Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
From planetary exploration and micro-sensors to tropical disease and psychosis, two Royal Society Research Fellows discuss their work at the forefront of science. Lowe’s research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine involves understanding how environmental and socio-economic factors interact to determine the risk of disease transmission. Modinos’ work at King’s College London attempts to understand the neural mechanisms of emotion and stress response in schizophrenia. Chaired by Hannah Critchlow.
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.
We have been repeatedly told that the UK will be looking to create new free-trade partnerships following Brexit, above all with the 'Anglosphere'. Why then do we need to study or learn other languages? Everyone speaks English. This session will unpack some of the monolingual attitudes that sit behind such views and ask participants to think about the role of languages and language learning for Britain's relationships with a brave new world post-Brexit. #unpack
If we want a world that is beautiful, kind and fair, shouldn’t our activism be beautiful, kind and fair? The campaigner and founder of the global Craftivist Collective shows how to respond to injustice not with apathy or aggression, but with gentle, effective protest. With thoughtful principles, practical examples and honest stories from her own experience as a once burnt-out activist, Corbett shows how activism through craft can produce long-lasting positive change.
The neuroscientist and writer explains how the mind works – from memory to emotion, navigation to creativity, through nine extraordinary case studies.
The Ice King is an extraordinary portrait of the figure skater John Curry who was the first openly gay Olympian at a time when homosexuality was barely legal. The film charts the rise and fall of this forgotten cultural icon whose story encapsulates art, sport, sexuality and rebellion. Including unseen footage of some of his most remarkable performances; access to Curry’s letters, archives and interviews with family, friends and collaborators, this is a portrait of the man who turned ice skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form. Introduced by the director, James Erskine. Followed by Q&A.
A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic Circle. Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard the icebreaker Otso Clare gets to know the crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. His most recent books include Down to the Sea in Ships and Myths and Legends of the Brecon Beacons. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The UK voted to leave at the peak of its economic inequality. In hindsight this appears to have influenced the decision. Many British citizens are likely to be impoverished as a result. Those without citizenship already live in great fear. So, can we actually afford to walk out on this relationship? Dorling is Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford. His books include Why Demography Matters, Inequality and the 1% and Population 10 Billion. Chaired by Tom Clark of Prospect magazine.
How does automatic translation work and will machines ever be able to replace a ‘human’ translator? A panel of experts from University of Cambridge discuss latest developments. Sanson is a Reader in Italian Language, Literature and Culture, Byrne is Professor of Information Engineering and Tomalin is Research Associate in the Speech Research Group of the University Engineering Department.
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.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
An opportunity to discuss the immediate and longer-term challenges that range across his brief with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Boycott is chair of the London Food Board.
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.
A persuasive and inspiring argument exploring the subject matter of his radical and brilliant book Lost Connections. Across the world, Hari found social scientists who were uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, as we are often told. In fact, they are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today. Once he had uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety, they led him to scientists who are discovering seven very different solutions – ones that work.
By and large, environmentalism, at least in Britain, is still seen as the concern of the relatively well off, and the decidedly white, despite the fact that poorer communities often suffer disproportionately from the impact of pollution. In the developing world it can be a different story: where some of environmentalism’s greatest triumphs – such as the replacement of polluting kerosene with clean solar power – have brought huge benefits to such communities. If the fight against climate change and other existential environmental crises is to get the political prominence it needs, then it has to win support from way beyond the ‘usual suspects’. Craftivist Corbett, campaigner Porritt, farmer Emmanuel-Jones and young wildlife hero Mya-Rose Craig reach out with Martin Wright.
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.
It is 100 years since women won the right to vote in the UK – albeit partial. Yet women are still embroiled in daily battles to get parity with their male colleagues and partners. Will it take another 100 years for women’s suffrage finally to mean women’s liberation? Or will 2018 be the year that marks a true step change in gender equality?
The uproariously funny comedian is best known as the host of BBC3's Live at The Electric, regular appearances on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, BBC3’s Unzipped, ITV2’s Celebrity Juice and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Now!