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Festival of Debate 2019: Carry Hope in Your Fists

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The annual Festival of Debate returns to Sheffield this year, running from 19 April to 1 June. The festival aims to create a meaningful dialogue around key social, political, environmental and economic issues.

Now in its fifth year, Festival of Debate has attracted some of the most important voices and political thinkers to the city, as well as offering a forum for a wide range of local campaigns, community groups and third sector organisations.

This year the festival will host over 90 sessions

This year the festival will host over 90 sessions across more than 30 venues all over the city, from panel discussions, workshops, debates and Q&As to artistic responses and keynote speeches. Though we don't claim to be representative of all viewpoints, we hope there is something for everyone.

For the first time this year we will also be hosting three full days of action, workshops and panels on three core themes - Living Together, Our Planet and Our Democracy - an opportunity for people to dig a bit deeper and really get stuck in to some of the central problems of our age.

Many Festival of Debate events are free and the festival itself runs on a shoestring. If you are interested in volunteering, we would really appreciate your help. Volunteering roles include stewarding, live tweeting, event reviewing and previewing. Get in touch on if you're interested.

The full Festival of Debate programme will launch very soon. Keep an eye out for a printed brochure or visit

In the meantime, here is a taster of three keynote events from this year's programme. Tickets will be on sale soon...


Thu 16 May | 7-9pm | SU Auditorium | £13/£10

In association with Sheffield Climate Alliance

A discussion between two passionate and knowledgeable climate communicators, with a chance for the audience to join the conversation. George Monbiot is a journalist and author whose books include Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning and Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding. George Marshall is the founder of Climate Outreach and author of Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.


Thu 23 May | 7:30-10pm | City Hall| £16.80-£30.80

In association with Sheffield City Hall

The Guilty Feminist podcast has become a phenomenon, with over 50 million downloads since its launch in 2015. Comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests explore the noble goals of 21st-century feminists whilst confessing the insecurities, hypocrisies and paradoxes which undermine those goals. Deborah will be joined by a range of guests from the podcast. Tickets on sale now via


Wed 29 May | 7:30-9pm | Pennine Lecture Theatre | £10/£8

A call for resistance against the politicians and corporations who are trying to exert new forms of technological control. 'A radical defence of the human being' means fighting for universal rights, for human-centric institutions, and for the right to resist control of our lives by algorithms. Paul Mason is a journalist, broadcaster and author, whose books include PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions.

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