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Final preparations underway for first-ever Chester Festival of Ideas


A new summer highlight, running from 4th - 7th July

Excitement is building for the first-ever Chester Festival of Ideas with just three weeks to go until the four days filled with free events for all ages and interests.

The new summer highlight, running from Thursday July 4 to Sunday July 7, 2024, features almost 100 celebratory, entertaining, informative and inspiring events, in and around the city. 

Organised by the University of Chester and partners, speakers will talk on a range of topics, with activities such as discussion panels, theatre, pop-up exhibitions, interactive activities, music, readings, guided walks and more to discover. All the details are available and places can be booked on the Festival of Ideas website.

GP and menopause specialist, Dr Louise Newson is among the guests presenting free public talks. Speakers also include actress, presenter, broadcaster, writer, campaigner and parliamentarian, Baroness Floella Benjamin, who has also been awarded an OBE, DBE (Officer and Damehood of the British Empire) and a Doctor of Letters from the University; historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and filmmaker, Professor David Olusoga; Dr Gyles Brandreth, Chancellor of the University of Chester, and Pulitzer-nominated journalist Carole Cadwalladr.

Schools will play a key part including pupils from Millview School presenting their argument to encourage people to make a difference on climate change; Grosvenor Park Academy running a drop-in up-cycling workshop and a day for sixth-formers, plus their teachers, who are currently studying the English Civil War and its era at A-Level.

Language is another feature of the schedule, from the chance to learn about Old English to Taylor Swift’s accent to speaking chimpanzee.

Animal lovers might also be keen to find out more about the super-smart abilities of the world’s most incredible creatures as well as the social lives of bats and music fans can enjoy sessions such as a discussion and opera extracts from Disunited Jukebox.

Meanwhile events will be led by representatives from Chester Cathedral, the Grosvenor Museum, Chester Roman Tours and Brio Leisure - to name just a few more contributors.

Chester Town Hall will be the hub for the Festival during the four days while events will also take place in other venues across the city.

Katherine Wilson, Associate Professor of Later Medieval European History at the University of Chester, who is leading on the Festival, said: “Excitement is mounting for the first-ever Festival of Ideas as the final preparations get underway.

“With almost 100 events and activities to choose from, on everything from the body to bats, everyone can find something to enjoy.

“If you haven’t already made plans to come along, please do take a look at the website and join us during what is set to be a fascinating and fun-filled four days, as we celebrate knowledge, inspiration and creativity here and beyond. We can’t wait to welcome everyone and place the spotlight on our incredible and vibrant city.”

To discover more and book places, please visit: