Festival: “Battle of Ideas”; Royal College of Art, London, 1-2 November 2008

This year’s Battle of Ideas: a two-day festival tackling some of the most urgent and interesting social, political and cultural issues and ideas today. The festival takes place on 1 & 2 November 2008 at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU. Tickets are on sale now.

Arts & politics


Visual arts

  • Candid Camera (with David Cowlard, Pauline Hadaway, David Hurn and Bob Kirwan)
  • RCA Exhibition Q&A (with Jeremy Myerson, Elio Caccavale, Revital Cohen, Anthony Dunne, and Susana Soares)

Performing arts


Commentary in the press this autumn:




Festival arts debates speaker details and links:

Swapan Chakrovorty (professor of English; joint director, School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University);
Anthony Dunne (partner, design practice Dunne & Raby);
Simon Fanshawe
(chair, University of Sussex; previous winner, Perrier Award; co-founder, Stonewall);
Christopher Frayling (rector, Royal College of Art; chairman, Arts Council England);
Leela Gandhi
(professor of English, University of Chicago; founding co-editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies);
Phillip Hensher (author, The Northern Clemency, shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker prize);
Ivan Hewett
(music critic, Daily Telegraph);
Nicolette Jones
(writer, critic and broadcaster);
Kenan Malik (presenter of Analysis, BBC Radio 4; author, The Meaning of Race and Man, Beast and Zombie);
Glyn Maxwell
(poet and playwright; author, The Girl Who Was Going To Die);
Jeremy Myerson
(director, Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art);
Charles Saumarez-Smith
(secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts);
Adriano Shaplin
(first Warwick/RSC International Playwright in Residence 2006-8);
Anmol Vellani
(director, India Foundation for the Arts) and more.

The Battle of Ideas is in its fourth year and is now a major fixture in London’s intellectual calendar. This year over 1500 expected attendees will attend 70 sessions with 300 speakers, as well as a number of festival attractions and exhibitions. The Battle of Ideas was described by Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, as ‘a rare opportunity to debate first hand with those involved in the great issues of our time’.

The Battle of Ideas is a space where ideas can be argued for and fought over without constraint. Free speech allowed!

2008 Keynotes:

The Battle for Truth / The Battle for Leadership / The Battle for Progress /

Radicalism then and now: the legacy of ’68 / Your culture or mine? The arts & identity /

Capitalism – what is it good for?

This year’s strands examine four cutting-edge issues in:

The Battles for Prosperity, the Family, Biomedicine, and America.

Other highlights include:

Immigration – the more the scarier? / Eco-imperialism? / Cricket – more than a game? CSI Mania / Credit crunch demystified / Scared of the Kids / Malthus’ return…

The festival has sold out in advance for three years running, so you are urged to get tickets as soon as possible. The event is held at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU and is organised by the Institute of Ideas in conjunction with SAB Miller, BT, The Times/Times Online, and the ESRC, alongside many other partners and sponsors.

Claire Fox
Institute of Ideas
Signet House
49-51 Farringdon Road
London EC1M 3JP
00 44 (020) 7269 9220

Join the Institute of Ideas & get a discounted Battle of Ideas 2008 ticket. Should you wish to receive the Institute of Idea’s regular newsletter, please click on this NEWSLETTER link.

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