What’s your role on the Building Site project?
I’m the building Project Manager for Site Gallery so have oversight of all aspects of the project from finance to the construction programme and legal requirements. I work closely with the Design and Construction Team (our architect, various engineers, the main contractor and other consultants) ensuring issues are resolved and that the project progresses to programme.
I also act as the interface to various stakeholders from our neighbours to funders and other staff, ensuring everyone is well informed and that their needs are met. Finally, I liaise closely with our co Directors and Board of Trustees, ensuring they are fully aware of how the project is progressing against the vision they originally set.
Describe an average day – what kind of things are you dealing with?
No day is the same! It’s quite a broad and varied role and my work changes depending on the stage of the project. Prior to building works starting there was a lot of legal work to complete and liaison with our major funders to ensure they were happy for works to commence. Now we are mid way through the build there are more routine aspects – report writing and meetings always feature. I need to react to issues on site as they arise, though we have a great Site Manager and Supervisor so problems are few and far between. Aside from that I am working through the things that will take us from a building site to a living and breathing gallery – finding a caterer, for example.
What other significant projects have you worked on previously?
I’ve been very lucky to work in some fantastic culture and heritage projects. One of my earliest roles was with the Bluecoat in Liverpool, which relaunched in 2008 (Liverpool’s capital of culture year) following a major redevelopment.
More recently I worked on the latter stages of the redevelopment of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, launching their new venue ‘Music Room’ and re housing a large staff team into new offices.
Prior to this, I was part of the management team to launch the Hepworth Wakefield, taking the completed building through its fit out, setting up its visitor and trading operations and launching to the public in 2011.
Give us 3 examples of cultural buildings that you think are inspirational, and why you think they are.
I am biased but think the Hepworth Wakefield is inspirational for many reasons – how the form of the building takes cues from Barbara Hepworth’s work, the beautiful riverside setting, the scale and light of the gallery spaces and that it provides a home to display and care for a wonderful collection.
Architecturally, I think the Whitworth in Manchester is a great example of juxtoposing the old and new, the glass box extension floating above the park really makes the most of its setting (and the Cafe is great!)
I worked for a short time at Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool – a beautiful building which fell into disrepair in the 1980’s. Its regeneration was led by a group of local residents before finally generating larger investment – local people championing and reclaiming buildings for the community is inspirational to me.
What do you think the expanded gallery will offer the people of Sheffield?
In short, an all round broader and improved offer – space to reflect and meet, which was limited before given space constraints. Also, a fantastic programme across two spaces ensuring there is always something to see and enjoy.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the gallery space animated by our launch exhibition and to observe the impact of our increased presence on Brown Street – the new space will have a full height window to the street, whereas the old gallery was tucked away to the rear of the building.