Festival of the Mind set to return after resounding success

The University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind is set to return to Sheffield after the resounding success of this year’s festival, which saw over 16,000 visitors in 11 days.

Festival of the Mind will return to the city firstly as a mini-festival in September 2013, then as a full festival in autumn 2014 - creating new projects, ideas and collaborations to inspire Sheffield again.
Pair standing with statue

The first Festival of the Mind took place this year (20-30 September 2012) and was the creation of Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield and showman sculptor Anthony Bennett. The Festival also formed part of the University’s work as a modern Civic University, founded a century ago on the aspirations of the people of the city of Sheffield and continuing to make a real difference to the education, economy, health and cultural life of the city and the wider world.

The 11 day experience featured 56 city-wide events, including tours of the University’s ‘secret’ Alfred Denny Museum, a poem being launched into space and an army of robots creating art, to name but a few highlights.

The festival was the first of its kind and achieved international media coverage. Professor Vanessa said: “We were blown away by the success of Festival of the Mind. Everyone worked so hard, but we never could have anticipated 16,000 visitors, it was fantastic. I knew the people of Sheffield would have a real appetite to engage with our research if we presented in the right way, and this just shows how much potential this kind of activity has.”

The University has committed funding for the next Festival of the Mind in 2014, which is set to be even bigger and better than this year. Events will again take place across the city but centre around the beautiful 1920s cabaret spiegeltent that captivated audiences in Barkers Pool this year.

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "The Festival of the Mind was a wonderful success and a real tribute to the combined energy and talent of the University and Sheffield's creative community. From science to poetry, from philosophy to computer design, we shared our ideas and 16,000 people joined us. We saw the excitement and inspiration which results when ideas are shared and we want to do more."

For more information on Festival of the Mind visit: festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk/

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