Futurecade is an extensive and immersive exhibition across disciplines, departments and faculties, using art to encapsulate the essence of research conducted at the University of Sheffield. By connecting artists with academics, Festival of the Mind encourages the public to enquire about the past, understand our current worlds and selves, and reimagine our collective future.
The exhibition explores themes ranging from climate change, extinction and sustainability to health and hope, often employing games, 3D/360 and VR/AR technology to bring ideas to life. For instance, Project 2050 puts you in the shoes of an engineer dealing with famine, water shortage, disease and natural disasters expected in 2050. The game allows you to practice your problem-solving skills by understanding engineering dilemmas while you attempt to choose the most effective option. As humanity already faces these threats in 2020, now is a good time to educate ourselves regarding the effectiveness of the solutions proposed and support their implementation accordingly.
While Project 2050 tackles the effects of climate change at a structural level, Breathing Space is concerned with its impact on individual health. I was pleasantly surprised to see the socio-political aspect of climate change acknowledged through the story of Ella Kissi Debrah. Gina Allen’s portraits of Ella are powerful as they allow space for both grief and determination to change our collective practices and avoid more preventable deaths.