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Talks at the York Festival of Ideas 2016

Upcoming talks

Previous talks

Sir Karl Jenkins: Still with the Music

Sunday 19 June 2016

The music of Sir Karl Jenkins transcends boundaries of genre, language and nationality to communicate a profoundly moving message of peace. His works include The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. Sam Jackson, Classic FM’s Managing Editor and Sir Karl’s biographer, will interview Sir Karl about his life, work and influences. The event includes a performance by The Willow Consort.

Preserving Cultural Heritage: What Can We Do?

Sunday 19 June 2016

A panel of experts will discuss how the world is responding to the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, and, more broadly, what can be done to preserve cultural heritage throughout the world.

Who are the Custodians of Cultural Heritage?

Sunday 19 June 2016

An eminent panel of speakers will explore who owns and preserves cultural heritage.

Cultural Heritage: Why Does It Matter?

Sunday 19 June 2016

Experts will explore why the destruction of cultural heritage is important psychologically, historically and architecturally.

Cultural Heritage and the Islamic State

Sunday 19 June 2016

Alia Brahimi, a specialist in terrorism and political trends in the Middle East and North Africa, will provide the background to the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq.

Building a Secure World for the Future

Saturday 18 June 2016

The refugee crisis and the mass movement of people have highlighted the issues of people smuggling, radicalisation and terrorist action. What kind of international policies are required to deliver global security?

Creating a Tolerant Society

Saturday 18 June 2016

Hear from a range of experts including refugees, policy-makers and human rights activists on the experience of refugees and how to create a tolerant society in which differences are respected.

Migration, Migrants and the Media

Saturday 18 June 2016

How are editorial decisions by the media influencing both our response to the refugee crisis and the treatment of refugees when they reach new lands?

Wartime: Britain in the Second World War

Saturday 18 June 2016

Drawing on his new book, Britain’s War, Daniel Todman explores the importance of timing in understanding the experience of conflict. Though ‘wartime’ is often presented as an invariable, Daniel explores how, by linking together the stories of the home and fighting fronts, we can bring new understanding to how the Second World War proceeded and what it meant.

Refugees and Migrants: An Escalating Crisis

Saturday 18 June 2016

Our Festival Focus Day begins by examining questions around why so many people are fleeing their homes and the effectiveness of the international response.

The Origin of Shared Feelings

Saturday 18 June 2016

Many of our strongest feelings are shared with others – we feel a mutual sense of grief at the passing of a loved one, compassion for suffering, awe and inspiration in what we find beautiful, or elevated by music. When and why did we develop a capacity to feel such intense shared emotions? Join leading international specialists from Philosophy and Archaeology as they debate the origins of our shared feelings.

The York Historical Atlas Explained

Saturday 18 June 2016

With nine pages of superbly informative plates, and 11 exquisitely detailed maps based on the 1852 Ordnance Survey map of York, the York Historical Atlas presents a unique overview from Roman to modern times. Editor Peter Addyman, former Director of York Archaeological Trust, will describe working with a team of expert colleagues to create the Atlas, and its significance for understanding the history of our city.

Is Time Running Out for Europe?

Friday 17 June 2016

This event has be cancelled.

Britain and Class: ‘We’re All in it Together’

Friday 17 June 2016

Is the British class system dead or just morphing into something more complex? Who are the new winners and losers?

Staging Greek Tragedy Today

Friday 17 June 2016

Why and how do artists return to the tragedies of ancient Greece to address our concerns about sex, war and loss? What can the stories of Hecuba, Medea or Hercules – and his wife/killer Deianira - tell us about the world we live in today? Join Fiona Macintosh of the University of Oxford and Richard Rowland of the University of York to find out more.

How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today

Friday 17 June 2016

Experts discuss what is needed to thrive in a new economy and to grow businesses.

From Cradle to Graduation: Children and Economic Inclusion

Friday 17 June 2016

We examine the key factors required to promote financial security for children and their parents. Sir Julian Le Grand of the London School of Economics will deliver a keynote speech, which will be followed by a debate.

The Future of Banking

Friday 17 June 2016

Join our expert speakers as they explore the culture of investment banks. Has there been enough reform to avoid another global financial crash?

The Politics of Hope

Friday 17 June 2016

Guardian columnist Owen Jones will deliver a keynote address, before joining a panel discussion exploring the changing political economic landscape.

Histories of the Middle East: Then and Now

Friday 17 June 2016

Join Toby Dodge of the London School of Economics and Political Science - a world-acclaimed expert on Iraq and the Middle East - as he discusses the evolution of Iraq since its creation following World War I.

