For the most part, those of us blessed with our sense of hearing are oblivious to the cacophony of sounds surrounding us, so focused are we on our day-to-day lives. Every once in a while though, something occurs that makes us stop and listen. That something happened to me on Saturday during a visit to Sheffield. In an attempt to escape the weather I wondered into the Millennium Gallery and stepped ‘Inside the Circle of Fire’, a Sound Map by Chris Watson. Sitting in the semi-darkness (though at one point I did go one step further and actually shut my eyes) I was surrounded by the sounds that have forged the city of Sheffield. I was swept from the Peaks, to the birdsong in Ecclesall Woods, to the cheering crowds at Hillsborough, the trams and of course, the furnaces of the steel-makers. The Map was accompanied by some stunning black and white images of the city by Alan Silvester. For me however, it was the sounds that brought the city to life in a way that I perhaps hadn’t thought of before: rather than images defining a place or time, it was a sound, and it was these sounds that were taking me on a whistlestop tour of Sheffield, city of steel. If you are in the are it is well worth a visit – it runs until 23 Feb 2014.

Millenium Galleries Sheffield                     Check out the gallery website for further details.