Donors and Supporters

A huge thank you to our 2023 Festival donors and supporters.

Headline Sponsor 

The Holbeck Charitable Trust

Holbeck Charitable Trust

The Holbeck Charitable Trust is once again delighted to be Headline Sponsor of York Festival of Ideas.

We are excited to learn that the Festival, after the success of last year’s hybrid approach, returns with a diverse programme of in-person and online events, aiming to extend its local, regional and global reach, and allowing people worldwide to benefit from free educating, entertaining and inspiring talks, workshops and more.

As a long-time sponsor, we are pleased to support this year’s Festival, which is on its way to becoming a mainstay of the national cultural calendar.


Supporters and Donors

University of York

We are proud of the University of York’s role in establishing and leading York Festival of Ideas since 2011. The Festival is an expression of the University’s commitment to being a university for public good: through the Festival we demonstrate the major contribution of education to the economic, social and cultural development of York and Yorkshire. Together with our Festival partners we are committed to showcasing the importance and relevance of ideas and research, and to engaging with new and diverse audiences. We are delighted to do so again in the University’s 60th anniversary year.

The University is pleased to support the Festival through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which facilitates the communication of new knowledge and its benefits to society. 

Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor



Aviva logo

Aviva is one of the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth and Retirement businesses. As one of the largest employers in York, we are delighted to sponsor a panel discussion on Reimagining Cities: Regeneration and social enterprise.


C & JB Morrell Trust and the Morrell Centre for Legal and Political Philosophy

The C and JB Morrell Trust is a core funder of the Festival. The Morrell Centre for Legal and Political Philosophy, which is generously supported by the Trust, is proud to sponsor a series of themed events on the UK’s criminal justice system. The Centre is dedicated to legal and political philosophy with a particular focus on toleration as an idea and as a practice. Follow us @MorrellCentre.


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Joseph Rowntree Foundation logo

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is an independent social change organisation whose mission is to inspire action and change to solve UK poverty. JRF is therefore delighted to support York Festival of Ideas in its ambition to provide a platform for informed debate on key contemporary issues through a programme of accessible events, including three Festival Focus sessions on Transitioning to a Poverty-Free Future.


French Embassy in the UK

The Higher Education, Research and Innovation (ESRI) Department of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom is recognised as a partner for British Institutions and their French counterparts. The ESRI is very happy to work with York Festival of Ideas to present two events under the theme Between Continents and Cultures that bring together leading academics from France and the UK.


Enterprise Works

University of York Enterprise Works logo

Enterprise Works is a new business hub in York that helps businesses to grow and drives social change by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activity. Our work is underpinned by the University’s established research expertise and our existing business support services. We are delighted to sponsor a panel discussion including networking opportunities on Reimagining Cities: Regeneration and social enterprise.


The Institution of Engineering and Technology

IET logo

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is the largest multidisciplinary professional engineering institution in the world. The North Yorkshire Network of the IET is a proud sponsor and collaborator of York Festival of Ideas. This year we will be supporting Back to the Moon: The next giant leap for humankind.


Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

The Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, examines how the relationship between humanity and the natural world is changing, and how we might develop and maintain a sustainable Earth. We are proud to support a talk and activities on biodiversity.


Lorna and David Foster

Lorna and David Foster are pleased to support the Festival Finale, Elégie - Rachmaninoff, A Heart in Exile.


Athena Swan

Athena Swan logo

The Athena Swan Charter recognises the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. The University of York was the first Yorkshire university to win the Athena Swan bronze award in recognition of its success in providing positive support for women scientists during their careers. The university has continued to hold a bronze award since 2006 and is now recognised for work undertaken to address gender equality and intersectionality more broadly. The University’s Athena Swan Steering Group is delighted to support Rebel Bodies: How to bridge the gender health gap.


Shepherd Group


Shepherd Group is one of the leading family-owned private businesses in the UK. Founded in 1890 in York, its head offices remain in the city and its operations are now purely focused on its flagship business, Portakabin, Europe’s market-leading modular building innovator. Shepherd Group is proud to support York Festival of Ideas again this year.


York-Maastricht Partnership

University of York logoMaastricht University logo

The York-Maastricht Partnership is a major strategic investment between the universities of York and Maastricht, intended to develop a deep and lasting relationship, and built around excellent sustainability research, teaching and knowledge exchange. The Partnership is very proud to support an online event related to our new ‘Creating a Greener Future’ strategy.


Our thanks to those donors and supporters who wish to remain anonymous.

If you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, please email the Festival team at