Suffolk: New Festival of Ideas will shine a light on the county’s culture, history, and learning

Festival director Billy Brennan at the UCS Court meeting.

Festival director Billy Brennan at the UCS Court meeting. - Credit: Archant

A new festival aimed at showcasing Suffolk’s culture, history and learning opportunities is to be launched next year.

The first Suffolk Festival of Ideas will be held in early autumn 2014, as part of a new initiative by University Campus Suffolk (UCS) to focus on the county’s contribution to the life of Britain as a whole.

The proposal was outlined to members of the Court of UCS – its ultimate governing body – at its annual meeting this week.

A steering group has already been set up representing many bodies across the county – and former senior borough council officer Billy Brennan has been appointed its first director.

Although the festival will be run by UCS which has its main base on the Ipswich Waterfront, it is proposing to take events across the county.


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The theme of the first festival will be Place and Landscape – and work has already started on drawing up a programme of events.

Professor Mike Saks, Provost of UCS, said the festival would be similar to events already held in Bristol, York and even New York.

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He said: “There is much to celebrate and inspire people here in Suffolk, and we want to look at many aspects of life – from the impact of Sizewell and alternative energy to the historic landscapes and what part the county has played in the history of the country.”

The first festival will co-incide with the centenary of the start of the First World War – and looking at the impact of the last 100 years would also play a part in it.

Mr Brennan said there were already several events he was looking at and organisations that were expected to have a role in the festival.

He added: “It is already looking very exciting, and we are hoping this becomes an established fixture on the calendar.”

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