Sheffield's love affairs

Jon Harrison and Janet Jennings organise Lovebytes, an annual international festival of digital art in Sheffield, bringing together a vast array of creative work from the frontiers of music, film, art and design.

Venues include the Winter Garden, the City Library, the Showroom Cinema, the University of Sheffield Students' Union and the Moorlands Centre in Edale.

Jon and Janet are also arts commissioners and occasional film-makers, who like Sheffield for its greenness along with its grey industrial areas. Jon was born and brought up in Sheffield and Janet is from New Mills in Derbyshire.

This piece is written from Jon's perspective on behalf of them both.

The Hole in the Road

The Hole in the Road was a roundabout with an open underpass where pedestrians criss-crossed whilst buses swung around above.

Actually the biggest demisphere in Europe with its own aquarium, it was filled in with rubble of some other lost buildings to make way for Supertram.


Burbage is one of our favourite walks, starting from the bridge at Ringinglow. Once you disappear amongst the pine trees down in the valley you could be anywhere – the Lake District? Canada?

A friend who came over from South America as a student always wanted to use it as a backdrop for a cowboy film. With those rocky outcrops towering around I can see why – it's a good place for an ambush, or a picnic.

The Moorlands Centre Edale

I used to dash out further to the Vale of Edale whenever I could to get more of a taste of the wilderness. Setting off from Edale and barely getting down from Kinder before nightfall is really exhilarating.

In Edale there's a brilliant new visitor centre called the Moorlands Centre. I was out there recently with the extraordinary Owl Project for an event as part of Lovebytes 2007. I promised myself I'd get lost amongst the peat bogs again this summer.

A bike ride over Abney Moor

This is my favourite bike ride, taking in Ringinglow, Hathersage, Castleton Road, Bradwell, Tideswell, to Great Hucklow to watch some gliders. Then it's time to freewheel for miles through Abney all the way back to Hathersage – and collapse.

At this point the chocolate shop in Hathersage becomes a favourite place, then it's a bit of a knee-breaker back home.

Various industrial buildings

You probably know the ones. That place with no windows at the bottom of Charter Row, for instance. You either work in them or just walk past them. I don't know what half of them are used for.

They are the grey areas of England's greenest city: brutal, faceless, intriguing and beautiful.


It's coming soon, it's the best kids' film festival in the world and we are itching to get our tickets.

Even before we had children, me and Janet were avid fans of kids' TV and animation festivals. Now we have Showcomotion here in Sheffield right on our doorstep – family bliss.

The New Sheffield

Sheaf Square, Millennium Galleries, Winter Garden, The Peace Gardens…

I think the pedestrian 'corridor' leading up from the station into the heart of town is really successful. These new spaces are obviously created for people to enjoy.

Over two evenings, tonight and tomorrow night, this area provides the venues for two extraordinary events as part of Lovebytes 2006: a sound installation in the Winter Garden by the Norwegian musician and sound artist Biosphere and a performance by the Japanese artist Yasunao Tone.

Both have free admission and offer a chance to experience these spaces in a completely new light.

Abbeydale Picture House

I'll end with a memory of a place that is currently being brought back to life. This is where I had my first experience of cinema, etching some of my earliest memories.

For a five-year-old Live and Let Die had some memorable moments. I have only just got to know about the planned renovation and I'm really Iooking forward to seeing it back as a fully functioning cinema and venue.