Previous projects

Festival of the Mind highlights

Festival of the Mind showcases projects co-produced by our research staff and Sheffield’s cultural and creative industries. Together they create a magical series of events for everyone to get involved with.

These interactive events, performances, talks and exhibitions are designed to educate, inform and create debate.

Explore how events have made an impact in the city with projects from previous years:


The Alfred Denny Museum

During Festival of the Mind 2012 the Alfred Denny Museum opened its doors for two weekends. The popularity of the museum exceeded all expectations and the tours ran at full capacity throughout the four days.

Looking back: The Alfred Denny Museum

Denny museum


Looking back: #happysheffield

The #happysheffield project used live analysis of social media data to create a visualisation of happiness levels in Sheffield. The results were projected onto buildings throughout the city centre during Festival of the Mind 2016.

Looking back: #happysheffield

Happy Sheffield


Fairness on the 83

This project sparked a discussion about fairness and inequality among people who use the 83 bus. It culminated in an exhibition and a series of short films showing interviews interspersed with highlights from a report on fairness.

Looking back: Fairness on the 83

Fairness on the 83


Sounds of the Cosmos

This project saw breath-taking performances in the Octagon of Gustav Holst’s The Planets combined with stunning visuals of real-life space imagery. The musical performances were interspersed with short talks, and facts and figures about the incredible cosmos that surrounds us. Watch our highlights video and find out more.

Looking back: Sounds of the Cosmos


In A Dark Wood: Words and Images of Mental Illness Across a Century

This project explored changing perceptions of mental distress and illness through contemporary verbal accounts and photographic archive material. The team juxtaposed portrait photographs from the early 1900s of patients from the former Middlewood Hospital in Sheffield, with a contemporary audio track.

Looking back: In A Dark Wood

Dark Forest exhibition


You’ve Got a Nerve!

You’ve Got a Nerve! was an interactive installation showing how nerves respond to injury and how they recover. The exhibit used animation, UV lighting and 3D printing to provide an immersive learning experience.

Looking back: You’ve Got a Nerve!

You’ve Got a Nerve! was an interactive installation


Space for Sharing

The aim of this project was to show the public how people with life-threatening illnesses share information, experiences and emotions in the virtual world. Researchers worked with the Dead Earnest theatre company to produce a play based on the real experiences of women living with breast cancer who use the web to share their stories. The performance was followed by an open discussion, led by the researchers who collected the stories.

Looking back: Space for Sharing

Space for Sharing project


Hyperbolic Forest

This tactile and atmospheric installation of knitted and crocheted pieces visualised the mathematics of hyperbolic surfaces. The installation was exhibited at Bank Street Arts from for Festival of the Mind 2016.

Looking back: Hyperbolic Forest

Hyperbolic forest crochet