Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Psalter Lane, six years on

It feels like this is the last in the series.*

Six years ago I was asked to write a piece for the Sheffield Telegraph about the closure of "Psalter Lane" - which many people in Sheffield understand to mean Sheffield Hallam University's Psalter Lane Campus - an art school. Sheffield Hallam were moving their art teaching to be part of their city centre campus.

I was sad to see it close. I had attended Psalter Lane as an MA film student, and then did a few visiting lectures there once Third Angel was set up. But I knew it mainly from going to degree shows there - an annual cultural highlight in Sheffield. I was brought up around Walsall College of Art as both my parents taught there, and so I have an ingrained affection for self contained art colleges/campuses. And I live in this area of Sheffield. I felt I was qualified to write something. I said I was sad to see it close.

For several years after that, my walk to work would take me past Psalter Lane campus. Around the time the campus closed, Sheffield artist Kid Acne had painted YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE over the main entrance. Beautifully judged.

Being the obsessive documenter that I am, I began an annual series of updates, as the campus started to become derelict, got demolished, and has now been rebuilt. Or erased. 

I guess there is an implicit criticism or complaint in this series of posts. We should be building art schools, not getting rid of them. Hallam still has a fine art department. But there's something about the contained art college campus that gives it a different energy and atmosphere. (The same is true of performance courses, and though I have less connection with them, I instinctively miss Bretton Hall and Dartington. University of Hull @ Scarborough is next.)

You can see all of those previous visits here.

And here is a last visit. The first one where there have been other people around. I tried to have a look inside the Show Home, but it wasn't open.


*But knowing me there'll be a Psalter Lane 10 or 11 years on...


Johnty DelMonte said...

Fantastic blog Alex, cheers.
as a Psalter Lane student class of 2008 this almost brings a tear to my eye!

thought you might like my dissertation on the campus which I rediscovered recently-

Keep up the good work,


Alex said...

Thanks Johnty! I'll give that a listen!

Lauren W said...

oh my gosh. I was a film student there 2002-2003 (3 semesters) before I had to return home to America. I was feeling a bit nostalgic and looked this up and wow, I had no idea it was all gone. I almost wish I hadn't looked, as now all of those memories are almost tainted, tarnished somehow. The buildings I took classes in, the library with all the films and books I'd use, the photography rooms...all gone. So sad.

Johnty DelMonte said...

I know Lauren! Great times..and I have no photos of those years!! :(

Alex said...

Hi Lauren - sorry that this was depressing to see! But yes, it's just the original old library building that is still standing and converted in to flats. Everything else is new build...

(If it's any consolation, the new development in the city centre for Graphics, Illustration, Textiles and Fine Art is the converted Old Post Office - and it is brilliant.)