Battle news
19 November 2008
Battles in Print 2006 republished

The 2006 Battles in Print have been republished. A collection of over 50 essays on technology, the arts, law, international relations, science, education and much more, the BiPs 2006 accompanied the themes of the 2006 festival - Nature, Innovation, Law, Media - and provide a valuable resource especially when combined with our new search by year functionality.


17 November 2008
Battle of Ideas 2008 on video

Missed a session at the Battle of Ideas 2008? You can now watch videos of the debates on FORA.tv. The vast majority of sessions were recorded and will be accessible via their respective session pages or from the Battles on Video index page as they are published.

Watch the keynote controversy The Battle for Truth here.


31 October 2008
SCETT Professionalism Survey Results

SCETT and the Institute of Ideas (IoI) have undertaken a short survey on what teacher professionalism means today.


Read a summary of the early findings of the survey to which nearly 300 people have contributed so far.

This survey complements the session: Trust me - I’m a professional.


30 October 2008
Parents groups protest Big Brother tactics

Furious parent groups have spoken out today against the news that a chain of nurseries are to fingerprint parents, slamming this as the latest attack on trust between adults. The groups, who are coming together at the weekend to discuss increased interference in family life at the Battle of Ideas 2008 festival, were incensed by the idea of turning nurseries into surveillance factories.

Jennie Bristow of Parents With Attitude.com, and co-author of ‘Licensed to Hug’, a critique of the national vetting scheme, said:

This is yet another ridiculous action that sends a loud and clear message to our children ‘Adults are not to be trusted’. This attitude warps relationships between adults and children. It is an extension of the government-induced paranoia that has parents asking each other ‘Have you been CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) checked?’ before their kids play with each other. We really need to stand up as parents and say ‘Enough is enough!’

The convenor of the Institute of Ideas Parents Forum, Jane Sandeman, was damning about the collection of biometric data from children, which could also be used to monitor school attendance.

Nurseries and schools are places where children go to be looked after, not remand centres or prison cells. This unjustified suspicion of parents and those working with children shows contempt for all adults. That’s why many angry parents are coming together to stop this interference and reclaim our family life.

Joining Bristow and Sandeman at the weekend is Nancy McDermott, chair of the advisory board of Park Slope Parents, the second largest parenting group in the USA. Several expert researchers on family life will join the debates including Val Gillies from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Families and Social Capital Group and Dr Jan McVarish, author of Teenage Parents’ Experience of Parenthood, as well as Yvonne Roberts from the Young Foundation.


30 October 2008
Online Tickets available until 4pm Friday

WE WILL STOP SELLING TICKETS ONLINE AFTER 4PM ON FRIDAY 31ST OCTOBER

There are limited tickets available on the day for the festival. If you cannot buy online before the Friday deadline, you can buy tickets on the door at the RCA from:

9.15am on Saturday 1st November

and from 9.30am on Sunday 2 November.


29 October 2008
India’s top thinkers at London debates

Indian political, business and cultural leaders are heading to London this weekend (1 – 2 November) to ask ‘what next?’ following the global economic crisis.

Joining European and American counterparts at the Battle of Ideas 2008 festival at Kensington’s Royal College of Art, India’s leading thinkers will get to grips with the impact of the credit crunch on emerging economies, such as India, in front of a 2,000 strong UK audience.

Sanjaya Baru, former advisor and spokesman for the Indian prime minister and a leading authority on global economics, will tackle the question Capitalism: what is it good for? at a keynote debate. Fellow panellist, the UK’s leading sociologist, Frank Furedi, has already challenged both developed and developing countries to think afresh about global economics and politics:

We can’t fall back on the economic and political solutions of yesterday, whether it’s the insights of Adam Smith or Karl Marx. Younger generations must rethink the problems of today for themselves. This is particularly true for the emerging economies and young people in those countries, whose growing influence will shape not just their own future but the world’s.

