Leeds International Festival of Ideas presents four days of conversation, connection and curiosity

23rd March 2022

Leeds International Festival of Ideas presents four days of conversation, connection and curiosity

September 22nd – 25th September 2022 

Yotam Ottolenghi, David Olusoga and Lara Lewington first three names announced

Leeds International Festival of Ideas (LIFI) is back with a brand new line-up for September 2022, and it’s ready to welcome big names, embrace new perspectives and tackle some of the most crucial questions of our time.

Its highly successful debut in 2021 saw a programme packed with key figures and emotive topics. It was the first time the festival had placed the spotlight firmly on ideas, and the events welcomed more than 1,200 people to hear from 30 inspiring speakers in three of Leeds’ most iconic intimate venues. Headliners Katherine Ryan, George Clarke and Kanya King CBE addressed wrapt audiences with their keynote addresses, while further panel events considered a range of pressing questions – exploring everything from sustainable growth and the future of eating to identity and loneliness. 

With its new direction firmly established and an exciting year ahead, the LIFI team have revealed the first details of this year’s festival. Running from September 22nd until 25th, the 2022 events will take place in the Howard Assembly Room and Howard Opera Centre, with the New Briggate location forming a central hub for all festival goings-on. What better way to celebrate ideas than in Leeds’ new premier venue. 

The festival’s first three guests have been announced as British-Nigerian historian and broadcaster David Olusoga OBE; acclaimed chef, restaurateur and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi; and TV presenter and journalist Lara Lewington.

These initial speakers offer a glimpse into the diverse perspectives set to be showcased throughout the festival. Working in partnership with Opera North, Bruntwood and Weightmans, LIFI’s organisers are planning a programme filled with today’s most pressing topics, questions and opinions.

With themes ranging from mental health, sports & social justice and climate inequality to comedy, the metaverse and what’s acceptable to laugh about, there’ll be no shortage of thought-provoking discussions and healthy debate.

The full programme is set to be released as tickets go on sale on April 26th, making this a really exciting moment for LIFI, as it prepares to come back bigger than ever for 2022. You’ll be able to explore the line-up and buy your tickets here.

Martin Dickson, Head of Festival said: “After the initial success of Leeds International Festival of Ideas 2021, it is great to be announcing that the festival is back in 2022. With new dates and a new city centre home, we have another amazing line-up of speakers to once again discuss and debate some of those thought-provoking issues of our time.

“As one of the showcase events which LeedsBID brings to the city, we strive to provide something special to shine the spotlight on Leeds, enhancing the cultural offering and providing that added appeal for audiences to come and enjoy.”

Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North/Howard Assembly Room: “We’re thrilled that LIFI has chosen to work with the Howard Assembly Room on this amazing programme. The quality, range and diversity of speakers and thinkers coming to the Festival is world-class. Audiences love our venue for music and gigs, and the LIFI line up will reach out to new people and communities across the city and far beyond.”

Lara Lewington, Technology Presenter who is appearing at LIFI22, said “Looking forward to Leeds International Festival of Ideas, where I’ll be talking to a panel of experts about the metaverse. Do they see it as a dark dangerous path, or a liberating online life?”