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Revealing the First Events of Leeds International Festival 2020

Revealing the First Events of Leeds International Festival 2020

November 11, 2019
By Gemma Holsgrove

Leeds International Festival 2020 will run for 10 days from 30th April – 9th May, and we are very excited to give you some exciting information on our first three event announcements for the 2020 festival.

Responding to this year’s Generation Future theme, in which we encouraged submissions that tackled the urgent need to consider today’s impact on the world of tomorrow, we can announce three exciting events:

  • Living in a Future City
  • A Generation to Cool the Earth
  • Lumen Art Projects’ Commission: Networked – Digital – Public


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 of today. 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 home and design expert and enthusiast George Clarke (The Restoration Man, Council House Scandal, The Home Show, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces) will host an evening of talks, panels and interesting debate on what Living in a Future City might entail.

George Clarke, Architect & TV Presenter.

A Generation to Cool the Earth

Human-driven Global Warming is a top priority today for all life on earth, and its future. Whether through personal encounters with extreme or unseasonable weather, natural disasters both local and global, or witnessing the intensifying regularity of international disasters on the news, public awareness of climate change has grown exponentially over the past year. But does knowledge equate to action? Can knowing our fate generate enough of a response to potentially change it?

Internationally-renowned experts will convey to us 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”, through a range of talks, topics and exhibitions.

This event will provide outlooks from the worlds of science, art, globalism and activism, and illustrate different views on what needs to be done to avert the worst environmental outcomes for our world and is partnered with Leeds Beckett University.

Speakers include:

Mike Berners Lee

World-leading carbon footprint expert and author of How Bad are Bananas: the carbon footprint of everything and There Is No Planet B: a handbook for the make or break years.

Dr Vandana Shiva

Scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate and anti-globalisation author

“The very possibility of our future is in doubt. Future generations are rising to prevent their future being stolen. Extinction rebellion is on the streets. I am happy to participate in “generation future” and explore with thinkers, artists, activists how we are sowing the seeds of our common future and growing Earth Democracy”

“I’ll be coming to Leeds because this festival is asking the big urgent question, the critical choices we face right now and, in the end, the real decisions for us all in 2020.”
Mike Berners Lee

Lumen Art Projects’ Commission: Networked – Digital – Public

Lumen Arts Projects will draw upon its network of renowned international artists to commission an L20 project called Networked – Digital – Public. The commissioned project is to be located in many unexpected and non-traditional sites around the city, and will run through the festival, and will ask how our hyper-connected world can work better, for everybody.

Networked – Digital – Public aims to push traditional public art into the future. Mimicking how interconnected contemporary life is, this exhibition will exist in different locations, on lots of different places, simultaneously. By forming a ‘body’ of nodes that influence each other, Networked – Digital – Public will allow people to see the stories happening in their public spaces, and will provide a new understanding of the communities around them, that might otherwise remain hidden.

Lumen Arts Project. Work by Nick Verstand- photograph by Karen Wright.