A new decade heralds a new chapter for the York Festival of Ideas – Harrogate Informer


The York Festival of Ideas – one of the largest free events of its kind in the UK – returns in June at the start of a second decade of educating, entertaining and inspiring diverse audiences of all ages across the world.

From June 11-24, the Festival’s theme for 2022 is The Next Chapter and it features over 150 mostly free events delivered in a truly hybrid schedule. The Festival has adapted to the challenges posed by Covid-19 restrictions over the past two years by moving into the virtual sphere, making it more inclusive and significantly increasing its international reach.

The 2022 Festival will feature a dynamic, innovative and eclectic program split between in-person and online events. The program tackles issues as varied as the geopolitics of the war in Ukraine, the use of medical robotics and the hidden secrets of our hometown.

The York Festival of Ideas, whose main sponsor is the Holbeck Charitable Trust, is supported by almost 100 partners, including cultural, social and business organisations, all passionate about the importance of sharing knowledge and ideas.

Led by the University of York, the festival celebrates human ingenuity and imagination, and the power of education and ideas to change lives for the better. Its varied program includes events featuring distinguished international contributors such as Oscar-winning Dune director Joe Walker, author Sir Michael Morpurgo (marking his fourth Festival appearance), actress Dame Harriet Walter and academic , writer and former politician Dr. Michael Ignatieff.

Since its inception in 2011, the Festival has made cultural connections across Europe, Asia, North America and Australia and last year audiences drew nearly 67,000 spectators from 130 countries .

This year’s program goes from local to global with lectures and online discussions by world-class speakers, as well as performances, walking trails and fun activities for the whole family.

Actress Dame Harriet Walter will star in a performance of I, Clara with its creator, pianist Lucy Parham, to celebrate the life of Clara Schumann, the wife of composer Robert Schumann and a pioneering musician in her own right.

In a spectacular presentation at York Minster, Sir Michael Morpurgo, along with actress Natalie Walter and cellist Clare O’Connell, will perform a concert based on his recently published collection of poems Carnival of the Animals, illustrated by artist Michael Foreman and inspired by the music of Camille Saint-Saëns.

As part of the Festival’s analysis of the future of Europe, Canadian historian of ideas and Booker Prize finalist Dr. Michael Ignatieff will discuss the evolving geopolitical landscape of the continent. It will examine the rise of authoritarianism in Hungary and Turkey and the post-Brexit realignment of the EU with the UK as well as the evolution of its relationship with the US. More exciting program partnerships will be announced in the coming days.

Joan Concannon, director of the York Festival of Ideas, said:

We are delighted to turn the page on a new chapter for the Festival in 2022 with a truly hybrid program that is at once adventurous, topical, challenging and fun.

Our main goal has always been to engage a wide variety of audiences by making most of the Festival program free. We are deeply grateful to all our sponsors without whom this ambition would not be possible. Thanks to their generosity, year after year, we managed to attract at least 40% of our audience to the Festival – and to the University – for the first time. It is fundamental to York University’s ethos to be a university for the public good.

The way we have turned the challenges posed by Covid-19 restrictions over the past two years into opportunities is a source of great pride. Partners, performers, the Festival organizing team and above all the public have adopted new modes of inclusion, helping us to multiply the number of people with whom we engage in the world.

York has a great tradition as a city of ideas, innovation and inspiration. We are therefore proud to have attracted thought-provoking and thought-provoking experts on a wide range of topics. I know they will, in turn, be inspired by our engaged and enthusiastic audiences.

The York Festival of Ideas is organized in partnership with nearly 100 organisations, including the Jaipur Literature Festival, the French Embassy in the UK and the University of York Europe campus: CITY College.

Don’t miss the 2022 program online April 29 at yorkfestivalofideas.com and join our mailing list via the website to be among the first to see the full program.


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