Unlike with an academic conference, the Festival is aimed at a general audience, whereby anyone of any educational background could attend an event. Please do, therefore, think creatively about different ways of presenting your research.

Previous examples of this have included:

Flash Talks

If a straight talk is what you are hoping to do, we are also planning on running a series of back to back TED-style flash talks of 20 minutes. We will aim to run these in a city centre location such as the York Explore library, creating a buzz and bringing research into the City.

Online Panels

Infinite Remembering: Poetry beyond love and war

Anthony Vahni Capildeo, Writer in Residence at the University, ran an online event with a global panel of literature experts that encompassed a creative mixture of poetry and discussion, all revolving around the subject of Sri Lankan and diaspora poetry.

Hands-on Family Activities

Each year the Festival offers departments the chance to provide hands-on family activities in venues across the city, providing great opportunities to highlight University research and showcase exciting educational activities across all subject areas.


300 Years of Body Positivity and Neutrality

Two PhD researchers led a session on the history of body positivity and body acceptance via a zine-making workshop inspired by 18th-century pamphlets.

Handling History: Exploring dress accessories

Art historians brought the collection of the Digital Museum of Dress Accessories (DMDA) to life via a handling workshop that allowed audiences to interact with objects in the collection.

Toy Stories

Researchers from XR Stories ran an interactive children’s workshop in which toys were scanned to capture 3D digital replicas, and then brought to life on screen with a motion capture actor.

Walking Tours

A Pilgrimage of Sound

A PhD researcher and an artist from the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity collaborated to create a soundwalk through the city of York which encompassed elements of history and spiritual reflection.


The Mind Reader vs The Machine

For the last few years, neuroscientists have presented a Mind Reader vs the Machine stage spectacle where a mind reader competes against fMRI technology to see which is more accurate.


A group of PhD Scientists have led interactive games to teach children about epidemics via a fictional zombie takeover of York.

Submissions for June 2024 are now open and close at midnight on Monday 27 November.  We look forward to seeing your ideas!

If you'd like to discuss possible formats for your event with the Festival team, please contact Naomi Richards at yorkfestivalofideas-admin@york.ac.uk.