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About the festival

simon bradbury

Welcome to the 21st annual Cultural eXchanges Festival 2022 

We are delighted to bring you another eclectic week of talks, performances and workshops. Following last year’s successful online delivery, the festival has now truly come of age, demonstrating an ability to stand on its own feet and overcome challenges. This year we are looking forward to combining the best of the online festival with face-to-face events.

We welcome esteemed American foreign correspondent and broadcaster Jim Laurie, celebrated actor David Harewood ‘in conversation’ with acclaimed director Jeremy Deller.  Iconic poet and sculptor Brian Catling, ground-breaking dance company Deaf Men Dancing and award-winning artists Muhammed Ali and Suki Chan also join us along with renowned drama critic Lyn Gardner. These are just a few of the exciting highlights to be found in this year’s festival.   

Online or face to face, we will provide a safe environment for you to experience the stimulating programme that the festival has to offer.  As always, most events are free so whether you are participating in one of the workshops, attending the festival face to face or engaging online we hope there is something for you all to enjoy. 

I look forward to seeing you there.

Simon Bradbury


Dean, Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities

Cultural eXchanges is a diverse week of interactive discussions, performances and talks at DMU showcasing an eclectic programme of guests. The festival and its programme represent the culture and creativity of De Montfort University, the city of Leicester and contemporary society in order to bring together cultures and industries. It is hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, and is run by students on the Arts and Festivals Management BA (Hons) degree students.

Initially a one-off event to celebrate the opening of the new Humanities Clephan Building in 2000, its success led it to become an annual fixture.

The festival has agrowing regional and national profile and has established itself as a key event within the cultural calendar for Leicestershire and the East Midlands.

The week-long festival takes place in February/March each year and:

  • It attracts audiences upwards of 3,000.
  • It offers a wide range of discussions, talks, performances and workshops.
  • Most of the events are free in keeping with our aim of reaching people who would not normally come through our doors.
  • 40% of the audience are from outside the university.

Sponsorship and partners

  •  UNITE Student accommodation is our sole festival sponsor. They have generously provided support since 2014.
  • Sponsors have included Leicestershire and Rutland Life and Skylink, secured by the students.
  • Selected events have been programmed in collaboration with Arts Council England.
  • We have had partnership with Channel 4 (4 Talent) who have previously broadcast podcasts events from the festival such as Mark Thomas, Sue Townsend, Katharine Whitehorn and Grayson Perry.