Festival of the Mind project case-studies

A selection of Festival of the Mind projects, to demonstrate the breadth of research and engagement activities featured in the festival.


Experience Castlegate

An iPad displaying an augmented reality rendering of Sheffield Castle is held in front of a wooden scale model of the Castlegate site

The 'Experience Castlegate' project was a collaboration between the Departments of Archaeology, Architecture and Computer Science, and creative partners Human, to develop a full 3D digital model of Sheffield Castle. The exhibit at Futurecade allowed visitors to experience Sheffield Castle through an augmented reality model, learn about recent archaeological research and see architectural visions of the sites future.

The 'Experience Castlegate’ exhibit featured in the Futurecade exhibition, which received a total of 7,199 visitors. The accompanying talk in the spiegeltent received 300 attendees.

Amazed at the visual representation of the castle and other places. Did not realise computer graphics could work to move objects and make moving images from various view points even without headsets. 

Audience member

Sounds of the Antarctic

An orchestra in pale blue light perform in the Octagon, imagery of snow is projected onto a large screen in the background

'Sounds of the Antarctic' was a collaboration between Concert Producer Stewart Campbell, Sheffield Rep. Orchestra, design studio Human and three academics from the University whose research relates to the antarctic. The event incorporated a breath-taking performance of Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antartica with stunning visuals and short talks exploring glaciology, climatology and superhuman endurance.

The 'Sounds of the Antarctic' performance in the Octagon Centre received 690 attendees.

I loved the combination of classic music and research talks. The talks were just the right length and pitched at just the right level given the variety in the audience. Please do more events like this, how about the 'Sound of the Jurrassic' with a theme of dinosaurs?!

Audience member

Sheffield Carescapes: Potential Futures for a Caring Society

Illustration of a care robot in a woman's home

‘Sheffield Carescapes’ was a physical and online exhibition exploring what the future of the care system might look like. Dr Matthew Lariviere worked with writer Akeem Balogun, and illustrators Kate Morgan and Rob Richardson, to produce an audio-visual collection of ‘carescapes’, immersive stories and illustrations to evoke potential near and distant futures of a society focused on care and empathy.

The physical 'Sheffield Carescapes’ exhibit featured in the Futurecade exhibition, which received a total of 1,707 visitors. The online exhibit has received 709 pageviews to date and the accompanying podcast has received 71 plays.

All the stories I've listened to are really good. Thank you for putting on the festival.

Audience member

The Broken Crab

Illustration of an athlete with the letters NEPA written on her leg running

‘The Broken Crab’ is an audio play written by Joe Skelton and Hannah Goraya, and inspired by Dr Sam Pashneh-Tala’s work on tissue engineering. The play tells the story of a near future where biologically-enhanced athletes are gods among mortals. Champion Kim McBride is at the end of her career, but years as a piece of human technology have taken their toll. Kim is on the verge of owning her body again, but corporate interests and revelations from the past threaten her future.

The Broken Crab audio play has received 223 plays to date and the accompanying live-streamed talk has received 72 plays.

It’s a shame such exciting ideas aren’t able to be aired more widely via the BBC!

Audience member

Open Wide & Look Inside

Tow adults and a small child interact with a giant sculpture of the human mouth

Professor Fiona Boissonade worked with arts collective Ignite Imaginations to produce a large, interactive model of a human mouth. The exhibit illustrated the wide range of oral and dental diseases that are treated at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and how research across the Dental School is helping to improve treatment for these problems.

The 'Open Wide & Look Inside' exhibit featured in the Futurecade exhibition, which received a total of 7,199 visitors.

Very interesting research on dentistry.

Audience member