Festival of Ideas May 2015 - brochure cover

Festival of Ideas May 2015

Season

Please note: this season finished in May 2015

The eleventh May Festival of Ideas takes place right after the general election – perhaps the most uncertain and contentious for many decades. The Festival will be looking at the implications of the election results and the programme of the new government from June and into the autumn. In the meantime, there’s much to debate and enjoy in May.

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a new annual lecture series from 2015 with Vintage Publishers. Our first lecturer is Yuval Noah Harari, author of the remarkable book Sapiens.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s death. We’re creating a city-wide reading group of the Malcolm X autobiography – a remarkable book still – with 1000 copies freely distributed.

Acclaimed psychologist Philip Zimbardo looks at men and technology; we debate why companies are too big to jail; look at the Great Depression and the great recession; have Steve Bell on the coalition; examine the legacy of Simone de Beauvoir; and discuss philosophy with John Gray, Susan Neiman, AC Grayling, Theodore Zeldin and Julian Baggini.

The Bristol 2015 programme also looks at extinction and de-extinction, natural capital and the Anthropocene. There’s fiction with Colm Tóibín; Cory Doctorow on information freedom; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Englishness; Lynsey Addario on her photography and war; and an evening examining modern Russia.

As ever, it's a packed programme of stimulating events - see you there!

Visit ideasfestival.co.uk for details of all the talks happening in Bristol at Watershed and beyond.

Ticket prices: £5.00 - £8.00


Previous events in this season

Hadley Freeman - Life Moves Pretty Fast Festival of Ideas May 2015

Hadley Freeman - Life Moves Pretty Fast
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Hadley Freeman looks back at the American films of the 1980s, detailing the decade's key players, genres and tropes, and explains why Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

Julian Baggini - Freedom Regained Festival of Ideas May 2015

Julian Baggini - Freedom Regained
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Julian Baggini blends philosophy, neuroscience, sociology and cognitive science, and draws on scientific research and fascinating encounters with expert witnesses to bring the issues raised by the possibilities and denials of free will vividly to life.

McKenzie Wark - Molecular Red Festival of Ideas May 2015

McKenzie Wark - Molecular Red
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
From the ruins of the Soviet and American histories, McKenzie Wark looks fo a way to understand and combat climate change and provides a message of hope.

Dieter Helm - Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet (CANCELLED) Festival of Ideas May 2015

Dieter Helm - Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
In the face of the global, local, and national destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems, in this talk economist Dieter Helm offers a crucial set of strategies for establishing natural capital policy that is balanced, economically sustainable, and politically viable.

Peter Pomerantsev - Nothing is True and Everything is Possible Festival of Ideas May 2015

Peter Pomerantsev - Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Peter Pomerantsev takes us deep into the heart of modern Russia, from the 'Gold-digger' academies teaching women how to marry a millionaire, to the lives of Hells Angels, convinced they are messiahs, and the gangsters turned filmmakers.

Ben Stewart - Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg Festival of Ideas May 2015

Ben Stewart - Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg: The Extraordinary Story of the Arctic Thirty
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Veteran Greenpeace activist Ben Stewart tells the dramatic and inspiring story of the incarceration of the 'Arctic 30' and the ensuing emotional campaign to bring the protesters home.

George Zarkadakis - In Our Own Image Festival of Ideas May 2015

George Zarkadakis - In Our Own Image: Will Artificial Intelligence Save or Destroy Us?
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Science writer, playwright and novelist George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love–hate relationships – our ties with Artificial Intelligence or AI.

Lynsey Addario - It’s What I Do Festival of Ideas May 2015

Lynsey Addario - It’s What I Do
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
In this fully illustrated presentation photojournalist Lynsey Addario talks about her life and work photographing the Taliban reign, the Iraq war, Darfur, violence against women in the Congo and more.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown - Exotic England Festival of Ideas May 2015

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown - Exotic England
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown paints a sumptuous and illuminating portrait of who the English have been, bringing an invigorating perspective on what 'Englishness' really means.

Young People's Festival of Ideas: Racism Festival of Ideas May 2015

Young People's Festival of Ideas: Racism
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Event
Our series programmed by young people continues with a frank discussion on racism and how it affects the lives of young people today.

Cory Doctorow - Information Doesn’t Want to be Free Festival of Ideas May 2015

Cory Doctorow - Information Doesn’t Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? Cory Doctorow examines the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today.

Alok Jha - The Water Book Festival of Ideas May 2015

Alok Jha - The Water Book
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Alok Jha tells the story of water, taking us from the Big Bang to the latest developments of modern science.

