Cultural Exchanges Festival gears up for nineteenth year

By Samuel Gill

The Cultural Exchanges Festival is set to return to De Montfort University for its nineteenth year next week with a host of brilliant guests aiming to promote ideas, insight and inspiration.

The event runs between Monday(FEB24) and Friday next week with highlights this year including David Olusoga, an author and award-winning documentary maker who was involved in A House Through Time and BAFTA Award winning, Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, which aired on BBC2.

As an expert on military history, empire, race and slavery, this will offer a fascinating insight into his subject areas as he speaks in conversation with Serena Dyer.

Other prominent guests include Travis Alabanza, who is a writer, theatre maker and performer who has had work appear in The Guardian, BBC, ID and Vice; as well as fashion pioneer Katharine Hamnett who is well known for inventing the slogan T-shirt and championing sustainability.

Tony Graves, Director of Cultural Exchanges, has been synonymous with the festival during his tenure at DMU and he spoke about the importance of students being involved and what the festival means to him.

He said: “If there’s any secret to the longevity of the festival, it’s because it’s not just ideas from my brain, it doesn’t just reflect my interest and that’s how it regenerates itself.

“My job is to empower them and allow them to flourish and take that risk and that’s what makes it exciting. Sometimes it’s pretty traumatic but we get there in the end.

“I think it embodies what is exciting about life, it’s the variety of people and ideas and viewpoints that sum up contemporary society and if we can capture that in a festival, that’s what gives me the buzz.”

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