Students may be some of the most creative and imaginative people about, but they are also often rather strapped for cash. Fear not though, there are plenty of ways you can indulge your inner culture vulture in Sheffield without breaking the bank!
Free film nights
Did you know that your University account gives you free access to Box of Broadcasts, the National TV and Radio recording service? If it’s been broadcast, it’s probably on here and as long as you don’t mind skipping through the adverts sometimes, you will find a wealth of films at your fingertips as well as all your favourite TV programmes. Also check out the range of DVDs and CDs in the University libraries, which you can borrow for free. Who needs a Netflix subscription?
…or see it on the big screen for less
Film Unit is more than just another university society: it’s the oldest student-run cinema in the country! Each term’s programme always features an eclectic variety of productions, including foreign films and old classics, as well as recent Hollywood blockbusters. And if you sign up as an usher, you can see the film for free! See the notice board by the SU East Entrance for more. Tickets only £3.00, see the website for more.
Ever wondered how to make a spoon? Head to the Millennium Galleries, right next to the iconic Winter Gardens, whose Metalwork Collection give a fascinating and interactive account of the steel industry that built our city. Meanwhile, the Ruskin Collection features beautiful artefacts and illustrations from nature, gathered together by the famous Victorian writer John Ruskin. The temporary exhibitions are also worth a visit as these often feature unusual perspectives, under-appreciated genres or upcoming new talent. Free entrance.
Weston Park museum
Where else in Sheffield would you find a giant woolly rhino, polar bears, a bee colony and an interactive microscope? There’s always something going on at Weston Park Museum and a visit makes a great break from coursework or revision. Besides the beautifully presented natural history exhibits, you can also learn more about world cultures and how life in Sheffield has changed over the ages. Besides this, the shop is a great hunting ground for presents! When the sun shines, why not finish off by grabbing an ice cream from the café or the van and taking a tour of the “living exhibits” in the flowerbeds around the park? Free entrance.
If paintings are your passion, then brave the stairs in Sheffield Central Library and climb to the top. Your efforts will be rewarded by the treasures in the sumptuous galleries which include everything from 16th century marvels to modern-day masterpieces, abstracts to landscapes and European works to local scenes. The galleries also host a programme of temporary exhibitions which changes throughout the year. In addition, the café makes a great alternative workplace for when the IC is simply too busy! Free entrance but closed Sundays and Mondays.
Do you have artistic ambitions but find that there are simply too many distractions at home for you to settle to anything? In that case, let Fired Arts be your refuge. This café on Ecclesall Road doesn’t just sell tempting tea and cake – the walls are bulging with ceramic pots, plates, animals and mugs that you can paint. Leave your troubles behind and while away an afternoon painting your own design onto your creation, which will then be fired in the kiln for you to collect later. You can also try your hand at decopatch or mosaic painting. The cost is only a £3 studio fee plus the price of whatever you choose to paint.
Music for the soul
Live, classical concerts are not reserved for the privileged – the University’s Department of Music regularly puts on free events that feature their talented students. This includes their series of Lunchtime and Rush-Hour concerts, both of which are absolutely free and take place in the atmospheric Firth Hall. You aren’t even obliged to stay for the whole performance and can drop in between pieces. Look out for the brochures on campus or check out the online version.
Lunchtime Concerts: 13.10-13.55, Thursdays in Term time. Rush-Hour Concerts: 17.45-18.45, Mondays in Term time. Firth Hall is best accessed from the main entrance to Firth Court, up the steps.