About Our Project

The Stories in the Sky Project is a collaboration between the University of York and the Residents’ Association of Park Hill, Sheffield.

Our Mission

Our mission was to create a digital aid to the Residents’ Association’s tours of Park Hill. We wanted this app to show visitors archival images and film, allowing them to better understand the history of Park Hill as they are shown the complex. However, we were aware that the app should compliment the tours, and provide a useful addition, as opposed to being a distraction.

Our Team

Professor Dawn Hadley (University of York) – Project Lead

Dr Catriona Cooper (Royal Holloway, University of London) – Co-Project Lead

Josie Wallace (University of York) – Project Officer

Amy Littlewood (Park Hill Residents’ Association) – Project Partner

David Watkins (Park Hill Residents’ Association) – Project Partner

Joe Empsall (University of York) – XR Stories MRes Student

Nick Bax (Human) – Project Partner

Dan Fleetwood (Human) – Project Partner

The making of our app

We set out key aims before taking on the making of the Stories in the Sky app. These included ensuring that the app:

  • Was easy to use for a variety of ages
  • Could be updated easily as Park Hill changes
  • Showed the history of Park Hill in a simple format

We used images sourced from Sheffield City Libraries and Archives, as well as archival video footage, images from Urban Splash, and images taken by the Project Officer to build the app.

The Home Page uses a simple map of Park Hill to geo-locate areas of specific interest. The user can click on each location to flip through images and a short film clip.

Here you can see the action button on the side. These have been activated by clicking on the ‘i’ or ‘Q’ symbol. These give people a little bit of information relating to each slide, and a question to encourage people to think deeper about Park Hill’s past.

The app includes footage from the early 1960’s, soon after people moved into Park Hill. This really helps to give you an insight into what life would have been like on the estate in the early 1960s.

XR Stories: Stories in the Sky

Masters Research into the effectiveness of digital technologies for storytelling.

As part of the Stories in the Sky project, Joseph Empsall is undertaking research into the effective delivery of an immersive storytelling experience for Park Hill flats. Funded by XR Stories, the University of York project has collaborated with industry partner Human VR, to develop a Virtual Reality experience. This aims to capture the stories and identities rooted to the estate, an important, but often overlooked, factor in its value as a Grade II* listed building.

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