Why the 2020 Leeds International Festival aims to bring the future into the present

Leeds International Festival will bring the future into the present in the city centre next year.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 11:15 am
George Clarke.

Leeds International Festival will welcome performers, innovators, pioneers and thought-leaders - from both at home and abroad - into the city for ten days of innovation, celebration and consideration in 2020.

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L20 nurtures local talent, providing a platform for the more diverse, underground or up-and-coming elements, and also provides a stage to welcome those with international renown to come and spread their message.

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Dr Vandana Shiva.

The theme for next year's festival has been confirmed as Generation Future with organisers encouraging L20 submissions to consider the future.

The three confirmed events are:

Living in a Future City

Many UK cities are at breaking point. If the city dwellers of tomorrow are to thrive, we need to embrace, and overcome, many interdependent urban challenges. From urban infrastructure to transport, the natural environment to urban systems and the services that impact health, wellbeing and economy, our blueprints need rewriting and our goals need re-considering.

Channel 4’s George Clarke will host an evening of talks, panels and interesting debate on what living in a future city might entail.

He said: “I cannot wait to attend Leeds International Festival next year. Generation Future is the theme of the whole festival and it couldn’t be more apt in today’s world. I am thrilled to be speaking and chairing an evening discussing the future of city living, urban challenges in design and our health and wellbeing.”

A Generation to Cool the Earth

Internationally-renowned experts will convey what must be done to alter our current, disastrous course, which has been described by the UN as “catastrophic” and “nearing the point of no return”.

The event, partnered with Leeds Beckett University, will provide scientific, artistic, global and activist outlooks and different views on what needs to be done to avert the worst environmental outcomes for our world.

Speakers will include world-leading carbon footprint expert and author Mike Berners-Lee as well as Dr Vandana Shiva, scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate and anti-globalisation author.

Lumen Arts Projects’ Commission

Lumen Arts Projects will draw upon its network of renowned international artists to commission an L20 project called Networked - Digital - Public Art.

The commissioned project is to be located in many unexpected and non-traditional sites around the city, and will run through the festival, asking how our hyper-connected world can work better, for everybody.

L20 Festival Director Gemma Holsgrove said: “We are delighted to announce three of the events that will make up our 2020 programme, and which respond to our theme ‘Generation Future’.

From a brand new Lumen Arts Projects commission that will see multi-site, interconnected artworks around the city, to well known carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee and activist and pioneer Dr Vandana Shiva exploring the climate crisis and how we can play our part to change our future, to George Clarke taking us on a journey through the future of cities - this announcement is just a taster of what’s to come.”

The full programme for L20 will be revealed in February, with tickets on sale on Friday, February 14, at 9am.