my appreciation for both print & digital media keep me excited and enthusiastic about Design.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

There’s nothing quite like seeing something you’ve made out there in the big wide world.

What type of individuals / organisations are you looking to work with in the future?

Photographers/ Website Designers/ Illustrators and many others.

For fellow start-ups, could you offer an entry-level discount / price? If so, what would that be?

I would certainly consider it! I’m friendly and approachable so please do say hello.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?

A place to work, a place to meet and a place to eat. The odd new contact/ friendly face would be great too.

 

Follow Tony on Twitter via https://twitter.com/madebytone and on Instagram via www.instagram.com/madebytone/

 

 

By Matt

Amy Benson

What will you be doing at Union St?

I’ve just started a new job working remotely as a Front End Developer (I build the parts of website you see and interact with) for the UN. Only a couple of days in so far, but will mostly be working on helping improve their websites and apps, as well as getting confused by which time zones my colleagues are in.

How did you get into this area of work?

I kind of fell into web development while in an admin job for the NHS years ago, but it’s worked out ok and I’ve been a web developer for several years now, working mostly for digital agencies in Sheffield.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy lots of aspects of web development, but mostly I like to see that what I’ve been working on actually has a useful purpose and is helping people, even if it’s in a small way.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?

A good co-working environment with friendly people (and without my cat trying to hit me in the face).

Follow Amy at https://twitter.com/amyvbenson

By Matt

Becky Hunt

What will you be doing at Union St?

Copywriting and Social Media Marketing

How did you get into this area of work?

I began 6 years ago as a graduate, hunting for something other than the typical 9 to 5. I wrote a guide to Sheffield for a student website and got paid a tenner. Bonus. I realised maybe I could get paid to do something I enjoy – write.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love the flexibility that comes with my work. Over the past 6 years I’ve written whilst travelling through the States, Asia and Russia. Travelling inspires my writing and has brought up new opportunities so it’s a happy circle of life.

What type of individuals / organisations are you looking to work with in the future?

A lot of my experience has been in Education, as a writer and a teacher, so that sector is probably my Mastermind subject. However, I’m very adaptable and have worked for a range of clients in Travel, Legal, HR, Retail, you name it. I’m always happy to have a chat and work on something new. Although I began as a Copywriter, I’m also a bit of a social media nerd. I do everything from long term social media marketing plans to day-to-day tweets, posts, snaps, the lot.

For fellow start-ups, could you offer an entry-level discount / price? If so, what would that be?

I’d like to in time. I’m just starting up again after a few years abroad but once I’m settled in Union St I’d love to chat to people about my Copywriting and Social Media services.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?

To begin with, it’s all about escaping the cabin fever of working from home! But since coming in to see Union St and what else it has on offer I’m really excited to get involved in collaborating, exchanging services and joining events, workshops, maybe even running my own.

Follow Becky at https://twitter.com/rebeccahelen

By Matt

Daniel Rose

What will you be doing at Union St?

At the moment I work from home, which can be quite solitary, so I’m hoping to work from union st a few days each week in order to work in a bit of a livelier environment! I am a qualitative research director for an independent market research agency.

How did you get into this area of work?

After graduating I answered an ad in the paper from trendy sounding company that was looking for a grad to join them to ‘research young people and help brands understand them better’. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and that sounded like it could be a laugh and relatively interesting. So I applied, got the job, and 13 years later I’m still there

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Strategic problem solving…my job involves asking people their opinions on things, or sometimes simply observing the way they behave, and then using the ‘data’ we collect to generate hypotheses and make recommendations for how brands should communicate, behave or innovate in order to best meet the needs of their customers. It’s complicated at times but ultimately very satisfying when you reach the ‘answer’ you’ve been looking for

What type of individuals / organisations are you looking to work with in the future?

Anyone and everyone really. In my work we are always collaborating with people from all sorts of disciplines – often the best answers come when you explore a problem from multiple perspectives, so I’m interesting in meeting people from all walks of life

What are you looking to get out of Union St?

A fun, dynamic working environment and the opportunity to meet new people – I’m new to Sheffield and need friends, so come and talk to me!!

 

By Rohan Kon

Politics for Everybody?

Politics for Everybody?

