Talks

Past events

Previous events

Dad You Suck

Sunday 18 June 2017

Our Festival finale falls on Father’s Day, so what better way to celebrate than in the company of journalist Tim Dowling as he lays bare his experience of fatherhood. The author of 'Dad You Suck', he talks honestly and with his own brand of humour about the difficult task of being a dad.

Branding: In five and a half steps

Sunday 18 June 2017

Join Michael as he unveils hidden elements involved in creating a successful brand - from the strapline that gives the brand a narrative and a purpose to clever uses of typography that unite design and language.

Where the Wild Things Were: How Cheap Meat Drives Extinction

Sunday 18 June 2017

Today many animals face extinction and it’s not only climate change and habitat destruction which are to blame. Join author Philip Lymbery as he explains how the impact of consumer demand for cheap meat is equally devastating. He will explore why it is vital that we confront this problem if we are to stand a chance of reducing its effect on the world around us.

Design: The whole story

Sunday 18 June 2017

This event has now been cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Bring Back the King

Sunday 18 June 2017

If you could bring back one living being from the whole of the history of time, what would you choose? Comedian and former stem-cell biologist Helen Pilcher, author of Bring Back the King, has thought about this problem, a lot. Join Helen as she explains the cutting-edge science that makes the resurrection of extinct animals a very real possibility and explains how this can help us protect other endangered species from extinction. Hear her choices from eras gone by - from the King of the Dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.

Empire of Things: Why do we have so much stuff?

Sunday 18 June 2017

Acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present. He explains how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history and the global challenges we face as a result.

The Story of a Book

Saturday 17 June 2017

Join us for an evening with a master storyteller telling tales of humanism and hope in the violence of the Viking age; taking us into the mind of a king in dark times, and conveying the magic of medieval manuscripts in whose pages, ‘the gap of time seems to fall away…’

Zeppelins Over York: One woman's Great War diary

Saturday 17 June 2017

From her home in St Leonard's Place, York, Mabel Goode recorded what she knew would be the biggest event of her lifetime. Her diary reveals how life on the home front was transformed by a conflict without precedent. Join Mabel's great-great-nephew, Michael, as he sheds light on her recently discovered Great War diary, which was found at the bottom of a dusty trunk in 2011.

The Archaeology of Eoforwic

Saturday 17 June 2017

Eoforwic was the name for York during the four and a half centuries between Roman York and the Viking city. Join Ian Milsted of the York Archaeological Trust for an introduction to the archaeological evidence for Eoforwic. Using key sites and discoveries, Ian examines what we know, how much there is still to learn and where the crucial evidence may be.

Books as Instruments of Change

Saturday 17 June 2017

Our panel explores the role of the books throughout history and today. Find out why the story of the book is as intriguing as the many of the stories that books tell.

Anglo-Saxon Bread: Making and meaning

Saturday 17 June 2017

Join Debby of the University of Cambridge and Martha of the University of Oregon, USA as they show how to make the surprisingly simple and tasty earliest kinds of English bread, as well as the bread of the saints and the bread of kings. They’ll explain how to tell the breads apart, what they meant, and how bread shaped the course of England.

Decoding the Dark Ages

Saturday 17 June 2017

Join author and broadcaster Janina Ramirez as she sheds light on the Dark Ages though art, literature and archaeology

The Myths and Science of Sleep

Saturday 17 June 2017

Join sleep scientist Graham Law as he explores the myths that surround sleep: some myths that are informative and helpful, others that are incorrect, and some that are positively damaging and counterproductive.

Border: A journey to the edge of Europe

Friday 16 June 2017

Meet Kapka Kassabova, author of Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, as she discusses the extraordinary people and hidden histories of Europe’s last border. Kapka travelled back to the forested, once forbidden border zone of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece 25 years after the end of the Cold War. From the ancient Thracians and the Ottoman Empire to Cold War secrets and today’s refugees, hear the stories she gathered.

The Ascent of Gravity

Friday 16 June 2017

On 14 September 2015, gravitational waves were first detected on Earth. The source – two merging black holes – briefly pumped out 50 times more power than all the stars in the Universe together. Gravitational waves are the ‘voice of space’. Join science writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown to discover how, after centuries of ‘seeing’ the Universe, we are now ‘hearing’ it.

