Sunday, 3 June 2018

York Festival of Ideas

Please find below details of some of the events taking place during York Festival of Ideas. 

Kind regards


Caron Lett 
Festival of Ideas Officer
University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD 

Join us for York Festival of Ideas 2018. Running from 5 to 17 June, the Festival includes more than 200 mostly FREE events to educate, entertain and inspire. A selection of events is listed below and the full programme can be viewed at

Which cities work and which don’t? Why? How can we ensure good growth through design? Our special Focus Day, which is supported by the University of York through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and by York Science Park, explores the possibilities for ‘re-imagining the city’. Join us as our expert speakers discuss how architecture, technology and transport underpin urban living and how they impact on the environment, our lives, health and happiness. Speakers include Alison Brooks, Alison Brooks Architects; Patrik Schumacher, Principal, Zaha Hadid Architects; Stephen Joseph, Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport; Harbinder Birdi, Head of Infrastructure and Transport at Hawkins\Brown; Riccardo Marini, Founder of Marini Urbanismo; and Clare Wright, Founding Partner at Wright & Wright Architects. 

Exploring Utopian York, throughout the Festival

York is a city designed, re-designed, built, and re-built over thousands of years. The futures we envision for York change over time too. In this downloadable podcast trail, Sarah Lohmann of Durham University and Adam Stock of York St John University discuss utopian visions, science fiction and the imagination, while exploring everyday locations around the city.

Fashion chronicler Eugénie Shinkle explores the profound influence that fashion photography has had over the past century. Featuring work by important fashion photographers of the past, alongside those shaping contemporary taste today, she showcases some of the genre’s most glamorous moments. Learn how fashion photography flourished with the rise of illustrated magazines and how it has since expanded and evolved.

Liquid Traces: The left-to-die boat case Wednesday 6, Sunday 10 and Wednesday 13 June

Join us for a film screening of Liquid Traces: The Left-to-Die Boat Case (2014) directed by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani (Forensic Oceanography). The screening will be introduced by Martha Cattell and Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, Art History PhD students at the University of York. The film offers a reconstruction of events when 72 passengers left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat. Left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, only nine people survived.

The Qur’ans of Uljaytu, Wednesday 6 June

The Mongol Ilkhanate (1256-1353) was established in north-west Iran after the invasions led by Hulegu, the grandson of Genghis-khan. Despite the initial destruction the conquests brought, Ilkhanid rule heralded a period where the arts of the book flourished with the production of both religious and secular texts. Alison Ohta of the Royal Asiatic Society discusses the beautifully illuminated Qur’ans produced for the Ilkhan Uljaytu.

As the ‘beautiful book’ comes back into vogue, artist, illustrator and author Martin Salisbury delves into the history of the illustrated book jacket. He traces its development across the 20th century through some of the most outstanding designs of the era, revealing how far the book as an artefact had travelled from the days of the plain wrapper in the 19th century.

Immerse yourself in the elegance of a by-gone era as you learn about the making of the V&A’s exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed and Style. Join the exhibition’s co-curator Ghislaine Wood for a journey through the design stories of the world’s greatest ocean liners, including the Titanic, the Queen Mary and the Canberra, and discover how the exhibition re-imagines the golden age of travel.

The Mughal Emperors of South Asia were famous patrons of art and architecture but less familiar is the impact of the equally powerful and wealthy female queens. Mehreen Chida-Razvi of SOAS, University of London, introduces Nur Jahan, wife of Emperor Jahangir and aunt to Mumtaz Mahal, for whom the Taj Mahal was built, as a great architectural patron in her own right.

Find out about the making of the Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything exhibition with John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Inspired by the world of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and the great themes of his life and work, this truly multidisciplinary exhibition combined visual art, virtual reality, installations, performances, music and writing.

Taking inspiration from a film documenting experimental arts-based research with activists and artists in Bangladesh and Uganda, you are invited to think about how the arts can help us imagine a different world. Ruth Kelly of the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights and artist Emilie Flower present a film screening, exhibition and discussion, and explain how theatre, story, image, dance and music can help us envisage a more just and sustainable world.

Author Frances Borzello explores the often overlooked genre of women’s self-portraiture, giving this richly diverse range of artists and portraits the critical analysis they deserve. Take a journey from the self-portraits of nuns in medieval illuminated manuscripts, through to art schools opening their doors to women in the 19th century, to the demolition of taboos in the modern period.

Explore the Egyptian modernist art movement and representations of the body. Amina Diab, a PhD student at the University of York, discusses representations of women and their influences pre-1952 revolution, under the royal family, and post-1952 revolution, under military rule. Join us as we investigate gender and space in modern day Egypt.

It is quite difficult to imagine artist Edvard Munch as a cheerful individual. Yet, in his later works, in paintings as monumental as they are high-profile, he presents audiences with visions of universal harmony. Art historian Elena Kashina discusses works which are charmingly idyllic, but delivered convincingly, poetically and consistently – and which are still decorating the public spaces for which they were created.

In a period of mass manufacturing, our growing appetite for hand-made objects, artisan food and craft beverages reveals our deep cravings for tradition and quality. But there was a time when craft meant something very different. Historian and broadcaster Alex Langlands explains how the Old English word cræft possessed an almost indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and power. Join Alex and rediscover the meaning of craft.

How did those living in the circumpolar region see space, place and landscape in the time after contact with Europeans? Join Meg Boulton, a Research Affiliate with the University of York’s History of Art Department, as she brings together three sets of objects to consider this question.

Ivan Bilibin was one of the foremost visual interpreters of fairy tales and epic legend in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Art historian Elena Kashina discusses the costumes and stage designs for projects such as Boris Godunov, Prince Igor and Fire-Bird. Hear how Bilibin fused a diverse range of styles, drawn from his academic training, traditional Russian art forms, religious painting and mystic views of the Orient.

The world of tomorrow is shaped by the emerging design and technology of today. Join Rory Hyde, co-curator of The Future Starts Here exhibition at the V&A in London, to find out about a landscape of possibilities for the future. Rory discusses the background to the major new exhibition, which brings together 100 objects ranging from smart appliances to satellites and artificial intelligence to internet culture.

The art and architecture of Egypt from the age of the pharaohs still grip the modern world’s imagination. Join author and Egyptologist Bill Manley as he highlights some ancient masterpieces in order to discover what art actually meant to this uniquely successful and compelling civilisation.

Fine art publisher Joe Studholme explains the modern printing of Joseph Banks’ collection of botanical engravings and shows some of the fine illustrations. Banks, a wealthy young naturalist, accompanied James Cook on his first voyage around the world, bringing back 1,300 previously unknown species. He then commissioned 700 engravings as a scientific record that became known as Joseph Banks’ Florilegium.

Digital technologies and tools are producing entirely new working methods, skill sets and consumer products. But unlike the Industrial Revolution, which reduced the role of the craftsperson in the manufacturing process, the digital age is enriching hand techniques. Writer Lucy Johnston introduces the international designers, artists, and craftspeople who are spearheading this latest revolution.

Meet five New Generation Thinkers and hear their ideas on topics ranging from Sarah Scott and the dream of a female utopia to John Gower, the forgotten medieval poet. New Generation Thinkers is a nationwide scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to find the brightest minds at the start of their careers with the potential to share their cutting-edge research through broadcasting. The session will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s The Essay in late June.

York Design Awards: Winners presentation, Monday 25 June (Post Festival event)

Join us for the 12th annual York Design Awards presentation in categories covering residential, community and commercial buildings, and open spaces. York Design Awards promotes excellence in architectural design and conservation in the York area. Good sustainable design and conservation support the city’s special heritage and contribute to the well-being of its residents and visitors.

Refuse/Refuge Friday 20 July to Sunday 16 September (Post festival event)

Refuse/Refuge is an exhibition of contemporary art exploring the role of visual politics in shaping the public's reactions to the 21st-century refugee crisis. Curated by University of York PhD students Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani and Martha Cattell, the exhibition is supported by the University’s History of Art Department, York Festival of Ideas, the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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