Sheffield University event is great success

A giant Bower-bird nest has been created in Weston Park as part of the Festival of the Mind. Nicola Hemmings and Sally Ann Roberts in the nest
A giant Bower-bird nest has been created in Weston Park as part of the Festival of the Mind. Nicola Hemmings and Sally Ann Roberts in the nest
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THOUSANDS of people have packed events as part of a unique university festival in Sheffield - smashing expectations.

Families, students and older people have turned up to everything from philosophy lectures to tours of secret zoology museums as part of the University of Sheffield’s first Festival of the Mind.

The free event launched last week and is an 11-day festival where the university has teamed up with the city’s creative community to showcase its cultural strengths.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, festival director, said: “It has been an astounding success.

“The people of Sheffield have really embraced it.

“We’ve had about 2,500 people through the door of the Spiegeltent venue in Barker’s Pool and attendance at the Alfred Denny Museum has been amazing, with about 800 people attending at the weekend.

“It was hoped we would get 3,000 people over the 10 days and we have already exceeded that.”

The festival continues until Sunday and has included re-enacting a famous 17th century experiment to demonstrate the effects of atmospheric pressure, while a giant Bowerbird’s nest was also created in Weston Park.

Highlights still to come include an evening of historical film dating from the start of the 20th century on September 29 from 4.30pm in the Spiegeltent.

Early film taken in 1902, dancing pigs and magical delights all feature in Peculiar Entertainments: Magic and Early Film.

Professor Toulmin is sharing some of the treasures of her collection taken from the university’s world-renowned National Fairground Archive, of which she is curator.

She said: “Although my main role has been to curate the Festival of the Mind, we had a slot in the programme at the end of the festival. And it seemed a lost opportunity not to bring such magical early film to such an exquisite venue with its own sense of showman’s glamour.

“I know people in Sheffield will love looking at their own history captured on these reels, and see the warmth and humour and beauty of a bygone age.”

Visit http://festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk/ for the programme.