Coming to Lancaster University from the 2nd February to the 20th February 2016 is the Festival of Questions, in association with Lancaster Arts and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University. I know what you’re thinking, you’re asking what is a festival of questions, you’re questioning why you should attend the festival of questions and you are asking yourself why has this made me ask so many questions?!
The festival is described as ‘[a]n innovative three week program of special events, panel discussions and cultural projects seeking to explore the social, economic and political climate of our time’, which pretty much explains why there would be so many questions involved.
Centred around two days of questions, the first day of questions Day of Questions is on Saturday 6th February, and the second Day of Questions is on Saturday 20th February, both of which will be held at The Storey building in town. These days will be filled with discussions and debates by writers and politicians, academics and artists, who will talk about how we live now. And these won’t be just your average speakers; there will be a number of big names joining in, such as David Goodheart, Owen Jones, Melissa Benn, Joanna Zylinska and many more.
There are also numerous events spanning the festival in which everyone can get involved. There will be a number of theatre performances, and seminars and workshops will also be held with names like ‘Gob Squad’ and ‘Who wants the big stage?’. There are some slightly abstract events scheduled, such as Tania El Khoury, who will present an interactive sound experience that will demonstrate the history of Syrian men in ‘Gardens Speak’. German artist Sarha Vanhee will perform ‘Oblivion’, which focuses on the guilt of the West and what consumer society has to do with this. Owen Jones’ talk, named ‘The Politics of Hope’, will take place at The Dukes in Lancaster and may be of particular interest. He will discuss how we can build societies in our ever-changing world, how we must try to avoid the top-down greedy processes and whether ‘we can change the inevitability of widening inequalities and injustice’. All of these are topics of our generation, subjects that we are surrounded by and that we have many questions about having grown up through their development.
So many events will be held throughout the festival that are bound to spark your interest whether through their informative nature or simply because they can provide you with a different view on our ever-changing world. In our current climate, we live in a world that evokes many new questions everyday, questions of how we can possibly develop when asymmetrical warfare exists and terrorism threatens our every move. We question and we want to understand why our world is where we are now and what we can do to better the mistakes we have made or how to increase the successes that allowed us to arrive here. To this end, the Festival of Questions is a good place to start asking. A full brochure of events can be found online, so get your thinking cap on!