Festival of the Mind - Previous Projects

Here are just a few examples of projects which have featured in Festival of the Mind 2012, 2014 and 2016

These are unique collaborations between our researchers and the creative & cultural talent of our city. The projects focus on our groundbreaking research which have been showcased as part of the festivals in venues across the city.

As part of the festival the majority of events were free and open to the public. These projects were funded by the University of Sheffield, Arts Council England, the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society; with support from Sheffield City Council, Moor Markets & City of Makers.

For more on previous projects, see the full 2016 Festival of the Mind programme of events here.


denny 250

Alfred Denny Museum

In 2012 the Alfred Denny Museum collection was rejuvinated in preparation for the museum's first opening to the public, which took place as part of Festival of the Mind.


"The public's enthusiasm for the museum has been inspirational.  We're thrilled to be able to open up the museum to everyone." Professor Tim Birkhead.

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Fairness on the 83

Fairness on the 83

A film project that traces the 83 bus on its journey across the city, engaging members of the public and professionals in discussion about inequality in their city, encouraging debate on important topics and exploring what can be done to make Sheffield a fairer, less divided city.


"To me, fairness means I treat people with respect, give them time, be patient, be understanding." Interviewee.

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Happy Sheffield

#Happy Sheffield

The #happysheffield project was part of Festival of the Mind 2016.  It is a collaboration between University of Sheffield academics in ScHARR and Dept of Computer Science, plus two creative partners in Sheffield, Human Studio and Ignite Imaginations.  The project measures happiness (and 7 other emotional states) via an “affect analysis” of the words used by twitter users in Sheffield.


"Fascinating research! Looks nice as well." Audience member.

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Hyperbolic Forest

Hyperbolic Forest

Explaining the mathematics of hyperbolic surfaces through an engaging installation of non-euclidean knitting and crochet.


"The Hyperbolic Forest is absolutely stunning.  I loved it. So beautiful, clever, inspiring, thought provoking and creative."  Audience member.


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Cosmos250

Sounds of the Cosmos

Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics & Astronomy provides a contemporary overview of astronomy at the Sounds of the Cosmos event during the 2014 Festival of the Mind.


"The music was wonderful.  It was really impressive and really complemented the facts that were being shared." Audience member.

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sharingSpace for Sharing

A play and discussion with the aim of showing to the public how people with life-threatening illnessess share information, experiences and emotions in the virtual world.


"I found this play very moving and a fantastic way to represent this research to a wider audience. Very well-staged and characters felt well-developed. Really good way of addressing various issues relating to illness and online sharing." Audience member.

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You've got a nerveYou've Got a Nerve

An interactive installation showing how nerves respond to injury and how they recover.


"I was very surprised and pleased by the amount of public interest in this field.  For some it was related to their personal medical problems, and for other (particularly the children) because they were really keen to learn about how the nervous system works.Professor Fiona Boissonade.

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dark wood

In a Dark Wood

Words and images of mental distress across a century


"Very impressed with In a Dark Wood.  Incredibly powerful selection of images and voices with a wonderful atmospheric soundtrack." Audience Member.

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