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Bryony Gordon was inspired by her reading of Carson McCullers, and her understanding of the support of fellowship, to set up Mental Health Mates, a network of peer support groups run by people with mental health issues and their friends who meet regularly to walk and talk. This is now a nationwide organisation. You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health issue to join the walks – everyone has mental health. Walk alongside Bryony Gordon, journalist, campaigner and author of Mad Girl, who will talk about the inspiration of McCullers and writing that can provide solace.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. Return to Festival site by 11.30am.
Happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a variety of studies ranging over wellbeing, inequality and discrimination to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness. He shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting fulfilment. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living forever. By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living. Chaired by Horatio Clare.
A conversation with the novelist and podcaster. “If I have learned one thing from this shockingly beautiful venture called life, it is this: failure has taught me lessons I would never otherwise have understood. I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.”
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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The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today – more than forty years after the death of Mao. Lovell, Professor of Modern China at Birkbeck, re-evaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.
A conversation about the nature of the lifelong friendship between historian and writer Simon Schama and Martin Sorrell, businessman and advertising legend. The two men have known each other since their school days.
So many of us believe that we are free to shape our own destiny. But what if free will doesn’t exist? What if our lives are largely predetermined, hardwired in our brains, and our choices over what we eat, who we fall in love with, even what we believe are not real choices at all? Neuroscience is challenging everything we think we know about ourselves, revealing how we make decisions and form our own reality, unaware of the role of our unconscious minds.
Chaired by Bettany Hughes.
Hay Festival is working with Rijeka Capital of Culture 2020 in Croatia to commission 28 writers and thinkers from across the continent to reimagine the future of Europe. Four of the 28 join us in Hay this year to preview their ideas and stories. Bonet is an artist from Spain, Cottam a social activist and author of Radical Help from Britain, Kassabova a Scotland-based, Bulgarian-born writer and Teller a novelist and former UN officer. They talk to the translator, editor and writer Sophie Hughes.
Distinguished broadcaster Huw Edwards traces the history and cultural significance of London’s Welsh churches and examines the origins of the London Welsh, the pattern of Welsh migration to London past and present, and the influence of the Welsh religious figures and causes in London. Chaired by Professor M Wynn Thomas, of Swansea University’s Department of English.
Y darlledwr adnabyddus Huw Edwards yn olrhain hanes ac arwyddocâd diwylliannol eglwysi Cymraeg Llundain ac yn archwilio tras Cymry Llundain, patrwm ymfudo’r Cymry i Lundain nawr ac yn y gorffennol, a dylanwad ffigyrau ac achosion crefyddol Cymreig yn Llundain. Bydd y sgwrs yn cael ei chadeirio gan yr Athro M Wynn Thomas o Adran Saesneg Prifysgol Abertawe.
Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. The neuroscientist interrogates what this constant gendering means for our thoughts, decisions and behaviour. And what does it mean for our brains? Chaired by Bronwen Maddox.
The pre-eminent primatologist offers a whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on his renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees and bonobos. De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasising the continuity between our species and other species. And he makes the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we haven’t a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Sutherland, who holds the Miriam Rothschild Chair in Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, will describe attempts to make global evidence available to all, to improve the effectiveness of experts and to change attitudes toward the use of evidence.
For the first time in recorded history viruses, bacteria and other infectious diseases are not the leading cause of death or disability in any region of the world. People are living longer, and fewer mothers are giving birth to many children in the hope that some might survive. And yet, the news is not all good. Recent reductions in infectious disease have not been accompanied by the same improvements in income, job opportunities and governance that occurred with these changes in wealthier countries decades ago. There have also been unintended consequences. Whether the peril or promise of that progress prevails, Bollyky explains, depends on what we do next. Bollyky is the Director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Chaired by Isaac Florence.
Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief? Informed by personal insights as well as interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, neuroscientists and psychologists, the comedian and Infinite Monkey Cage host offers a hilarious and often moving primer to the mind. But it is also a powerful call to embrace the full breadth of our inner experience – no matter how strange we worry it may be!
Socrates is the philosopher whose questioning gave birth to the ideas of Western thought, and whose execution marked the end of the Athenian Golden Age. Yet despite his pre-eminence among the great thinkers of history, little of his life story is known. What we know tends to begin in his middle age and end with his trial and death. But what turned the young Socrates into a philosopher? The Oxford classicist presents him as an heroic warrior, an athletic wrestler and dancer, and a passionate lover. D’Angour sheds new light on the formative journey of the philosopher, finally revealing the identity of the woman who Socrates claimed inspired him to develop ideas that have captivated thinkers for 2,500 years.
Weller is a senior research fellow in machine learning at Cambridge University. He examines the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence for society and the importance of ethics, trust and transparency.
The horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust spurred the creation of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, decolonisation and the creation of what is now the EU. The era established principles and institutions of tolerance, equality, humanity and democracy that have guided successive generations since. Today those values are threatened by a rising tide of hostility, racism, nationalism and religious intolerance. How can we stem this tide and, through education, take action to promote inclusion, understanding and community cohesion? Barbara Winton, daughter and biographer of Sir Nicholas Winton, Auschwitz survivor Mindu Hornick and Jabba Riaz, the Mayor of Worcester, talk to University of Worcester Vice Chancellor David Green.
The impact of suicide on friends and family can be devastating and far-reaching. Kate Harding and Billie Charity, who lost a husband and brother to suicide respectively, and Sarah Stone, Director of Samaritans in Wales, join Benna Waites to talk about the experience of grieving following suicide. Kate is a palliative care doctor and GP, Billie Charity is an award-winning photographer and Benna Waites is Joint Head of Psychology for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
Why do humans form societies and what is needed for them to thrive? How can women’s potential be actualised? How can we protect ourselves from demagogues and tyrants? Immerse yourself in the strikingly relevant questions of Plato’s influential dialogue, exploring the age-old dilemma: Why should I be just? What is a just society, and how can it be created? The philosopher and classicist revisits the big questions from Plato’s influential 2,500-year-old masterwork of philosophy and political theory, as vital today as they were when first written.
The 21st century is a new era for interfaith dialogue. While in the past such encounters might have been stiff affairs contrived to generate a politically expedient photo-op, what is remarkable today is the depth of relationships being formed across historically deep divides. In her wide-ranging project Only Through Others acclaimed artist Nicola Green presents photographs and paintings inspired by Archbishop Rowan Williams’ intimate conversations with figures including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Green’s works refuse to see theology in a vacuum, placing faith fully within the context of visual, material and sensory culture. Chaired by Simon Lockett.