Theme: A Date with History

Our special Focus Day explores revolutions, while other events reveal the afterlives of Medieval Kings and the tangled history of war and society.

What's on

Sun
17
Jun

Imagining the Impossible: From Woman in Service to Servicewoman

Discover the story of Thomina Pearson who left a life of domestic service to join the WAACS, during the Great War. Formed in 1917, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps played an important role in the First World War, and for women like Thomina, serving in the corps changed their lives in ways they would never have imagined.

Sat
16
Jun

Bearing Arms, and Heads and Bodies: Stretcher bearers in the First World War

Stretcher bearers were instrumental in saving lives and recovering bodies throughout the First World War. Their jobs were gruelling, dangerous and relentless after an attack. Marie Allitt of the University of York reveals the personal stories of these men - and some women, including some local stories.

Sat
16
Jun

1795 and All That: The coming of the cavalry to Fulford

Can you imagine York without the military garrison it has had on and off since the Romans arrived in AD 72? With the possible closure of Fulford barracks, Judy Nicholson of the Fishergate, Fulford & Heslington Local History Society takes a lively look back at the military presence in Fulford Road since the cavalry arrived in 1795.

Thu
14
Jun

Life, Death and Transcendence: Schubert’s string quintet

How, in this difficult and painful situation, did Schubert commit to paper a score of such transcendental beauty? What is it that enables the dots on the pages of the score to move us to the core 200 years later? Join the Rev Canon Chris Collingwood, Canon Chancellor of York Minster, as he reflects on these and other questions; and not just concerning Schubert’s late works, but for music generally that seems to be able to transcend space and time like no other art form. Chris’ talk is followed by a performance of Schubert’s String Quintet by the internationally renowned Festival Artists of York Chamber Music Festival.

Thu
14
Jun

Immigrants: An English controversy, 1250-1500

Controversies about immigration to the British Isles are not new: they have been part of our political discourse since the Middle Ages. Mark Ormrod of the University of York looks at a key period in the development of English immigration policy, during the era of the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Wars of the Roses.

Wed
13
Jun

A Revolution of Feeling

Author Rachel Hewitt provides a vivid and absorbing account of the dramatic end of the Enlightenment. Join her to learn about the beginning of an emotional landscape preoccupied by guilt, sin, failure, resignation and repression, and the origins of our contemporary approach to feeling and desire.

Wed
13
Jun

London’s Triumph: Merchant Adventurers and the Tudor City

The discoveries of the New World and direct sea routes to Asia fundamentally changed life in 16th-century Europe. To start with England was hardly involved and London remained a gloomy, introverted medieval city. But as the century progressed something extraordinary happened.

Wed
13
Jun

Buildings of Impossible Things

Explore some of York’s beautiful and unique parish churches on a walking tour with the Churches Conservation Trust. Join us and learn how the supernatural and the impossible were imagined in the medieval mind and how this is beautifully reflected in the art, architecture and appearance of parish churches.

Tue
12
Jun

A War to End Faith? Religion and the British soldier in the First World War

This year marks 100 years since the Armistice in November 1918 – the end of the Frist World War. Most assume the war caused widespread loss of religious belief in Britain, but in fact religion was vital to inspiring and sustaining the nation, especially the British Army.

Mon
11
Jun

The Afterlives of Medieval Kings

When it comes to the reputations of medieval kings, anything is possible. Historians Katherine Lewis, of the University of Huddersfield, and Mark Ormrod and Sarah Rees Jones of the University of York show how new discoveries and ideas have allowed us to re-imagine three famous English monarchs: Edward III, Henry V and Richard III.

Sun
10
Jun

A Revolution in Universities

Our experts, including Corine Eyraud of Aix-Marseille University and Peter Mandler of the University of Cambridge, examine the transition to mass education.

Sun
10
Jun

Revolutions in History Writing

Discover how national narratives are written in France and Britain with historians Helen Rogers of Liverpool John Moores University and Stephen Sawyer, American University of Paris. Topics discussed include the School of Les Annales – changes and revolutions.

Sun
10
Jun

The Deadly Trade: The Complete History of Submarine Warfare

Naval writer Iain Ballantyne presents the dramatic and largely untold story of submarine warfare from its inception centuries ago through the world wars to today.

Sun
10
Jun

Industrial Revolutions and Social Welfare in France and Britain

Our speakers including Alexis Litvine of the University of Cambridge, Chris Renwick of the University of York, Mike Savage of the London School of Economics (LSE) and Marie Thébaud-Sorger of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) examine the mythologies of industrial revolutions and social welfare.

Sat
9
Jun

Gender Revolutions

Join us for a keynote speech by Laura Lee Downs of the European University Institute (IWE) on comparing feminisms throughout Europe, followed by a discussion of gender issues across Europe with panellists Sean Brady of Birkbeck College, University of London and Máire Cross of Newcastle University.

Sat
9
Jun

Coins: Exploring the unexpected

Presenting examples from 2,000 years of coinage, from Roman Britain to the Second World War, Barry Crump explores the unusual and unexpected ways coins can be used and understood.

Sat
9
Jun

Revolutions and Empires

Join our expert speakers, David Andress of the University of Portsmouth, Charlotte Riley of the University of Southampton and Sujit Sivasundaram of the University of Cambridge, as they discuss the French Revolution and ideas of empire in France and Britain.

Sat
9
Jun

Were the 1960s a Revolution?

From Twiggy to Mr Wilson, we discuss the Swinging 60s. Join top historians including Lawrence Black of the University of York and Florence Tamagne of the University of Lille.

Sat
9
Jun

Buildings of Impossible Things

Explore some of York’s beautiful and unique parish churches on a walking tour with the Churches Conservation Trust. Join us and learn how the supernatural and the impossible were imagined in the medieval mind and how this is beautifully reflected in the art, architecture and appearance of parish churches.

Thu
7
Jun

Necromancers, Scientists and Angry Bulls

Join Phillip Roberts, a researcher with the National Science and Media Museum and the University of York, for a tour of the early history of projection and learn how the magic lantern was made, mocked, stolen and sold over its 300-year history.

Thu
7
Jun

Yorkshire: A lyrical history of England’s greatest county

Join Richard Morris and find out why Yorkshire has been such a key place in times of tension and struggle.

Thu
7
Jun

BBC Reith Lectures: The Mark of Cain

In the second of her BBC Reith Lectures, eminent historian Margaret MacMillan addresses why men, and less often, women fight. Why are we both repulsed by and attracted to war?

Wed
6
Jun

Paths to the Past: Landscapes reconsidered

Archaeologist Francis Pryor, a long-standing member of Channel 4’s Time Team, shows how the landscape can reveal unexpected insights on life in the past.

Other Events

How Many Sails?

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June, 11.00am to 4.00pm

Windmills have four sails. Right? Wrong! Find out about mills with five, six, eight and even more sails, where they are and why. Holgate Windmill – the only double-shuttered, five sailed mill in the world – hosts a special exhibition on mill sails.

Festival themes