As the Eurozone crisis demands focus on the state of European democracy, some of Europe’s leading public intellectuals will gather at London’s Battle of Ideas festival in October at a pan-European summit to contest the case for freedom in the twenty-first century. Can freedom be traded off against other important values? Is it worth defending the freedom to exploit, pollute and behave irresponsibly? Is free will simply an illusion or ideal which is no longer relevant to the contemporary West?
Taking place on 20-21st October at its new home of the Barbican, the eighth Battle of Ideas will see a unique selection of writers, philosophers and political dissidents from across Europe join the festival’s line-up, featuring nearly 400 speakers taking part in 80 debates with over 2,000 delegates to confront some of the key questions of our time.
Strands include Battles for Europe, the Arts, the media (post-Leveson) and ethics in science and medicine alongside debates on social policy after the riots, education, manufacturing, urban living and social justice as well as standalone sessions on contemporary controversies.
The weekend itself marks a focal point of a programme of discussions happening around the world through October and November including at key European cultural centres as well as around the UK and in New York.
Speaking ahead of the festival, director Claire Fox says:
“The mere mention of Europe today can elicit a yawn; the bureaucratised EU hardly seems an inspiring home of intellectual life. Meanwhile, Brussels and the Eurozone are seen more as limiting freedom rather than championing it. In contrast to the land of technocracy, the Battle of Ideas aspires to create Europe anew.”
“In our eighth year we are delighted to be moving to an exciting new home of the Barbican with an ambitious programme which retains our reputation for shaking up orthodoxies, interrogating contentious topics and tolerating dissenting opinions. Our motto remains FREE SPEECH ALLOWED and we mean it. Let Battle commence!”
Battle of Ideas 2012 20 & 21 October, London. Two days of high-level, thought-provoking, public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas at the Barbican.
Frank Auerbach could easily have used more oil paint in one landscape than Rembrandt van Rijn used in his entire life. His paint is piled on with a confectioner’s abandon, like a come-bake-with-me contestant with Tourettes. Slowly building up to a ...