A day of debates devoted to the emerging economies will see world financial experts and business leaders lock horns over development in the post-credit crunch world. The FT’s Martin Wolf will be joined by: Sundeep Kumar, director of SABMiller’s corporate affairs in India; Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill, the man who coined the term BRICs; leading international development thinkers Xiaolan Fu and Adrian Wood; and two renowned authorities on the emerging economies, Ha-Joon Chang and Linda Yueh.

An in-conversation with The Times’ Parminder Bahra, Wireless Grids Corporation’s chief strategy officer, Norman Lewis, and BT’s head of sustainability practice, Dinah McLeod, will ask if China and India are the new technological innovators.

The Battle for Progress keynote debate will bring the discussions about India and the emerging economies to a head, asking what progress means in our world today: Leela Gandhi, flying in from the University of Chicago, will debate if prosperity equals progress any more with: Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize winner, Ashis Nandy; editor in chief of Green Futures, Martin Wright; and Austin Williams, director of London’s Future Cities Project.

As well as economics and politics, leading lights from the world of Indian arts and culture will also feature at the weekend: Anmol Vellani, director of the Indian Foundation for the Arts will battle over Your Culture or Mine? with Charles Saumarez-Smith, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sir Christopher Frayling, chair of the Arts Council England. The literature expert Swapan Chakravorty will make the case for Calcutta as the World City of Literature.

Sujata Sen, representing festival partners the British Council India, acclaimed the importance of the ‘Battle of Ideas’ to democracy and development today:

The right to probe ideas, disagree with perspectives, and dispute the ways and means of social justice and welfare are factors critical for the success of the world’s largest democracy.


28 October 2008
Keynote Battles in Print now published

The Battle of Ideas Keynote Controversies cover some of the defining issues of our times, from the meaning of Truth in debates about religion and science, to the state of capitalism at a time of crisis and uncertainty. Each session is now complemented by a Battles in Print (BiP) essay written by a member of the Battle of Ideas committee. The essays set out the context of the respective debates, but also advance arguments that will stimulate further discussion ahead of the festival itself and beyond. 

Several other Battles in Print demonstrate the range of topics being debated at the Battle of Ideas, from the politics of folk music to the future of American foreign policy, and from the putative crisis of reading to Britain’s alleged addiction to booze. Many of the essays draw on ongoing debates in a variety of forums, which feed in to the festival weekend itself.

Keynote BiPs:

  • Radicalism then and now: what’s changed since 1968?

  • Slam-Dunk the Funk - Defending Progress in the Age of Environmentalism

  • Whose culture is it anyway?

  • Capitalism, the financial crisis, and us

  • The Truth? – you must be making it up

  • Lead on, Macduff: McLeadership and the real thing

  • All Battles in Print can be found here.

     


    16 October 2008
    Battles in Print 2008 Series

    The Battles in Print cover an eclectic range of topics to be debated at the Battle of Ideas and beyond. From the politics of folk music to the future of American foreign policy, and from the putative crisis of reading to Britain’s alleged addiction to booze, the essays introduce the issues and provoke further reflection, drawing on ongoing debates in a variety of forums, which feed in to the festival weekend itself. Six keynote Battles in Print, to complement the festival’s Keynote Controversies, will be published next week so check back regularly.


    16 October 2008
    Ballet Battle: 6ft 5in swan takes on street dance
    Tuesday 21 October, 7pm @ Vibe Live, 91-95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL

    Ballet and street dance are due for a showdown next week when denizens of the dance world have it out over men-in-tights and bust-a-grove street moves.

    At a debate in East London’s trendy Vibe Live bar on Tuesday 21st October dancers and critics will fight it out over the question ‘Who needs ballet when we’ve got street dance?’

    Flying in from the US to do battle for ballet is the male comedy ballerina, Ian Archer-Watters. Armed with pointe shoes and a tutu, Ian will tower above even the most athletic of street dancers standing 6ft 5in on pointe. After exchanging blows on whether or not traditional ballets like the Nutcracker and Swan Lake are giving way to the breakbeat thrills of hip-hop extravaganzas like the recent London musical Into the Hoods, Ian plans to have the last dance if not the last word.

