Liam O'Shea, Hope Works & No Bounds Festival

Sheffield makes me a better human being.

I’ve been embedded into the musical fabric of this city since I arrived here in 1991. From bands to electronica, I have explored so many different aspects of the creative backbone of Sheffield by being an active participant in various scenes and movements over the years. 

I began Mixed In Sheffield in 2009 as a locally focussed not for profit project to explore, nurture, connect and celebrate the different creative communities in Sheffield. Starting with a focus on musical styles and communities here it has grown to deliver multidisciplinary art projects all with a focus on Sheffield artists, creators and makers. More recently it is also exploring connecting our city to the national creative talent pool.

I then set up Hope Works in 2012 as an art space and warehouse venue to create a space in Sheffield that is culturally relevant to the international music and art scenes that reflects my experiences travelling from Berlin to Barcelona as a musician. It has been nominated nationally as best small club twice in DJ Mag and regularly gets selected as holding the best parties in major publications from The Wire to Mixmag and CRACK Magazine. It hosted Mapping Creativity for BBC Music Day, Boiler Room, Red Bull as well as a cutting edge calendar programmed by myself, but also I work with the community here to allow other promoters and artists a place to grow and develop. It’s a symbiotic relationship with Sheffield’s music and art community that has flourished. It has expanded to have a global reputation in its 7 years of being open hosting the biggest Dj’s in the World from Jeff Mills to Nina Kraviz.

My newest project is No Bounds Festival, a multi-venue music, art, technology and dance festival. Now in its third year, this is an international project in reach and ambition, it's a progressive festival that reflects many of my personal values of diversity and opportunity while at the same time maintaining the highest artistic quality and standards throughout. It also seeks to explore the different creative energies at play in poetry, graphic design, lighting design, algorithmic coding, well being, debate and dance. I want it to be discussed in the same conversation as festivals like Sonar. In 2019 we are taking over the iconic Kelham Island Museum as well as expanding to partner with Site Gallery, Millennium Gallery, Heeley Swimming Pool and many other independent spaces to deliver a festival that is unique and totally interacting with our wonderful city.

“I passionately believe Sheffield’s heritage makes it a perfect place to do all these things. From Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Heaven 17 to Bring Me The Horizon, Richard Hawley and Arctic Monkeys, Sheffield is a highly influential music city.”

The city is alive with talented people, and as a result, I feel I have the ability to do things that have a wider cultural impact that reaches internationally, but very much with my base here. I’ve worked locally, then nationally and now internationally. This city has accommodated all these modes and I love to be able to show this city’s heart and soul on the international stage.

It gives me the chance to grow in so many ways and above all a great quality of life through its balance of nature and artistic community as well as a work opportunity. I’ve never been anywhere else I feel so at home. Stunning scenery in the Peak District and beautiful little villages on the outskirts that make me feel I’m far from a big city. This feeling of space and nature are the key aspects of its physical nature. On a human level, it is the wonderful people here. The friends I’ve made, the caring nature of many people here has always impressed me and made me feel welcome. It has a superb artistic community here. There’s such a lot of creativity here, often below the surface level, just as it should be. That coupled with a cynical dry wit that forever keeps me on my toes. You can’t get big-headed in this place!