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Festival of Debate announces 2022 programme with over 50 events online and in person

Shon Faye author photo c Paul Samuel White

The UK’s biggest politics festival returns to Sheffield with Jeremy Corbyn, Armando Iannucci, Shon Faye and Jackie Weaver.

Festival of Debate has revealed its most exciting programme yet for its eighth year in Sheffield.

Festival of Debate 2022 will feature satirist Armando Iannucci, writer and trans rights campaigner Shon Faye, feminist journalist Gloria Steinem, local government expert and online sensation Jackie Weaver, human rights activist Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, alongside a wide-ranging schedule of community events led by grassroots groups and individual citizens.

This year’s Festival of Debate will include 60 events from 19 April to 31 May, with an additional keynote talk from environmental activist and writer George Monbiot on 23 June at Sheffield’s Octagon Centre. For the first time the festival programme will be ‘blended’, with some events hosted in person and others online.

Other headline events include creative campaign group Led By Donkeys, Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, and David Wengrow, co-author of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity with the late David Graeber.

Hosted by local social enterprise Opus Independents in collaboration with dozens of regional partners, Festival of Debate provides a vital platform for exploring and discussing the most important political, social and economic issues of our time at a point when trust in government, business, NGOs and the media is at an all-time low.

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.

Grassroots events include an Environmental Hub Day, which will bring activists and campaign groups in Sheffield together for the city’s biggest-ever event on the future of our planet, and talks highlighting Covid misinformation and the criminalisation of the UK’s Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Other events will explore how to create a more neuro-divergent city, an analysis of the recommendations from Sheffield’s Race Equality Commission, a look at the future of local media, and talks on air pollution and re-wilding in the city.

Festival of Debate programmer Joe Kriss said: “The Festival of Debate is a reflection of the most pressing movements for change. At a time when things look so polarised and trust in institutions of all kinds has reached rock bottom, it’s important that we make space for improving our collective understanding of the problems we face as a society—and what solutions could look like.

We work with a cross section of community activists, publishers and the voluntary and community sector to create a platform that seeks to connect people to new ideas and campaigns.’

Download the 2022 brochure (PDF, 19 pages).
View our press pack.

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