    The debate will finish with the European premiere of Ian’s The Swan to music from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals.

    Ahead of the premiere Ian said ‘I’ve seen break dancers in New York spinning on their hands, doing the ‘turtle’. And yes, it’s impressive. But the hip-hop’s Turtle is nothing to a six foot Swan balancing on one point’.

    Joining Ian for the debate will be the Hakeem Onibudo, artistic director and founder of Impact Dance, one of the UK’s top Hip-Hop theatre company; Veronica Lewis MBE, director of the London Contemporary Dance School and Time Out dance critic, Lyndsey Winship. For more details and tickets: click here.


    10 October 2008
    Battle of Ideas Student Tickets

    Are you a higher education student?

    The Research Councils UK (RCUK) are offering a limited number of 50%-off weekend tickets for students. Click here to buy.

    Are you a secondary school student?

    If so, with the purchase of a one-day ticket (Saturday or Sunday), you get the second day free, courtesy of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 020 7269 9220 for information.


    9 October 2008
    TImes Online launches Battle Blog

    Times Online launched its Battle of Ideas blog on Tuesday, with articles relating to the themes of the Battle for Biomedicine strand. Featured writers are Magnus Linklater, Michael Fitzpatrick, John Naish and Tracey Brown.

    For the Battle of Ideas 2008, the Times Online team bring you past and present intellectual, political and social battles that shaped and are shaping our world. Throughout October watch out for the Times Online blog featuring Battle of Ideas speakers and Times journalists tackling debates and issues determining society right here and now. In addition, a variety of other Times Online blogs, such as School Gate, Alpha Mummy, and Faith Central, will link up to relevant Battle of Ideas 2008 debates. And find out how debates at the 2008 festival have been argued over and taken shape throughout the years with special Times archive readings, stretching from 1785 – 1985, available on the Battle of Ideas website.

    Next week’s theme will relate to the Battle for Prosperity.


    19 September 2008
    Pre-festival survey: attitudes to teachers

    In the build up to the festival, the IoI Education Forum, in association with SCETT, will be surveying hundreds of people about their attitudes to teachers.  Are teachers members of a profession or just ordinary workers? Professionalism implies respect and trust. Can we no longer trust teachers to get on with their job, without excessive regulation and inspection?  There is no simple answer to these questions so we want your views.  To complete our short survey, simply visit the survey website or contact Professor Dennis Hayes for a ‘hard copy’ at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    This survey will complement the session: Trust me - I’m a professional.


    20 August 2008
    China survey media report

    09 August 2008

    The results of the online survey that accompanied the Battle for China conference received wide media coverage.

    Survey says Beijing Olympics set to improve West’s view of China, Xinhua News Agency. Syndicated to:

    China:
    Life of Guangzhou
    China.org.cn
    People’s Daily
    China Economic
    Sina
    China Human Rights

    Asian News International: ‘Beijing Olympics set to improve Wests view of China: Survey’
    Syndicated to:

    India:
    Andhra News
    Yahoo News India
    News Track India
    Chennai Vision
    The Indian
    Khabar Express
    New Kerala
    Fresh News
    Andhravilas

    Japan:
    Japan Herald

    Ireland:
    Irish Sun

    For the Battle of Ideas survey summary, see here.


    8 August 2008
    Beijing Olympics set to improve West’s view of China

    The Beijing Olympics will have a positive impact on the way the West sees China, according to a survey from a landmark conference on China.

    The survey, launched at the Battle for China conference held in London in July, released its results today. When asked ‘What effect do you think the Beijing Olympics will have on perceptions of China?’, a clear majority – 66%  –  of respondents say that there will be an improvement in Western perceptions. In general, attitudes to China and its growth are positive: 62% think that China will become a democracy and 71% do not think that China’s rapid rise is a threat to world peace. An overwhelming 86% conclude that China should have been awarded the Olympic Games. 75% are concerned that Western media has been too negative about China’s rise.

