Keith Hayman


Workplace: Unit 19, Gordon Works, 44 Valley Road, Sheffield S8 9FT

Contacts: Mob: 07503 097430 Home: 0114 268 5486

Background: Born Leicester 1944. Qualified Urban Planner, worked Bradford and Durham. Community Development Organiser – worked North Tyneside and Coventry. Economic Developer, consultant and event organiser – worked Sheffield and across the UK

About What I do…

For over 25 years I worked as an urban planner, community organiser and economic developer. Much of that time was spent wrestling with the ways of big public bureaucracies, (aka City Councils), progress via 2 steps forward and one back and sometimes 2 or 3 back. I’m not negative about the experience. Complex processes can be a consequence of local democracy.

I’d always wanted to be an architect or civil engineer but painting and drawing were always present as well. So I ended up at Planning School and a career as a public servant.

But the ‘art’ never went away and nor did a love and fascination of cities and urban life. And right from being a child, wandering through cities has been close to my heart, not a psycho geographer or flanneur, just a wanderer.So too, I have always been drawn to the everyday and uncelebrated – forgotten spaces, objects, materials etc. – something I sense came from rummaging around in my dads Blacksmiths shop.

In 1995. I packed up the day job and turned to art. I absorbed myself in everything to do with art, making up for lost time. I assimilated much and rejected a lot. I painted and I drew. I sold my work at galleries and showed at exhibitions because that is what artists do.

But as my understanding has grown, my dependency on what the rest of the art world does has lessened. And more importantly I started to move away from painting and drawing to increasingly experiment with constructions, using mundane, often thrown away materials. All this came together during 2010, via first, a residency at Bend in the River Projects – exploring, string, tin cans, chalk and cartons. And later in the year, “City States” – an installation at an empty church in Lincolnshire, with two 10 metres high scaffolding towers and a sea of 40,000 pieces of domestic, household rubbish.

I’ve reached a point where I mostly ‘follow my nose’. This can be a lonely process but sometimes almost without knowing why, things can look and feel right.

I’m not much bothered whether people see what I do as art. It’s simply what I do. Folk can get something from it or not.

My projects, indoors and outside are triggered by my wandering and collecting of ideas, objects and things, noting situations and interesting places,  many of which are stored away in ideas and note books. I am a disciplined recorder. It is via a continual scanning and going back through these books and stuff on my workshop walls and  ideas tried out on the floor that I decide on what I do next. Others will be better placed than I to see patterns or themes to what I do. Sometimes several projects can be on the go at the same time, competing for priority.

In some way or other the following things influence me – the aesthetic qualities of ordinary objects, cities and city life, seeing the funny side of things – some of my stuff is meant to have fun – life is too short, being subversive – just doing things –permission isn’t everything, communities before self, for the underdog and against the oppression of the elite,

This may sound somewhat scatty, perhaps it is and I’m not the best judge of how these things play against each other.

Increasingly I find myself linking my projects to my involvement in community issues. As chair of a long running campaign to keep open a key pedestrian bridge across Sheffield’s railway station – I see active local democracy facing up to remote Whitehall rule, complementing the projects referenced below.

2 Responses to “About”
  1. Bryan says:


    You are brilliant. Next step is to start playing with photography I reckon!

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