The story of Gabriele D’Annunzio: poet, daredevil and Fascist, who in 1919 declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern-day Croatia to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
The Professor of Neuroscience discusses the process of normal decision-making – our strategies, biases that affect us and influential factors. She will describe the abnormal patterns found in patients with conditions such as severe depression, Alzheimer’s and accidental brain damage. Examining how the brain can be manipulated to improve cognitive function in these patients, she will consider the use and the ethical questions of ‘smart drugs’.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag mines new archive material to chronicle Stalin’s brutal evisceration of the civil societies newly liberated from Nazi occupation as his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
An introduction to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.
How could what we know about the brain influence how we learn and teach? What are the challenges and opportunities?
The poetry champion, force behind National Poetry Day and founder of the Forward Prize introduces his prescription poems clinic – connecting festival-goers with poems to heal and sustain them.
We know we love the NHS. It’s up there with Shakespeare and the Olympics. And we all want to improve it. Prof Tallis argues that the Government’s Health And Social Care Act will result in the death of some of the members of the audience, will cause others to suffer, and will financially ruin many more – and asks what can be done… Chaired by Julie Grigg GP.
In an age of obesity where sugary, fatty food is available 24/7, will it ever be possible to control our appetites? The Professor of Metabolism and Medicine describes how the brain and not the stomach controls what and how much we eat; and how scientists are working to conquer the many triggers for overeating. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The Consultant Clinical Psychologist addresses the issues arising from the fact that children and young people are increasingly among those being diagnosed with diabetes but only 1 in 6 of them succeed in controlling it, despite support from parents and professionals.
There are huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular, has captured Griffiths’ imagination: Why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy – and why is it that children in many traditional cultures seem happier?
There has been an explosion of interest in stem cells within the scientific and medical communities and also among politicians, pharmaceutical companies, ethicists and religious groups. They may have great potential to treat diseases that cannot be cured with current medicines. But how realistic are those expectations? Chaired by Brenda Maddox.
It’s now ten years since the invasion of Iraq, and the UK Armed Forces have been fully engaged in a decade of war. What has been the mental health impact? If you listen to many media accounts you might conclude that nearly everyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan ends up in a psychiatric clinic, on the streets or in prison. But what are the facts? What do we know about the actual impact of deployment now, and what can we expect in the future?
The comedian, writer, performer and mental health campaigner suffered bouts of depression throughout her life. She completed her Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford in 2012. She explores how we sabotage our sanity, how our brains work and how we can rewire our thinking – often through simple mindfulness techniques – to find calm in a frenetic world.
An exclusive emphasis upon efficiency leads to a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of a national health service. Viewed as a ‘civil association’, it is through the NHS that we, as a community, express and put into practice our sense of morality.
Assuming no previous linguistic knowledge or familiarity with Middle English, Horobin introduces us to the wonders of Chaucer’s language and the importance of reading him in the original, rather than modern translation.
The music therapist specialises in working with people at the end of their lives; he presents and discusses work created by his clients over the last 10 years. Chaired by David Barnard.
The psychologist cuts a fascinating exposé of modern office life and suggests How To Thrive In A World Of Lying, Backstabbing And Dirty Tricks.