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York Festival of Ideas

Posted on 3 May 2017

Get your tickets now to explore The Story of Things.

York Festival of Ideas: The Story of Things. 6-18 June 2017.

York Festival of Ideas celebrates the importance and relevance of ideas and research through an engaging array of talks, performances, films, community events and exhibitions.

Headline speakers:

  • Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor and star of Strictly Come Dancing
  • Harriet Harman MP
  • Peter Lord, co-founder of the award winning Aardman Animations
  • Janina Ramirez, writer and broadcaster
  • Reverend Richard Coles, broadcaster and cleric
  • Mark Laity, Chief Strategic Communications, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)
  • Emma Jacobs, Financial Times columnist
  • Guy Standing, author of The Precariat
  • Michael Rosen, novelist and poet

This year's festival will be the biggest to date, presenting a diverse mix of events under the banner of The Story of Things: A celebration of human ingenuity and invention.

There will be nearly two hundred events exploring the theme across a plethora of areas, from science to history, from creative writing to cycling, and much more. 

With 150 events absolutely free you just need to book your ticket to join in and explore.

Celebrating the magic of books

In celebration of the power of books and the stories they contain, Festival of Ideas will be giving away free books in the run up to the Festival. The books will be available in York city centre cafés - look out for the York Festival of Ideas sticker, which invites you to read the book then pass it on. Many of the books are by speakers at this year's Festival.

Festival Beer

Half Moon Brewery in Ellerton has produced a beer especially for this year’s York Festival of Ideas: Magna Carta. It will be available in casks and bottles at outlets across the city.

Family activities

Many events are family friendly and a range of activities have been provided that are tailored for children, such as 'The Story of Things: Lego building', 'Viking Saga Saturday', or 'Zombies in York'.


Accessibility arrangements have been made wherever possible. Most events have wheelchair access and you can check in advance whether your venue will suit your needs on the Festival venues web page.

The festival will run from 6 to 18 June.

Find out more, download the programme, and book your tickets now.