Engineering fuses with the arts for Sheffield city festival

Engineering fuses with the arts for Sheffield city festival

Engineers from the University of Sheffield have announced their involvement in the city-wide Festival of the Mind, a unique collaboration between academics from the University and experts from the city’s cultural and creative industries, running from Thursday 20th to Sunday 30th September 2018.

As part of the Festival, which will also include additional projects involving the wider Faculty of Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering will present an exhibition of iconic portraits, all depicting mechanical engineering researchers and their work, including Insigneo’s Dr Claudia Mazzà (Reader in Biomechanics, Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Dr Xinshan (Shannon) Li (Lecturer).

The result of a collaborative and creative partnership with Orestes, a Sheffield-based photographer who specialises in portraiture, the exhibition aims to challenge pre-conceptions of modern engineering and engineers.

Dr Beverley Gibbs, Director of Learning and Teaching (Strategy) and Senior University Teacher in Engineering Management, worked closely with Orestes on the development of the project:

“Although the work of mechanical engineers has been an important part of society for thousands of years and played an important role in Sheffield becoming a world-famous city, perceptions of our work are a bit stuck in the 1800s.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to show how relevant and creative mechanical engineering is, and have enjoyed working with Orestes to focus on people who do this kind of work and the kind of objects they work with.”

Coinciding with the Year of Engineering, this unique visual project offers an insight into the breadth of 21st Century mechanical engineering and the people involved.

Ten academics are featured in the exhibition, depicted with their research interests which span the human skeleton, aeroplanes and wearable technology through to body organs, sports equipment, wind turbines, car engines, 3D printing and fuel combustion.

As Orestes, the photographer who developed each image, adds:

“This project has been a brilliant opportunity for me to find out a little more about the fascinating mechanical engineering research taking place at the University of Sheffield. It has also been a rewarding and creative challenge to work on images that show the connection between the researcher and the work that they do, in a way that hopefully engages the viewer.”

Vice-President and Head of Engineering, Professor Mike Hounslow said:

“At Sheffield, we pride ourselves on delivering pioneering, interdisciplinary research that makes a real difference locally, nationally and globally. At its heart, engineering is a very creative discipline, something we share with those in the Arts.

“We aim to inspire people with the power of engineering through these interactive exhibits and make engineering research more accessible to the general public at this family friendly, city-wide event.”

Visitors can view the Mechanical Engineering exhibition at Sheffield Cathedral throughout the Festival of the Mind (free of charge, no ticket required).

For more information on the Festival of the Mind programme, please visit:

Academics involved in the exhibition include:
Dr Rob Howell
Dr David Fletcher
Dr Claudia Mazzà (Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine)
Dr Matt Carré
Dr Ifigeneia Antoniadou
Dr Shannon Li (Insigneo Institue for in silico Medicine)
Dr Candice Majewski (MAPP)
Dr Kamran Mumtaz (MAPP)
Dr Bill Nimmo (Energy2050)
Anna Georgiadou