Herding Hemingway’s Cats

Thursday 16 June 2016

We have all heard of genes, but how do they work? With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat Arney, author of the acclaimed new book Herding Hemingway’s Cats, will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

After Dark: A History of Britain’s Music Venues

Thursday 16 June 2016

Cities after dark have a particular character often defined by specific places and a distinctive soundtrack. Writer and DJ Dave Haslam explores cities after dark in a talk based on his recently published book Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs and Music Venues, described by The Observer as a ‘rousing tribute to Britain’s club culture and its place within the nation’s psyche’.

Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists

Thursday 16 June 2016

Journalist David Aaronovitch talks about his new book Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists. A memoir of early life among communists, Party Animals first took David back through his own memories of belief and action. From there he found himself studying the old secret service files, uncovering the unspoken shame and fears that provided the unconscious background to his own existence as a party animal.

The Chemistry of Breaking Bad

Thursday 16 June 2016

Walter White (a.k.a. Heisenberg), the anti-hero of the TV show Breaking Bad, is a man for whom time is very much running out. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, the chemistry teacher turns to manufacturing illegal drugs to try and provide his family with a financial future. Join David Smith of the University of York to explore some of the fundamental chemistry underpinning the show and find out just how realistic it is.

How Should Cities Grow?

Thursday 16 June 2016

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances this event has now been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Shared Heritage: West and Islamic World

Thursday 16 June 2016

The media often present Islam and the West as two separate worlds. Many public commentators fail to see how Western society and the Islamic World share common cultural roots in our classical heritage. The Romans and Greeks left a shared patrimony of scientific imagination and arts, but also myths and legends. Join us to learn how the English in the Middle Ages shared a similar vision of the past with Muslims of the time.

Surround Sound: Past, Present and Future

Thursday 16 June 2016

Hear how surround sound experiences have evolved from 16th century Venetian choral performances to the large-scale cinematic installations today. Join Gavin Kearney of the University of York as he explains what the future holds for surround sound in the home.

1956: The World in Revolt

Thursday 16 June 2016

Historian Simon Hall, author of 1956: The World in Revolt, discusses one of the most dramatic years of the 20th century – a year that saw ordinary people across the globe speak out, fill the streets and city squares, and take up arms in an attempt to win their freedom. Under challenge, those in power fought back ruthlessly to maintain their position. It was an epic contest and one whose outcomes changed the world.

Reforming the EU: Principles and Pathways

Thursday 16 June 2016

Key figures will debate how to effect reform in the EU.

Britain: Leave or Remain? The Key Arguments For and Against

Thursday 16 June 2016

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson (Vote Leave) and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper MP (Stronger In) will debate the key issues around the EU Referendum.

An Anglian Treasure: The Gilling Sword

Thursday 16 June 2016

A rare chance to hear the story of one of the star objects at the Yorkshire Museum, the Gilling Sword. Join York Museums Trust Curator Natalie McCaul to learn about the discovery of this amazing object. The event includes the chance to get hands on with this and other Anglian treasures from the museum’s collection.

The Social, Legal and Business Consequences of Brexit

Thursday 16 June 2016

A distinguished panel will debate the potential implications of a yes or no vote in the EU Referendum.

A Brief History of Britain and the EU: The Pathway to the Referendum

Thursday 16 June 2016

An impartial and authoritative analysis by Financial Times journalist Tony Barber on the path to Brexit.

Tick Tock: Ideas Against the Clock

Thursday 16 June 2016

The clock is ticking for 10 University of York student researchers as they face the challenge of communicating the impact of their research in just three minutes. Come along and join the audience for the final of York’s Three Minute Thesis competition and hear about the ground-breaking research taking place in York.

The Future of the Welfare State

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Join the York Union for a debate on the future of the Welfare State. Together, state-funded social security, education and healthcare provide the foundations for the welfare state. But the question is: how long does it have left in its current condition, and what is it likely to look like in the future?

Deep Blue: Towards a Maritime Deep History of our Planet

Wednesday 15 June 2016

The sea has connected humanity for millennia. Yet while our planet is predominantly blue, our histories of its ancient people are far too brown and green. Now archaeology, charged with astonishing new finds, reveals a deeper time and the largely untold history of the origins and expansion of our maritime planet. Join Cyprian Broodbank of the University of Cambridge as he tells that story from a Mediterranean and global perspective.

Burials at St Benet’s

Wednesday 15 June 2016

In 2015 Arts Council England funded new research into York Archaeological Trust (YAT) excavations of the Swinegate area of York in the 1980s and 90s. A number of exceptional artefacts were found, belonging to the cemetery of the lost church of St Benet’s. Hear from YAT’s Jane McComish and Steve Allen about the background to this fascinating dig and the new discoveries that continue to be made.

