For this year’s Forum we bring you four events focusing on reconnections.
Full day ticket allowing entry to all four events:
 Adele Nozedar and Lizzie Harper talk to Andy Fryers
 Anna Jones talks to Kitty Corrigan
 Hannah Bourne-Taylor talks to Matt Stadlen
 Minette Batters, Peter Hetherington and Nick Palmer
Foraging is one of the fastest-growing nature-related pastimes in the UK and US. Profiling 40 incredible trees from apple to yew in The Tree Forager, Adele Nozedar takes us on a foraging journey through their beauty, wildlife, folklore and medicinal uses. Tracing the fascinating story of the intimate relationship between humankind and our trees, we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of Adele’s first foraging book, The Hedgerow Handbook, launched at Hay Festival in 2012. Adele is joined by botanical illustrator Lizzie Harper who has brought both books to life with vivid watercolour, pen and ink. They talk to Hay Festival’s Sustainability Director.
For millennia the rose has played a significant role in religion, the legal system, politics and all the arts from Europe right across to the Far East. It is a symbol of love and beauty, an important ingredient in the culinary and cosmetic worlds, and a medicine to cure both physical and psychological ailments. In the garden too it plays a crucial role and, with its long flowering period, beautiful blooms and wonderful fragrance, is one of the most garden-worthy and versatile of all plants.
Explore the central role roses play both in our everyday lives and in our gardens with leading rosarian Michael Marriott.
Divide: The Relationship Crisis Between Town and Country is a powerful manifesto for bridging the political and cultural division between rural and urban communities to make positive lasting changes to heal the environment. Journalist and broadcaster Anna Jones warns that unless we learn to accept and respect our social, cultural and political differences as town and country people, we are never going to solve the chronic problems in our food system and environment. Anna Jones talks about the key to this – respecting our differences, recognising each other’s strengths and working together to heal the land – with writer and editor Kitty Corrigan.
A tiny wild bird changed Hannah Bourne-Taylor’s life. Fledgling tells the story of how rescuing, hand raising and releasing first a swift, then a finch, while living a remote existence in rural Ghana, redefined her identity and helped her overcome isolation and anxiety. Sharing part of her life with a finch who accepted Hannah as his surrogate mother, the vast differences between humans and wild creatures shrunk so there were none. Through remarkable dedication, Hannah took on the challenge of reuniting the finch with his family flock in the wild, their bond allowing them to overcome many adversities. Swifts play a huge role in Fledgling too, these awe-inspiring birds inadvertently teaching her life lessons and helping her connect to the landscape.
Fledgling is a beguilingly honest and personal memoir about identity, belonging and coexistence but most of all it is a love story between Hannah and one very gregarious finch. Fledgling is Hannah’s debut nature memoir, a story that went viral across the world last month, being covered in international newspapers, television, radio including Radio 4’s Saturday Live. Unapologetically and infectiously enthusiastic, Hannah is a conservationist on a mission to engage everyone with birds for the sake of the wild, but also ourselves.
Approximately 75% of UK land area is used for agriculture, providing employment for around 472,000 people. The food and agriculture sector also accounts for a rising 30% of our carbon footprint, presenting an urgent need to reframe land and reinvent farming.
In a net zero world, land will need to sustain inter-cropping, livestock, pasture, biodiversity, water services, carbon sequestration and more. The prospect of new food and farming policies for the UK provides the opportunity to do things differently and we now have a much better understanding of how farming and nature can co-exist and, indeed, benefit each other. But as we strive for just transitions that leave no one behind, what are the implications of making these shifts? Minette Batters is President of the NFU, Peter Hetherington is a journalist and author of Whose Land is Our Land? and Land Renewed: Reworking the Countryside and Nick Palmer is Head of Compassion in World Farming UK. Chaired by Adele Jones, Deputy CEO, Sustainable Food Trust.
Global conservation efforts are failing to halt the current rate of extinction. As wildlife declines, conservation needs to make trade-offs, but what should we conserve and why? What do we want the ‘natural world’ to look like? And how close are we to forgetting what we’re about to lose?
In Tickets for the Ark ecologist Rebecca Nesbit questions our preferences for some species over others, and challenges our assumptions that native is always better than invasive, and ‘wild’ is always superior to human-altered. She gives ethics a central role in considering nature.
Millennial science communicator Sophie Pavelle’s Forget Me Not: Finding the Forgotten Species of Climate-change Britain is a clarion call, following rare native species on the front lines of the climate and biodiversity crises. They discuss the environmental crisis and the urgent, passionate attention needed from us all. In conversation with Pete Myers, Environmental Investor and Campaigner.
The food writer and passionate forager (author of The Tree Forager) joins guides from Brecon Beacons National Park to lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye. The Park’s lead tree warden introduces wayfarers to some of the area’s oldest and most interesting trees.
Radio 3’s Free Thinking/Arts & Ideas podcast explores the seas and oceans. Rana Mitter’s guests are: Nobel Prize-winning author Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose books have drawn on his birthplace Zanzibar and the refugees arriving at the Kent coast; climate scientist Professor Emily Shuckburgh, who worked at the British Antarctic Survey; and Joan Passey, author of Cornish Gothic, a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to turn research into radio.
Over 320,000 people worldwide drown every year. As long as people and vessels are on the water, search and rescue (SAR) operations are needed. Yet operating conditions are increasingly challenging and SAR teams face unprecedented new risks.
