Leeds International Festival – L20

L20  was scheduled for the end of April, running on into May, with the overarching theme ‘Generation Future’.  The deferred dates at the time of writing have not been decided.

Organisers hope Generation Future will act as a catalyst for response, in other words, that applicants will ponder on what this means to people in different ways, and how this can emerge as discussion and as artistic interpretation.

Innovators and creatives – artists, comedians, musicians, performers and speakers – can be involved with the launch of the Open Call.  L20 will showcase the DNA of Leeds City and local talent, as well as national and international talent.

Particular consideration is given to proposals which embody diversity and the people of Leeds, as well as those who work in Leeds, and have embraced accessibility and engagement with new audiences.

Gemma Holsgrove by Ben Bentley

The Festival’s Executive, Gemma Holsgrove, said:  “For 10 days in May 2019, Leeds City Centre buzzed with Leeds International Festival.  It was incredible to be able to showcase the works of artists, speakers and organisations from the City, the UK and beyond. 

So many events provoked a dialogue, forged new connections between both artists and audiences, and sparked a desire for knowledge. Overall, L19 reminded us that we must be inquisitive, and ask those unasked questions, and for L20 we want to continue to build on that.

As an international festival with a huge reach across different generations, I think it is our responsibility to promote thought and discussion.

With humanity coming to terms with the fact that we are causing unprecedented global change, there’s one certainty and that is that the world of tomorrow will be very different and future generations will inhabit a very different world from that which we do today. 

There’s the opportunity to explore what we as a generation do to shape the future, rather than have it shape us. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it’.”

Invention, inclusivity, culture, ideas, energy and innovation are all the hallmarks of Leeds International Festival, and L20 will continue to build on that identity. 

The Festival not only encourages diverse local talent, established and emerging, but also welcomes those who are renowned here and abroad to join 10 days of thought provocation, performance and revelation.  

This year’s theme is Generation Future, asking us to consider how our current everyday lives impact on future generations.  Some events have already been confirmed, such as the participation of George Clarke, who will deliver and host talks and panels on Living in a Future City.  Leeds Beckett University offers a day of debate on A Generation to Cool the Earth – and Lumen Arts Projects are back with a special commission ‘Networked – Digital – Public Art’.  

George said:  

“I cannot wait to attend Leeds International Festival next year. Generation Future is the theme of the whole festival and it couldn’t be more apt in today’s world. I am thrilled to be speaking and chairing an evening discussing the future of city living, urban challenges in design and our health and wellbeing.”  

A Generation to Cool the Earth   

This event, partnered with Leeds Beckett University, will provide ‘scientific, artistic, global and activist outlooks and different views on what needs to be done to avert the worst environmental outcomes for our world’.  World-leading carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee said:  

“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.”  

Environmental activist and food sovereignty advocate Dr Vandana Shiva says:  

“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.”  

Chris Hudson, of event partners Leeds Beckett University:  

“We need to move the debate on, and quickly too, from surface level awareness, acknowledging there is today more than enough acceptance of what climate truth is ……  Now we need to engage with the adequacy of current responses and I want these talks to provide fuel for those discussions we must all have. The speakers cover many perspectives and I promise it is not all doom and gloom – there are real answers and fascinating possibilities to be discovered.”  

Lumen Arts Projects’ Commission  

Lumen Arts Projects will draw upon its network of renowned international artists to commission an L20 project called Networked – Digital – Public Art.

Unexpected and unconventional sites in Leeds will be home to this project, asking how our world of hyper-connection can work better for all.    

Lumen Arts said:  

“Lumen Arts Projects is honoured to be returning to Leeds International Festival to bring an interactive public art project that will excite and delight the City. It will underline the power of art in a public setting by bringing together the people of Leeds through its interactivity and ability to connect passersby to the City and each other.”  

Gemma Holsgrove, L20 Festival Director, said:  

“We are delighted to announce three of the events that will make up our 2020 programme, and which respond to our theme ‘Generation Future’. From a brand new Lumen Arts Projects commission that will see multi-site, interconnected artworks around the City, to well known carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee and activist and pioneer Dr Vandana Shiva exploring the climate crisis and how we can play our part to change our future, to George Clarke taking us on a journey through the future of cities – this announcement is just a taster of what’s to come.”  

It should be no surprise that in terms of our future, climate is an imperative, and there’ll be big conversations around this, as well as identity and city living.  It’s not all serious stuff, of course, as International Festival goers already know – there’ll be premieres, exclusives, newly commissioned art and of course some fun to be had, all courtesy of LeedsBID who are supported by Welcome to Leeds, The Tetley, Vastint, Leeds City Region and others.  

George Clarke will host an expert panel on ‘Living in a Future City’.  

Michaela Strachan and Roger Hallam will be two of the speakers for ‘A Generation to Cool The Earth’.  

Dr Shona Hunter will be in conversation with others on ‘Future. Identity. Power. Reframing Equality and Justice’.  

Check out the full events listing here:   

Leeds Living will be previewing some of the 29 Festival events as we approach the Festival’s opening.

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