The Story of Human Speech and Hearing

Friday 16 June 2017

Sound forms a basic part of our lives; in terms of hearing it, we have no 'ear lids' so cannot turn it off. David Howard of Royal Holloway, University of London discusses the nature of sound. How is it used for communication? How is it used for music? How do we make sense of the sounds around us? Join David as he explores the basis of human hearing and how we understand speech.

Conflict, Peace and Security in Africa

Friday 16 June 2017

Stories of wars and conflict in Africa resonate repeatedly in the news. But do these narratives reflect the realities of lived experiences on the ground? What unintended benefits come out of conflict and war situations, and for whom? Is there ever a good side to the story, and what do we know about these different perspectives?

Cycling: Engineering an Olympic sport

Friday 16 June 2017

Team GB won 12 cycling medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, utterly dominating the velodrome. Join Tony Purnell, Head of Technical Development for British Cycling, as he explains how improved technology and an engineering approach have helped to improve speed and lower records. Learn how Tony’s background in Formula One has helped with his approach to Olympic cycling events.

The Hunt for Life in the Universe

Friday 16 June 2017

Today we know of only a single planet that hosts life: the Earth. But across a Universe of at least 100 billion possibly habitable worlds, surely our planet isn’t the only one that is just right for life? As Goldilocks was searching for the most comfortable chair or the perfect bowl of porridge, astrobiologists are searching for conditions throughout the Universe that are just right for life as we currently know it to exist.

East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Friday 16 June 2017

Join barrister Philippe Sands for a moving personal detective story as he explores the creation and development of the world-changing legal concepts of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’. Philippe, author of 'East West Street', looks at the private and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas following the unprecedented atrocities of Hitler's Third Reich.

A History of Pictures: From the cave to the computer screen

Friday 16 June 2017

Join art critic Martin Gayford to discuss how and why pictures have been made. What makes marks on a flat surface interesting? How do you show movement in a still picture, and how do films and television connect with old masters? What do pictures show – truth or lies? Do photographs present the world as we experience it?

Re:cyclists: 200 years of cycling history

Friday 16 June 2017

Former professional cyclist Michael Hutchinson picks his way through 200 years of cycling history, looking at how cycling became the sport, the pastime and the social life of millions of ordinary people. Join Michael as he explains how it grew and how it suffered through the 1960s and ’70s, and how at the dawn of the 21st century it rose again to find a unique home in the British Isles - much changed but still ultimately just someone careering along on two wheels.

Re-imagining Work: Mapping the future

Friday 16 June 2017

A recent report by Reform suggested that 90 per cent of all civil service jobs could be replaced by artificial intelligence in the future. So what kind of work will we be doing in the future and what does that mean in terms of the kinds of skills and education we need to meet those challenges? Should we be scared or optimistic about the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on labour markets? What does this mean for different parts of the labour market and should government and the economy respond?

Jobs, Technology and Skills

Friday 16 June 2017

How will robotics and artificial intelligence shape our jobs in the future? Join Xavier Mesnard, Partner with A.T. Kearney France, and Louisa Michelson, Counsel, Labour and Employment Law, IBM, to hear their analysis of how robotics and artificial intelligence will shape our future jobs.

Extracting Meaning and Value from Work

Friday 16 June 2017

Guy Standing's 'The Precariat' has achieved cult status as the first account of this emerging class of people, who face lives of insecurity, moving in and out of jobs that give little meaning to their lives. Our panel will discuss the implications of this emerging class of people. What meaning should we be able to derive from our work and what changes are necessary to obtain real value from our work?

The World of Work Today

Friday 16 June 2017

Following a keynote speech from Harriet Harman MP, members of our expert panel, including Jonathan Bradshaw of the University of York, discuss the changing world of work from job insecurity to zero hours contracts and under-employment. How safe do we feel in our work? How has immigration actually affected the UK labour market?

Sergeant Pepper: Playing with words

Thursday 15 June 2017

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is arguably the most important and influential rock album of all time. Marking the 50th anniversary of its first release on 1 June 1967, Colin Campbell of the University of York will assess its literary merits and examine the lyric-writing skills of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

The Husband Hunters: Social climbing in London and New York

Thursday 15 June 2017

Join Anne de Courcy, author of 'The Husband Hunters', as she sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, she reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them.

