Mindfield is an international festival of ideas organised by Naoise Nunn who is originally from Kilkenny but now lives in Oranmore, Galway. The most recent event took place in Merrion Square, Dublin and had more than 5,000 visitors over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Mindfield has four main themes or areas; culture, technology, politics and inspiration. As Naoise explains, “It is about having the big public conversation about where we are at and where we are going and so on. The common thread is that the people are expressing ideas, coming up with ideas, trying to innovate, trying to get us out of the bind that we are in.”
He set Leviathan up in 2003 as a very informal, interactive debate combined with entertainment. in the form of satire, film and comedy. Three years later he was invited to go down to the Electric Picnic and do Leviathan at the festival in a tent.
“Obviously, Leviathan is just one show and we ended up programming the tent for the weekend. The next year we had two tents. The year after that it was eight. Mindfield developed into being a festival within a festival — a spoken word forum for ideas and so on.”
Naoise had been thinking for some time about spinning Mindfield out on its own and make it an urban festival in a park. He says that he could not have picked a better location.
“Here we are in Merrion Square, right in the centre of the City. At one end you have the parliament, you’ve got the Arts Council, you’ve got the Goethe institute, you’ve got the Institute of Architects. There’s also Oscar Wilde’s house and the American College. It is the cultural hub of Dublin and of the country so it is the ideal location for it.”
Based on the success of this event, Naoise says, there will definitely be a Mindfield international festival of ideas taking place next year.