Keeping Time in a Georgian House

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Revolutionary advances in timekeeping during the Georgian Age gave the world new ways to measure time. An affluent society demanded accurate timekeeping to regulate their activities, making the ownership of a clock not just a luxury commodity but also a necessity. Join John C Taylor, one of the world's most renowned inventors and a leading expert on the work of John Harrison, as he explores the keeping of time in the Georgian House.

Lee Miller: A Woman’s War

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Lee Miller is recognised today as one of the most important female war photographers of the 20th century. Hilary Roberts of the Imperial War Museum traces Miller’s remarkable career as a photographer for Vogue Magazine during World War Two. Find out how Miller’s work helps us understand the impact of modern conflict on women’s lives.

No Time Like the Present?

Wednesday 15 June 2016

We like to think that ‘now’ is special, a distinctive moment of reality between a past that no longer exists and a future that is yet to be. We see ourselves as moving forward through time, taking the present moment with us. But is that moment the same for everyone – or as Einstein’s theories suggest, might what is present depend on how fast you are moving? Join us for a mind-boggling trip through the philosophy and physics of time.

Origins of YOU – Times TWO

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to illness.

Social Mobility: The Complex Origins of a Difficult Idea

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Social mobility is a major preoccupation in modern British politics. Yet researchers have worried about social mobility’s downsides ever since they started studying it 70 years ago. Join Chris Renwick as he revisits those concerns, including visions of a trampled underclass rebelling against their meritocratic rulers, and asks what lessons the past has for contemporary social and political reformers.

Mint Yard Lecture: Time’s Anvil

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Join Professor Richard Morris, author of the highly-acclaimed book Time’s Anvil, as he casts fresh light on three quarters of a million years of history in the place we now think of as England. Long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2013, Time’s Anvil explores archaeology’s influence on what such stories say, how they are told, who tells them and how we listen.

Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

Wednesday 15 June 2016

How new is atheism? Tim Whitmarsh, author of Battling the Gods, journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities. Tim explores the origins of the secular values at the heart of the modern state, revealing how atheism and doubt, far from being modern phenomena, have intrigued the human imagination for thousands of years.

One Planet York: Creating a Sustainable City

Wednesday 15 June 2016

York is a fantastic place to live, work and visit. But as with other cities, the clock is ticking. Typically in the UK we are using the resources of three planets when we have just one. Join us for the launch of One Planet York, an emerging partnership working towards a more sustainable, resilient and collaborative ‘One Planet’ city.

How to be a Lazy Guru

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Join Laurence Shorter, author of The Lazy Guru, as he explains his philosophy of enlightened relaxation, creativity and flow. In this entertaining talk you will learn how to connect with your inner lazy guru and achieve more by doing less - with practical tips on how to get back into flow in every aspect of your life. A cartoon guide to mindfulness that is suitable for adults and children alike.

Eamon de Valera and the Irish Rebellion of 1916

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Learn more about Eamon de Valera’s role in the 1916 Irish rebellion. Why was he the senior surviving officer in the Irish Volunteers to escape execution and how did he win power as the unquestioned leader of the Irish revolution of 1916 to 1921? How were the seeds then sown of his emergence as both the greatest and most divisive of Irish politicians? Join Ronan Fanning of University College Dublin to find out.

Brewing: Anglo-Saxon Times to the Victorian Era

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Learn about beer and brewing through history. How is information gathered about fermented drinks from archaeological evidence? How do you make Victorian beers from original recipes and ingredients? What are the ingredients for Eoforwic Ale? (Ale made especially for the Festival by Leeds Brewery to an Anglo-Saxon recipe.) Join us to find out and sample some Eoforwic Ale and Victorian beer.

Britain and the EU after the ‘Brexit’ Referendum

Tuesday 14 June 2016

In the run-up to the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) this roundtable event focuses on the relationship between Britain and the EU. It examines the alternatives for the UK to ‘full’ EU membership and the implications of a potential British exit (‘Brexit’) for the UK and the EU. The discussion will centre on business, the economy and Britain’s place in the world.

Criminal: Why People do Bad Things

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Tom Gash’s book Criminal promises to change the way you think about why people do bad things. Tom will share the central ideas of his book, expose popular myths about crime and discuss the path to a safer world. Find out more about how patterns of crime have changed over the past century, the origins of anti-social behaviour in childhood, and the successes and flaws of modern criminal justice systems.

On Lager and Lordship

Tuesday 14 June 2016

The York Union presents Cobra Beer founder and outspoken crossbencher Lord Bilimoria. Join us to hear his reflections on his runaway entrepreneurial success and how welcoming Britain was when he left India in the 1980s. He will also provide some unique insights into business and politics. Critical of both the Tories and Labour at the last general election, Lord Bilimoria takes no prisoners.