Reconciliation and Rotherham: A Cross of Nails?

Thursday 15 June 2017

Finding a cross in a church is not unusual but the Cross of Nails has a story to tell - of a worldwide community working for reconciliation. The community was formed following the bombing of Coventry Cathedral in World War II. St Martin, Coney Street has strong links with Marienkirche in Lubeck as partners in the community. York plays its part.

Real and Unreal: Recreating a lost past

Thursday 15 June 2017

Learn about the University of York’s cutting-edge work with cathedrals and other clients to recreate the lost past by digital modelling and augmented reality.

The Story of the Ardabil Carpet

Thursday 15 June 2017

Much scholarship has addressed the V&A 'Ardabil Carpet's' status as a designed object, studied and admired in isolation and widely imitated by modern weavers. Join V&A curator Moya Carey as she looks at that isolating tendency, but also at the Ardabil Carpet in its original cultural context. How did the carpet's design respond to the sacred interior space at Ardabil, and to Safavid visual culture? Can the Shi`a context explain the unusual addition of two hanging lamps woven into the pattern?

The Disappearance of Émile Zola

Thursday 15 June 2017

It is the evening of 18 July 1898 and the world-renowned novelist Émile Zola is on the run. His crime? Taking on the highest powers in the land with his open letter 'J'accuse' and losing. Forced to leave Paris, with nothing but the clothes he is standing in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola flees to England with no idea when he will return. Join author Michael Rosen to learn more.

The Story of Science

Thursday 15 June 2017

Discover the story of science through the lens of microscopes and telescopes with University of York scientists. First, take a look at the historic Vickers Collection of precision scientific instruments manufactured in York over the past 200 years. Next learn how cutting-edge microscopes allow us to see a single, moving atom. Finally, gaze into the night skies and wonder at the images we can now capture from space.

Make Mine a Beer: Celebrate national beer day

Thursday 15 June 2017

With the upsurge of small craft breweries opening in and around York, there are plenty of new and exciting local beers on offer. Join Half Moon Brewery for an inspiring evening of beer and food matching, led by sensory consultant Jo Menneer and brewery owner Jackie Rogers.

Nothingness, Emptiness and Absences

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join philosopher Tom Stoneham and art historian Michael White of the University of York as they introduce you to the strange world or nothingness. Tom’s research includes investigations of the possibility that there is nothing rather than something and the tangibility of shadows. Michael’s research focuses on abstract art and avant-garde practice in which voids, emptiness and absence feature strongly.

Peter York’s Storage Unit

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Author and broadcaster Peter York examines a growing social trend in terms of his own experience; having half his life stored in room-sized wooden crates in a West London depository. Should we celebrate the Joy of Things, like Victorians at the Great Exhibition of 1851, or should we feel the burden of ‘Stuffocation’ (the title of just one of a new genre of self-help books)?

Remembering Ourselves in Our Struggle

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join filmmakers as they explore the reflections and emotions of human rights defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia through three short films and a discussion.

Art Detective: The ‘art’ of sleuthing

Wednesday 14 June 2017

The nation loves a great detective story. Throw in the UK’s public art collection, some fiendishly difficult mysteries and the public’s expert knowledge and you have an invaluable resource supporting collections nationwide.

Martin Luther: Catholic dissident

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Peter Stanford presents a new appraisal of theological firebrand Martin Luther on the 500th anniversary of the religious revolution he triggered - the Protestant Reformation.

Why the English Sailed to the New World

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Today migration still shapes us. But now most who arrive in England or in America are viewed as ‘immigrants’. Migration is ever-newsworthy: painful for those who move, and for many who don’t. We should remember now a time when many more were leaving England than arriving: when they were ‘emigrants’. Join James Evans to find out more.

Mythomania: Tales of our times

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Despite our culture’s proclaimed respect for scientific reason, we are no less bedazzled and bedevilled by myth than our remote ancestors. Join author Peter Conrad for an in conversation event as he examines the enduring place of myth in contemporary culture and society.

The Stories Behind Our Favourite Things

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Our speakers explore the story of things from three different but complimentary perspectives: philosophy, archaeology and poetry. Come along and hear the results of a public survey looking at the significance of precious objects in our lives. Learn about the role objects play in our quest for understanding and meaning, and why some things might have a soul.

