Great minds turning to thoughts of new festival

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SHEFFIELD University’s first ever Festival of the Mind this year saw a poem being launched into space and an army of robots creating their own artwork.

Now it has been announced that the event is to held in the city again for the next two years.

The Festival of the Mind took place in September and was the brainchild of Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Sheffield University’s head of cultural engagement and showman sculptor Anthony Bennett.

The 11-day experience featured 56 city-wide events as artists and academics worked side-by-side.

Prof Toulmin 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.”

Next year a mini-festival will be held and the university has committed funding for a larger Festival of the Mind in 2014.

“We’ve got big ambitions for the next one,” Prof Toulmin added. “This year’s festival was a great opportunity to learn what works really well and has given us some brilliant ideas for next time around. I want more next time.”

The university’s vice chancellor Prof Keith Burnett, 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.”