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Festival of the Future City 17-19 October 2023

Festival of the Future City

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Festival of the Future City will return in 2023, running 17-19 October.

The festival aims to be the largest public debate about the future of cities. It brings together politicians, writers, artists, scientists, change-makers, academics, journalists, students, the public, economists, futurists, policy makers, roboticists, philosophers, filmmakers, think tanks, charities, social enterprises, city-builders and more.

Core themes this year include: just transition; democracy; cities recovering from crisis and conflict (with a focus on Syria, Ukraine and cities coming out of lockdown); culture in cities and regions; and cities coming to terms with their pasts to create new futures.

Some Festival of the Future City events are part of our ongoing online series. Visit our YouTube channel for a playlist of recent interviews.

Festival Supporters

Session Supporters

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  • University of Bristol logo

Baldwin in Bristol

In partnership with arts and cultural organisations around the city, Bristol Ideas has launched a series of films, spoken word events, performances and panel discussions to celebrate the life and work of James Baldwin ahead of the centenary of the birth of the great American writer and civil rights activist in 2024. 

Ahead of James Baldwin’s 100th anniversary in 2024, Bristol Ideas is joining forces with various arts and culture organisations around Bristol to host Baldwin in Bristol, a long weekend of events (19-22 October) around the city celebrating the life and work of the great writer.

James Baldwin – one of the best, most passionate, honest and committed writers of the 20th century – remains essential reading 26 years after his death. His novels and essays made a significant impact on the culture in his time and are more relevant today than ever. He taught generations of readers and campaigners the realities of racism and how we might find ways to move forwards.From 19-22 October, Bristol will play host to a performance of the american vicarious’s radically staged production of Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley, a cabaret night of poetry, dance and drag celebrating the great writer, and an exploration of Baldwin and cities on film. Baldwin in Bristol is presented by Bristol Ideas in partnership with the american vicarious, Arnolfini, Bristol Old Vic, Film Noir UK, Raise the Bar, Watershed and Words of Colour and is made possible with support from the BFI FAN Audience Fund, Arts Council England and others.

Out Of The Rubble: Berlin On Film

For much of the 20th century Berlin was a troubled city. Following the First World War and the declaration of the Weimar Republic, Berlin was the home of Weimar culture, vibrant, cosmopolitan and left-wing but also the place of riots and political turmoil. It was the capital of Germany during the Nazi period and then destroyed in the Second World War.

After 1945 Germany and Berlin was split and the building of the Berlin Wall cemented this until 1989 when the Velvet Revolutions that year saw the defeat of Communism, the start of reunification and the restoration of the city as the capital.

Out of the Rubble: Berlin On Film looks at this history through film. The rubble films – and rubble literature – were the attempts by Germans to come to terms with the defeat of their country, their cities and their ideals in the years after 1945. This season looks at coming out of the ‘rubble’ of Berlin through the whole century – from the exhaustion after the First World War to the dying days of the wall – and includes some of the finest films ever made.

The portrayal of Berlin in the 1920s with The Last Laugh and Asphalt; the devastated post-Second war Berlin as seen by the outsider Roberto Rossellini in Germany, Year Zero; Wim Wenders’ ‘city symphony’ Wings of Desire – made just two years before the wall came down; and Berlin Alexanderplatz, Fassbinder’s humane and cynical masterpiece about trying to be an honest soul in the tragedy of late Weimar Berlin.

Festival of the Future City 2021

Festival themes in 2021 included: social justice; COP26 and inclusive and sustainable cities; urban and planetary health; cities and regions after the pandemic; film and cities; culture and cities; digital futures and cities; mayoral powers and future devolution; democracy and freedom of expression; levelling up; and the future of city and town centres.

Events were held in-person and online. Most events were on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 October, but activity also took place around those dates. Visit our YouTube channel for a playlist of 2021 events.

Image created by Till LUKAt

Festival of the Future City Archive

Below are links to downloads of past Festival of the Future City brochures (PDFs). Playlists of audio recordings of most of the past sessions are available on SoundCloud: 2015, 2017 and 2019.

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