Healthcare Innovations

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join Andreas Haimböck-Tichy, Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at IBM UK, and our expert panel to find out how technological innovations such as IBM Watson Health are improving patient care, patient experience and patient outcomes.

The Story of Stories

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Stories – or, more accurately, narratives – are everywhere in the 21st century. The digital revolution has made it easier to write, disseminate and read stories, while narrative informs every aspect of our existence, from the entertainment industry to social institutions such as law and medicine to our public and private identities.

NHS England: In conversation with Simon Stevens

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join us for an ‘in conversation’ event with the Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, Simon Stevens.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Many people fear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may replace work, making the human race redundant. This fear has been fed by sources ranging from social media through to stories in Hollywood films of ‘things’ terminating mankind. But what is the truth?

Young Minds: Mental health challenges

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join us as we explore the mental health challenges facing young people today and discuss how to create supportive environments for students.

Peter York on Trumpery

Tuesday 13 June 2017

President Donald J. Trump is a style icon and an international brand. He means different things to different people but he is meaningful to everyone. Join author and broadcaster Peter York as he explores the brand of Donald Trump and Trumpery and the messages they’re sending to the world.

Learning Latin the Ancient Way

Tuesday 13 June 2017

What was it like to learn a foreign language 2,000 years ago? What did the Romans teach learners about life and manners in Rome? Did they learn grammar? Why did they give beginners bilingual texts?

Volcanoes and their Health Hazards

Tuesday 13 June 2017

The effects of volcanic eruptions such as Vesuvius in AD79, which destroyed Pompeii and, more recently, Eyjafjallajökull’s disruption of global air travel are well established – but how much do we know about the healthcare risks and hazards for the people who live in the shadow of volcanoes?

Women Classical Scholars in and Since the Renaissance

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Learn about the pioneering women born between the Renaissance and 1913 who played significant roles in the history of classical scholarship. Edith Hall, editor of Women Classical Scholars, explains how these women faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles from patriarchal social systems and educational institutions. Nevertheless they continued to teach, edit, translate and analyse the texts left to us by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Reverend Richard Coles: The story of my life

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Meet the Reverend Richard Coles, the UK’s only vicar to have had a number one single in the pop charts. As well as the Vicar of Finedon, Northamptonshire, the former member of The Communards is a much-loved broadcaster presenting Saturday Live on Radio 4 and giving us a regular reason to Pause for Thought on Radio 2.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran: A masterclass

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran form the most successful television comedy scriptwriting partnership active today. Their award-winning successes include 'Birds of a Feather', 'Goodnight Sweetheart' and 'The New Statesman'. Join them for a masterclass as they share some of the secrets of their craft, via examples from some of their most celebrated series.

Technology for All? A story of bias in design

Tuesday 13 June 2017

We have a tendency to take technologies and infrastructures for granted: if they are designed as they are, then presumably, this was the 'best' possible option. Or was it?

One Planet York: A liveable city (Talk)

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Typically in the UK we use the resources of three planets when we only have one. Explore with us York’s progress to a more sustainable and resilient ‘One Planet’ future and chart the course of the journey ahead.

Past Mortems: Life and death behind mortuary doors

Monday 12 June 2017

A day in the life of Carla Valentine - curator, pathology technician and 'death professional' - is not your average day. She spent ten years training and working as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist: where the mortuary slab was her desk and that day's corpses her task list.

Discoveries at Must Farm Bronze Age Settlement

Monday 12 June 2017

A recent 10-month excavation by Cambridge Archaeological Unit, funded by Historic England and Forterra, provided a rare window back in time to a Bronze Age stilted settlement in the Cambridgeshire fens. The settlement consisted of several roundhouses supported on piles above a river channel, surrounded by a high wooden palisade. The effects of a catastrophic fire that destroyed the settlement 3000 years ago, combined with waterlogged burial conditions, have led to the survival of several roundhouses and hundreds of unique artefacts.

Mozart’s Fragmented Masterpiece

Monday 12 June 2017

How did Mozart’s ‘unfinished’ Requiem survive to become an eternal and global favourite? Music critic John Warrack explores the secret of the work’s popularity and relates various attempts to complete Mozart’s last, fragmented masterpiece, with musical illustrations both on CD and sung by York Musical Society (YMS).

