Wednesday, 19 June 2013

On closer inspection...

The excitement has worn off and finally I am seeing the city as for what it is; this is not saying I’m not enjoying my time, still quite the opposite. However, personally I feel there is a whole other side to Sheffield one that isn’t as well preserved and as inviting; an area that hasn’t overcome and persevered through the Thatcher movement in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

This morning I watched for the first time the short documentary the ‘Battle of Orgreave,’ this film brought everything together that we have learnt so far. Sitting in the lecture theatres listening to the history of Sheffield I can realise now that I did not understand the complexity and heartache felt by thousands of men and their families during this movement. The film captured the absolute rawness of their emotions, as they chanted “the miners united will never be defeated” you could hear the strength and perseverance in their voices; but their faces told another story; as their bodies cowered whilst getting beaten by police it made you wonder how much more can a man, an industry or a city take before it reaches its lowest point.

As observed most parts of the city have overcome the obstacle Thatcher created, however there is still that sense of resentment amongst community members. I found this interesting, that even though this happened 30 years ago there was still this strong sense of despair and anguish. This interest led me to re-think my individual research project, I was already looking at the shifts of employment during Sheffield’s history but now that I am aware of the great impact Thatcher had on this community I am more interested in researching the past and present opinions revolving this moment in history.

On another topic, over the past week I have heard many comments from students saying it’s too planning orientated or why should we be learning this it isn’t relevant. To be completely honest there have been some parts of the Study Tour I haven’t been absolutely thrilled about, but as a whole I am glad it is interdisciplinary. I feel the interdisciplinary approach has taught me not to be closed minded, instead taught me to be open-minded and also to respect others and there interests. Coming from Community Development we already do a lot of multi-disciplinary study which I feel helps me understand and appreciate the reasons behind this approach, and it is through this approach that Sheffield’s history can be mapped accurately.
- Erin Smith (Bachelor of Community Development)


  1. A thoughtful post Erin. Not only do you write beautifully, I think your observations show how important it is for planners to engage with the broader issues in politics, sociology and history. Thanks for taking the time to post.

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