Festival of Debate 2018

20 April - 29 June

Coordinated by Opus and Now Then, Festival of Debate is an annual programme of public events exploring the most important social and political issues of our day. We started it in the run-up to the General Election in 2015 and since then we've run hundreds of events, from intimate workshops to large keynote speakers, including George Monbiot, Shami Chakrabarti, Peter Tatchell, Martha Spurrier and John Pilger.

A colossal group effort, delivered in collaboration with over 40 partner organisations, 2018's festival will feature 60+ events. We're not quite ready to announce the programme yet – keep 'em peeled in early March – but in the meantime we thought we'd let you know how you can get involved.

Much of Festival of Debate operates through the passion and hard work of volunteers. We are always open to bringing new people in to help plan, deliver and document the festival. If you have particular skills you think might be useful, or if you're just looking for something meaningful to fill your time, we'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to sign up to accompany someone experiencing isolation, loneliness or other barriers to a Festival of Debate event, you can get involved with our 'Be A Pal' scheme, operated in collaboration with Tickets For Good and Voluntary Action Sheffield.

Reach out at hello@festivalofdebate.com.

Japan Now North

21 Feb - 3 Mar

Japan Now North is a week-long celebration of the cultural output of Japan. The School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield is one of Europe's leading research and teaching centres for Japanese Studies, and they have done a stellar job of co-organising this programme of events with artists, filmmakers and authors, many of which are free entry.

A key highlight is a talk by prominent photographer and filmmaker Mika Ninagawa (Town Hall, Sat 24 Feb, 3pm), whose work shows a particular interest in strong female characters and the use of colour. Sheffield will also welcome the UK premiere of documentary, A Whale of a Tale (Showroom, Mon 26 Feb, 6pm), Megumi Sasaki's exploration of the controversial topic of whaling, followed by a Q&A with the director.             

Elsewhere in the programme, Richard Lloyd Parry discusses his acclaimed book, Ghosts of the Tsunami, about Japan's 2011 tsunami (Graves Gallery, Tue 27 Feb, 6pm), and Tokyo-based artist and educator Suzanne Mooney presents a solo exhibition at Bloc (Wed 21 Feb - Sat 3 Mar). There's loads more listed on the SEAS website.

Leadmill Comedy Club

24 Feb, 31 Mar

The Leadmill’s Comedy Club has been a popular fixture on Sheffield’s comedy circuit for five years and has enjoyed such great success that they’re now launching a monthly weekend night.
The first Saturday event on 24 February looks set to be a real treat and as usual they’ll be bringing you the cream of the comedy crop from TV and radio, with charismatic compere Jonathan Mayor overseeing proceedings.

February’s line-up features three top-notch comedians, including master of anecdotal storytelling, Geoff Norcott, Mercury Comedian of the Year nominee, Danny Ward, and Club Comic of the Year, Tom Ward.

Delicious Mexican food will also be available throughout the evening from local favourites The Street Food Chef, and if you’re looking for somewhere to go afterwards, look no further than The Leadmill’s weekend club nights, GAGA and Sonic, entry to which is included with your Comedy Club ticket. Get your tables reserved and get ready to giggle.


338-346 Glossop Road, S10 2HW

ROCO recently completed phase 2 of their development of a cluster of buildings on Glossop Road, between the Harley and the Students' Union, so now seems as good a time as any to update you on the efforts of this ambitious social enterprise.

ROCO is many things to many people, featuring over 40 studios, meeting and conference spaces, galleries, a shop, a cafe bar and plenty more, all with a focus on enriching the city's social and cultural output. Soon they will also open a 'makerspace', featuring all kinds of high-tech gadgetry, like laser cutters and 3D printers, for the design and creation of beautiful and functional things.

Brood Cafe Bar is open to the public six days a week and The Goods Store is the place for ethical, beautifully-designed homeware, ceramics, books and stationary. ROCO also put on regular events, including the new Doodle Club, hosted by this month's Now Then featured artist and ROCO tenant, Geo Law.
There are currently new spaces available for rent at ROCO, so if you're interested, reach out via the usual digital channels.

Image: Claire Arman Yau

St Luke's

0114 235 7553

St Luke’s provides care for thousands of adults across Sheffield with a terminal illness, ensuring they have the best quality of life possible and that they and their families are supported during some of the most difficult times of their lives – all free of charge. Most of their patients never come to the hospice itself, but benefit hugely from the community nursing team and its other services.

The NHS only provides 24% of St Luke's funding, so in order to continue its vital work the charity has to raise £6.3 million in 2018.

Each year, many Sheffielders undertake all manner of fundraising and volunteering activities, as well as supporting St Luke's via its shops or by making a donation. The charity has a number of 'active challenges' for 2018, including: the Sheffield half marathon (8 April); the Sheffield 10K (23 September); the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (26 miles in 12 hours, 23 June); Night Strider night-time 10K or half marathon, complete with neon and light-up accessories (6 October); skydiving from 15,000ft (21 April or 8 July); and – definitely most terrifying – "being strapped to the top of a bi-plane flying at 130mph" (26 May).

All these challenges have a minimum fundraising level and a registration fee, but St Luke's are offering our readers 5% off registration when they mention Now Then.

Why not do something you wouldn't normally do for a good cause?

Workhouse Tattoo Co

43 Caledonia Works, Mowbray Street, S3 8EN

Tucked away in an old factory building in the ever-developing Kelham Island is the Workhouse Tattoo Company. Founded in July of last year by artist Cal Jenx, the ethos of the studio is to take tattooing away from street shops and into a calmer, more focussed environment. Each artist has only one or two clients per day, with regular guest artists from across the globe also using the Workhouse as a base.
Stylistically, Cal and the team want to step away from Americanised motifs and towards something that feels more natural, something which reflects the heritage and working-class history of Sheffield.

The best way to keep up with the work of the studio is via social media, but they also encourage people to get involved by hosting regular art nights, where anyone from tattoo artists and illustrators to passionate doodlers can socialise, share work and collaborate. Follow them and get connected.