Theodore Zeldin - The Hidden Pleasures of Life Festival of Ideas May 2015

Theodore Zeldin - The Hidden Pleasures of Life
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
What is the point of working so hard? What can replace the shortage of soulmates? What else can one do in a hotel? Theodore Zeldin demonstrates that both the greatest problems and the greatest opportunities of the twenty-first century lie in our relationships with others.

AC Grayling - The Challenge of Things Festival of Ideas May 2015

AC Grayling - The Challenge of Things
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
In The Challenge of Things AC Grayling looks at the world in a time of war and conflict. In describing and exposing the dark side of things, he also explores ways out of the habits and prejudices of mind that would otherwise trap us forever in the deadly impasses of conflicts of all kinds.

Margaret Heffernan - Beyond Measure Festival of Ideas May 2015

Margaret Heffernan - Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Margaret Heffernan reveals how organisations around the globe have managed to change themselves in big ways through incremental shifts in their thinking.

John Gray - The Soul of the Marionette Festival of Ideas May 2015

John Gray - The Soul of the Marionette
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
We flatter ourselves that we yearn to be free - but what is it that we actually want when we seek freedom? In this talk John Gray draws together religious, philosophic and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom.

Susan Neiman - Why Grow Up? Festival of Ideas May 2015

Susan Neiman - Why Grow Up?
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Philosopher Susan Neiman explores the forces that are arrayed against growing up and maturity, and shows us how philosophy can help us want to grow up. She argues that being a grown-up is itself an ideal: one that is rarely achieved in its entirety, but all the more worth striving for.

Caroline Criado-Perez - Do It Like a Woman …and Change the World Festival of Ideas May 2015

Caroline Criado-Perez - Do It Like a Woman …and Change the World
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Every day, all around the world, women are reinventing what it means to be female in cultures where power, privilege or basic freedoms are all too often equated with being male.

Daughters of de Beauvoir  CTBA   Festival of Ideas May 2015

Daughters of de Beauvoir  - Film screening and panel discussion
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Event
Ann Oakley and Angie Pegg, who both contributed to the documentary, join Imogen Sutton and others for a panel to discuss what Simone de Beauvoir’s writing means today.

Barry Eichengreen - The Great Depression and the Great Recession Festival of Ideas May 2015

Barry Eichengreen - The Great Depression and the Great Recession
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Professor Barry Aichengreen examines why policymakers didn't do better after the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession, which began in 2008.

Sapiens: The Vintage Annual Lecture with Yuval Noah Harari Festival of Ideas May 2015

The Vintage Annual Lecture with Yuval Harari
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? Yuval Harari will examine the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to modern day.

Steve Bell - If…on the Coalition Festival of Ideas May 2015

Steve Bell - If…on the coalition 2
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
The Guardian's political cartoonist Steve Bell presents his latest collection, which covers the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Brandon L Garrett - Too Big to Jail Festival of Ideas May 2015

Brandon L Garrett - Too Big to Jail
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Brandon L Garrett takes us into a complex, compromised world of backroom bank deals, in an unprecedented look at what happens when criminal charges are brought against a major company in the United States and abroad.

Beth Shapiro - How to Clone a Mammoth Festival of Ideas May 2015

Beth Shapiro - How to Clone a Mammoth
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. In this talk Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in ancient DNA research, walks us through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction.

Colm Tóibín - Nora Webster Festival of Ideas May 2015

Colm Tóibín - Nora Webster
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Colm Tóibín is one of contemporary literature’s most critically acclaimed authors. He talks about his career and writing, in particular his new non-fiction work, an introduction to the work and life of the American poet Elizabeth Bishop, and his eighth novel Nora Webster.

Miranda Sawyer - The Observer Lecture 2015: Fear of Forty Festival of Ideas May 2015

Miranda Sawyer - The Observer Lecture 2015: Fear of Forty
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Award-winning Observer writer Miranda Sawyer takes a funny look at the midlife crisis, and asks what it means for the future of the still-youth-obsessed UK.

Philip Zimbardo - How Technology Has Sabotaged what it Means to be Male Festival of Ideas May 2015

Philip Zimbardo - Man (Dis)connected: How technology has sabotaged what it means to be male
Please note: This event took place in May 2015
Talk
Young men are failing as never before - academically, socially and sexually. But why, and what can be done about it? Psychologist Dr Philip Zimbardo reveals how modern manhood has hit crisis point and argues that urgent steps must be taken for the good of society.