Exhibiting Seamus Heaney

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Since the untimely death of Seamus Heaney in 2013, writers, readers and fans have been revisiting his work and considering his legacy. Join Geraldine Higgins of Emory University, Atlanta as she reflects on the experience of curating the first major exhibition on Heaney’s life and works. Opening in Dublin in 2017, the exhibition will give visitors the chance to explore the world of Heaney's poetry behind the scenes.

The Decline of Public Punishment in England 1750-1868

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Between 1750 and 1868 the essentially public character of the punishment of criminals in England ended, symbolised by the end of public executions in 1868. James Sharpe, an expert on the history of crime and punishment, examines this transition, looking at executions and other forms of physical, symbolic and shaming punishments, and suggests how it relates to changes in attitudes to pain, suffering and violence.

How to be English

Tuesday 14 June 2016

English culture is confused, muddled and often borrowed. Join David Boyle, author of How to Be English, for a complete grounding in the idiosyncrasies of the English. From the Beatles and Big Ben, to meat pies and allotments, David pins down the absurdities and warmth of Englishness at this best. Come along and celebrate bell-ringers and Morris dancers, bowler hats and cardigans.

The Great Acceleration

Monday 13 June 2016

Flash crashes. Speed dating. Instant messaging. It sometimes seems as if everything about our lives is getting faster, faster. But where did this acceleration come from? And where will it lead? Robert Colvile, former Comment Editor at The Telegraph and UK News Director at BuzzFeed, reveals how technology is speeding up the pace of life - and, crucially, how to cope with the effects.

Ibiza After Dark: A Guided Tour of Landmarks and Landscape

Monday 13 June 2016

Ibiza is well known to many as a sun-drenched paradise and a magnet for clubbers. Many people from the UK are drawn to the island’s three main clubbing resorts for the ultimate party experience. Join one of the regular DJs to perform in Ibiza, Rob Tissera, who will provide an overview of the island’s cultural credentials, identifying its distinctive landmarks and landscapes and describing what makes it special.

This Orient Isle

Monday 13 June 2016

In 1570, Elizabeth I of England was excommunicated by the Pope. Jerry Brotton of Queen Mary University of London discusses how this was the beginning of an English alignment with Muslim powers. It led to cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. Learn more about this surprisingly unfamiliar picture of a part of our national and international history.

Shakespeare: Moments That Matter

Monday 13 June 2016

Twins reunited; a ravished girl who cannot speak; a statue that comes to life. In this lively event celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, leading Shakespeareans from Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and the University of York unlock key moments in Shakespeare that resonate powerfully with them. Join Farah Karim-Cooper and Judith Buchanan. Includes actor participation.

Helping Now or Helping Later?

Monday 13 June 2016

You have to choose. Save a life today, or work to prevent future catastrophes, generations into the future when completely different people exist. Which should you choose, and why? Bring your thinking caps and have your say at this philosophy event with Richard Yetter Chappell of the University of York. The clock is ticking…

Motown: The Sound of Young America

Monday 13 June 2016

Hear the Motown story within the social history of the USA at mid-century, from the boom and bust of the Motor City, to the harsh realities of segregation and the 1967 race riots, as well as the African-American civil rights movement.

What is it? When is it From? Tracking Time with Objects

Monday 13 June 2016

The two most fundamental questions archaeologists ask when dealing with artefacts from the past are ‘what is it?’ and ‘when is it from?’ Archaeologist Barry Crump uses ideas from Philosophy and Literary Theory to explore how these two questions - and their answers - are more interesting and more complex than we often assume.

Bog Bodies Uncovered: Solving Europe’s Ancient Mystery

Monday 13 June 2016

Over the past two centuries, peat cutters in the bogs of northern Europe have periodically unearthed the remains of prehistoric people so well-preserved that skin and marks of injury survive, betraying the violence of their death. Who were these unfortunate people, and why were they killed? Drawing on the latest research and evidence on bog bodies, Miranda Aldhouse-Green uncovers the truth behind these murder mysteries.

Seeing With Your Ears: Film and Television for Visually Impaired Audiences

Monday 13 June 2016

How can soundtracks for people who are visually impaired be made more engaging and spatially accurate? Join Mariana Lopez of Anglia Ruskin University and Gavin Kearney of the University of York to find out.

Crucial Interventions

Sunday 12 June 2016

Anaesthesia and antisepsis revolutionised 19th century surgery, turning a gory trade into a clinical profession and saving countless lives. But there is much more to this story than heroic surgeons and brilliant inventions.

More than a Feeling: The Informed Application of Music in Everyday and Extraordinary Wellbeing Challenges

Sunday 12 June 2016

Wellbeing is a state defined by a sense of comfort, achievement, health and happiness. Challenges to our wellbeing span the life course and can include both the everyday (learning and memory) and the extraordinary (physical or mental illness). How might music help in these situations? Can we optimise any positive effects?

