Michael Morpurgo, a Nobel Laureate and a NATO Deputy Chief of Staff head to York festival

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A host of big names are coming to York next week to take part in the University’s Festival of Ideas.

The festival, which is taking place between the 9th and 21st of June, was created in 2011 and aims to showcase and promote the public value and influence of research and higher education.

It also gives students the opportunity to engage with high profile figures and experts in a variety of fields, with attendees including Author Michael Morpurgo, NATO Deputy Chief of Staff Gordon Davis, Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen and the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government Sir Mark Walport.

Other contributors include Guardian Columnists Zoe Williams, Polly Toynbee and Tim Dowling, Philosopher A.C. Grayling, screenwriter and BAFTA fellow Andrew Davies, and the lead investigative journalist on the Edward Snowden story Ewen MacAskill.

This year the central theme of the festival is “secrets and discoveries,” with events centring on topics including surveillance, food security, economic and social policies, scientific and medical discoveries, art, culture and history.

One of the events last year

The vast majority of the lectures, debates, exhibitions and performances taking place are free and tickets can be booked online, although students are encouraged to only book tickets to events they are sure they will be able to attend.

The events will occupy a variety of venues, both on campus and in the city.

Joan Concannon, Director of the Festival said “The University of York is proud to lead on the development of the York Festival of Ideas – the largest free festival in the UK. We created the festival in 2011, with just three festival partners. We are now working with more than 45 partners across the city and nationally.

“We share a passionate belief in the power of education and ideas to transform lives, and, that by working together, we deliver a festival that engages diverse audiences and demonstrates what a collaborative and dynamic city York is.

“We work together because in doing so we are stronger and more interesting. We believe that the programme has something of interest for everyone of all ages and backgrounds. But most of all we believe that we are a more interesting festival because our audiences are driven by an innate sense of curiosity. So for two weeks in June, join us to be entertained, educated and inspired.”

To book tickets for events and view a full festival timetable, please visit the Festival of Ideas website.