Revolutionary science and innovative art which is set to shape our future will be brought to life at the world’s only festival of academic-city collaboration, taking place in Sheffield next week.
Festival of the Mind is an 11-day series of events that showcase pioneering partnerships between world-leading academics at the University of Sheffield and experts from the city’s creative and cultural industries.
The international festival has grown immensely since its launch in 2012, after receiving a 50% increase in external funding with grants from Arts Council England and the Royal Society. Sheffield City Council is also a partner providing venues at no cost.
This year, 46-academic-city partnerships will produce over 100 performances, exhibitions, virtual reality experiences and interactive events – transforming how we teach Sheffield’s communities about the University’s vital research.
Festival Director Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said: “Festival of the Mind is a unique collaboration between our leading academic expertise and the creative and cultural talent of our wonderful city – there is nothing else like it in the world.
“The festival offers an opportunity for people who are curious about research to learn and engage in the most innovative ways. It also introduces our students to Sheffield’s unique creative individuals and businesses and offers them a fantastic opportunity to volunteer in public engagement. We are delighted that grants from Arts Council England and The Royal Society will enable us to reach a wider audience than ever before.”
This year’s events have been designed around six themes: Making, Journeys, Virtual, Local and Global, Activism and Utopia/Placemaking. A highlight of this year’s festival will be ‘Futurecade’, a utopian vision of future realities in the digital sphere. The 15 intriguing projects will invite visitors to step into a world of virtual reality and get a glimpse of what life and art will look like in 2025.
The festival offers an opportunity for people who are curious about research to learn and engage in the most innovative ways. It also introduces our students to Sheffield’s unique creative individuals and businesses and offers them a fantastic opportunity to volunteer in public engagement
The Local and Global theme reflects the University of Sheffield’s proud heritage as a truly global university with students from over 140 different countries.
In 2013, Sheffield launched the award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign – which has now been backed by over 100 universities, education institutions and international organisations. #WeAreInternational aims to recognise the value of international scholarship and its contribution to the economy and culture.
Enterprising University of Sheffield graduates will be giving festival-goers the opportunity to take part in a unique communal dining experience with their inspiring Foodhall project.
Louis Pohl and Jamie Wilde launched their Freecycle food network to trial new ways of engaging the wider community through shared food. Now, their Eyre Street Cafe in the centre of Sheffield is a place where people are invited to cook or dine communally on a pay as you feel basis. The menu changes daily and the fridge is always stocked with food that may have otherwise been thrown away.
Architecture graduate, Louis Pohl, said: “The problems of food waste and social isolation are implicitly linked; they can be traced back to a lack of infrastructure for communal dining and food sharing.”
Every event in the festival is open to all and free of charge. Professor Shearer West, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, said: “Festival of the Mind not only showcases the ground breaking research developed at the University, but it also highlights the vibrancy of the city of Sheffield. This inspiring series of events brings our international research to life in an inventive and engaging way for the whole community to enjoy.
“The festival is a great opportunity for our students from across the globe to make a difference in the city which becomes their adopted home.”