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Tenth anniversary York Festival of Ideas looks to ‘Infinite Horizons’

York Festival of Ideas returns in June with a programme of over 150 free events on the theme of Infinite Horizons to mark its 10th anniversary.

This year’s Festival, with headline sponsor Holbeck Charitable Trust, offers world-class speakers, including acclaimed children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo; leading economists Mariana Mazzucato and Kate Raworth; political philosopher Michael Sandel; musicians, Supriya Nagarajan and Anna Phoebe; and forensic anthropologist, Sue Black.

York Festival of Ideas runs from 8-20 June, with a special day of events to celebrate its 10th anniversary on Monday, 7 June. The programme has partnerships spanning Bangladesh, France, Greece, The Netherlands, India, and the USA.

The Festival programme includes a series of sponsored focus events which place the spotlight on some of the most pressing questions facing humankind. Panels of experts will explore how to create a fairer economy, the role of imagination in science, and the challenge of restoring serious debate in a politically polarised world.

Highlights include: Mission Economy: A moonshot guide to changing capitalism Monday 7 June

How do we improve the quality of people’s lives and tackle the great global challenges of our times? Join leading economist Mariana Mazzucato and the co-author of the best-selling The Spirit Level, Kate Pickett. Any Other Business Tuesday 8 June

How do we find a space to talk about what’s really important at work? Join us for a special screening of the film Any Other Business followed by a panel discussion of the issues raised.

The Road towards Sustainable Consumption Tuesday 8 June

Discover the fundamental role companies can play in driving sustainable consumption patterns through new business models which look beyond the ‘green consumer’. Four Thousand Weeks: Time management for mortals Thursday 10 June

Award-winning Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman provides an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management. The Digital Wall Thursday 10 June

Join in the discussion as Citizens Advice York explores how barriers to technology have impacted York residents in the Covid-19 pandemic. Exploring Doughnut Economics Friday 11 June

How do we bring humanity into a sweet spot that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet? Economist Kate Raworth discusses her internationally acclaimed Doughnut Economics. The Beauty Brief: An insider’s guide to skincare Sunday 13 June

Beauty expert Katie Service breaks down the big issues facing the skincare industry today, from recyclables and vegan or cruelty-free products to ‘dupes’ and toxic ingredients. Levelling Up the Economy Wednesday 16 June

What does ‘levelling up the economy’ mean? Is it just a new name for an old idea? And most crucially, is it possible? Our expert speakers discuss the challenges. Green Growth and Community Wealth Creation Thursday 17 June

Our expert panel reveals how a green recovery could create millions of jobs, promote our health and wellbeing, and lead us to a fairer, more resilient future. The Tyranny of Merit Saturday 19 June

Political philosopher Michael J Sandel of Harvard University argues it’s time to rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalisation and rising inequality.

Joan Concannon, Director of York Festival of Ideas, said: “We are enormously proud to announce this exciting and inspirational programme for the 2021 York Festival of Ideas. We have radically adapted our model of engaging audiences in the light of Covid-19 restrictions but our programme for 2021 is as ambitious as any we have attempted in the last decade.

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all our sponsors and partners without whose support we would be unable to deliver the Festival free to our audiences.

“I am especially delighted that we have an opportunity to build on our relationship with partners from across the globe – ideas and knowledge have no borders and we are honoured to work with such inspiring partners from around the world.” View the full 2021 programme at