Why do we do it and why is it so important for Leeds?

Words by Martin Dickson
From LeedsBID

[loudspeaker] Between September 27 and September 30, the Leeds Playhouse will host 39 speakers at 11 events over 2 stages in 1 venue, including Stephen Bartlett, Ruby Wax OBE, Christopher Ecclestone, Davina McCall MBE, Dame Prue Leith, Will Young, Matt Baker MBE, Bimini, and Gemma Whelan. 

What else could possibly catch your attention if that hasn’t done so by now?

And that alone explains why the Leeds International Festival of Ideas is so significant to the city and provides an answer to the question “why?”

Obviously there’s a bit more to it than that but bringing such a stellar array of incredible people into the city centre over 4 days attracts not only an audience of around 4500 people to the events, but also delivers huge attention on Leeds through the media and associated ‘noise’ that all 39 speakers will make across their own personal and professional worlds. Putting Leeds on the map to some very senior and influential audiences across the UK & beyond and showcasing ‘brand Leeds’ in the most exciting and innovative way.

“It’s about shouting louder about the city, confidently and boldly projecting a bold, creative, exciting place to be and amplifying that to the world.”
Martin Dickson

But who’s behind the festival and why?

LeedsBID is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, working collaboratively across all sectors in the city to put Leeds on the map. The BID makes new things happen in Leeds city centre for the benefit for all who use it, enhancing and animating places and spaces to bring more people to Leeds and all the associated benefits that brings both culturally and economically.

It’s about shouting louder about the city, confidently and boldly projecting a bold, creative, exciting place to be and amplifying that to the world. LeedsBID strives to add deeper, richer, more inspiring chapters into the story Leeds has to tell and Leeds International Festival of Ideas is at the heart of that story. The technical term within our industry is ‘place marketing’ and that’s exactly what our mission at LeedsBID is about, with LIFI providing the ultimate place marketing festival of its type not only in Leeds but the UK. Now that’s confident and that’s bold and that’s why we’re seeing the success and growth for Leeds which is our primary objective.  

Along with that, sometimes you have to yell about how beautiful your city is with complete assurance, passion, and drive in whatever you do, and we think the festival significantly contributes to Leeds doing all that.

Image of the Leeds Playhouse from above

The Leeds International Festival of Ideas brings together well known faces, eminent authors, artists, and subject matter specialists. Now in its third year, the festival has swiftly established a reputation for displaying some of the most fascinating and thought-provoking concepts from around the globe, drawing visitors from all over the UK and beyond. The festival addresses the most critical topics that affect and matter to all of us on a daily basis and that socially influence how people live, work, and adapt to a world that is becoming more and more difficult. It is a festival that tries to portray the everyday dialogues that take place in homes and workplaces all around the UK but aren’t covered in the same detail by the news media or in the halls of power. The festival is for and about the people, and we want everyone who joins our dialogue to leave with new knowledge and inspiration. 

The event schedule includes keynote talks and panel debates that explore fresh viewpoints and ideas on a variety of subjects. Leading specialists from a variety of sectors, including science, technology, politics, culture, and the arts are brought together by LIFI. The festival exists to give people a stage on which to share their thoughts and observations and interact with a large audience.

And so finally, I hope that provides a helpful answer to the question ‘why do we do it?’ and also that it provides something you’d like to be part of because the platform we have created as LIFI is all about conversation, connection and curiosity, and by bringing people together and talking about such important things is how change can really happen.

So come and join the conversation from Sept 27th at the amazing Leeds Playhouse, tickets are available via the LIFI website though get a move on because 4 events have already sold out and the other 7 are not far away!

Words by Martin Dickson
From LeedsBID