Sir Lenny Henry and Katherine Ryan among star names at Leeds International Festival of Ideas

A string of star names are set to take part in the Leeds International Festival of Ideas this September.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:22 pm
Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry CBE and comedian and presenter Katherine Ryan will be keynote speakers at the festival from September 13 to 27.

MOBO Awards founder Kanya King CBE and architect and TV presenter George Clarke will also be keynote speakers at the festival.

Formerly Leeds International Festival, the Leeds International Festival of Ideas will present an ambitious programme as a platform for exploring new ideas and innovation.

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Katherine Ryan

There will also be five thought-provoking panel debates.

They will feature economic expert and BBC presenter Evan Davis; award-winning writer and broadcaster Alix Fox; Tony Blair’s former Communications Strategist and chief spokesman Alastair Campbell; campaigner, speaker and writer Gina Martin and Masterchef Judge, Guardian food critic and Author Grace Dent.

Events will be held at a number of key city centre venues.

Andrew Cooper of LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District), which brings the festival to the city, said it aims to provide a platform for the exploration of new ideas and innovation while confronting the challenges of our time and discussing the world of tomorrow.

He said it has big ambitions, bringing renowned names, experts in their field and some of the world’s most exciting thinkers to Leeds.

Mr Cooper said they will share thoughts and ideas through a series of compelling discussions and talks, examining everything from loneliness and inequality to the future of food, the media, and economic growth vs sustainability.

Mr Cooper said: "We are delighted to be bringing Leeds International Festival of Ideas to the city this year, presenting a programme which promises to be innovative in its exploring of new ideas while reflecting how thinking has been affected during recent times.”

“After a challenging year for everyone, it is exciting for LeedsBID to be collaborating with city centre partners and it is great to be working together in planning events in the city once again.”

Martin Dickson, Leeds International Festival of Ideas lead, said: "After a long time planning we are so pleased to reveal the initial plans.

"From Sir Lenny Henry headlining and talking at Leeds’ premier venue to chatting over why the UK media is broken with some of its best journalists, to the important chats around businesses growing whilst being sustainable after a pandemic with hot topics in Leeds around the airport, to what does the future of food hold for us. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

"We recommend setting an alarm for July 2 as tickets are expected to fly out. We can’t wait to bring this series of strong discussions and debates to Leeds’ iconic venues this year."

Tickets for Leeds International Festival of Ideas and the full programme will go live and on sale at 9am on Friday 2nd July 2021 - www.leedsinternationalfestival.com