Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
To mark the centenary of women in Britain first getting the vote, the women’s rights campaigner and great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst charts how women’s lives have changed over the past century and offers a powerful and positive argument for the way forward.
Up Top was the name given locally to the Mid Wales Mental Hospital above Talgarth; a double meaning like 'round the bend', which often located asylums elsewhere – out of sight and out of mind. Purcell’s hitherto untold history, based on archives and oral testimony from staff and patients, shows how mentally ill people were treated through the 20th century. At first the ‘lunatic asylums’ relied on a strict regime of fresh air and bromide. Then they became ‘mental hospitals’, trying desperate measures like leucotomy, deep sleep narcosis and electro convulsive therapy. Then the word ‘mental’ was dropped and ‘psychiatric hospitals’ moved into the era of heavy drugs and psychotherapy. Finally, community care took over. The history of the Mid Wales’ was typical of many institutions that lie as ruined monuments to our attempts to help the mentally ill.
The never-before-told story of radical suffragette Kitty Marion. The historian Fern Riddell finds a hidden diary and uses Kitty's own words to tell the story of her sensational life and explosive actions. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Was Diana killed by the Secret Services? Is climate change a hoax? Did man not walk on the moon? Who shot JFK? Drawing on a nationwide survey about belief in conspiracy theories, Drochon will explore what factors –religious, economic, political – make some and not others believe in conspiracy theories and what impact that has had on contemporary political events. Drochon is a political theorist and historian of modern political thought.
The diplomat and historian examines the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and the West during the Cold War, and the lessons for managing our difficulties with Russia today. Braithwaite was ambassador in Moscow at the time of the Soviet collapse, and then the Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser and chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee. His books include Across the Moscow River (2002), Moscow 1941 (2006), Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan (2011) and Armageddon and Paranoia: The Nuclear Confrontation (2017). Chaired by Nik Gowing, author of Thinking the Unthinkable: A New Imperative for Leadership in the Digital Age.
A majestic distillation of our current understanding of the birth of the universe, of the solar system, of the oceans, of mountains and minerals, of all life on earth and of the driving dynamics of human culture and achievement. Christian is a Distinguished Professor in History at Macquarie University in Australia and the co-founder, with Bill Gates, of The Big History Project.
Operation Market Garden, the plan to end the war by capturing the bridges leading to the Lower Rhine and beyond, was a bold concept: the Americans thought it unusually bold for Field Marshal Montgomery. But the cost of failure was horrendous, above all for the Dutch who risked everything to help. German reprisals were cruel and lasted until the end of the war. The pre-eminent war historian looks into the very heart of the conflict.
Drawing on her research about human rights reporting in the digital age, the Co-Director of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge argues that digital fakery’s consequences for democracy arise not because we are duped, but because of what we do to not be duped. Chaired by Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship.
On the morning of 6 October 1536, a frail scholar was taken from a dungeon in the castle at Vilvoorde, just north of Brussels. Armed guards kept the crowds at bay as he was led through the streets of the small town. He was to be burned. He was allowed a few moments of prayer. As a priest, prayer had been the keystone of his faith. After the brief pause, he walked up the steps to be tied to the cross. As he waited for the flames, he called out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!” This was Willi Tyndale, the man whose translation of the New Testament and much of the Old Testament was to bring about more profound changes to the English-speaking world over the next five centuries than the works of any other man in its history.
Facing economic stagnation, inequality and the vulnerability of liberal democracies to extremism, the economist proposes an aggressive and radical re-tooling of our political system with new constraints on both elected officials and voters. Moyo argues for extending politicians’ terms so as to match better the economic cycles; for increasing minimum qualifications for candidates; for introducing mandatory voting, and for implementing a weighted voting system. Moyo’s other books include Dead Aid, Winner Take All and How The West Was Lost. Chaired by Dharshini David.
The author of The Bletchley Girls interviewed six centenarians for this wonderful collection of tales: The Final Word From the Women Who’ve Lived the Past Hundred Years of British History. Through the prism of their own experiences and memories, she tells the human story of how women gradually began to build independent lives for themselves in the modern world of post-Great War Britain, by re-telling what their actual day-to-day reality was like, through the decades.
In our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews’ search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever. Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 it navigates miracles and massacres, wandering, discrimination, harmony and tolerance; to the brink of the twentieth century and, it seems, a point of profound hope. Schama tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in 19th- century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California.
Mayo’s first adult novel weaves Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet through a tense prison drama that sets itself against the epic backdrop of mighty Dartmoor in 1815. The passions unleashed in this riveting account place black against white and Americans against Britons with the stirring soul of a forbidden love caught in between.
Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales voted to leave the EU. Is this an indication that the radical distinctiveness of Wales has eroded with the Welsh language or are there distinctive factors underlying the leave vote in Wales? Given the EU’s response to the referendum in Catalonia, was the Welsh Nationalist vision of ‘Wales in Europe’ built on wishful thinking? Is Wales on the verge of a final assimilation into an increasingly nationalist and isolationist England? Or is this far too dramatic a prognosis? What might be the ways ahead for Wales, Britain and Europe? Chaired by Welsh internationalist, actor and activist Michael Sheen.
A rare interview with the former Prime Minister of Israel, the most decorated soldier in his country’s history and author of a new memoir. Barak is a fierce proponent of a two-state solution for a lasting peace with Palestinians, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He reflects on the current state of the peace process, on Israeli, Arab and American politicians and on the opportunities that are still available.
Bronwen Maddox is the director of The Institute for Government. She was previously editor of Prospect and Foreign Editor of The Times.
Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have grappled with a series of familiar problems but often their ideas are hard to digest, even before we try to apply them to today’s issues. Yueh is renowned for her combination of erudition, as an accomplished economist herself, and accessibility, as a leading writer and broadcaster in this field. She explains the key thoughts of history’s greatest economists, how our lives have been influenced by their ideas and how they could help us with the policy challenges we face today.
Peace and justice: who could be against them? But as soon as we begin to unpack these much-invoked notions, tensions emerge. How does international law resolve these tensions? We'll discuss emerging international norms in light of the challenges facing mediators trying to end civil wars. Nouwen is Co-Deputy Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Chaired by Tom Clark of Prospect magazine.
A conversation about fiction and language with two of the greatest Spanish language writers. The Impostor is Cercas’ new novel about the notorious fake Holocaust survivor, Enric Marco. With profound compassion and lacerating honesty, Cercas takes the reader on a journey not only into one man’s gigantic lie, but also into the deepest, most flawed parts of our humanity. Cercas also publishes his book of essays on the novel The Blind Spot. Gabriel Vasquez introduces his novel The Shape of the Ruins. It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. They talk, in English, to Daniel Hahn.