Facebook tracking pixel
To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

Leeds International Festival


Festival Website

Leeds International Festival 2019 will light up our city with new ideas, concepts and innovation between 2 May and 12 May. The university is proud to be intrinsically involved as a festival partner, curating and presenting a series of thought-provoking events and coordinating student participation in the delivery of the festival.

Leeds International Festival is the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation. Featuring CORE and OFF programmes, the festival divides the line-up between internationally renowned speakers and more upcoming and diverse acts and events.

CORE will gather world-leading creators, innovators and thought-leaders to disseminate the most pioneering new thoughts and discuss the world of tomorrow. The OFF programme offers an international platform to up-and-coming and underground voices, showcasing and amplifying creativity and diversity and curating a vibrant and experimental programme of citywide fringe events.

The university uses knowledge and resources to make a positive and decisive difference to people, communities and organisations whilst the festival exists to shift perspectives and change the way we view the world.

Leeds International Festival therefore provides the perfect platform for the university to showcase some of its thought-provoking and perspective changing work to the city and beyond.

9th May What does it mean to be human? Prof. Alice Roberts/Matt Haig/Gelong Thubten/Simon Anholt

CORE events

What does it mean to be human?

The overarching theme is ‘What does it mean to be human?’ Such a fundamental question isn’t just answered with a biological definition.  The very things that make us unique (if we are) can be considered from a philosophical, historical, innate, technological or future thinking perspective.

The world advances at such rapid pace, changes in society, commerce, lifestyles and environments, often driven by economic or technological stimuli, occur much more quickly than we as humans and societies can respond to them. This is generating turmoil as our presence and standing becomes ever associated not with who we are as people, but what we do, how we do it and who with.  Are we losing sight of what it means to be human or did we never really understand that anyway. More than ever, people are questioning their own behaviour, unhappy or uncomfortable with where it has led them or where that leads humanity.

What does it mean to be human?  We are unpredictable and that’s principally what makes us human after all - does modern life push us into a narrow conformist space dominated by technology or money and other influences…can or should that be resisted, or do we shape it for our own or society’s needs?   We need to ask insightful questions about ourselves and our communities.  For example, have we reached ‘peak tech’ now that we have digital detox, switch off and screen free days?  Have we lost sight of the essence of what we want from our life?

What does it mean to be human? Core events

Chris Hudson, School of Health & Community Studies

Staying Human in a Busy World
Staying Human in a Busy World Arrow Right


9 May 2019

This talk with monk, Gelong Thubten will elaborate on how meditation and mindfulness techniques can help us maintain our humanity and compassion in an increasingly busy world.

The Incredible Human Journey
The Incredible Human Journey Arrow Right


9 May 2019

Ten years on from making her landmark BBC2 series, The Incredible Human Journey, Alice Roberts explores the latest insights into the colonisation of the globe by our ancient forebears.

How Good Should a Country Be?
How Good Should a Country Be? Arrow Right


9 May 2019

Simon Anholt, co-founder of The Good Country explores an age of Grand Challenges and how collaboration and innovation can make extraordinary things happen.

Notes on a Nervous Planet
Notes on a Nervous Planet Arrow Right


9 May 2019

Join author, Matt Haig for an evening of positive and insightful discussion about the modern world, offering a closer look at the challenges posed by our ever-changing technological landscape and his advice on how best to navigate it.

The university is also staging a wrap-around programme of fringe events on related topics presented by Leeds Beckett University academics, Dr Steve Taylor, Dr Divine Charura, Professor Mark Johnson and Professor Anna Abraham.

Leeds Beckett Fringe events

Chris Hudson, School of Health & Community Studies


Full festival programme Right Arrow
Back to Top Button
Back to Top Button