Castle House

Thurs 18 – Sun 28 Sept, 10.30am-5pm

Castle House is an iconic, Grade II listed local landmark, formerly the Co-op department store and post office. Throughout Festival of the Mind, this massive building will come alive with 20 Arts Council-funded art commissions, ten shop shows inspired by the National Fairground Archive, numerous Festival of the Mind project showcases and much more. There will also be historic tours of the building at 2pm daily.

Exploring and reimagining Sheffield Castle, the Imaginary Castles exhibition will feature models and drawings by pupils of St Wilfrid’s Primary School and Hunter’s Bar Junior School. Professor John Moreland will also talk (Fri 19 Sept, 5-6pm, Spiegeltent) about the near-mythical castle and how it was interpreted by the pupils.

ReMake Castlegate is a collaboration between the School of Architecture and Yorkshire Artspace based around a 1:200 base map of the Castlegate area. Hosted at Exchange Place Studios throughout the festival (excluding Sundays), the project will work with people to create scale models of key buildings, all the while collecting memories and opinions about Castlegate. The aim is to capture what has been lost, what remains and what could be.

Harvey Teasdale: The Sheffield Man Monkey

Sat 20 Sept, 1-2.30pm & 3-4.30pm, Spiegeltent

Showman Harvey Teasdale started his colourful career as a clown and performer in the working class pubs of Victorian Sheffield, putting on plays based on local stories of crimes and misdemeanours, before moving to Shakespearean theatrical performances and his famous ‘man monkey’ act. Based on Teasdale’s unique autobiography, first published in 1878, Harvey Teasdale: The Sheffield Man Monkey explores this larger-than-life character, who was imprisoned at Wakefield Prison for attempting to shoot his wife, underwent a religious conversion, and on his release two years later continued touring the city to denounce his former criminal life, ceremonially destroying his play scripts and his monkey costumes. As well as exploring the life of a largely unknown local character, the theatre piece will demonstrate the liveliness of working-class performance culture in 19th century Sheffield.

This project is the latest collaboration between the University’s Department of Archaeology and Point Blank theatre company, whose joint production All Sorts of Wickedness, which focused on Sheffield Manor Lodge’s 19th Century mining community, featured as part of the Festival of the Mind in 2012.

Pop Up Gardens

Thurs 18 – Sun 28 Sept

Sheffield is already one of the greenest cities in Europe, but that’s no reason not to add more greenery, particularly to the city centre. Headed up by Royal Horticultural Society gold medal winner Professor Nigel Dunnett, City Centre Pop Up Gardens in a Bag will set up temporary gardens and installations along a ‘green trail’ from Barker’s Pool to Snig Hill. A full list of the garden locations can be found on the back of this mag and in the FOTM programme, and Professor Dunnett will talk about the project at the Spiegeltent on Sunday 21 September. This project is part of a wider initiative which is a shortlist contender in the national Grow Wild competition, with a plan to create an urban eco-park in the city centre called Love Square.

You don’t often hear the words ‘renegade’ and ‘gardener’ uttered in the same sentence, but in the case of Ron Finley the association makes sense. His organisation, LA Green Grounds, plants gardens at low-income homes in Los Angeles, and his talk (Tues 23 Sept, 7-8.30pm, Cathedral) will focus on how green fingers can transform urban spaces for the better. Free to attend but requires booking on the Festival of the Mind website.

In keeping with the theme, The Resilient City (23-28 Sept, Winter Garden) is an exhibition by the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape, focussing on transforming public spaces to create a sustainable, climate-adapted city.

Resilient Cultures

Fri 19 Sept, 9.30am-4pm & Sat 20 Sept, 10am-4pm, Firth Court

Most people understand that when it comes to computing, the options are near limitless, but in an everyday sense, most only experience the banal – word documents, spreadsheets and web browsers. Computers are vital tools for experimentation and the exploration of new ideas, but for many years programming was not considered an important part of ICT education. But with the recent advent of cheap, customisable and configurable computers, like the best-known Raspberry Pi, a whole world is opening up that is accessible to anyone, helped along by open source hardware and software, supportive online communities and a DIY approach to exploring practical and artistic avenues.

The Raspberry Pi is easy to integrate with many other devices and can be used to build anything from homemade cameras to household robots. Resilient Cultures celebrates these developments with a dozen collaborative exhibitions and a stage show, balancing artistic and academic uses of technology to give a small sample of the virtually endless possibilities. The futuristic visions of Iain M Banks, Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams aren’t as far away as you think.

Event on Friday 19 September for school groups only.

festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk