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We’re now well into our Building Site gallery expansion project, having closed to the public three months ago. This is a unique situation for all of us to be working in, and we have a brilliant project team around us making sure everything runs smoothly. One of the key people in that team is David Hobson, seen in the photo above. We thought it’d be interesting to find out more about him and what his role is in this project, in Sheffield and in the cultural scene of the city:

TELL US YOUR NAME AND WHAT YOU DO AS A DAY JOB

David Hobson – Project Management Consultancy.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE SITE GALLERY EXPANSION PROJECT AND WHEN/HOW DID YOU GET ON BOARD?

My role on the project is to provide technical support to Judith, Laura and Sophie based upon my experience with the Arts Council and general building experience of delivering refurbishment projects on time and budget. I have been involved for two years following the completion of the ACE Stage 1 and confirmation of development funding. I have assisted in the procurement of the design team and the completion of the Stage 2 funding application – now I’m delighted to be part of the internal team delivering this exciting project during the construction stage.

GIVE US 3 EXAMPLES OF CULTURAL BUILDINGS THAT YOU THINK ARE INSPIRATIONAL, AND WHY YOU THINK THEY ARE.

Crucible Theatre Sheffield when constructed in 1972 set Sheffield on the path that has resulted in Provincial Theatre of the Year Award for two out of the last three years. The Crucible is inspirational in many areas:

  • The thrust stage which brings the audience and performers together
  • The overall design of the building and the use of polished fair faced concrete that won awards in the 70’s and still look fresh today
  • A range of spaces that can accommodate all forms of culture, from the Pinter Poem in the lobby, to Music in the Round in the Studio and the Documentary Festival in the main auditorium

Sheffield Cathedral has been the location for many experiences in my choral singing from Verdi’s Requiem to carols by Candlelight in the side chapel. What makes Sheffield Cathedral inspirational is the acoustics, the magnificence of the spaces and the light that is cast through the windows towards the end of the afternoon each creating its own distinct ambience.

Salts Mill, the company I worked for previously, was part of the renovation of the Building in the 1990’s and I visited for the first time a couple of years ago to view the David Hockney exhibition. What was so wonderful was how they had converted a redundant mill into an art gallery, museum and social spaces whilst still retaining many of the original features. The attention to detail and the different spaces is exceptional – as for the Hockney exhibition this sat nicely in the refurbished spaces with exhibits through many mediums and concluding with a series of iPad images of the same landscape as it changed through the seasons. Even my teenage son was interested.

Chatsworth House – well not only the House but the gardens and landscape is my favourite location. Probably not cultural in the truest sense of the word, but the way that the landscape is set out, the formal gardens and the art embedded into the landscape and gardens creates, for me, an inspirational environment away from the bricks and mortar of the day job. I am hoping to attend some of the events of this year’s Art Out Loud in September which brings nationally and internationally presenters and gives opportunities to young people to participate.

HAVE YOU WORKED ON ANY OTHER CULTURAL PROJECTS IN SHEFFIELD?

I have worked on many cultural projects in Sheffield including the building that will form part of the Site Gallery expansion project (Sheffield Independent Film Group).

Over the years I have worked on the majority of the CIQ buildings including Yorkshire Art Space, the Workstation, Showroom Cinema and National Centre for Popular Music.

I have also been involved with Sheffield Theatres for the past thirty years including the renovation of the Lyceum Theatre and as project manager/director for the Crucible Studio, Crucible Theatre Redevelopment Project in 2008 and a further upgrade of the Lyceum Theatre in 2015.

WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

A lot of my work has been outside Sheffield as Project Director and Facilities Director on large Hospitals in Wakefield, Durham and Fife. However, in the last few years I have been involved in a number of projects in Sheffield the largest of which is the Olympic Legacy Park Sheffield – the redevelopment of the Don Valley Stadium to provide an Academy, University Technical College, Research Facility for Sheffield Hallam University, Community Stadium, 3 Court Basketball Arena and new offices and laboratories. Total value of phase 1 is £100m and forms part of the Innovation District.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE EXPANDED SITE GALLERY WILL BRING TO SHEFFIELD/THE CIQ?

The expanded Site Gallery will be able to make a significant contribution to Sheffield in terms of;

  • A range of spaces for a range of people and uses
  • An enhanced visibility and prominence in the Sheffield cultural environment
  • An opportunity to bring international artists to Sheffield for the benefit of the local community
  • Something different in terms of the programmes and the design of the building
  • Fill a gap in the market for a different kind of space/building for the ever growing list of Festivals (Documentary Festival, Literary Festival Made in Sheffield etc.)
  • What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Any hobbies?

Until recently I have sung in a choir – the Sheffield Chorale. Since leaving the Chorale I have guested in one off performances when an extra tenor is required. Other than that I live in a small village (Misson) and get involved in community initiatives including Parish Councilor and more latterly Chair of the Community Association. My ambition is to develop a weekend music festival for the village.

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