Six surprising York events to make you see things more clearly

The packed window of a junk shop. Photograph: MrsBrown
29 May 2017 @ 11.32 am
| Entertainment

Do you ever feel you are drowning in clutter, suffocating under the weight of owning so much ‘stuff’?

York Festival of Ideas

Various locations

June 6-18 2017

See the events here

Festival website

Well, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves overwhelmed by the number of ‘things’ they have managed to acquire.

So why do this to ourselves? Is it a case of not wanting to be wasteful by throwing things out, or is it Western consumerism gone mad?

Or are we simply too emotionally attached to material things to part with them?

Life in storage

Frank Trentmann

Join us at York Festival of Ideas (June 6-18) as we explore The Story of Things throughout history and in the modern age.

Acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann explores how living with so much more has changed the course of history, while author and broadcaster Peter York takes a light-hearted look at a growing social trend: having half your life stored in room-sized wooden crates.

Come along and find out more about the story of things…

Just a few events to look out for:

Small Finds and Stories That Matter

Ron Cooke Hub, University of York

Sat June 10 @ 6pm

Free

More details

From the everyday and mundane sherds of pottery infilling a prehistoric ditch, to gleaming swords and chariot burials, objects offer their stories to those who are willing to listen.

Join archaeologist Mel Giles and poet John Wedgwood Clarke as they share their experiences of working with words and things in a range of projects, from excavations and installations, to collaborations with other poets, writers and filmmakers.

Objects, Stories and the Makings of Military Memory

York Army Museum, Tower Street

Mon Jun 12 @ 2pm

Free

More details

Come along to the York Army Museum to explore what objects and the stories woven around them can tell us about the memory culture of military organisations.

Led by museum staff and University of York historians, the workshop includes opportunities to examine and discuss specific objects from the museum’s collection, including a bullet-damaged cigarette case from World War I.

See Peter York’s Storage Unit

The Stories Behind Our Favourite Things

Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Wed Jun 14 @ 6.15pm

Free

More details

Our speakers explore the story of things from three different but complimentary perspectives: philosophy, archaeology and poetry.

Come along and hear the results of a public survey looking at the significance of precious objects in our lives. Learn about the role objects play in our quest for understanding and meaning, and why some things might have a soul.

Peter York’s Storage Unit

Ron Cooke Hub, University of York

Wed Jun 14 @ 7.40pm

Free

More details

Author and broadcaster Peter York examines a growing social trend in terms of his own experience; having half his life stored in room-sized wooden crates in a West London depository.

He discusses the curious accumulation of objects large and small, valuable and worthless, which has built up over the last 25 years and wonders what to do with them. Realising he is not alone in his plight, he reaches out to fellow sufferers…

The Things Left Behind

Photograph: York Archaeological Trust

421 Huntington Road, York

Thurs Jun 15 @ 2.30pm

£6.50 (includes a hot drink)

More details

Join York Archaeological Trust curators for a guided tour behind the scenes at the YAT store to hear the story of the things ‘left behind’.

What happens to the artefacts that don’t make the cut for public display? Hear how they continue to be put to work to enhance our understanding of the past.

Empire of Things: Why do we have so much stuff?

King’s Manor

Sun Jun 18 @ 12.30pm

Free

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What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, and we are treated more as consumers than workers.

Acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present.

How have we come to live with so much more? How has this changed the course of history?