In UK University cities, there isn’t always a connection between what happens within the halls of academia and the rest of the place’s cultural and artistic scene. The biennial Festival of the Mind – heading into its sixth edition in Sheffield this year – changes that.

The biennial is a unique collaboration between Sheffield University academics conducting world-class research and artistic talent from Sheffield’s creative industries. Think challenging debates, immersive installations and future-facing exhibitions popping up across the northern city. With many of the events on the programme taking place in Barker’s Pool – an early 20th century, Belgian, hand hewn pavilion – or Millenium Gallery (a museum in the city centre), visitors can get a feel for the city’s architecture as well as its arts scene while moving between events (much like Sheffield’s other main festival, Sheffield Doc Fest).

The 2022 edition looked at topics like sexuality, environmentalism, and imagining technologies for disabilities in the future. While the 2024 programme hasn’t been announced yet, it’s set to follow the same trajectory: making expansive ideas across philosophy, neuroscience and technology both visual and digestible.

Festival of the Mind is one of the finalists for Trippin 50, a cultural calendar featuring the best events around the world. Check out the Trippin 50 hub here.

Festival of the Mind

Date and Location

Festival of the Mind is taking place in various venues across Sheffield on 19-29 September 2024.


Throughout the day, temperatures typically settle at around 18°C. By evening, they drop to around 10°C.


Events are generally free.


The event is 2.5 hours by train from London and around 3.5 hours from Edinburgh.


You can rent Airbnbs in the area or find affordable hotels across the town centre.


There is currently no information on accessibility.

Festival of The Mind

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