About The Leeds Salon

The Leeds Salon is a public discussion forum founded in February 2009 by Michele Ledda and Paul Thomas, inspired by similar initiatives they had attended and, in particular, their participation in the Academy of Ideas sixth-form Debating Matters competition.

The Salon organises discussions around political, cultural and scientific issues, with the aim of challenging any orthodoxies along the way, defending and developing the legacy of the Enlightenment and, above all, providing a space where free speech can take place.

Writers, academics and experts in their field are invited to present their ideas and to have them debated and held up to scrutiny by the audience. The Salons are lively, informal and open to all — but please let us know if you wish to attend by e-mailing us at contact@leedssalon.org.uk.

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Leeds Salon also runs and helps organise debating competitions and debate training in schools and colleges in Leeds and beyond.


“To be a speaker at the Salon is a special joy as you feel that you are entering into serious dialogue. I left knowing more, and thinking harder about, the subject I had spoken on, than when I had arrived. A stimulating intellectual forum for the open-minded.” — Professor Raymond Tallis


“The Leeds Salon is an intellectually lively set of discussions, in which by means of cunning and vocality, poets, scholars, thinkers and educationalists — and I have had the pleasure of being among them — pursue the tyrants of relevance until they track them down in their social and educational lairs.” — George Szirtes, Poet


"The Leeds Salon is a fabulous idea, brilliantly executed. Well organised discussions in informal surroundings means that a stimulating public debate is followed by a combination of constructive argument and handy networking. A thoroughly enjoyable event." — Austin Williams, director, Future Cities Project





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The Leeds Salon is a judging partner of the sixth form Debating Matters competition

The Tetley and The Leeds Salon are partners in school debate for central and south Leeds

The HFoI and The Leeds Salon are partners in school debate for north Leeds


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Leeds Debate Links

Arts Society Leeds

Café Psychologique

Café Scientifique (Chapel Allerton)

Café Scientifique (Headingley)

FORUM 2000

Headingley Festival of Ideas

Headingley LitFest

Leeds Library Salon

Leeds Phil & Lit Society

Leeds Pint of Science

Taking Soundings

Talking Allowed In Leeds: PiPs

Think Headingley: PiPs


National Debate Links

Salon Aberystwyth

Birmingham Salon

East Midlands Salon

Exeter Salon

Liverpool Salon

London Legal Salon

Manchester Salon

Academy of Ideas

Debating Matters

Manifesto Club


The Great Debate



Global Debate Links

Berlin Salon

Dublin Salon

Zurich Salon


Donations gratefully received