Right now in Sheffield a team are fitting out a shop in the heart of the city. The windows are blanked out but behind the glass there is a hive of activity. The shop will be open for only 3 days, from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 May. It will never open again. It will sit alongside equivalent stores in New York City, Sydney, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. It will be a shop that will showcase items unavailable anywhere else on earth. It will be a shop designed to celebrate one of Sheffield’s most important and celebrated exports; the Arctic Monkeys.
The first question that springs to mind is why is this happening? On Friday 11 May the band will release their 6th eagerly awaited album. Along with our colleagues from Colloco, we helped the record label to identify the unit and get the necessary permissions to make sure Sheffield was in the centre of what will be a globally significant event for the music industry.
Why does this matter? It matters because Sheffield like any city needs to grasp opportunities. Cities generate interest and become globally relevant not through strategies that sit on shelves but through making things happen. This week and in the coming weeks Sheffield will be talked about on every continent as the city that gave birth to one of the world’s most talented bands. Seeing the city referenced alongside Tokyo, Sydney and New York will hopefully instil pride and ambition. You never know, it might also make another group of friends pick up an instrument to trigger another creative process.
That is the power of cities. They bring people together to make things like this happen. They spark and power innovation in music, technology and the arts. They inspire the next generation to think about what they want to say about the world they live in. That’s why what is happening behind the blanked out window matters. It’s not just a pop-up shop. It is the latest example of the type of practical innovation that Sheffield is renowned for around the world.