 

Tea Break with Charlotte Mead, Women’s Equality Party Sheffield Branch Leader

 

In our postmillennial world of Twitter trends and trolls, issues of women’s equality are firmly back at the top of political agendas, making media headlines and sparking explosive campaigns.

 

Women’s equality is no longer shied away from as a retro issue from the ‘70s. The insistent cries that we live in a “post-feminist” world have lost their edge, as current stats show that approximately 85,000 women are raped in the UK every year and domestic abuse will affect at least 1 in 4 women in their lifetime. Instead we are seeing campaigners tackling these issues head on, fighting for LGBT+ inclusive healthy sex and relationships education in schools.

 

The topic of women’s equality is more mainstream and popular than ever before. From Beyoncé reclaiming “the F-Word” in her 2014 VMA performance, to outcry this summer over the Islamophobic and sexist burkini ban. From the rise of direct action group Sisters Uncut supporting domestic violence survivors, to US artistic gymnast Simone Biles declaring: “I’m not the next Usain Bolt, I’m the first Simone Biles”.

 

And the political landscape is no exception. We’ve seen rows over women’s equality on both sides of mainstream party politics, with the Conservatives electing a woman Prime Minister who “allowed state-sanctioned abuse of women” at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and media stereotyping of Diane Abbott as the “Angry Black Woman” over her in-fighting with fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips.

 

But perhaps there is another option for those of us seeking a political party that will put issues of women’s equality at the centre of all that they do. The Women’s Equality Party (WEP) was launched last year after the General Election as a reaction against a politics that offered little hope to a growing group of people yearning for social change, inclusion and collective decision-making.

 

Charlotte Mead, Sheffield WEP Branch Leader, had never been a member of a political party before joining WEP last year. After being involved in student politics as Women’s Officer and then President of Sheffield Hallam University over 20 years ago, Charlotte felt disillusioned by party politics until what she saw as a viable alternative emerged. She said: “We’re trying to do things differently so that politics works better for everybody, not just a small group of people.”

 

Starting very small, the party grew by setting up branches around the country to devise and work towards six objectives: equal representation, equal pay and opportunity, equal parenting and caregiving, equal education, equal media treatment and an end to violence against women. They will discuss adding a seventh objective relating to health at their first party conference on the 25-27th November in Manchester, which will be attended by a good contingent from Sheffield. Charlotte said: “Everything I’d previously seen about political parties is that they told you what to say, how to vote, what to do and what you weren’t allowed to do – and actually they were quite restrictive. But WEP isn’t like that. Everybody involved gets their say and it’s more collective than hierarchical.”

 

During the formative stages of the party there was a lot of discussion about the name. Charlotte explained: “The philosophy of the party is that having gender equality is beneficial to all genders. But we’re specifically focused on the fact that women lose out most because of gender inequality. There have been a lot of negative connotations around the term ‘feminist’. If anyone asked me if I’m a feminist I’d say, ‘Yes of course I am’. But some people who you might think are feminists don’t like the term. People get distracted from the issue of equality and while we’re arguing about whether or not feminists shave their armpits, we’re not challenging the status quo. For some people the term ‘feminist’ doesn’t just mean, ‘I believe in gender equality’. While there will always be a group of people who would like it to be called the ‘Feminist Party’, there are an equal amount of people who would be put off by that and we want to appeal to everybody who has the same ideals as us.”

 

Paul Blomfield, the MP for Sheffield Central, held his annual Big Conversation for Women event a few weeks ago where Kate Green MP said “the party for women’s equality is the Labour Party”. But Charlotte responded: “The Labour Party have had a lot of time to sort out equality and they haven’t. The Labour Party does have a women problem and for them to deny that is only a continuation of the problem. That said, we’re completely up for working with any party with the same aims as us. We want to get things done through collaboration. We’re not all separate groups of people – the wider community and political parties can all work on things together, even when we disagree about some things. While political parties are bickering in Parliament, two women a week are still getting killed by their partners and ex-partners and there are women’s services shutting down everywhere. It’s not good enough.”

 

Charlotte talked about issues facing women in Sheffield, such as street harassment. She said: “We’re currently launching a campaign working with the police to get misogyny recognised as a hate crime in Sheffield. It happens so much that it’s been normalised, but it’s not okay for this to be part of women’s normal experience. People always talk about ‘angry young people’, but actually I find that I’m far angrier about things now, in my early 40s, because things still haven’t changed.”

