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About the project

Founded in 2015, the Festival of Debate is the UK’s largest annual politics and activism festival, creating opportunities to bring people together to share new ideas and lived experience that can help shape our understanding of the world.


Coordinated by Opus, the Festival of Debate collaborates with a huge range of partner organisations – some local, some international. These include grassroots campaign groups, voluntary and community groups, universities and think tanks.


The Festival of Debate seeks to create a place where we are connected to each other, to our communities, to the institutions and new ideas that shape our lives and to conversations that start change.


Past keynote speakers have included Gloria Steinem, Brian Eno, Afua Hirsch, Shon Faye, Armando Iannucci, Yanis Varoufakis, Reni-Eddo Lodge, Ed Miliband, David Lammy, Prof David Nutt, Melissa Benn, Francesca Martinez, Polly Toynbee, The Guilty Feminist, John Pilger, Grayson Perry, James O’Brien, Apr, Paul Mason, Steve Silberman and George Monbiot.


Partners have included The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Ruskin in Sheffield, The Grantham Centre, Citizen Network, Our Mel, Sheffield Futures, Chilypep, DiEM25, MuseumsSheffield, UBI Lab Sheffield, Disability Sheffield, Friends of the Earth, Sheffield Doc/Fest, ACORN, ASSIST, Voluntary Action Sheffield, Tickets For Good, Sheffield Climate Alliance, Regather and many, many more.

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Latest updates

The majority of our events have sold out, with over 5000 tickets sold.

1 May 2024

We’ve had a really strong start to the Festival, with positive feedback from audiences – 90% of respondents to our feedback survey rated events ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

1 May 2024

The Festival of Debate 2024 programme kicked off on 16 April – the full programme can be found here:

16 April 2024

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