About Access Space

 Access Space is an arts and education organisation, where people interested in art, design, computers, recycling, music, electronics, photography and more, meet like-minded people, share and develop skills.  We engage with and encourage a very broad section of the community to get involved with artistic, creative and technical projects.

Access Space is a registered charity. Over the years we’ve received funding from Arts Council England, The Big Lottery, Tudor Trust, Lottery Awards for All, South Yorkshire Community Foundation, Sheffield Town Trust, ESF and ERDF in partnerships with local councils, from many other trusts and foundations, and more recently from Sheffield University. We have worked with a wide range of organisations in the city and beyond in an artistic, creative or technical capacity as facilitators and project partners.

Access Space has used recycled computer technology and the open source operating system Linux since its it opened in 2000. We have been advocates of free and Open Source software since then also. helping people install Linux and its suite of free software on their computers at no cost to themselves.

We have always aimed to keep our carbon footprint as low as we can and have encouraged reuse and repair (particularly in a DIY context) over the last twenty years. We have used old, donated or repaired computer and creative technology to run all our programmes.

In 2012 we were named as one of the UK’s New Radicals by The National Foundation For Science and the Arts (NESTA) for our work with recycling and reuse of creative technology for social benefit. 

Please note that early in April 2023 we moved from our two temporary spaces in what will become Event Central at 22-26 Fargate, Sheffield S1 2HE (opposite Marks & Spencer) to a new office in Cuthbert House, Arley St, Sheffield, S2 4QP. If you would like to contact us please email office@access-space.org in the first instance and we’ll be happy to phone you back or set up a meeting in person or by Zoom.

Sadly, the building we had inhabited since 2000 on Sidney St. (near the Showroom Cinema) has been demolished. From June 2022 to April 2023 we had a great time right in the centre of the city on the pedestrian shopping street, Fargate, and we’d like to say a big thank you to Prof. Vanessa Toulmin of University of Sheffield and to Sheffield City Council for the amazing opportunity.

That building is now being redeveloped with money from the Future High Street Fund and will become Event Central, a city centre cultural hub, in 2024.

We hope to find a permanent new venue also in 2024. In the mean time we will be using other venues for activities and our office on Arley St. Please email office@access-space.org if you’d like to get in touch.

You can find out about news and events coming up by joining our mailing list (see menu above) or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/accessspace


Below is information about Access Space as it was until Covid restrictions, when we needed to close temporarily.


Access Space runs Refab Space, a DIY FabLab, developed and completed in 2012. With its suite of rapid prototyping tools, including a laser cutter, 3D printer and CNC router, this benefits artists, business start-ups and the community as a whole.

Access Space is an inclusive environment. As well as working with artists, academics, creative technologists, programmers, scientists, other professionals and students, 50% of  the participation in Access Space’s activities have been from people in danger of exclusion and on the margins of society, including: people with disabilities, homeless people, ex-offenders, asylum seekers, refugees and people with mental health issues. Through Refab Space, Access Space engages with self starters and entrepreneurs as well. One of the strengths of Access Space is that it brings people from different backgrounds together.

We aim to inspire people to do new creative things; we aim to make a positive impact on people’s lives by helping them to get out of their comfort zone in a supportive environment.

We operate at a very low cost with a minimal carbon footprint through our innovative model, which combines free, open source software and locally sourced recycled laptops with the collective know-how of a skill-sharing community. The capital cost of the lab is next to nothing, upgrades are free, and the capacity of the lab to deliver skills increases with usage.