A new chapter begins for York Festival of Ideas

York Festival of Ideas has unveiled its exciting 2022 programme which marks a new chapter in its evolution as one of the largest and most compelling free events of its kind in the UK.

Festival tickets will be available from today for more than 150, predominantly free, online and in-person events on the theme of The Next Chapter. The Festival brochure is now available online at yorkfestivalofideas.com while paper copies can be picked up at the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street, York and public libraries across the city.

The Festival, which runs from 11 to 24 June, presents an absorbing programme featuring an impressive line-up of distinguished international contributors as well as an extensive range of online talks, discussions and performances plus in-person family activities.

Led by the University of York and supported by a range of sponsors, including the Holbeck Charitable Trust as Headline Sponsor, the Festival celebrates human ingenuity and imagination, and the power of education and ideas to change lives for the better.

The programme features historian and author Alison Weir telling the riveting story of Elizabeth of York, England’s first Tudor Queen, and Pakistani-American artist and illustrator Malihi Abidi celebrating 100 remarkable women of colour from more than 40 countries who have overcome immense challenges to succeed in science, entertainment, the arts, sport and politics. Canadian scientist and public health expert, Timothy Caulfield, will explore ways to reduce individual stress in an anxiety-filled world and former NHS team leader, Wendy Mitchell, will debunk some of the myths around dementia.

To mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, award-winning author Helen Benedict and Syrian writer and refugee Eyad Awwadawnan tell the stories of five people who fled violence and persecution in the Middle East and Africa only to find themselves trapped in refugee camps in Greece.

In contrast, film and TV writer Graham McCann will take an intimate look at the life and career of comedy legend, Frankie Howerd, as seen through the comedian’s archive which is now housed at the University of York’s Borthwick Institute.

The Festival will showcase contributions from an array of world-class speakers and performers including author Sir Michael Morpurgo; Oscar-winning film editor of Dune, Joe Walker, actress Dame Harriet Walter and academic, writer and former politician, Professor Michael Ignatieff.

The programme also features quantum physicist and broadcaster, Professor Jim Al-Khalili; dog behaviourist and TV presenter Louise Glazebrook; historian and broadcaster Tracy Borman; crime writer Ann Cleeves; evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar; Syrian musician and instrumentalist Maya Youssef; journalist Tim Dowling; writer and historian William Dalrymple; and flamenco and classical guitarist Galina Vale.

Joan Concannon, Director of York Festival of Ideas, said: “The University of York is committed to delivering public good and it is therefore both a pleasure and a privilege to announce our exciting and inspirational programme for the 2022 York Festival of Ideas. We have assembled a phenomenal group of partners and contributors to help us maintain the Festival’s proud tradition of inspiring and engaging audiences of all ages.

“These are volatile times so we are proud that the Festival can provide realistic perspective and incisive analysis of some of the most important issues facing the world in the 21st century. In parallel, we seek to make the pursuit of knowledge and discovery both entertaining and life-affirming.

“Our new fully hybrid programme will ensure that the Festival is accessible both to citizens of York and audiences across the world. As ever, we are hugely grateful to all our sponsors and partners, without whose support the Festival would not be possible.”

As it has done since its inception in 2011, the Festival continues to inspire and nurture young people’s creativity and curiosity with events that range from hands-on nature activities to a family fun afternoon where they have the chance to interact with robots, immerse themselves in prehistory and explore the brain in virtual reality.

In the run-up to the Festival, on 28 May, families are encouraged to get into the Festival spirit by taking part in a series of fun events in public libraries in York, aiming to give children the opportunity to experience hands-on creative and scientific activities.

York Festival of Ideas includes a series of sponsored focus events which spotlight some of the most pressing questions facing humankind. Panels of experts will explore ways in which the resourcefulness of the younger generation can secure the future of citizen engagement; the geo-politics of the Ukraine war and the rise of the radical Right.

Other events will explore whether or not a post-Brexit UK has the political and diplomatic influence to promote peace and democracy abroad, and the future of the UK economy.

York Festival of Ideas is delivered in partnership with over 100 organisations including the Jaipur Literature Festival, the French Embassy in the UK and University of York Europe Campus: CITY College.

The York Festival of Ideas 2022 website goes live on Friday, 29 April when tickets for all Festival events will be available. To see the full Festival programme and to book tickets visit yorkfestivalofideas.com.