    The survey is split about whether or not the Beijing Olympics should be used to pressurise China over its human rights record. However, over half disagreed that this is the right thing to do.

    Other results include:

    • 42% of respondents think China has already become a superpower, with only 11% believing that it will not become one.

    • 66% of respondents think it’s possible for 1.3 billion Chinese to have the standard of living currently experienced in the Western world.

    • Only 33% of respondents think it is the responsibility of the West to ensure China develops sustainably, with 67% arguing against.

    The online survey accompanied the Battle for China conference that examined Western perceptions of China, organised by the Institute of Ideas, in association with CHINA NOW, the UK’s largest ever festival of Chinese culture, and international legal practice Norton Rose LLP held in London on 12 July 2008.

    The full survey is available here. The survey report was picked up by several news agencies.


    31 July 2008
    Who gives a folk? Video now available.

    The Who gives a folk? Battle Satellite held this Tuesday was a great success. If you happened to miss it or were there and want a reminder of the discussion, we have three videos captured by friction.tv available on the site now. They are short pieces by Chris Wood, Abdul-Rehman Malik and Eddy Lawrence and can be found here.


    16 July 2008
    Battle for China media report

    The Battle for China was a resounding success and received wide media coverage, in the UK and China.

    China’s rise - threat or opportunity?, Frank Furedi
    spiked, 15 July 2008

    Is China the economic saviour of the 21st century?

    Experts at the Battle for China debate the economic relationship between China and the West
    Battle of Ideas podcast, Times Online, 16 July 2008
    The poison infecting China, Yiyi Lu
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    Eco-imperialism is alive and well in the West, James Woudhuysen
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    China is losing the human rights race, Minky Worden
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    How experts replaced intellectuals, Alan Hudson
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    Why China matters to us all, Kerry Brown
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    The farce of bashing China’s human rights record, Brendan O’Neill
    Battle of Ideas blog, Times Online, 14 July 2008

    The above article was reprinted in:
    People’s Daily
    China Daily
    China Radio International

    British experts call for balanced views on China
    Xinhua News Agency 13 July 2008

    The above article was syndicated to:
    China Radio International
    People’s Daily
    China Daily
    China.org.cn
    CQ News
    China Internet Information Centre (China.cn)
    China Human Rights
    European News Monitor
    Sina
    Jongo News

    British scholar: China’s trade, investment in Africa benefit all
    Xinhua News Agency 15 July 2007

    The above article was syndicated to:
    China Daily
    China Commodity Net
    China Internet Information Centre (China.cn)
    People’s Daily
    China Military Online
    Jongo News
    China Daily
    China Radio International
    CCTV
    China Ministry of Commerce
    China.com


    14 July 2008
    Battle for China Blogs

    A series of blogs reflecting on the Battle for China in the Times Online.


    20 June 2008
    Tickets for 'Who gives a folk?' 29 July
    Tuesday 29 July, 7-9pm @ Vibe Live, 91-95 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

    A new generation is giving folk new meaning and an unexpected lease of life. Has folk left behind its parochial, twee image? Can it help create a more ‘radical’ English identity and heritage, an alternative to the flag-waving jingoism of Rule Britannia or is it just another brand?

    Speakers: Barb Jungr, Ivan Hewett, Chris Wood, Eddy Lawrence, Neil Davenport, Cara Bleiman, Don Eales, Abdul Rehman-Malik; chair - Shirley Dent.

    Plus, performing that night at the Vibe Bar downstairs, fresh from Glastonbury, folk artists Joe Driscoll and Sean Taylor!

