About the festival


We are delighted to welcome you to Cultural eXchanges 2024, and another eclectic week of talks, performances, screenings, and workshops.

Highlights for this year’s programme include ‘Thrift Art Unleashed’, an experimental, sustainable art masterclass hosted by Graffwerk, Noelle.ltd and Leicester Print Workshop for a day of hands-on graffiti, eco-conscious fashion, and live printmaking. We are delighted to welcome the Nottingham Shakespeare Company to Cultural eXchanges to unveil their latest masterpiece, a riveting production of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy, ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Following the resounding success of their summer 2023 production, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, NSC returns to captivate audiences with a dynamic, gender-blind, 90-minute rendition that promises to be an unforgettable rollercoaster of emotions. Blending the classic tale of star-cross'd lovers with NSC's trademark edge-of-your-seat action, this queer reimagined production explores gender roles in a fractured society, dancing between passion and obsession, love and sexuality, life and death.

Moving away from the city, this year’s festival will feature a ‘Walk and Talk’ industry networking event walking through the Leicestershire countryside. Hosted at Bradgate Park, the ‘Walk and Talk, is the perfect opportunity to get out of the city centre, get some fresh air, and engage with creative professionals from across the city.

As Cultural eXchanges marks its 23rd year, we are thrilled to welcome back the festival founder, Tony Graves, in conversation with Geoff Rowe, looking back over 20 years of festival editions; sharing memories of Cultural eXchanges moments, and exploring the many guests, people, presentations, performances, workshops, and conversations that have shaped the identity of the festival over the years

We are very proud to continue to offer a festival where the vast majority of events are free, and Cultural eXchanges has always strived to create a platform for new thinking, dialogue, and opportunity, between both the University, and city communities.

Whether you are a regular support of the festival, or exploring Cultural eXchanges for the first time, we very much hope you enjoy what we have to offer, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Jill Cowley

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.