Making Music, Sharing Lives: An Insight into the Life-enhancing Role of Music Therapy in Children’s Hospices

Sunday 12 June 2016

Music therapists Janet McLachlan and Anna Ludwig present a unique insight into the key role that music can play in the care of children and families in hospices.

A Life in Fashion: The Wardrobe of Cecil Beaton

Saturday 11 June 2016

Described as ‘Rip Van With-It’ by Cyril Connolly, and a dandy by others, Cecil Beaton’s influence was extensive in his lifetime and continues to grow long after his death. Fashion historian Benjamin Wild makes use of archive material and conversations with some of Beaton’s tailors to consider his personal style and sartorial legacy.

Creating Flood-Ready Buildings

Saturday 11 June 2016

What kind of houses should we be building and where? Hear how planners, insurance companies and engineers are working to create more sustainable buildings.

Mental Health for All

Saturday 11 June 2016

We all have mental health and the importance of maintaining it is increasingly recognised in public and political spheres. In particular, there are a growing number of campaigns to improve the mental health of young people and a continuing concern that suicide remains the UK’s single biggest cause of death among men under the age of 45. Join us for a series of talks exploring the nature and scale of the public health challenges across the globe and the best ways of addressing them.

The Art of Healing

Saturday 11 June 2016

Join poet Christy Ducker, scientist Dimitris Lagos and filmmaker Kate Sweeney to explore the connections between science and art. Learn how together, science and art can foster new modes of discovery. The event features new artworks illustrating how wound-healing translates into art.

Planning for Multifunctional Land Use

Saturday 11 June 2016

Hear how we can maximise our use of land for farming and food production while enhancing its biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The Reuse of Antiques in Anglo-Saxon England

Saturday 11 June 2016

Between 2005 and 2007, a large Anglo-Saxon cemetery was excavated at Street House, near Loftus in Cleveland. Archaeologist Stephen Sherlock discusses the significance of reused artefacts, mainly jewellery, found at the site. Some of these objects date back to prehistoric and Romano-British times, so were already antiques by the time they were buried around AD 650. Why were 250-year-old objects buried at Street House?

Living with Floods: The Future of Our Land

Saturday 11 June 2016

The risk of flooding is something which is becoming part of many people’s everyday lives. How can we better manage these flood risks? And how can farmers make sustainable changes to combat threats from extreme weather?

Sleep, Clocks and Health Alarms

Saturday 11 June 2016

Why do we sleep at night and what does our brain do when we sleep? How do plants tell the season and why do some mosquitoes bite in the evening? The answers all lie in circadian body clocks present in all organisms. Come along and find out how scientists are investigating circadian clocks and their implications for health, food and disease prevention.

The Private Lives of the Saints

Saturday 11 June 2016

Explore the lives and times of some of the Early Medieval period’s best known, but least understood characters: the saints. Cuthbert, Bede, Brigit and Patrick are known for their sanctity, piety and place in heaven. However, they were also real people who walked the same terrains as we do and lived in buildings we can still make out today. Author Janina Ramirez unravels the private lives of these most public figures.

Seeing is Believing

Saturday 11 June 2016

Vision is one of our most precious senses but is increasingly at risk as we age. Join Tony Morland of the University of York and Ione Fine of the University of Washington, Seattle, as they explore how the brain interprets information received through the eyes. How can a better understanding of this process help in developing new technologies and therapies to restore sight?

The Impact of Climate Change

Saturday 11 June 2016

Our speakers will look to the future and consider the likely impacts of global climate change, not just in terms of the environment, but also its political and social ramifications.

Tick Tock Layers of Rock

Saturday 11 June 2016

Unfortunately this event has had to be cancelled due to ill health. Our apologies for any disappointment.

Introducing Maggie’s Pioneering Cancer Support

Saturday 11 June 2016

Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, their families and friends. Their centres are warm and welcoming places, offering support developed to complement medical treatment and nursing care. Join Lesley Howells of Maggie’s for an overview of Maggie’s services and philosophies. Rebeca Ramos from Heatherwick Studio will discuss the design of a new Maggie’s Centre in Leeds.

Eric Milner-White (1884-1963): A Most Remarkable Dean

Saturday 11 June 2016

Explore the life, career and personality of York’s most remarkable 20th century Dean, Eric Milner-White, with this day of discussion. A fine scholar, liturgist and writer of prayers, he served as Dean of York from 1941 until 1963. He controversially restored the Minster’s medieval windows, was a discriminating collector and energetic in civic affairs.

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

Friday 10 June 2016

Sara Pascoe, one of the most talented voices in stand-up, has consistently tackled femininity and the media’s portrayal of women. Join Sara for an entertaining evening as she talks about her first book, Animal: An Autobiography of the Female Body. Through a combination of autobiography and evolutionary history, she looks at how the female body has been oppressed, fetishised or misunderstood throughout history.

