Festival of Ideas

FOI 2021

Festival of Ideas

Monday 28th June – Friday 2nd July 2021

During June 2021 Edge Hill University will host its fifth Festival of Ideas which explores the theme of Renewal: Creativity, Community, Curiosity’ in a stimulating programme of events.

After a year of lockdown and an unprecedented global crisis, it is time to reflect, re-set, and refresh. What are the ideas that we will need to adapt to our new reality? How will they build on the legacy of the past? Can we shift how we see the world and truly think the previously unthinkable? This series of talks, dialogues and provocations seek to raise questions about the task ahead of us, while understanding what has gone before. Renewals are not just rolling over existing arrangements, a renewal means improvement on what has gone before. Are our concepts and ways of thinking adequate to opportunities and challenges ahead?

The Festival of Ideas is a series of events to engage academics, students and members of the public in conversations upon a common theme.  The Festival draws on academic strands within the University’s three Research Institutes and the Data Science Research Centre:





Programme of Events

FoI 2019

Festival of Ideas 2019: EXCHANGES

During October 2019 Edge Hill University will host its fourth Festival of Ideas which explores the theme of ‘Exchanges: Creativity, Community, Curiosity’ in a stimulating programme of events.

The exchange of ideas is the fuel of the knowledge and creative economy. Locally, nationally and internationally we are all involved in sharing concepts, swapping insights, and trading opinions. This year’s festival explores communication, reciprocity, and transactions in all areas, from policy making to healthcare, social enterprise to cultural production. Be the exchange you want to see.

The festival will be programmed by Edge Hill University’s three Research Institutes, the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR), and the Health Research Institute.

Find more information here for 2019.

FoI 2018

Festival of Ideas 2018: EQUALITIES

Edge Hill University’s third Festival of Ideas will explore the prism of Equalities, incorporating the 100th anniversary of women of a certain criteria getting the vote, as well as responding to other current topics in the media. It aims to open up interdisciplinary debate about past injustices and what can be done to work together to formulate an equitable future society.  The festival runs throughout May and June.

The festival has been programmed by Edge Hill University’s three Research Institutes, ICEI4P and PGMI.

More Information about the festival: HERE

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FoI 2017

Festival of Ideas 2017: IDENTITY


During June 2017 Edge Hill University hosted its second Festival of Ideas which explored themes of Identity and Belonging in a stimulating programme of debates, talks, films, exhibitions, round-tables and performances.  The festival had been programmed by Edge Hill University’s three Research Institutes, ICEI4P and PGMI.

IDENTITY draws on academic strands within the University’s three research institutes and is a response to public discussions about, and intellectual speculation on, what makes us who we are. The programme will look at Identity as incomplete, protean, restless, open-ended, flexible, and versatile… existing in fluidity rather than ‘fixed’ characteristics.

Ideas around patient identity will be explored, focusing on the importance of the patient voice, which can easily be overlooked in a metrics-driven health and social care system, and the individual needs, values, beliefs, preferences and social circumstances that underpin personalised treatment and care.

The Festival will open up debates on gender fluidity and non-binary sexualities, on the current momentum of political fluidity using Scottish independence and Brexit as examples of the concept of conflicting and mutating notions of identity, as well as the contrasting ideas of identity shaped by class, age, gender, sexuality or disability. It will also look at the way in which place affects identity, examining the ‘North’ in the wake of the Northern Powerhouse, the diasporic cultures of exile and displacement prompted by global migration, and the concept of regional, urban or rural identities.

As we enter an era where our identity will be increasingly defined and decoded by the algorithms of artificial intelligence, how will human beings respond to the impact of technological classification?

More information…


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FoI 2016

Festival of Ideas 2016: IMAGINING BETTER


During February and March 2016 Edge Hill University launched its first Festival of Ideas with a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society under the main theme Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality.  The festival had been programmed by Edge Hill University’s three Research Institutes, ICEI4P and PGMI.

FoIIMAGINING BETTER – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality.  A festival of creative thinking for challenging times, making space for crucial conversations and new ideas for the arts, healthcare and public policy. An exciting collection of talks, exhibitions, films and performances explored issues such as children’s rights and citizenship, arts and social justice, innovative strategies for current healthcare issues, racism in sport, cultural identities and much more.

The Edge Hill Festival of Ideas had been inspired, in part, by the work of the internationally respected cultural theorist Stuart Hall and built on the University’s tribute to him on the occasion of his death in 2014. A key part of Hall’s work and his contribution to ideas and the academy was his invitation to think in a multi- or inter-disciplinary way, and to encourage critical thinking and questioning.


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