White Space

Monday 12 June 2017

Join Beth Healey, a medical doctor who recently returned from a year-long mission for the European Space Agency to Concordia Station n Antarctica. to learn about her daily life in Antarctica and the lessons learned for future settlements on Mars.

For What It’s Worth…

Monday 12 June 2017

Join renowned American medieval crime writer Candace Robb as she explores the York setting for her books. Based on her Owen Archer and Kate Clifford crime novels, Candace talks about the role of objects in the motivation for crime and in the creation of a fictional world within a real environment.

Istanbul: The story of a city from Roman times to the Ottoman conquest

Monday 12 June 2017

Join Roberta Marin, an expert in Islamic art and architecture, as she examines the origins of Istanbul and the different phases of its long history. She will discuss the important role played by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (272 AD–337 AD), who renamed the ancient Byzantium as Constantinople. She’ll take a look at his renovated Hippodrome and its famous forum, before continuing with the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (482-565) and his most acclaimed artistic achievement, Haghia Sophia (Holy Wisdom, from 532).

Higher Education’s Next Chapter

Monday 12 June 2017

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been cancelled.

The Art of the Bible: Illuminated manuscripts

Monday 12 June 2017

Join Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, authors of 'The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World', as they discuss their book with a panel of experts from the University of York’s Centre for Medieval Studies and explore a selection of manuscripts from the treasures of the British Library.

Aldborough: Exploring a buried Roman town

Monday 12 June 2017

Beneath the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Aldborough, lie buried the remains of a major Roman town. Isurium Brigantum was once the capital of the tribe of the Brigantes who occupied much of northern Britain. Excavations in the 19th century revealed elements of its plan and a number of impressive mosaics, but our understanding of it has remained limited because of the later village. Learn about some exciting new insights into the site's history.

What Does the General Election Result Mean for Brexit?

Sunday 11 June 2017

How did Brexit affect the outcome of the 2017 general election and what does the general election mean for Brexit? Bringing together policy experts, academics and politicians, this event will reflect upon British electoral politics and the question of Europe. It will further discuss the options available for the UK government and the EU going forward post-election.

A Very Expensive Poison

Sunday 11 June 2017

Join Luke Harding, author of 'A Very Expensive Poison', as he provides the definitive inside story of the life and death of Alexander Litvinenko. His book and talk are based on the best part of a decade's reporting, as well as extensive interviews with those closest to the events (including the murder suspects), and access to trial evidence.

Stalin and the Scientists: A History of Triumph and Tragedy 1905–1953

Sunday 11 June 2017

Author Simon Ings discusses the thrilling history of Soviet Science. The Soviet Union’s sciences were the largest and best funded in history – and were at once the glory and the laughing stock of the intellectual world.

My European Family

Sunday 11 June 2017

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been cancelled.

The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation

Sunday 11 June 2017

Join Ian Cobain as he offers a fresh appraisal of some of the key moments in British history since the end of World War II, including: the measures taken to conceal the existence of Bletchley Park and its successor, GCHQ, for three decades; the unreported wars fought during the 1960s and 1970s; and the hidden links with terrorist cells during the Troubles.

Small Finds and Stories That Matter

Saturday 10 June 2017

From the everyday and mundane sherds of pottery infilling a prehistoric ditch, to gleaming swords and chariot burials, objects offer their stories to those who are willing to listen. Join archaeologist Mel Giles and poet John Wedgwood Clarke as they share their experiences of working with words and things in a range of projects, from excavations and installations, to collaborations with other poets, writers and filmmakers.

Where Next for Democracy?

Saturday 10 June 2017

We explore the challenges for diplomacy and the rule of law in the years ahead. Among the speakers is Ögmundur Jónasson, Honorary Associate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and former member of the Icelandic Parliament.

Early Northumbrian Coinage and Eadberht's Beast

Saturday 10 June 2017

Come see the beast! A mysterious beast, with subtle variations, appears on the coins of the following seventh and eighth century Northumbrian kings: Aldfrith, Eadberht, Alchred, Aethelred 1, and Aelfwald. Come along and learn more.

Democracy and Europe

Saturday 10 June 2017

With impending French and German elections and the increasing influence and success of European extremist political parties, a range of speakers will reflect on the future of democracy in Europe in the wake of Brexit. Ambassador Karl-Erik Norrman, Founder and Secretary General of the European Culture Parliament, opens the discussions with a keynote address on the role of culture in the pursuit of democracy.

