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News article

York St John celebrates the city’s Festival of Ideas

Published: 29 May 2024

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York Festival of Ideas 2024 logo

York’s Festival of Ideas 2024 starts this weekend (Saturday 1 June). 
Featuring world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films, guided walks, family-friendly activities, and much more, the York Festival of Ideas offers a huge range of stimulating and diverse events for all ages and interests – with most events free.  

Now in its 13th year, the Festival attracts a regional and global audience of almost 40,000, and shares a commitment to public good. It is led by the University of York in collaboration with more than 100 local and national organisations, including York St John.  
This year’s eclectic programme is presented under the banner of ‘The Power Of...’, exploring everything from the power of science to help explain and improve our world, to the power of history to help us understand our present. 
Headline speakers include: Slumdog Millionaire author Vikas Swarup and award-winning film director (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Bandit Queen) Shekhar Kapur who will discuss how artists can cross boundaries to create new modes of expression which universal appeal; and Isabel Berwick, host of the award-winning Financial Times ‘Working It’ podcast, giving advice on navigating the world of work, now and in the future. 

York St John University is hosting a number of free events across its campus. These are: 

  • The Impact of Paper on Your Trust in the News, Monday 3 June, 2.00pm to 3.00pm      

Dr Sarah Cooper of York St John explores haptics – the science of touch – arguing that the role of touch has been undervalued by the digital world. Has this affected our experience of the world around us?

  • Losing the U.S. presidency, Monday 3 June, 3.00pm to 4.00pm (also online)                                        

Dr James Cooper and Dr Ian Horwood of John St John share their expertise in American politics and political culture. Their talk will offer case studies to explore how the losers of the presidential contest - including those who failed to win their party's nomination - have had transformative impacts on American political history.

  • Religion’s Role in Shaping Diverse Societies, Thursday 6 June, 4.00pm to 5.30pm 

Dr Mark Dawson, Dr Ayla Göl, Dr Sue Yore and Professor Pauline Kollontai from York St John will critically reflect on the constructive contribution religion can make to supporting the promotion of respect, dignity, and justice for all people, and shaping sustainable, diverse and peaceful societies. 

  • Disability Inclusion: Building a Better World, Friday 7 June, 5.30pm to 6.30pm (also online)   

Join disability activist Pippa Stacey as we learn how businesses and individuals can recognise the power of the disability community, avoid perpetuating harmful and outdated stereotypes, and take meaningful action to build a world that's more inclusive for all. 

  • Curious Minds Discovery Zone, Saturday 8 June, 11:00 am to 4:00pm 

Join us for a day of low-key, family-friendly fun that combines learning and enjoyment. This special science engagement event will introduce children to the wonders of psychology-related research in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

  • Improving Lives Through Biomedical Science, Saturday, 8 June, 1:00pm to 3:00pm   

Meet scientists for a hands-on event in a working laboratory at York St John University. Safely participate in real experiments to diagnose and treat sick patients and hear more about this exciting and rewarding career. 

  • Knowing Better: Knowledge and Universities, Wednesday 12 June, 4.30pm to 6.00pm 

Join Senior Lecturer Margaret Meredith and Professor Vanessa Corby of York St John, and Nkosinathi Madondo, lecturer at Mangosuthu University of Technology, as they take you on a journey from Barnsley's ex-mining communities to rural South Africa, discussing insights and reflections on epistemic justice and injustice in academia and beyond. 

  • Mon Seul Desir: The Lady and Unicorn Tapestries, Wednesday 12 June, 7:30pm to 8.30pm  

Enjoy a deeply immersive multi-media experience as composer and York St John Associate Professor David Lancaster performs Mon Seul Desir, a composition scored for soprano, harp and narrator, with electronic soundtrack and video projection. 

  • Making sense of the food system through stories, Thursday 13 June, 5.00pm to 6.30pm 

Hear, see, and take part in food story sharing from a range of York St John Living Lab projects. Explore food focused research and creative outputs from students, staff and partners including cookbooks, exhibitions, performances, community gardens, and social enterprises. Includes guest speaker Dr Somdip Dey, award-winning developer of the food waste app, nosh.  

The event, The Enduring Power of Gulliver’s Travels, on Thursday 6 June has sold out.  

Joan Concannon, Director of York Festival of Ideas, said: “York Festival of Ideas is driven by a belief in the power of ideas and education to transform lives. With the support of our generous sponsors and in partnership with over 100 local, national and international partners, including York St John University, we are thrilled to present a diverse programme of over 200 mostly free events to educate, entertain and inspire.” 

Book your tickets for York St John’s collection of events. 

The full programme of events can be found on the Festival website. 

Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499