 

WEP has come under criticism for focusing only on issues affecting white middle-class women. Charlotte emphasised WEP’s short history, saying: “We don’t have everything right at the moment, we’re just starting out.  But I would say that issues like violence against women, equal pay, and equal representation know no class, race or economic boundaries. Equality is about treating people fairly and respectfully, while valuing diversity. We’re learning as we go along. As a party we need to ensure we encompass the voices of all women and we have a strong plan for that. I can definitely see WEP running campaigns in the future targeted at supporting specific groups, for example BME and LGBT+ women. At Sheffield we have ‘How can we be more diverse and inclusive?’ on the agenda of every single meeting. That’s one of the reasons we alternate between meeting at Union St and different places around the city like the Broomhall Community Centre and Sharrow Old School, as these areas are diverse and we can engage more with other marginalised groups.”

 

Charlotte explained why the people of Sheffield should join WEP, saying: “We’ve been waiting a very long time for someone to give us equality and it’s not happened. We all have the power to change the system, but you have to take that power, a proactive step and a leap of faith – you have to be one of the people that creates change. The WEP is unlike any other party. You will not meet a more welcoming, warm, enthusiastic and supportive bunch of people. Everybody is very welcome.”

 

WEP Sheffield’s next meeting is on November 1st at Union St. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for more information.

By Kate Reeves-Brown

Monday’s Masterchef: Chris Hale

Adding the final ingredient to the new five-day line up, Chris Hale is getting everything prepared for his debut at Union Street’s Pop-Up Café. If he looks familiar, it’s because he probably is… Chris took a bit of Yorkshire flair right to the MasterChef 2016 quarter finals, wowing the judges and viewers alike with his self-taught culinary skills.

We all drooled over his dishes on TV, but now it’s time for Gregg and John to step aside and let the good folk of Sheffield get stuck in every Monday lunch time.

It’s been a crazy few months for Chris since his MasterChef experience and, he admits, an unexpected one at that! A skilled and passionate home cook, it was his wife who actually entered him for TV’s much celebrated cooking contest. In fact, when Chris first received the phone call from the BBC, he was quite sure they’d got the wrong number!

When he’s not experimenting with adventurous new recipes in his kitchen, Chris runs his own altitude-training company. Being self-employed has allowed him the freedom to dedicate some of his time to the myriad new and exciting opportunities that came his way in the foodie world since he appeared on the show – the highlight of which was cooking for 2000 people on the beach in Cannes with a group of top chefs.

His eyes were opened to just how incredible catering can be, and he returned to Yorkshire brimming with ideas and inspiration. From private dining to pop-up restaurants, he’s been trying his hand at an array of things, and so far is yet to cook the same dish twice. It is that versatility that he really loves about cooking, and it has been his private dining events that have really allowed him to showcase his originality and imagination. One of his favourites was a celebration menu for a 90th birthday – he came up with a nine-course tasting menu which took her through every decade of her life, dish by dish.

Although from Wakefield, Chris has become a familiar face in the Sheffield food scene. The locals have welcomed him with open arms and adventurous palates, and he praises the support he has received from the council and the community of independent food traders.

The first event he held at Union Street was a complete sell-out. An exquisite gin-pairing menu consisting of canapés served with a Sorrento Collins, gravlax with gin and tarragon sours, venison bourguignon with sloe gin, and gin and tonic ice cream floats… it’s easy to see why he has become known for his ingenious, dare-to-be-different combinations.

So what was it about Union Street that attracted him to the venue as a place to host his Pop Up North events?

“It’s a really cool venue”, he explains. “It’s close to the train station, it’s central, it just fits the vibe of what we’re trying to do – chilled, social dining.”

His first event was a shining example of how high-end food can be enjoyed in a relaxed and vibrant space. The incredible success continued when the second event, an Italian-inspired vegan menu, also sold out and received fantastic reviews.

Building on this success, Chris was delighted to join the lunch-time line-up at Union Street’s Pop-Up Café and will take over the Monday slot on a weekly basis.