Don’t Be a Dick, Pete

Saturday 10 June 2017

Join author and Guardian columnist Stuart Heritage as he discusses his unconventional and laugh-out-loud biography of his brother, 'Don’t Be A Dick, Pete'. The book is a hilarious examination of home and family; sons, fathers, fatherhood, sibling relationships and how hard it is to move on in a system that’s loaded with several decades of preconceived ideas about you.

The Mystery of the Anglo-Saxon Helmets

Saturday 10 June 2017

Learn about the Anglo-Saxon helmets found across the British Isles, including an ornately decorated helmet found at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk and another found locally in York’s Coppergate. Adam Wilkes, a student with the University of Leicester, will discuss finds dating from the sixth to eighth centuries, examining the mystery of how and why the helmets were buried.

Mapping Women’s History in York

Saturday 10 June 2017

Join York Explore Archivist Laura Yeoman as she guides you through some of the highlights of the York Archives materials that reveal the fascinating lives of women in York’s history. York St John University researchers Elodie Duché, Anne-Marie Evans and Kaley Kramer will then introduce some of the women that inspire their research.

Democracy, News and Social Media

Saturday 10 June 2017

David Patrikarakos, Poynter Fellow at Yale University, Contributing Editor to 'The Daily Beast and Politico' and author of the forthcoming book 'War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century', delivers the keynote speech. Afterwards, members of our panel, including Daniel Pearl, Channel 4’s Deputy Head of News and Current Affairs, explore the effects of social media and fake news on democracy.

The Strictly Experience

Saturday 10 June 2017

Ever wondered how 'Strictly Come Dancing' gets made? Or what it’s like to take part? Join the show’s Executive Producer Louise Rainbow, its Communications Manager Chris McCluskey and former contestant Ed Balls to find out.

Caribbean Food and Storytelling: A Journey

Saturday 10 June 2017

We’re used to saying: ‘We are what we eat’ but what about ‘We are how we cook and talk about food’? Sarah Lawson Welsh, expert on Caribbean food and writing, explores how the use of a simple iron pot or ‘duchy’, originally introduced by the Dutch for use on slave ships and used by African slave populations in the Caribbean, gave rise to a richly varied culinary and oral storytelling tradition.

Lenin the Dictator: An intimate portrait

Saturday 10 June 2017

Join author Victor Sebestyen as he provides an intimate view of a man who loved nature almost as much as he loved making revolution, and whose closest ties and friendships were with women. Victor explains how the long-suppressed story of Lenin’s menage a trois with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of legend.

Speaking Out: Lessons in life and politics

Saturday 10 June 2017

Meet Ed Balls and learn about a life in and out of politics - from the despatch box to the 'Strictly Come Dancing' stage.

The Threat to Democracy

Saturday 10 June 2017

Our Focus Day begins with a keynote speech by Mark Laity, Chief Strategic Communications (StratCom) for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), before our expert panel considers the threats to democracy. The session is chaired by Matt Matravers, Director of the Morrell Centre for Toleration, University of York.

The Historic Mystery of Old St Oswald’s, Fulford

Saturday 10 June 2017

A piece of Anglian-form ninth-tenth-century stone cross was found at the old church of St Oswald in 1980, when the building was converted into a private house. This discovery raises interesting questions about the origins of the church and its remote riverside location, half a mile from the village.

Crossrail Archaeology at Liverpool Street Station

Friday 9 June 2017

Join archaeologist Alison Telfer of the Museum of London Archaeology as she discusses some of the exciting finds.

Curating Balenciaga: Shaping fashion

Friday 9 June 2017

Learn about the curating of the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum’s summer fashion exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. This is the first ever UK exhibition to look at the vision and legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga, one of the most revered and influential fashion designers of the 20th century.

Synthetic Biology: Designing the future

Friday 9 June 2017

Join Paul Freemont of Imperial College London as he explores the extraordinary and cutting-edge field of synthetic biology.