Searchlight is the third short film commissioned by Lloyd’s Register Foundation to explore the relationship between the ocean and people all around the world – people who rely on the ocean for food or their livelihood, live in coastal communities, or those who work at sea. Given the increasing demands we are placing on ocean space and the risk of working in ever more extreme environments, how can we better protect people from harm?
The première is followed by a discussion between Ruth Boumphrey, Director of Research and Strategic Programmes for Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Dan McDougall, film director, writer and British Foreign Correspondent of the Year – who has won four Amnesty International Awards for Human Rights Reporting – and Jamie Chestnutt, Director of Engineering & Supply at the RNLI. In conversation with Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director at Hay Festival.
We need to ensure that efforts to address climate catastrophe result in a more equal future for everyone. Emily Shuckburgh, director of Cambridge Zero, the University of Cambridge’s climate change initiative, and Bhaskar Vira, Head of Geography at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Political Economy, discuss a just planetary response.
Emily Shuckburgh worked for more than a decade at the British Antarctic Survey where she led a UK national research programme on the Southern Ocean and its role in climate. She has also acted as a climate advisor to the UK Government in various capacities. Bhaskar Vira’s research focuses on the political economy of environment and development. He is concerned, in particular, with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices.
A debut brimful of the music and movement of multicultural London, to stand beside White Teeth, Brick Lane and The Buddha of Suburbia. The stories in We Move are set in London, but chart a wider narrative about the movement of multiple generations of immigrants. In acts of startling imagination, Gurnaik Johal brings together the past and the present, the local and the global, to show the surprising ways we come together.
Beneath the planes circling Heathrow, various lives connect. Priti speaks English and her nani Punjabi. Without Priti’s mum around they struggle to make a shared language. Not far away, Chetan and Aanshi’s relationship shifts when a woman leaves her car in their drive but never returns to collect it. Gujan’s baba steps out of his flat above the chicken shop for the first time in years to take his grandson on a bicycle tour of the old and changed neighbourhood. And returning home after dropping out of university, Lata grapples with a secret about her estranged family friend, now a chart-topping rapper in a crisis of confidence.
Guides from Brecon Beacons National Park lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye.
Brazilian-born botanist Alexandre Antonelli is Director of Science of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he leads the work of over 300 scientists in a quest to protect and restore biodiversity. Founder of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and a Cisneros Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, he is one of the world’s most highly cited scientists and has received numerous awards and prizes. His debut book The Hidden Universe: Adventures in Biodiversity is an exploration of the science, stories and wonders of biodiversity. He talks to journalist and editor Rosie Boycott.
Isabel isn’t interested in learning any more about the climate crisis and suspects that you aren’t either. We all know how bad it is. Therefore her single minded focus is on all the solutions we can find and can enjoy.
The author, comedienne and environmentalist explores How to Practise Without Preaching: the way we bank, heat our homes, travel, garden, dress, holiday, shop, lobby, volunteer, eat and furnish our homes. She shows that all the actions we can take in order to live a 1.5 degree lifestyle, and help our planet, are also those which will most enrich our lives. No prisoners will be taken and Isabel sends her audience away with a notebook full of ideas, suggestions and actions to be taken.
Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. The next ten years are key to averting climate disaster. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised?
Climate scientist Professor Peter Stott (Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial) reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Climate campaigner and writer Dr Alice Bell (Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis) reviews the history of climate change research – how the world became addicted to fossil fuels and what tools we may have for survival. They discuss what we can do to confront the climate crisis, and exactly how we ended up here with Thea Sherer, Director of Sustainability and Climate Action Officer at Springer Nature.
Susan Ogilvy introduces her unusual obsession: painting bird nests. It started almost by accident – while tidying up her garden after a storm, she found a chaffinch nest. She carried it inside and, as the water drained out of it, the sodden lump blossomed into a mossy jewel. She was amazed, and dropped everything to make a painting of the nest.
Ogilvy has since painted more than fifty bird nests from life, each time marvelling at its ingenious construction. Every species of bird has its own vernacular, but sources its materials – most commonly twigs, roots, grasses, reeds, leaves, moss, lichen, hair, feathers and cobwebs, less usually, mattress stuffing and string – according to local availability.
Ogilvy’s work has been shown at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, and the Kew Garden Gallery, London, amongst other places; it is included in several public and private collections, including Dr Shirley Sherwood's world-renowned collection of contemporary botanical paintings.
Guides from Brecon Beacons National Park lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye. The National Park is also home to a UNESCO geopark. During this walk, the Park’s Geopark Officer offers a journey through deep time, exploring the geology of the hills.
Please wear appropriate footwear and come prepared for the weather. The walk returns to the Festival site by midday.
Joe Shute has spent years unpicking Britain’s longstanding love affair with the weather. He has pored over the literature, art and music our weather systems have inspired and trawled through centuries of established folklore to discover the curious customs and rituals we have created in response to the seasons. But in recent years Shute has discovered that the British seasons are changing far faster and far more profoundly than we realise.
Climate change has rendered that once familiar pattern increasingly unpredictable and unrecognisable: daffodils in December, frogspawn in November. How do we bridge the void between our cultural expectation of the seasons and what they are actually doing? The author and journalist speaks to BBC Weather presenter Sue Charles.
From tree to timber – a chance to see for yourself how a small-scale, sustainable wood is managed. The tour visits planting, ecosystem care and tree grading, and goes into the sawmill to see the log being converted into timber. Find out what the challenges and opportunities are for the timber industry.