York Festival of Ideas


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what is York Festival of Ideas?

Every year, York Festival of Ideas features world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films, guided walks, family-friendly activities and more. The festival offers a huge range of stimulating and diverse events for all ages and interests with events taking place at venues throughout the city of York.

The Festival, in partnership with The University of York, is an expression of the University’s commitment to being a university for public good: through the Festival they demonstrate the major contribution of education to the economic, social and cultural development of York and Yorkshire. Growing year on year, the Festival now attracts an audience of well over 60,000 and works in partnership with more than 100 local and national organisations.


Where was it?

Held across the city, each year, York Festival of Ideas has utilised countless venues with York Conferences and Events.  

In the 350 seat tiered lecture theatre in Piazza in 2023, bestselling author, historian and broadcaster Tracy Borman shared one of the most extraordinary mother-and-daughter stories of all time – that of Anne Boleyn, the most famous of Henry VIII’s wives, and her daughter Elizabeth, the ‘Virgin Queen’. 

In an unforgettable talk based in one of our seminar rooms in the Ron Cooke Hub, actor, dancer and politician Michael Cashman shared how his life changed when he was discovered, aged 12, and transported to the West End stage. Michael delivered his story –  as an actor, as one half of the first gay kiss broadcast on a British soap, BBC TV’s EastEnders. Then, as a campaigner and politician, founding Stonewall with Ian McKellen, and embarking on a fight for gay rights across the world. 

Exhibition stands and book signings were held at Ron Cooke Hub and Piazza throughout the festival, with a buzz running through both of the venue’s atrium’s, which offered an entertaining breakout space whilst attendees awaited to attend their next talk or workshop.

In the city centre, The Guildhall and King’s Manor held a number of exciting events such as concerts and talks with the festival opening with an interactive workshop for children hosted by The Guildhall residents: XR Stories. The company focuses on digital storytelling and in this particular event, children were able to scan their favourite toy into a 3D digital replica.




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