Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence, if pursued and applied wisely, could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on earth, from climate change to nuclear war. At the same time, further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond. But there is no ‘Plan B’ for Earth – no viable alternative within reach if we do not care for our home planet. Lord Rees is Astronomer Royal.
How we perceive schizophrenia – and how we treat people living with it – is at the core of how we understand mental health. But what do we really know? How much time do we spend listening? Filer, a mental health nurse and award-winning writer, takes us on a journey into the psychiatric wards he once worked on. He invites us to spend time with world-leading experts, and with some extraordinary people who share their own stories about living with this strange and misunderstood condition.
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Seventy years after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, and thirty years on from the Tiananmen Square massacre, the editor of Index on Censorship hosts a debate about China’s contemporary society and the leadership’s attitude to freedom of expression. Xinran is author of the global bestseller The Good Women of China, based on her groundbreaking radio show. Her latest book is The Promise. Karoline Kan is a former New York Times reporter who writes about millennial life and politics in China. She’s currently an editor at China Dialogue. Her new book is called Under Red Skies: The Life and Times of a Chinese Millennial.
Getting to the heart of the matter, Stephen Sackur probes leading cardiac surgeon Samer Nashef to find out how to mend a broken heart. Join them on the set of the BBC’s tough talking Hardtalk programme.
Party night, fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams. Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West African funk and disco and modern post-punk and electro. Long lauded for their jubilant, explosive live shows, the band capture spectacular energy in their new album Doko Mien. Ibibio Sound Machine is Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth), and Max Grunhard (saxophone, synth).
Always honest, always regretting it later, Sara opens her heart and mouth again to share the adventures of the last year. Full of jokes, hope and white wine, LadsLadsLads is the thinking person’s stag do*. Following a sell-out UK tour, the multi-award-winning comedian and star of Live at The Apollo, Mock the Week, QI and Taskmaster brings her show to Hay Festival. “Whipsmart... winningly funny” – The Guardian. “Beautifully structured... knowing, yet effortless” – Daily Telegraph.
*Please, please do not bring an actual stag do, please. Do bring a polite friend, your mama, or someone you hope to seduce.
How does language shape our perception of landscape? Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales, leads a walk to the valley where in 1939 TJ Morgan, a young academic (and father of the late First Minister Rhodri Morgan), made field recordings of the last native speakers of Welsh in this part of Breconshire. Morgan wrote movingly of his experience – he realised he was witnessing the end of a world. And yet, Welsh lives on the area and Morgan’s recordings, now held in St Fagan’s, took on a new life recently in the work of singer Twm Morys. The event will be in English, introducing the Welsh language poetry of Waldo Williams, Twm Morys and others in translation.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 12.30pm.
Jones explores the dependency of all life and systems on Earth – ecological, biological and physical – on our nearest star. He explores the connections between those systems, and the connections between the various disciplines that study them, from astronomy to cancer prevention, from microbiology to the study of sleep. He also charts his own work and interests over fifty years against developments in a wide range of fields, showing how what was once seen as a narrow specialism has become a subject of vast scientific, social and political significance. Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College London and President of the Galton Institute.
In the depths of winter in 1705 the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then unknown as a composer and earning a modest living as a teacher and organist, set off on a long journey by foot to Lübeck to visit the composer Dieterich Buxterhude, a distance of more than 250 miles. This journey and its destination were a pivotal point in the life of arguably the greatest composer the world has yet seen. Lübeck was Bach’s moment, when a young teacher with a reputation for intolerance of his pupils’ failings began his journey to become the master of the Baroque. Chaired by Kirsty Lang.
In a world that has English as its global language and rapidly advancing translation technology, it’s easy to assume that the need to use more than one language will diminish. Kohn argues that plural language use is more important than ever. It helps us to understand ourselves and others better, to live together better, and to make the most of our various cultures. Kohn explores how people acquire languages; how they lose them; how different languages may affect people’s perceptions, their senses of self, and their relationships with each other; and how to resolve the fundamental contradiction of languages – that they exist as much to prevent communication as to make it happen.
Google, Hoover, Beyoncé... Brand building has become a complex issue, one that’s moved from the concerns of big business to the everyday worries of everyone, from graduates building their LinkedIn profiles to the top echelons of soft power diplomats. An expert panel chaired by former Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey debates what makes a good brand. Ducas is a jewellery designer, creative director and founder of Links of London and Annoushka. Chopin is founder and CEO of the LandRover Born Awards and of born.com. Lee is a fashion designer whose clothes are worn by Olivia Coleman. Willis is creative director at Berry Bros & Rudd.
Practised around the world by psychologists and social workers, and even prescribed by the NHS, bibliotherapy has become something of a buzzword in the past few years, although it has been going for centuries. The ancient Greeks posted signs above library doors, informing readers that they were entering a healing place for the soul. And in the 19th century doctors and psychiatric nurses doled out everything from the Bible to travel literature and works in ancient languages. BBC Culture’s literature writer Hephzibah Anderson and guests Jessie Burton, Alex Wheatle and Ella Berthoud discuss the stories they turn to in times of crisis, and find out whether fiction really does have the power to change our lives for the better.
Join the TV space journalist as she tells how humans went from first imagining what lies above us to being able to reach for the stars. Learn all about where space exploration is heading and discover that the future of space is stranger than you can ever imagine – including the idea that the first person to walk on Mars is probably in school today. Packed full of amazing facts, quirky statistics and mind-blowing information, this will appeal to space fans of all ages.
Cook School is pitching up at Hay Festival to offer hands-on, fun cookery sessions, preparing a couple of Italian classics to take home for dinner along with an easy step-by-step recipe card, written by renowned children’s cookbook author Amanda Grant. Cook School is on a mission to teach as many children and young people to cook as possible. Head to cookschool.club to find out more.
Come and join Rooted Forest School (rootedforestschool.co.uk) for an outdoor family session inspired by the Forest School approach. We will be making charcoal on the fire, using natural pigments to create our own paint, making brushes from found materials and creating communal land art. These sessions are aimed at families and will run whatever the weather, so make sure you’re wrapped up for the conditions.
Join us in NMiTE’s Studio 1, a hi-tech refurbished shipping container, to explore ideas through making. Experience how highly creative and technological engineering can be. NMiTE is located in Hereford and aims to be the city’s first university with a focus on engineering.
Sign up at the venue for 10am, 11.30am or 1pm. Ingenuity Studio 1 free drop-in sessions for families take place between 2.30pm and 5pm, Sunday 26 May – Saturday 1 June.
Radio Platfform is a youth-led radio station that offers young people a platform to build their confidence, find their voice and express their opinions. Join this interactive workshop to get a taste of all aspects of radio production, from presenting to editing and producing.
1969 and all that. In the 50 years since Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, what have we learnt about the Solar System – and the chance of life beyond Earth? Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University.
Part of The Open University’s 50th anniversary celebrations