“The only downside to catering is that it always tends to be on weekends, so I am really looking forward to having a regular spot here each week. It will be great to have more time to chat to people – it’s a great social space.”

So far people have been really receptive to his bold flavours and experimental ingredients, and he has no plans to change his approach. So although we’ll be seeing him regularly, don’t expect to get the same mouthful of food twice.

He plans to take us on a culinary tour of Asia through the concept of noodle broths. “Essentially it’s going to be a posh pot noodle,” he jokes. There will be a three broth options and three noodle options to choose from and we can expect authentic flavours from places such as Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. He is off on a mammoth trip around Asia over Christmas for his honeymoon and he plans to come back with a suitcase full of ingredients and a note pad full of ideas!

Chris’s pop-up starts with a taste of Japan on Monday 31st October, where we will be able to choose from a noodle selection containing either chicken, prawn or wild mushroom, and pair it with either shiitake dashi, miso kombu or jasmine chicken broth. Just fancy a nibble? There will also be sushi on offer – tuna nori rolls, vegetable nori rolls and salmon nigiri.

I can’t think of a more delicious and nutritious way to get over the Monday blues!

By David Edwards

Jonny Butcher

Some lettings agencies in Sheffield are charging tenants up to £700 to sign a tenancy contract. This fee isn’t related to any additional work by the agency, they are already being paid by the landlord. Agencies are charging these fees simply because they can get away with it, (in Scotland such a practice is illegal).

Renters Rising

Issues like this motivated Jonny Butcher to become an organiser for Acorn in Sheffield. “Acorn develops and support communities to campaign for changes in their day to day lives. In the UK, Acorn is currently coordinating #RentersRising – a national project to build a renters union to campaign for a better deal for private tenants.

“Over the last 10 years the number of people renting privately has doubled. Private renters pay more of their income on housing than any other group, they live in the worst conditions and they have the least security. Private renting used to be a stepping stone to home ownership or social housing tenancies, but increasingly it is now a long term option.

Acorn in Sheffield

“I have just moved back up to my hometown Sheffield to start working on #RentersRising. My first step has been to make contact with private tenants across the city, which I have been doing through street stalls in different areas, making connections online and face to face meetings. By mid-November the aim is to have 15-30 volunteers who will attend a training event to provide them with the skills and resources to build the union in Sheffield. Acorn is a bottom-up organisation and our mission is to give people the support and tools they need to campaign for the changes they think are important in their locality.

“One of the things I really like about Acorn’s approach is that it attracts a wide range of people who see this as relevant to their lives, and it doesn’t just rely on seasoned activists. In a way there are similarities with the early trade union movement in that people are coming together to organise and campaign for a fairer deal regarding issues that impact on their daily lives, except for us the focus is on housing rather than employment.

Union St – “A petri dish for the new, networked economy”

“I decided to work from Union St for a couple of reasons. On a practical level it has a central location which is useful as I’m working across the city. At the same time Union St feels like a real hub of inspiring people, it has people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds – it’s kind of like a petri dish for the new, networked economy. There are also a number of the members who are involved in campaigning work around social justice, so I’m looking forward to swapping ideas and learning from each other.”

By Matt

Carina Ripley

What will you be doing at Union St?

I have recently graduated from an art degree in manchester and moved to sheffield. I am hoping that through working at Union Street I can start to build my network and community of people in Sheffield; a key part of my practice is based on community. Over the coming months I am looking to develop my project, Patchwork Stories into a social enterprise or community interest company. The project explores how storytelling and collective creation can be used to help people in come together during times of struggle of difficulty. I am an artist, a weaver and a storyteller. Following graduate and a move to a new city I don’t know quite what that is going to look like for me, I hope that Union Street can help me figure it out!

How did you get into this area of work?

