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York’s Festival of Ideas 2016 begins

The University of York’s 2016 Festival of Ideas begins today.

Running from the 7th to the 19th of June, the Festival of Ideas presents a collection of lectures and workshops available to students, staff and the public. This year, the theme of the Festival is “Tick Tock,” titled in reference to how close we are to global catastrophe according to the ‘Doomsday Clock’. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, we are “three minutes to midnight,” extremely close to major problems.

Today the Festival begins with an organ and trumpet concerto at St. Helen’s Church. This evening there will be lectures on a variety of topics, from the illustrator of Roald Dahl’s famous children’s books Quentin Blake and a documentary film on the Easter Rising of 1916, to masculinity, male stereotypes and the various forms of communism in the previous century.

Leading up to the national referendum on Great Britain’s membership of the European Union, the Festival will host a focus day on the EU and Britain on the 16th of June. Lord Lawson, the former Conservative minister, will debate with Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, on whether the public should vote to remain or leave.

Another notable theme of the 2016 Festival of Ideas is the relationship between the economy and equality. On the 15th, Chris Renwick, a member of the Department of History at the University of York, will discuss social mobility while the York Union will host a debate on the future of the welfare state. On the 17th, the Guardian columnist Owen Jones will be speaking about the ‘politics of hope’, Joris Luyendijk will explain the culture of investment banking and London School of Economics academic Mike Savage will be exploring the class system in Britain.

Floods caused havoc for the city of York and its residents earlier this year. The Festival will examine flooding in another themed day, hosted in the Ron Cooke Hub, exploring climate change, the environment and how architects and construction services create flood-proof housing.

For further information, the website for the Festival of Ideas can be found here. A programme of events can be found here and an electronic copy of the event brochure can be found here. All events require a ticket for entry unless otherwise stated.

The Yorker intends to provide coverage of several events throughout the Festival. Students at the University of York are welcome to join The Yorker and contribute to this coverage. A Facebook group for writers attending the Festival can be found here. For inquiries, please consult the Editor at editor@theyorker.co.uk.