England’s Earliest Coinage: The York gold shilling

Friday 9 June 2017

Experts have condemned the York gold shilling as ‘devoid of sense’ and later than seventh-century southern shillings. However, archaeologist Tony Abramson’s revelation of the inscription on the gold shilling has rewritten the chronology of early Anglo-Saxon coinage, making it the earliest datable English coin. Tony’s revelation was unprecedented in identifying not only the issuer, but the precise date of issue and the events commemorated.

Spectacular Justice

Friday 9 June 2017

Join Ruth Penfold-Mounce and Rosie Smith of the University of York, as they examine high profile criminal cases including Oscar Pistorius and Jodi Arias, and investigate the effects of media coverage.

The Story of Hats

Friday 9 June 2017

From bowlers to Bergères, join Clair Hughes, author of 'Hats', for the ultimate guide to hats through history. From the lavish fashion hats of Marie Antoinette’s court to the experimental millinery of Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy, Clair takes you on a beautifully illustrated journey through class conflict, gendered etiquette and national allegiances to reveal the complex cultures from which each style emerged.

Europe: A history of migrations

Friday 9 June 2017

Join historians, including Maxine Berg of the University of Warwick and Claire Zalc of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), as they examine the topical issue of European migration.

Perspectives on Franco-British Relations

Friday 9 June 2017

Renaud Morieux of the University of Cambridge and Christina de Bellaigue of the University of Oxford, together with other members of our expert panel, explore France and Britain’s relationship from different standpoints. Renaud will examine migrations from the 17th to 19th centuries, while Christina will discuss women and social mobility.

The Voices in All Our Heads

Friday 9 June 2017

Psychologist and award-winning writer Charles Fernyhough tells a story of things in our minds. He explores the inner voice and dialogue in all our heads, and how this may help us understand how and why some people hear voices.

What is Europe?

Friday 9 June 2017

Our speakers, including Jean-Frédéric Schaub of the the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Peter Mandler of the University of Cambridge, examine issues around Europe’s identities.

Did You Say Europe?

Friday 9 June 2017

Our Festival Focus Day begins with keynote speeches by two eminent historians, Roger Chartier and Chris Clark. Roger Chartier will explore the creation of European Literature in Early Modern times, looking at Don Quixote’s reception and translations in Spain, France and England. Chris Clark will discuss 1848 as a European Revolution. Unlike the revolutions of 1789, 1830, 1870, 1917 and 1989, the revolutions of 1848 were a continent-wide phenomenon. He reflects on the unique simultaneity of these revolutions, on their trans-national consequences and on their meaning as a European event.

Creating The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains

Thursday 8 June 2017

Find out about the making of the V&A’s major exhibition The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains with Victoria Broackes and Anna Landreth Strong from the museum’s Department of Theatre and Performance. Marking 50 years since Pink Floyd released their first single, the exhibition explores the extraordinary work of a band whose influence can be felt across music, art, design, photography, technology, film and performance.

Vampyres: Genesis and resurrection

Thursday 8 June 2017

Christopher Frayling has spent 45 years exploring the history of one of the most enduring figures in the history of mass culture – the vampire. Join Christopher as he discusses vampires in literature, from the folklore of Eastern Europe to the Romantics and beyond. Find out about the historical and imaginative implications of vampire mythology in the arts, from the medieval Count Vlad to President Ceaucescu.

The Enduring Appeal of Jane Austen

Thursday 8 June 2017

What is Jane Austen’s legacy and why does her work continue to enjoy such popularity? Join our panel of experts and enthusiasts as they explore all things Austen: the enduring appeal of her novels, the fascination with the life of the author, the ways in which her novels have been adapted and reworked, and the many aspects of Austen fandom.

Recreating 18th-century Interiors at the V&A

Thursday 8 June 2017

Join Joanna Norman of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V & A) as she explores the stories of period rooms and their challenges through the V & A’s 18th-century interiors, shown in the British Galleries and in the Europe 1600-1815 galleries, which opened in 2015.

Middle East Art in the Museum: The stories we tell

Thursday 8 June 2017

Join curator Venetia Porter as she discusses how this collection has developed and how these works play thier part in helping us to understand the Middle East today.

To Be a Machine

Thursday 8 June 2017

What is transhumanism? Simply put, it is a movement whose aim is to use technology to fundamentally change the human condition, to improve our bodies and minds to the point where we become something other, and better, than the animals we are. It's a philosophy that, depending on how you look at it, can seem hopeful, or terrifying, or absurd.

