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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 2022 festival programme will be ‘blended’, with some events hosted in person and others online. Events have been made free to attend wherever possible, and the festival team have made sure ticketed events are as cheap as possible so that as many people as possible can get involved.

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.

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