I have known I wanted to be an artist since I was very young. Of course, for many years I didn’t really know what that meant…I have kept a sketchbook since I was about 10 and started making clothes with my Granny when I was 14. I started a foundation degree in 2012, thinking I would do textiles or fashion design. However through the course I found that people and stories were what really excited me – and that while I use a lot of textiles in my work, I didn’t want to be restricted by only using textiles. While I was on my foundation I started working with my Mum, a drama practitioner, on a join project called Patchwork Stories. It was born out of a dream and a conversation. Art and creative, community work has always been something that is important to my family. Working with my Mum has been an important part of my progression as an artist – it pushed me to develop professionalism and empathy as working with my mum wasn’t always easy! However, it also meant I was able to try things that seemed out of my comfort zone more easily, as I always know my mum will be there to help and guide me. I am know starting to develop the project further on my own. I have just finished a three year degree called Interactive Arts, it is an unspecialised fine arts course that encourages students to explore as many art forms as possible, with an emphasis on participatory and community work. During that time I ran lots of workshops, using weavings and printmaking with my friend Ting Waterhouse…and I reapplied this was how I wanted to build my career!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love the flexibility and excitement of not knowing exactly what I will be doing each day. I am at my happiest and most productive when I have multiple projects on the go. I love working with other people, there is nothing quite like helping someone else to master a new skills. Or watching a child use their creativity in a way you, as the workshop leader, hadn’t even imagined!

What type of individuals / organisations are you looking to work with in the future?

I want to work with people who love people! Organisations that have core values for storytelling, community and people.

 What are you looking to get out of Union St?

A community and a space to work that gets me out of the house and allows me to work without getting the urge to just clean the kitchen instead! I am also really excited about talking with Matt about social enterprise and gaining connections with small business, creative people and the University.

Carina is on Twitter at @CarinaRipley and online at carinaripley.com

By Matt

Kathryn Knights

Hi K, what will you be doing at Union St?

My work involves management and analysis of large datasets in conservation and ecology. At the moment I’m working on Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME) and bushmeat consumption in Central Africa. Outputs from these projects are research papers, reporting on progress towards global targets in conservation, guidelines and manuals for application of techniques and tools in the field, and some very tidy and user-friendly databases.

How did you get into this area of work?

A lifelong love of wildlife and the outdoors, along with the belief that wild places and processes in nature need to be safeguarded, led me to the study of conservation and ecology. Data management became a focus incidentally, and I aim to move back to a middle ground between field-based and desk-based work

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Figuring out patterns and processes from observations made in nature or from raw data is challenging and rewarding.

What type of individuals / organisations are you looking to work with in the future?

I work with a wide range of organisations and am keen to continue doing so, but would be particularly interested in expanding on the research-focused aspects of my work and build connections with research institutions including universities. I currently work with large international organisations including NGOs such as WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature), conservation funders such as GEF (the Global Environment Facility) and CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund), and research organisations such as Cifor (Centre for International Forestry Research).

You can read more about K’s organisation at www.protectedareas.com.au

By David Edwards

Liv Willars

You have a great new band, they have brilliant songs and are amazing live but you need to raise their profile, so who do you call? Well – Liv Willars would be a pretty good place to start. Liv has been running One Beat PR since 2011, establishing relationships with over a dozen labels and representing a wide range of artists – mainly in the indie / rock / punk / folk sectors.

Raising an artist’s profile

“Labels will contacts us when they have signed a new artist, and we start by mapping out a press campaign across both digital and print media. We have also started working with American artists and labels who are trying to raise their profile in the UK. For example, we are currently working with Ezra Furman and we have been setting up a series of interviews and sessions across the key music websites.”

What makes a successful music PR agency?

“Probably the most important element is knowing the music and really being a fan. I spend a lot of time working with bands and labels, and attending gigs and festivals. If you weren’t really passionate about what you are doing it just wouldn’t work. I work with a network of really great people and I also get the chance to link up with people I have always admired – working on a recent Patti Smith release was a real highlight.”

Co-working at Union St

“I moved from London to Sheffield in the summer and soon went stir crazy working at home. A friend mentioned Union St and I have found it a really welcoming place to work with a good mix of people and some interesting connections. Several of the bands I represent played at the End of the Road Festival, and I found that one of the Festival’s founders, Sofia Genders, also works from here!”

You can follow Liv on Twitter here and visit One Beat PR here (both open as a new window). This article was written by David Edwards of Wordscount.

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Tony Gibbs
Amy Benson
Becky Hunt
Daniel Rose
Politics for Everybody?
Monday’s Masterchef: Chris Hale
Jonny Butcher
Carina Ripley
Kathryn Knights
Liv Willars