Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>About the University>Sustainability>Student Sustainability Opportunities Hub>News>2023>Festival of ideas

York Festival of Ideas 2023

News | Posted on Tuesday 2 May 2023

York Festival of Ideas returns from 2-15 June, including events and talks relating to environment and sustainability.

York Festival of Ideas
Rediscover, Reimagine, Rebuild

2-15 June 2023

York Festival of Ideas 2023 has a wide range of inspiring events to attend and engage with, both in person and online. A sample of events relating to environment and sustainability in this year’s programme is outlined below.

The full Festival programme can be explored at


The World at Your Feet, Saturday 3 June 2023, 10am to 1pm (in person)

Come along to this family-friendly event with David Raffaelli, ecologist and Trustee at Woodmeadow Trust, who will focus on the partnerships between fungi, flowering plants and trees, and explain how animals keep our soils - and our planet - healthy.


A Pilgrimage of Sound, Sunday 4 June 2023, 10am to 12pm (in person)

Join us for an evocative journey through the acoustic world of 16th-century York that will allow you to view our city’s rich natural heritage from a fresh perspective. 


Slums or Formal Housing? Looking through urban women’s eyes, Tuesday 6 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm (online)

Human geographer Anika Haque of the University of York discusses the importance of gender equality for sustainable development, focusing in particular on the ways in which cities in the Global South demonstrate the structural marginalisation of urban women.


Greener Futures, Tuesday 6 June 2023, 6pm to 7pm (online)

Discover how a collaborative project between the Universities of York and Maastricht is helping to transform our food system through business model innovation.


Tyred: The economy and ecology of waste tyres in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday 6 June 2023, 8pm to 9pm (online)

Join us for a panel discussion on urban sustainability, focusing on how waste tyres are being made into new resources in the megacity of Lagos, Nigeria.


42 Ways to Transform York, Wednesday 7 June 2023, 7pm to 9pm (in person)

What could a truly cycle-friendly city look like? Join us to hear all about ‘42 Ways’, York Cycle Campaign’s manifesto that critiques the existing transport policy in York and presents a more rational alternative that puts cycling at the heart of a new approach that could create a healthier, happier, more equitable environment not just for cyclists, but for everyone in York.


Urban River Restoration in Action, Thursday 8 June 2023, 1pm to 3pm and 5pm to 7pm (in person)

Come and see river restoration in action as part of the York Cares Big Community Challenge, which is happening throughout June. Learn about the York Becks project, which aims to recreate, restore and re-naturalise York’s urban watercourses so that they are teeming with wildlife and enjoyed by all.


The Deep Ocean: Life in the abyss, Friday 9 June 2023, 1pm to 2pm (online)

Zoologist Louise Allcock leads you down into the canyons, trenches and hydrothermal vents of the watery abyss, presenting the deep ocean and its inhabitants as you have never seen them before. Living things down here behave in remarkable and surprising ways, and cutting-edge technologies are shedding new light on these critically important ecosystems.


One Thousand Shades of Green: A year in search of Britain’s wild plants, Saturday 10 June 2023, 10am to 11am (in person)

Celebrate the beauty and diversity of our nation’s plants with ecologist, writer and BBC Countryfile presenter Mike Dilger, who discusses his mission to see 1,000 different wild plants in one calendar year.


Imagining Just Transition Futures, Saturday 10 June 2023, 3.30pm to 4.30pm (in person)

How we move about in our daily lives impacts the environment as well as our health. This workshop, hosted in collaboration with the York Cycle Campaign Group, will explore what a ‘just transition’ away from current systems and infrastructures of mobility will involve. 


Pyramids of Life: Improving the health of oceans, Sunday 11 June 2023, 10.30am to 11.30am (in person)

Join our panel of experts to hear all about the groundbreaking ‘Pyramids of Life’ project that seeks to better understand how we can work sustainably to manage our oceans, and how a change in fishing and consumer behaviour could improve stocks and promote biodiversity.


York Living Labs: Campus biodiversity walk, Sunday 11 June 2023, 11am to 12.30pm (in person)

In the summer of 2022 a York Living Labs biodiversity pilot study saw University of York students work with a team of consultants to undertake a baseline ecological survey of the campus grounds and help identify interesting areas of biodiversity. This walk will showcase some of their fascinating findings.


What Is Biodiversity? In conversation and hands-on activities, Sunday 11 June 2023, 2.30pm to 5pm (in person)

Delve into the topic of biodiversity and discover the nuanced relationships between humanity and nature with acclaimed environmental writer Emma Marris and Chris Thomas, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity at the University of York, and stay on for some exciting and informative hands-on activities.


Avocado Anxiety, Sunday 11 June 2023, 4pm to 5pm (in person)

In an effort to make sense of the complex food system we are all part of, environmental writer Louise Gray tracks the stories of our five-a-day, from farm to fruit bowl, explaining the impact that growing fruits and vegetables has on the planet.


Reimagining a Rewilded York, Tuesday 13 June 2023, 7pm to 9pm (in person)

Join our inspiring panel of experts as they discuss the wild wonders already happening in York as well as what a rewilded York could look like. Artist James McKay will capture the ideas and suggestions that are generated live on canvas, co-creating a collaborative, inspiring vision of a rewilded York.


Reimagining Cities: Regeneration and social enterprise, Thursday 15 June 2023, 12.30pm to 4.45pm (in person)

Our two panels explore a different approach to urban regeneration through inclusive growth and harnessing the power of major employer institutions, education providers and social enterprise for more equitable and inclusive economic outcomes. Refreshments provided.


Stay up to date with all things related to the Festival by following York Festival of Ideas on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, #YorkIdeas

Visit Festival of Ideas

Contact us

Sustainability at York

Contact us

Sustainability at York