Cocktails Without the Nonsense

Friday 10 June 2016

Join Richard Godwin, author of The Spirits: A Guide to Modern Cocktailing, as he conveys you through the annals of cocktail-making history. Dedicated to demystifying the art of ‘mixology’, Richard demonstrates that making sophisticated cocktails is amazingly easy and surprisingly cheap. A practical demonstration suitable for anyone over 18.

Inside Future Robots

Friday 10 June 2016

Join Nick Hawes of the University of Birmingham on a journey to the frontier of intelligent robotics. Discover how artificial intelligence is being used to make robots more independent, and where these smart robots will be used in the near future. Hear about the latest research to make robots plan, learn, see, communicate and navigate. What are the big challenges for the future of robotics and how close are we to over-coming them?

Maths on the Go

Friday 10 June 2016

When life is busy, it isn't always possible to sit down with your child and help them get to grips with important maths skills like multiplication, fractions and general problem solving. In this highly engaging talk - in which children will get a chance to volunteer - author Rob Eastaway offers a range of simple tips and games that you can try anywhere, any time. Suitable for parents, grandparents and children over eight.

Classical Music Redefined: 1000 Years in 40 Minutes

Friday 10 June 2016

Classic FM’s breakfast show presenter Tim Lihoreau lifts the lid on a brave new idea: nothing short of a brand new language for classical music. A light-hearted guide through the world of thrusheltons (manic lunge movement of a conductor which spatters beads of sweat onto the first desk of the strings) and botffari (the feeling of numbness experienced by the oratorio bass soloist who is only in one of the 78 movements)!

How to Eat Better and More Sustainably

Friday 10 June 2016

How can we influence consumer behavior to improve diets and the impact of food production on the planet? How should food be marketed and what are healthy eating alternatives?

Theatre and the 1916 Easter Rising

Friday 10 June 2016

Drama and theatrical performance played a key role in the 1916 Irish rebellion. For James Connolly, Constance Markiewicz and others, pageants, parades and nationalist drama galvanised insurrectionary feeling and aided recruitment. Theatrical performance also influenced the concept and later commemorations of the revolutionary moment itself. Join Lionel Pilkington of the National University of Ireland to learn more.

The Tsars and the Orient

Friday 10 June 2016

Explore Russia’s relations with Ottoman Turkey and Iran of the Safavid period during the 16th and 17th centuries with Elena Kashina of the University of York. The talk, which is illustrated by the diplomatic gifts in the Moscow Kremlin Museums’ eastern collection, ranges from the time of the establishment of diplomatic contact until the interruption in the peaceful exchanges by a series of wars in the 18th century.

Food and Health: The Ticking Time Bomb

Friday 10 June 2016

Experts examine the rising cost of obesity and chronic diseases.

Developing Sustainable Food Security Systems

Friday 10 June 2016

Distinguished speakers, including Sue Hartley, President of the British Ecological Society, Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF and Ben Reynolds of Sustain, examine food security and sustainable crops.

The Challenge of Feeding a Healthy World

Friday 10 June 2016

Keynote speaker Tim Benton, the UK Champion for Global Food Security, sets out the scale of the challenge, before issues such as waste management are explored by expert panelists including Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems and Technical Lead at WRAP.

Electric Shock: 125 Years of Pop

Thursday 9 June 2016

Peter Doggett is the author of Electric Shock: 125 Years of Pop, a definitive cultural history of popular music from Ragtime to the X Factor. Find out why pop has always outraged parents and politicians, and how its role in our lives has changed – from the earliest days of the gramophone to today’s download culture.

Tick Tock: Stories of Clocks

Thursday 9 June 2016

Tick tock: The sound of time passing, inevitably, one interval after another. But time hasn't always been so abstract, so linear, so regular. Join us for an evening blend of stories and science, exploring clocks and the concept of time

Who are the Celts?

Thursday 9 June 2016

New discoveries in genetics have overturned decades of dogma about the origin of the Celts. Earlier attempts to trace historical and prehistorical movements using only modern DNA from living people have been proved dramatically wrong by findings from ancient DNA. So who exactly were the Celts? Are the modern Celtic-speakers of the British Isles and Brittany related to the Continental Celts we know from ancient history?

Troubled Heads: Challenges Posed by Ageing Brains

Thursday 9 June 2016

Old age poses some significant challenges, not least in the field of neuroscience and age-related neurological disorders. A distinguished panel of experts will explore current and future scientific advances, and therapeutic interventions to tackle disorders including the various forms of dementia. Join us and take part in the audience Q&A.

