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Battle of Ideas Festival 2019

November 2 2019 - November 3 2019

Battle of Ideas Festival


In a rapidly changing world, discussing ideas matters more than ever. With that in mind, head to the Barbican Centre this weekend for the Battle of Ideas Festival 2019: two days of lively debate and discussion surrounding today’s most pressing political, cultural and artistic issues.

Over 450 speakers from all political persuasions and walks of life will be in attendance, with more than 100 panel discussions taking place on everything from AI to Brexit to climate change. Speakers range from journalists to politicians to professors to historians to comedians, and the festival slogan is ‘free speech allowed’ – meaning anyone and everyone can get involved with debates. Saying that, organisers ask that festival attendees should be both tolerant and open to listening to all views.

Major themes include democracy, climate change, and the question of moral authority – who has moral authority today, and why? The aim is to take a step back from the cut-and-thrust of daily politics to tackle some fundamental questions about the modern world, such as: who are the people? Is there a crisis of trust? Who are the establishment? How do we build solidarity in the 21st century?

Topics up for discussion include:

  • Does the world need a government?
  • Social media activism: democracy in action or tyranny of the mob?
  • Health vs choice: the vaccination debate
  • How do we solve a problem like the climate emergency?
  • Can we deplore the artist but love the art?
  • The rise of toxic politics
  • From robots to AI: can you build a human?
  • The future of the EU
  • From Shakespeare to social media: are we losing the will to read?
  • How to read a poem

This is the fifteenth year of the annual Battle of Ideas Festival, hosted by The Academy Of Ideas.


Barbican Centre, Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS


2-3 November 2019


Day tickets cost £55, weekend tickets cost £100. Book at battleofideas.org.uk


November 2 2019
November 3 2019
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The Barbican
Silk Street
London, England EC2Y 8DS United Kingdom
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