This year, each Festival of Debate event has been assigned to a strand and each strand has its own symbol. You’ll find a strand symbol next to each event on this site and in our 2018 Festival brochure.


Culture, Self & Identity

Exploring how we live, who we are and why it matters. Events in this strand will focus on a range of thought-provoking topics including identity politics, sexual harassment, feminism and food, and aim to encourage both inward and outward reflection.

Strand kindly sponsored by SIV Tickets


Democracy & Activism

Making everyone’s voice heard. With such an abundance of avenues for exploration, this strand is full of variety. The NHS, the Miners’ Strike, DiEM25, the mayoral election and Stories of Resistance will all put in an appearance, so come armed with questions and a desire for answers.

Strand kindly sponsored by Abbeydale Brewery


Fairness & Equality

Forging a path to succeed. Should everyone receive basic income? Should we give money to people who beg? How can you be a good neighbour? Is sex work employment or exploitation? These questions and more will be investigated at events in this strand.

Strand kindly sponsored by Making Sheffield Fairer Campaign



Discovering new possibilities for future society.Looking ahead and thinking about the kind of world we’d like to live in, this strand will explore topics such as population control, the future of European unity, and new approaches to reducing the harm caused by drugs.

Strand kindly sponsored by Barnsley Digital Media Centre


Science & Environment

Investigating new technology and the planet. As science advances and the environment moves up the political agenda, events in this strand will probe how technological innovation can help us to stop manufacturing natural disasters and examine exactly how we can tackle climate change, whilst also looking at a number of pressing issues including biodiversity, energy and food.

Strand kindly sponsored by Regather