Storying Sheffield

The Virtual Hole in the Road


It has become a legend. Even people who used to shop there every Saturday find themselves asking: Did the Hole in the Road really exist?

Yes. The Hole in the Road was a marvel of 60s urban planning: an underground shopping centre in the heart of the city. But it was filled in 22 years ago.

And now we’ve recreated it. Just put on the virtual reality headset and you’re there. As you travel through it, you choose which paths to explore. Each path leads to a unique set of stories, episodes from real lives, all linked to one extraordinary place.

This project was created for the University’s Festival of the Mind, and was a collaboration between:

Human is a Sheffield-based creative agency with global credentials. Specialising in CGI animation and virtual reality, the team work with everyone from renowned academics and star DJs to fashion icons and US tech-innovators. They’ve exhibited their work in Europe, Japan, Brazil and the United States. Founder Nick Bax is a visiting lecturer in design and visual communication and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Steve Maddock is senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and head of the VRGraphicS research group. He fondly remembers the BBC Micro. Professor Guy Brown’s research helps create machines that mimic our ability to process complex mixtures of sounds.

Architect and educator Satwinder Samra began his career with Urban Splash, working on projects such as Concert Square in Liverpool and Trafford Park in Manchester. Chris Smith is a research associate in computational mechanics and design.

Brendan Stone, School of English, is Professor of Social Engagement and director of the Storying Sheffield project. Poet and photographer Adrian Scott, a Storying Sheffield contributor, has published two collections of poetry.