Edge Hill University’s second annual Festival of Ideas returns this June to explore a theme of ‘Identity and Belonging’ through a stimulating programme of debates, talks, films, exhibitions, round-tables and performances.

Highlights include a poetry evening with Roger McGough soundtracked live by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble 10/10, the University’s annual Athena SWAN Lecture presented by internationally renowned researcher and Director of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Janet Hemingway CBE, a symposium marking the centenary of celebrated surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and a public lecture on The Psychology of Language and Communication from Professor Geoff Beattie.

The Festival of Ideas draws on academic strands within the University’s three research institutes, The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), The Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P) and The Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI).

Public Lectures and roundtable discussions at the festival will cover a diverse mix of subjects, spanning health and wellbeing, psychology, public and social policy and race and gender identity. Examples include Shifting the Curve, a talk from Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality Naomi Eisenstadt CB, who will discuss her recommendations which informed the Fairer Scotland poverty action plan, and leading voice in public health Dr Liz Mear who will discuss how some pressures on the NHS can be alleviated with the use of technology.

The festival will also feature film screenings of A Quiet Passion by acclaimed Liverpool filmmaker Terence Davies, and In Flux: The Queering of Race and Gender by filmmaker and Edge Hill senior lecturer Rosa Fong plus recordings of two plays by Edge Hill Performing Arts academics and students, and Sowing Seeds which was performed at a community farm near to the University and promotes sustainability.

The PGMI will present Shifting Identities, an installation exploring the experiences of children with illness or disability and their parents, and Edge Hill academic Professor Helen Newall has created Remember Me, a poignant multimedia art installation remembering soldiers from the First World War, which can also be experienced by festival visitors.

A packed performance programme will include Exclaim!, a showcase of creative student work, Cartref from Theatr Gadair Ddu, a new theatre company based in Liverpool and Rhuthun, Wales, which focuses on the experiences of the Liverpool Welsh community during the interwar period, and Edge Hill alumna, TV’s Phina Oruche exploring identity struggles in her own one-woman show.

Music festival and symposium Resonant Edge will also form part of the programme, presenting concerts that truly extend across traditional borders of genre and medium, as well as traversing geographic frontiers. This diverse selection of music and sound art will feature a range of styles from contemporary jazz and classical to indie and electronic music, with artists including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Roberto Fabbriciani and Jan Kopinski. An accompanying symposium will explore current thinking on a variety of subjects in music theory and aesthetics.

Exhibitions include Zahir Rafiq’s British Contemporary Islamic Art which explores the theme of British Muslim identity by expressing traditional Islamic motifs through

Western art styles, and In Context which brings together Jigsaw, a collective of four artists from India and the UK who work in a jumble of genres; drawings, prints, archives, collages, poems and texts. The artists interpret the theme of ‘puzzle poems’ to create a new collective dialogue, a game of change and the unexpected.

The Leonora Carrington Centenary Symposium on June 30th will feature keynote speaker Dr Catriona McAra from Leeds College of Art and Guest Speaker Joanna Moorhead, cousin of Leonora, both of whom have written book about the artist, who has Lancastrian roots. Her work and legacy will be discussed by international academics and explored through film screenings, and artistic responses to her work will be presented.

Professor George Talbot, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) & Dean of Arts & Sciences said: “The Festival is a response to public discussions about, and intellectual speculation on, what makes us who we are. It is a platform for communication, aiming to inspire innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration within and between people engaged in healthcare, policy-making, the arts, and the wider public audience.”

The full Festival of Ideas programme and booking details can be found here