Friday, 27 June 2008

Goodbye Psalter Lane

"You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone".  That's what it says, painted in big white-on-pink letters above the entrance to what we simply refer to as 'Psalter Lane'.  Specifically we're refering to Psalter Lane Campus, the part of Sheffield Hallam University that houses the fine art, design and film courses.  And we will.  Miss it, that is.  The final degree show has just closed, and although the car park still looks busy, that is, in fact, it.

I was asked to write a few thoughts down about my memories of Psalter Lane, for the Sheffield Telegraph. Here's (a slightly rewritten version of) what I wrote:

Psalter Lane
My first experience of Psalter Lane was Monday morning film theory classes when doing my MA at the Northern Media School (then based in The Workstation) back in ‘94.  Walking up that hill from Nether Edge... Since then we’ve had an ongoing relationship with the place.  I couldn’t believe how busy the first degree show opening night that we went to was – drinks in the Wham Bar, and also in various students’ workspaces.  You always have to go back the following week to actually see the work – and spend the day there.  

I remember making some nice discoveries: Two video monitors showing the same bloke talking to himself, then he popped up live to join in the conversation.  An installation underneath the main building, film projection, turning mirrors, a figure running in the distance. Some great painting. A couple of lovely pieces we recommended for the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow – a performance of knitting with strips of carrier bags and a microfiche crowd scan.

We did the Wednesday afternoon artists' lecture once, and for a few years Rachael and I did a ‘Welcome to Sheffield’ lecture for the new first years at Psalter Lane – telling them about life in Sheffield as artists, what the cultural life of the city is like, and gave them clues where to find the best coffee. And of course we always recommended buying the Sheffield Telegraph for its arts coverage...

So that's it.  They're moving to new facilities in the city centre, which will be good for the Cultural Industries Quarter, I think.  But up around Psalter Lane, we'll miss it when it is gone - most of it knocked down for new houses and flats, apparently.  We'll just have to wait and see how it affects the surrounding area.