X-ray Art

Thursday 8 June 2017

We live in a world obsessed with image and superficial appearances; what we and our clothes, houses and cars look like. To counter this, visual artist Nick Veasey uses x-rays to strip back the layers and show what everyday objects are like under the surface. Instead of creating or transforming objects, Nick exposes something that always existed, transforming the banal to the beguiling.

The Emperor Hadrian (reigned AD 117-138) and His Travels

Thursday 8 June 2017

Join historian Anthony Birley as he discusses Hadrian’s travels and his passion for hellenic (Greek) culture. Learn how Hadrian sought to give the Greek-speaking parts of the Empire renewed self-confidence, with Athens the centre of a new ‘Panhellenic League’.

Is Free Will an Illusion?

Thursday 8 June 2017

Join philosopher Julian Baggini and psychologists Christian Jarrett and Adrian Raine as they look at free will from differing perspectives. Julian will address the questions of what does free will mean and do we have it. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? How much responsibility should we take for our actions?

What Matters in Jane Austen?

Thursday 8 June 2017

Come along and discover when Austen's characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars got good livings; and how wealth was inherited. John Mullan illuminates the rituals and conventions of Austen’s fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist.

Alcuin and the Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Tradition

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Through the quirky lens of the riddling tradition, various aspects both of the Anglo-Saxon world-view and of Alcuin’s individual personality and perspective will be explored and explained.

When the V&A and Science Museum Were One

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Join Bill Sherman from the V&A and Tim Boon from the Science Museum, London to dive into the amazing origins of South Kensington’s great museums, which mixed science, art, and much else besides in ways that are inspiring today’s curators.

Designers of the Future

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Join Warren Fearn of York St John University as he explains how augmented reality tools can be used to enhance the creative work of the designer.

A Director’s Story

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Theatre and television director and writer Phillip Breen’s work has played all over the world from Tokyo to Los Angeles, and Dubai to the streets of Assisi. An eclectic range, it encompasses opera, theatre, comedy, musicals, jazz cabaret, community theatre projects, new work and classics. He has directed plays at the Citizens Theatre, the Swan and the West End of London among many other venues.

This Way Madness Lies

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Is mental illness – or madness – at root an illness of the body, a disease of the mind, or a sickness of the soul? Should those who suffer from it be secluded from society or integrated more fully into it? Join author Mike Jay as he explores the meaning of mental illness through successive incarnations of the institution that defined it: the 18th-century madhouse; the 19th-century asylum; the 20th-century mental hospital; and the post-asylum modern day, when mental health has become the concern of the wider community

Peter Lord: The story of my life

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Meet Peter Lord, Co-founder and Creative Director of Academy Award® winning studio Aardman, and director and producer of animation classics such as 'Morph', 'Creature Comforts', 'Chicken Run', the 'Wallace and Gromit' series and 'Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists'.

Race and Racism in Modern Britain

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Join Reni Eddo-Lodge as she explores issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, and from whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, offering a new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism.

William Morris and the Politics of Pots

Tuesday 6 June 2017

William Morris, the 19th-century designer and socialist, is widely appreciated today for his creativity and for fostering the values of craft ‘making’. Join Gill Chitty and David Stocker of the Universities of York and Leeds as they explain how research into the Rhenish stoneware pottery collected at his country home, Kelmscott Manor, sheds new light on Morris’ ideas and vision for everyday art and creativity.

Broadcasting the Brightest Minds

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Meet five New Generation Thinkers and hear their ideas on topics including the history of breastfeeding and how we deal with tyrants.

Susan Aldworth: The Dark Self

Tuesday 6 June 2017

The Dark Self is a major new exhibition featuring prints, installation, moving image and sculptures, all exploring the mystery of what happens to the ‘self’ during deep sleep. It includes 1001 embroidered pillowcases, sewn by people from across the UK, each representing ideas of sleep and dreams.

Viking: Rediscover the legend…The York Helmet

Tuesday 6 June 2017

The eighth-century York Helmet is the most outstanding example of the Anglo-Saxon period to survive in Europe. Discover the inscription in Latin on its crest and what else we can tell about its probable owner. Join York Museums Trust Curator of Archaeology, Natalie Buy, to learn more.