July 29 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A festival of ideas featuring nationally recognised performers, writers, philosophers, politicians and poets, will be held in Bury St Edmunds.
It’s hoped the pioneering event, thought to be the first of its kind in Suffolk, will boost cultural and political engagement while also marking Bury out as being a “dynamic” place to live and work.
Staged across May 23 and May 25 2015, organisers – who include county councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer, journalist Matt Gaw, St Edmundsbury Cathedral and education leaders – said the festival will explore ideas that shape our lives, focussing particularly on climate change and our responses to it.
Mr Ereira-Guyer said: “I think clearly we need to put Bury St Edmunds more on the cultural map. This event is part of trying to create discussion and interest around cultural matters, in this case relating to the very important issues that are in front of humanity and all living things, which is about climate change and our individual and collective responses to that.”
Mr Ereira-Guyer said the pilot event, which he claimed would compliment May’s Bury Festival, would use independent shops, cafes and restaurants as well as traditional venues and the Cathedral to “create an energy” and get more people involved.
He added: “We are at the early stages and we want schools and young people and business leaders and community grounds, resident groups, civic groups, we want them all to come forward and give us their ideas and input.
“We need to lead the debate and bring people along with us, get people thinking creatively about an event they can participate and contribute to.”
Along with the high profile names currently being lined up for the event, organisers are working with schools and colleges to encourage young people to get involved and organise their own festival events.
The Very Revd Dr Frances Ward, Dean of St Edmundsbury, who is also part of the planning group, said: “To hold a Festival of Ideas in Bury St Edmunds in May 2015 on green issues and climate change is a really exciting departure for the town, attracting young people to this most important topic, and offering a different audience a way of engaging with the annual Bury Festival. We’re going to attract some fantastic speakers, and hope to use venues throughout the town, from the beautiful Suffolk’s Cathedral to shops and restaurants, and the Abbey Grounds. Watch this space!”
Sarah Stamp, member for leisure culture and heritage at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, lent her support to the festival. She added: “I am really looking forward to working closely with the organisers of Suffolk’s Festival of Ideas for what sounds like a valuable addition to Bury St Edmunds’ cultural offer. Similar events in places such as Cambridge, Bristol and York have grown year-on year and have given those towns a reputation for being diverse, active and dynamic. If Bury could replicate that success, it would be good news for everyone in Suffolk – from its people to its businesses.”