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Founded in 2015 by Opus Independents, the Festival of Debate creates opportunities to bring people together to share new ideas and lived experience that can help shape our understanding of the world.

We collaborate with a huge range of partner organisations - some local, some international. They include grassroots campaign groups, voluntary and community groups, universities and think tanks.

The Festival of Debate programme is a reflection of these communities in South Yorkshire and broader movements for social change. The festival is strictly non partisan – it’s an open platform that encourages active citizenship and democratic engagement that anyone can contribute to. Our events are not just debates between people with opposing views. Our programme includes discussions, Q&As, artistic responses, keynote speeches, performances and plays that explore politics, economics and society.

The Festival of Debate seeks to create a place where we are connected to each other, to our communities, to the institutions and new ideas that shape our lives and to conversations that start change.

Our 2021 festival will be 'digital first' and ‘pay what you feel’. The programme will include a series of live stream events, short video commissions and articles. We will return with in-person events in the autumn.

The Festival of Debate takes place every spring in South Yorkshire, but we also run events and projects outside of the core festival. The project is funded by a mixture of grants, sponsorship, donations and ticket income.

Festival of Debate is part of CitizenFest 2021, a growing global network of festivals launched by Citizen Network in 2019 to advance equal citizenship for all.

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