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Looking forward to LIFI22

with Martin Dickson

With only one month to go until Leeds International Festival of Ideas arrives at the Howard Assembly Room and Howard Opera Centre, LIFI22’s Head of Festival Martin Dickson takes us through a packed programme.

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“Building on the success of last year’s Festival, which saw our evolution into a diverse programme of inspiring talks and debates, the appeal of and interest in LIFI22 is certainly growing, with tickets selling fast for all 12 events – an array of music, keynote speeches and debates packed into just five days!

Continuing to explore new ideas in our own innovative way and looking to address the issues and topics of the day, our aim is to introduce the brightest minds to the city, and the city to the brightest minds.

This year we’re presenting an incredible lineup of 36 speakers, delving into everything from discussions on the impact of social media and the metaverse, how we talk about mental health and the social duty of sport to what’s wrong with climate activism and what you can laugh about now.

Among our guests joining these debates are actor David Harewood MBE, comedian Rosie Jones, TV personality Gail Porter, author Bryony Gordon, presenter Lara Lewington, environmental activist and advisor Judy Ling Wong CBE, comedian Jamali Maddix, former Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and Christopher Wylie, best known for his role in setting up – and taking down – Cambridge Analytica.

Taking centre stage for keynote speeches, we have Kevin McCloud MBE, best known for the internationally-acclaimed Channel 4 show Grand Designs, on The (Built) Environment; restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi (The Universal Language of Food); award-winning stand-up comedian, writer and actor Aisling Bea (the Contemporary Voice of Screenwriting); historian David Olusoga (Britain and the History Wars) and Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge (Art and Culture – A Price Worth Paying?).

A special addition to the bill is the late announcement of a warm-up show of the UK-only performance of Jon HopkinsPolarity. This must-see performance sold out within hours, while an overwhelming demand for Mary Beard‘s talk has seen us move it into the Howard Assembly Room, with additional tickets now on sale.

We can’t wait to present this year’s Festival, something special to shine the spotlight on Leeds, enhancing our cultural offering and providing that added appeal for audiences to come and enjoy.”

Explore the line-up and book


Leeds International Festival of Ideas is brought to the city by LeedsBID, working in partnership with the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, Weightmans and Bruntwood, with Yorkshire Evening Post as media partners.


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