David Litvinoff and the Rock’n’Roll Underworld

Thursday 9 June 2016

How do you write a full-length biography about a seemingly untraceable life? David Litvinoff (1928-75), flitted between the worlds of music, art and crime, but made a determined effort to leave behind no sign of his existence. Now 40 years after Litvinoff’s death, author and journalist Keiron Pim has told his story. Find out how Keiron tracked him down.

Human Rights and Social Justice

Thursday 9 June 2016

Lady Brenda Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, explores the extent to which human rights as we know them can also encompass socio-economic rights. Join her as she discusses recent high-profile Supreme Court decisions relating to denial of asylum, benefit caps and the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

Shaping the Body: A Conversation

Thursday 9 June 2016

The shape of the human body has varied considerably over the last 500 years as people conform to cultural norms, follow fashion trends, or rebel. Join us at York Castle Museum for a special evening opening of the new Shaping the Body exhibition, followed by an interactive panel discussion.

A Passing Fury: The Untold Story of the British Prosecution of the Nazis after 1945

Thursday 9 June 2016

AT Williams, winner of the George Orwell Prize in 2013, talks about his new book A Passing Fury that tells the story of the British prosecution of the Nazis after 1945. After the Second World War, the British with their Allies embarked on the largest programme of war crimes investigations and trials in history. Join the author as he explores the story of the extraordinary enterprise and asks the question: was justice done?

Regenerative Medicine and Time to the Clinic

Thursday 9 June 2016

There have been some major developments recently in the field of regenerative medicine – the restoration of sight, repair of heart tissue, and treatments for cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. This discussion event, which brings together the biological and social sciences, will provide an overview of the likely and diverse clinical paths that regenerative medicine will take - and within what timeframes.

Understanding Maximilien Robespierre

Thursday 9 June 2016

Maximilien Robespierre is one of the most hotly debated political figures to emerge from the French Revolution. Often hailed as a democrat and a social leveller far in advance of his time on the left, he is reviled on the right as the architect of the Terror of 1793 to 1794 and a proto-totalitarian. What made him tick?

Anglian Kings and Coins

Thursday 9 June 2016

Learn more about the coinage of the Anglians and how they reflect turbulent times in York over 1,000 years ago. Join York Museums Trust Curator Andrew Woods as he introduces you to the Kings through their coinage.

Beer and Beowulf: The Conquest of Cnut

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Welcome back to the Duke of York pub for our annual ‘Beer and Beowulf’ event. Come and join us to drink Eoforwic Ale - a beer brewed specially for the York Festival of Ideas from an old Anglo-Saxon recipe - and listen to Anglo-Saxon and Norse poetry commemorating the millennium of Cnut’s conquest of England in 1016.

What if …? Worrying and the Modern World

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Why do we worry? Where did it come from? Why is the word itself only known to us in its current meaning from the middle of the 19th century? Francis O’Gorman, author of Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History, will examine the short history of worrying as a product of the busy, individual-centred world that modern capitalism has created.

Digital Futures

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Listen to on-stage performances from different seats in York Theatre Royal auditorium and experience theatre and performance in an entirely new way. Led by Damian Murphy, researchers from the University of York’s Audio Lab team have captured visual and acoustic data from the old and new theatre space. Join them as they demonstrate a new audio/visual virtual reality experience of a theatre.

Mythology: The Complete Guide to our Imagined Worlds

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Myths in every culture explain our origins, the Earth's creation, gods and monsters, demons, the afterlife and the underworld. Join author Christopher Dell for an illustrated journey through extraordinary mythical stories from around the world. He shows how myths share many common patterns, how the human imagination is expressed in all its diversity and asks the question: what do myths tell us about the human condition?

Jane Bown: A Lifetime of Looking

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Join Luke Dodd for an illustrated talk on the life and work of Jane Bown, the legendary photographer who worked at the Observer for six decades. Jane worked in all areas of photojournalism but is best known for her portraits. Many of these have assumed an iconic status: the Queen, Samuel Beckett, Bjork, John Betjeman and Jean Cocteau – to name but a few.

Ripples from the Big Bang

Wednesday 8 June 2016

By looking far out into space, we can see back almost to the dawn of time. Faint microwave light is reaching us now that set off on its journey almost 14 billion years ago. Jo Dunkley of the University of Oxford explains how space satellites and telescopes at the South Pole and in Chile are helping us to study this light. Find out what we are learning about the beginning of the Universe.

The Science Communicator’s Story

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Science communication comes in all forms - from giving advice for future policy decisions or reaching out to millions of people through social media. Come along and meet science communicators and learn how they help transform primary research into policy and make it accessible on a global scale.

Why Men Skim Stones: A Guide to Modern Man

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Journalist and writer Chris Windle answers some vital questions about modern man: why do men use satnav if they don’t trust it? Why can they sometimes be found weeing as high as they can up a wall? Using the knowledge he gathered in a completely unscientific manner while writing his book, Why Men Skim Stones, let him take you on a journey through man’s foibles.