    Tickets: £7.50 (£5 concessions) from Institute of Ideas

    Full details here


    13 June 2008
    spiked recommends Battle for China readings

    spiked has been running a campaign to challenge China-bashing in the run-up to Beijing 2008—so we’re delighted to be partnering with the Institute of Ideas on this intelligent and timely conference on the future of China. We have put together some recommended spiked readings for each session, and we hope they will help to spark the debate. The readings can be reached from the main session listing: look for the spiked logo.


    6 June 2008
    ESRC Battles in Print 2008 competition

    Battles in Print are essays that accompany every debate at the Battle of Ideas festival, available online and in print on the day. Battles in Print serve as introductions to a debate and for reflection afterwards, and take a variety of forms, from short provocation essays, to head-to-heads, to longer think-pieces and interviews with leaders in specific fields.

    For the second time, we are again delighted to invite ESRC funded postgraduates to enter a competition to be a part of this important series. This is your chance to get your thoughts out to the wider public with winning essays being published by Times Online, the festival’s Media partner, and the website in the run up to the Battle of Ideas as well as being printed for distribution at the festival.

    There are two essay topics open to ESRC postgraduate students:

    These are two key strands of debate at this year’s festival. Each strand is made up of three sessions and contestants can chose any one of the three debates in either strand to write on.

    Battle for America:

    Battle for the Family:

    The challenge is to write an original piece of no more than 1,500 words on either topic, covering it from an interesting angle. Please use Harvard style referencing and keep the language simple and clear, but obviously be as provocative and punchy as you wish! Essays should aim to incite subsequent debate, but also serve as a thoughtful piece that, post-session, can act as a useful reference point for audience members to reflect on.

    The following selection of Battles in Print from the 2007 festival may be helpful starting points:

     

    Submitting essays

    Essays should be submitted to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) no later than 5pm on Friday 10th October 2008. Essays posted to be received no later than 10th October 2008 can be sent to: Shirley Dent, Institute of Ideas, Signet House, 49 – 51 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3JP. All essays should be accompanied by name, address, university department, email address and day time telephone number.

    We look forward to reading your Battle in Print. Good luck! Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions.


    5 June 2008
    The Battle for Progress: 28 June
    Saturday 28 June, 6.15-7.15pm @ The Lift - Southbank Centre Square, London SE1

    What does progress mean in the 21st Century? Should countries like China and India be prevented from developing because of environmental concerns, or is this ‘eco-imperialism’? Is there a danger of romanticising Southern poverty from the comfort of our modern cities? Must development mean Westernisation, or is it possible to overcome poverty while preserving unique cultures?

    Speakers include: John Hilary (War on Want), Ceri Dingle (WORLDwrite), Lee Jones (Nuffield College, Oxford), Professor Michael Redclift (King’s College, London), Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas)

    For general information and ticketing (£5) contact The Lift or call 0871 663 2529.

    Full details here


    30 May 2008
    Who gives a folk?
    Tuesday 29 July, 7-9pm @ Vibe Live, 91-95 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

    A new generation is giving folk new meaning and an unexpected lease of life. Has folk left behind its parochial, twee image? Can it help create a more ‘radical’ English identity and heritage, an alternative to the flag-waving jingoism of Rule Britannia or is it just another brand?

    Speakers: Barb Jungr, Ivan Hewett, Eddy Lawrence, Neil Davenport, Cara Bleiman, Don Eales, Abdul Rehman-Malik; chair - Shirley Dent

    Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions) from Institute of Ideas

    Full details here


    29 April 2008
    BOOK LAUNCH:
    The Enemies of Progress: The Dangers of Sustainability
    Wednesday 21 May, 6.30pm @ Waterstone's Economists' Bookshop, London WC2A

    Ahead of this year’s Battle of Ideas keynote debate on progress, a new book by Austin Williams argues that ‘if sustainability goes unchallenged, it will kill aspiration, suffocate humanity and murder progress.’

