In 2009, CADS founder Steve Rimmer took on three studio spaces in Kelham Island in order to house equipment for his music promotions company. He soon realised that the spaces he had were slightly too big for him so he sought out other artists to take on two of the studios. Before long more people started to contact Steve enquiring about studio spaces; so much so that he decided to set up a studio complex in Shalesmoor, and so CADS was born!
CADS' headquarters, CADS Works, is a former cutlery factory. In the beginning it was bare and blank. This enormous building's only function was to house many, many pigeons. A team of dedicated and hard working individuals grafted to transform the building into a labyrinth of art work and studios providing space for a community of artists from a variety of backgrounds.
Over the next few years CADS grew from taking on their first entire building (CADS Works) with 10 studios to providing over 86 studios across 6 buildings around Sheffield. As well as this, the main space on Smithfield became synonymous with Sheffield’s underground party scene with The Night Kitchen event space and its predecessor Dirty Little Secret earning acclaim both within the city and even in the national press, bringing some of the best artists from the UK and around the world to what was previously a quiet corner of Sheffield.
In 2013 CADS gained charitable status with its mission to provide affordable space to people regardless of their social or economic circumstances, however established they may be in their chosen field.
The activities of the charity have developed beyond the provision of affordable space to include programmes of support for various groups facing disadvantage. One such programme "Space Cadets" gives use of a studio free of charge for 6 weeks at a time to artists of limited financial means to pursue an idea or project.
We have also begun to work with external partners to provide support for needy communities in Sheffield, including therapeutic art workshops for people with drug and alcohol dependency issues, learning difficulties, depression and chronic illness. We are continuing to develop new programmes for the future and are looking to deliver accredited courses for people pursuing careers in the creative industries, an artist in residence programme and improved facilities for theatre and performance productions. As our trading develops further we will use our surpluses to support and further develop these programmes.
This year we created our trading arm, CADS Space, to handle studio and space rental, allowing separation between our work as a charity and the day to day running of the organisation. This is an exciting time for CADS as we look to extend our charitable programme to include more projects for more people as well as improving the support we can give to our studio holders. We have also taken on a new building and are now managing over 100 studios!
For six years the CADS journey has been one of continual development and transformation, and thanks to volunteers, committed staff and other help we’ve managed to continue our work and become a front runner in Sheffield’s creative sector.
CADS is committed to an ethos of affordability, inclusivity and creating spaces that are laid back and multi-functional. Studios range from small rooms for one desk, all the way through to large offices and workshops. This is reflected in the diversity of our studio holders too, people of all ages and backgrounds are resident in CADS and we’re all the better for it!
Over the past few years CADS has seen artists, makers, designers, music producers, bands, composers, actors, teachers, business owners, robot makers, guitar creators, speaker testers and more pass through its doors creating a vibrant community that we’re adding to all the time!