At the Existentialist Café

Wednesday 8 June 2016

What is it to be free? How do we want our world to be? Can we change how we live? Such questions inspired the Existentialists, an adventurous group of philosophers and novelists whose story stretched from the dark years of interwar Germany to the exciting Paris of the 1950s and beyond. Find out what the Existentialists might have to offer us today, as author Sarah Bakewell talks about her book At the Existentialist Café.

Magnetic Stimulation of the Brain

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a technique now widely used throughout the world to treat depression and migraine. Invented in the UK, scientists are studying its use to treat many other disorders. Tony Barker, who led its development, will describe the history of the technique, the physics principles on which it is based and some of its clinical applications. The event includes a practical demonstration.

Mystery Plays at the Minster 2000 and 2016

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Come along and discuss your experiences of the York Mystery Plays and your expectations of future productions. Open to those who have contributed to past Mystery Plays - as well as those who have not but who would like to learn more - the event will take the form of an informal discussion.

Spit and Polish

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Lucy Lethbridge’s most recent book was inspired by her researches into the lives of servants. In Spit and Polish: Old Fashioned Ways to Banish Dirt, Dust and Decay, she unearths traditional ways to clean and maintain the home – most of them surprisingly easy, remarkably cheap and healthily ecological. Using memoirs, advice books and old wives’ tales, Spit and Polish breathes new life into old knowledge.

Landscapes of Communism

Tuesday 7 June 2016

From 1917 until 1991, large swathes of Europe and Asia had an economic system without land ownership, landlords or private investment. Did these cities ever manage to create something genuinely different - better or worse - than the cities of capitalism? And is there anything we can learn from their eventual failure? Join writer Owen Hatherley to find out more about the architecture and landscapes of communism.

Tick Tock: Rhythm of the Climate Clock

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Join Helen Shay of the Centre for Lifelong Learning for a presentation delivered by local poets on the theme of climate change, ranging from praise of the planet, to satire on the stupidity that risks ruining it. A rise in emotional temperature above two degrees is predicted, as well-known bards mix with new voices to give poetic awareness to an issue on which we are all up against the clock.

Where There’s Muck, There’s Brass

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Learn about the early Anglo-Saxon coinage of Northumbria produced in York in the 7th to 9th centuries. Archaeologist Tony Abramson explains its significance for understanding the increasing use of coinage, the balance of power, collection of taxes, differences between regions of the north, and settlement patterns. Find out why rather than a ‘Dark Age’, the Anglo-Saxon period was economically vibrant.

Experiencing the Past

Tuesday 7 June 2016

How often do you find yourself transported back to the past by a familiar sight, smell, object or even a poem or story? Join us for an event which promises to help us to understand how the past ‘comes alive’ from contrasting perspectives – that of philosophy, archaeology and poetry. Be prepared to be transported to past worlds!

MAN UP: Boys, Men and Breaking the Male Rules

Tuesday 7 June 2016

We live in a man’s world, so why do many boys and men fail to flourish? Politics, the media and business are all male-dominated, yet so too are prisons, school exclusions and suicides. Join Rebecca Asher, author of Man Up, as she argues that harmful male stereotypes lie at the heart of the problems that men experience – and create. So, it is in all our interests to enable boys and men to be free to be who they want to be.

Quentin Blake: Artist, Teacher, Healer

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Author, curator and lecturer Ghislaine Kenyon explores the extraordinary work of Quentin Blake, with whom she has often collaborated. Ghislaine offers a new view of an artist who is much more than Roald Dahl’s illustrator. Alongside much-loved images from books such as The BFG, the illustrated talk explores works made for hospitals and other more private settings. A unique insight into Blake’s working and studio practice.

Passion, Mystery and Performance: The First Two Centuries of the York Plays

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Find out about the origins of York Mystery Plays with Medieval expert Professor Jeremy Goldberg.

Three Minutes to Midnight

Tuesday 7 June 2016

The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight was in 1953 when the first tests on the hydrogen bomb were conducted. The latest report, published in January 2016, places us at three minutes to midnight. Our Festival launch night explores the findings and recommendations of this report. How do we combat the threat of climate change and the proliferation of nuclear arms in fragile states? What kind of multi-lateral agreements will be effective? What is the likely impact of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by Iran and six world powers, or the Paris Climate Conference agreement?

A Century of York on Film

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Look back on a century of York life captured on film with highlights from the Yorkshire Film Archive’s collection. From women singing on the Rowntree’s production line, to day-trippers strolling along the city walls, to royal visits and the celebrated mystery plays. Enjoy a delicious Bettys’ cream tea, served with tea or coffee.