    Click here for more information


    18 April 2008
    The Battle for China for sessions announced
    Saturday 12 July 2008 10am @ London

    Sessions for the one day satellite conference, Battle for China, have now been announced. They include: “The growth of China - threat or opportunity?”; “China’s intellectual renaissance”; and “Is China the economic saviour of the 21st century?”.

    The Battle for China is a one day satellite conference of the Battle of Ideas festival and part of the CHINA NOW festival. Organised by the Institute of Ideas in association with CHINA NOW and leading international legal practice Norton Rose.

    Venue: London offices Norton Rose, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AQ.

    Tickets: visit the Institute of Ideas website.

    Co-produced by: Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas and Sheila Lewis, director of Volanti Consulting

    Sessions: See the full sessions listing.


    The rise of China as an economic and political power is the subject of much debate in the West. The dramatic awakening of the ‘sleeping giant’ seems to provoke as much fear as admiration. Concerns range from whether rapid industrialisation will lead to social inequality and environmental destruction to the regime’s use of censorship and its role on the world stage. Now – on the eve of the Beijing Olympics – Western criticisms of China have intensified, especially in relation to human rights and Tibet. But when does valid criticism turn into demonisation? Some commentators have noted that China-bashing is the new Olympic sport. This day of discussions aims to provide some balance and allow participants to reflect on and debate some of the key themes associated with China Now.

     


    28 March 2008
    Battle of Ideas 2008 headline partners announced

    We are extremely pleased to announce that we will be joined at the Battle of Ideas 2008 for the first time by SABMiller: one of the world’s largest brewers. SABMiller will be one of the headline partners at this year’s festival of debate, lining up with our previous partners: BT; The Economic and Social Research Council; Royal College of Art; and The Times Online.

    For more information and a listing of all our partners visit our Partners page. If you are interested in becoming a partner of the Battle of Ideas please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


    8 March 2008
    Battle of Ideas website: its all gone blue

    The Battle of Ideas website has had a facelift to get ready for spring. Put winter behind you, read a Battle in Print, flush out the cobwebs, read what people are saying about last year’s Festival and get your ticket for this year’s.


    8 March 2008
    Battle of Ideas video now available on YouTube

    The Battle of Ideas now has its own YouTube Channel. It currently showcases a number of interviews with participants at last year\s Battle of Ideas Festival, as well as some of the speakers.


    24 February 2008
    Brighton Salon - Cheap Energy for All?
    Saturday 1 March, 6.30pm @ Bellerbys College, Brighton

    Professor Gordon Mackerron of SPRU - University of Sussex, Professor Bob Bingham of HiPER project (a European project attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of laser driven nuclear fusion) and Joe Kaplinsky (co-author of forthcoming book “Energise”) will debate “Is Fusion the future of energy?”  The debate is part of the Brighton Science Festival and will include short presentations by the speakers and an extended discussion from the floor.  The event will take place at Bellerbys College, next to Brighton Station.

    Organised by the Brighton Salon.


    14 February 2008
    DACS and Vibe Bar partner us for 2008

    We are pleased to welcome two new partners on board for the Battle of Ideas 2008.

    The Design and Arts Copyright Society are partnering us on a fresh and exciting area of debate for the Battle of Ideas: copyright and intellectual property in the arts world.

    The legendary Vibe Bar will host a number of festival satellite events throughout 2008 in its new cutting-edge cabaret space. Check back on this website for regular updates of the programme.

    For more information and a listing of all our partners visit our Partners page. If you are interested in becoming a Partner of the Battle of Ideas please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


    8 February 2008
    You Can't Say That! IoI @ Think-in-Kingston festival

    Is free speech being curtailed through fear of controversy?
    A roundtable debate at Think-In-Kingston festival

    Time: 7 – 8.30pm (followed by wine reception)
    Date: April 1, 2008
    Venue: Galsworthy Building, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE
    Tickets: Free, but tickets must be reserved from 020 8547 5205

    The days of obscenity trials and overt political censorship may be long gone, but do we truly have freedom of expression in Britain today? From BBC Radio One’s bleeping of ‘slag’ and ‘faggot’ from the Pogues’ 1987 Christmas hit Fairytale of New York “because some members of the audience might find it offensive” to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s new clamp down on websites that allegedly groom susceptible people for extremism and terrorism, and from the conviction of ‘Lyrical Terrorist’ Samina Malik for gathering jihadist literature to the closing down of debate on campuses through no platform policies, many people feel unable to speak freely for fear of causing controversy.

