The Palestinian editor of Rai al-Youm offers a comprehensive review of the group’s organisational structure and leadership, strategies, tactics and diverse methods of recruitment. He traces the salafi-jihadi lineage of IS, its ideological differences with al-Qa’ida, and the deadly rivalry that has emerged between their leaders. Atwan also shows how the group’s rapid growth has been facilitated by its masterful command of social media platforms, the ‘dark web’, Hollywood ‘blockbuster’-style videos, and even jihadi computer games, producing a powerful paradox where the ambitions of the Middle Ages have re-emerged in cyber-space.
Woodland Trust president Clive Anderson pays tribute to the life and legacy of prolific ecologist and author Oliver Rackham, who died in February. This inaugural memorial lecture will explore Professor Rackham’s profound influence, both on the work of the Trust and Clive’s own love of the nation’s trees and woods.
The lawyer and writer explores how personal lives and history are interwoven. Drawing from his acclaimed new book – part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller – he explains the connections between his work on crimes against humanity and genocide, the events that overwhelmed his family during the Second World War, and an untold story at the heart of the Nuremberg Trial. Chaired by Helena Kennedy.
The true story of a lethal spy triangle with three men at its centre – a brilliant, ruthless, British secret agent called Roger Landes; the Gestapo counter-espionage officer Friedrich Dohse, who was charged with finding him; and French Resistance leader André Grandclément, who was responsible for the most controversial betrayal that took place in wartime France. From 1942 until 1944 these three enemies were drawn into a lethal dance in which comrades, Allied agents and downed pilots were sold to the Germans as casually as crates of wine. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
Two epic and violent stories. Two brutal wars. Two very different worlds. Will Hill and Richard Kurti will talk about the complex worlds they have created and why they don’t flinch from violence.
Battle Lines is the third instalment in Will Hill’s Dept 19 series – a fantastic mix of sci-fi, horror and sheer action adventure, set in a complex and deeply imagined world. Dept 19 exists to hunt and kill demons and vampires. In Battle Lines, the very existence of humanity is at stake. War is unavoidable.
Monkey Wars is a challenging and unflinching look at the politics of power from screenwriter Richard Kurti. As the Langur monkeys rise to power, there is a brutal masscacre of Rhesus monkeys which drives them out of their homes. One young Langur stands up against the corrupt regime, but when monkeys turn on each other, there can be no survivors.
Find out how these writers create such believable worlds and why they embrace extremes.
The Secret History of the American Dream
Now used to describe everything from reality television to The Great Gatsby, ‘the American Dream’ is a phrase that most people assume stretches back to the founding of America. But the history of this catchphrase is much more recent – and surprising – than our casual usages suggest. Professor Churchwell traces the emergence of this cliché in the first decades of the 20th century from debates that drove it into the heart of American popular culture. At the same time, she reveals the ways in which the very idea of the ‘American Dream’ was invented to address the same troubling questions about immigration and nationalism, education and job creation, economic and cultural breakdown, individual ambition and social responsibility, that continue to define our society today.
The producers of the cult noir film thriller are joined by photographer David Wilson to talk about the silent character in the hit TV show: the landscapes of Ceredigion. Wilson has captured these landscapes for the new book Hinterland Landscapes and the panel will reflect on what the settings have brought to the show, and the impact the show has had on this quiet part of Wales. Chaired by Jon Gower.
A stunning illustrated talk about how bioluminescence has revolutionised biomedical research and clinical diagnosis. It has led to major discoveries about the biggest ecosystem on the planet, and how cells switch on and off in health and disease. Quite surprisingly, it has also created several billion dollar markets – the pharmacy prof reveals all.
Nativel Preciado and Rosa Montero speak about their literary works Si yo tuviera 100.000 seguidores (Planeta) and La ridícula idea de no volver a verte (Seix Barral). Each is a profound reflection on intimacy, society, work, life and memories. Chaired by Ana Gavín.
Co-organized with Fundación Lara
For centuries the ancient Greeks experimented with ways of representing the human body, both as an object of beauty and a bearer of meaning. The remarkable works of art in the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition range from the abstract simplicity of prehistoric figurines to breathtaking realism in the age of Alexander the Great. The exhibition’s curator introduces the images and sculptures, with co-curator Celeste Farge.