‘At a time when I had a personal battle I found this place, and I knew it was right. I saw the name Hope Works and I knew it was meant to be. I wanted to include my community in the venue.’
For Liam O’Shea AKA Hope Works running a venue was never really part of the plan. He wanted to be a rockstar. An ambition that could transport him away from his upbringing on a Nottingham estate.
‘In my life, I had done lots of things and nothing had really gone anywhere on the surface. Back then, for me ‘going somewhere’ was having money and success.’
Liam has been involved in Sheffield’s music scene under various guises since the 90s. In 2009, he started Mixed In Sheffield to celebrate the diversity of electronic music here. From a 98 minute mixtape featuring 41 electronic artists, Mixed in Sheffield became a record label and threw sell out parties across the city. In 2012 it found a permanent home at Hope Works – becoming an integral part of Sheffield’s electronic music community, and in 2017, became the main venue of No Bounds Festival.
No Bounds is a weekender which explores ideas of freedom and expression through the lens of club culture, art and technology. It made Sheffield part of the international conversation along with Sonar, Mutek, Unsound, Berlin Atonal, CTM and other great festivals that approach things in a certain creative way.
‘Sometimes it’s about needing a platform and representing art forms that need a home and a place to be seen.’
As far as O’Shea is concerned, Sheffield is the ideal home for these unique and experimental arts events. It becomes immediately apparent he is not only a determined promoter and champion of forward-thinking club music, but of ambitious creative works across the board.
When it comes to Hope Works and pushing the Sheffield scene forward, O’Shea is not afraid to take risks in the hope that the club becomes synonymous with choice curation.
‘I thought I could do it on my own, but I couldn’t, and realising that has given me more courage than I was born with.’
When researching or writing about courage, other traits fall into the mix: risk, vulnerability, curiosity, empathy and action.
It seems then courage has nothing to do with your title or level of expertise. It’s not for the few or the gifted. It’s an act of humanity, of choosing to take an action that is risky because it demands vulnerability and curiosity. Courage has no specific form and knows no bounds.