    While many are against censorship per se, what happens when ‘speech’ is seen to incite violence? Recently Brighton and Hove Council, with cross party support, became the first British city to ‘ban’ “the playing of what’s loosely termed murder music”, associated with Jamaican dance-hall reggae artists, who stand accused of inciting the murder of gays and lesbians through their homophobic lyrics. Laws against the incitement of racial and religious hatred are similarly justified as protecting people from violence.

    But is it dangerous to place such conditions on free speech? As American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once remarked, ‘every idea is an incitement’. If we conclude that listeners of hateful speech are so easily incited, what does this say about our views of ordinary people’s ability to make decisions and act as autonomous citizens? Or is the demand for unlimited free speech a green light for insult, prejudice and verbal assaults on the vulnerable? Where should we draw the line?

    Speakers:

    Peter Tatchell: Campaigner for human rights, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East and a founder and member of the queer human rights group OutRage! http://www.petertatchell.net/
    Jonathan Heawood: Director, English PEN, www.englishpen.org; former editor, Fabian Review and Deputy Literary Editor of the Observer.
    Maria Grasso: doctoral student in political sociology at Nuffield College, Oxford University; co-convenor, Postgraduate Forum; academic freedom campaigner
    Dolan Cummings: Research and Editorial Director, IoI; editor of reviews website, Culture Wars; organiser, Thoughtcrime Is Not Crime http://www.manifestoclub.com/freespeech
    Chair - Claire Fox: Director, IoI; panellist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze

    Read Sleepwalking into censorship? You can’t say that! by Claire Fox.


    1 February 2008
    Secularism 2008 Series
    Thursday 6 March, 7pm

    Still the opium of the masses? Religion and radicalism

    We’re told that religion today is radical. Islamic extremists, evangelical fundamentalists, Catholic militants – the threat that faith poses to secular society is an aggressive, assertive and vehement one. But historically, the faithful were slated by humanists for their conservatism - where religion went wrong was its opposition to change, not its advocacy of it. So are the religious now radical – or has secular society simply taken on the conservatism of its God-fearing forebears?

    Secularism 2008 is a series of three panel debates over February, March and April interrogating the state of secularism today. For more details, visit the Secularism 2008 page. Buy your tickets now from Bishopsgate Institute.


    1 February 2008
    Who do you think you are? IoI @ Bath Festival

    Wednesday 27 February, 7.30pm

    Contemporary society appears more cosmopolitan than ever: throughout the West, people with different ethnic and cultural heritages increasingly live side by side. Yet today there seems less political conviction than ever that strangers with different backgrounds can find the common values and shared interests to shape and determine society. Instead we have become obsessed with our own identities, the defining question of our time being not so much ‘What are we going to do?’ as ‘Who do you think you are?’

    Speakers: Julian Baggini, Claire Fox, Peter Hitchens, Peter Tatchell, Abdul-Rehman Malik; chair - Shirley Dent

    For further details visit the Bath Literature Festival. Tickets can be booked by clicking here.


    3 December 2007
    Battle of Ideas 2008 Tickets Offer
    Christmas tickets

    Give the gift of intellectual stimulation this Christmas and buy Battle of Ideas 2008 tickets for your friends and family, now at a special early-bird discount price.


    Read all news

     Festival Buzz

    "I was astonished by the interest and by the fact that so many thoughtful and intelligent people were willing to give up a huge part of their weekends to listen to and discuss ideas."
    Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent, The Times