Edge Hill University’s, free, virtual Festival of Ideas, will bring together famous faces, industry experts, academics and students to explore positive responses to the dramatic events of the past 18 months – and everyone is invited.

Organised by Edge Hill’s three Research Institutes – The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE); The Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR); and The Health Research Institute (HRI) and the Data Science Research Centre (DSRC) the Festival of Ideas will take place over five days with a series of thought provoking events.

This year’s theme, ‘Renewal: Creativity, Community, Curiosity’ asks us to consider how we adapt to our new reality, build on the legacy of the past, and use new ideas to move forward and change for the better.

To kick off this year’s festival, on 28th June at 5.30pm Edge Hill is bringing you ‘Edge Talks’, the University’s own TED Talk inspired spin-off. This series of punchy 10-minute talks will be delivered by a variety of inspirational speakers on a topic of their choice under the theme of Renewal. The talks will cover topics currently being researched at Edge Hill from how British highstreets can recover to how self-driving cars are learning to make decisions.  

Wednesday’s event, The Untold Stories of COVID-19 will look at how we heal our fraught relationship with nature with ideas coming from three experts on the environment and human-animal interactions.

Thursday’s Recovery and Renewal: The future of Primary Care Research event will focus on new health research and asks which topics should be a priority in light of the crisis. Leading the event will be Dr Greg Irving who is both a GP and an Edge Hill university academic.

The final event on Friday 2nd June Turning Disaster into Opportunity will analyse the positive environmental impacts of the pandemic including improved air quality and asks how we can maintain this progress in the rush to ‘get back to normal’. Edge Hill’s Professor Paul Aplin will discuss whether we are letting an opportunity for dramatic change slip through our fingers.

Director of the Institute for Social Responsibility Professor Jo Crotty said: “The events of the global pandemic have been incredibly challenging but have also led to disruption of ‘business as usual’. As we emerge from our homes and get back to something resembling normality, members our three research institutes and research centres wanted to show how the pandemic presents us with new opportunities to change for the better and highlight the incredible research being done at Edge Hill and beyond that is advancing the change agenda.”

“Ultimately we want this year’s Festival of Ideas to be a positive experience and whether its health, business, the arts or politics, I want us all to start thinking about how we can move forward constructively to tackle the big issues facing the world.”

While some events require registration, all of the events are free and hosted online, full details of all the events and how to sign up are on the Festival of Ideas webpage.

The festival draws on academic strands within the University’s three Research Institutes; The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE); The Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR); and The Health Research Institute (HRI) with additional support from the Data Science Research Centre (DSRC) and The Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS).