Academy of Ideas

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Latest Podcast Episodes

Do you trust the media?
21 Dec 2017 @ 06:03 am

Who can journalists trust out of the overwhelming selection of competing interests to act as reliable sources? Can anyone play the role of the ‘honest broker’? How can the public untangle dubious, pseudo-scientific advice and dodgy stats from facts and truth? How can we know whether journalism, particularly reporting on complex issues or assessing notoriously difficult ideas such as risk, is accurate? Should we accept that it is our responsibility as citizens to check the facts for ourselves or should we demand that the media improve its handling of statistics and data?

SPEAKERS

Dr Graeme Archer
writer & professional statistician; winner, 2011 Orwell Prize for blogging

Vance Crowe
director of Millennial Engagement, Monsanto Company

Alan Miller
chairman, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA); leading campaigner, #SaveNightlife

Fay Schlesinger
head of News, The Times

Ceri Thomas
ex-editor, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme & BBC’s Panorama; director, public affairs, Oxford University

Millennials: youthquake or snowflakes?
15 Dec 2017 @ 12:19 pm

Listen to the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017 at the Barbican in London.

Whereas earlier generations of young people provoked outrage among their elders, millennials – those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s – seem to attract merely condescension and concern. Today’s youth have been labelled ‘Generation Snowflake’ for their declarations of emotional vulnerability and demands for protection and support.

Instead of revolting, today’s students seem to be preoccupied with difficulties in negotiating personal relationships, demanding formal instruction and regulation of issues of consent and protection of apparently fragile identities against hostile criticism. Yet, for those coming of age in an era of austerity and debt, Brexit and Trump, anxiety and apprehension may be appropriate responses. And, in their embrace of issues of social justice, and support for the kinder, gentler form of politics espoused by Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, perhaps the millennials are pointing the way towards real change in society.

Are the adults of tomorrow over-anxious snowflakes masquerading as a youthquake? Or is their pursuit of a different sort of politics – putting emotion and morality before ideology and policy – exactly the kind of shake up Western politics has been waiting for?

SPEAKERS

Bradley Allsop
postgraduate officer, University of Lincoln Students' Union; co-editor, Bright Green

Jennie Bristow
senior lecturer in sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University; author, The Sociology of Generations: New directions and challenges and Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict

Dr Eliza Filby
historian, King's College London; founder, GradTrain

Can biotech lead an economic revolution?
7 Dec 2017 @ 08:14 am

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017 at The Barbican in London, in partnership with Immunocore.

The new Life Sciences Industrial Strategy claims that ‘in a country where productivity is a major challenge, public sector life sciences discovery activity… is dramatically more productive compared to other countries such as the USA or Germany’. What role will biotechnology play in the industries of tomorrow? Will it predominate as a durable, sizeable and job-creating sector, helping to turn around the UK’s flagging productivity, or does its value rest more in its place at the vanguard?

SPEAKERS

Dr Eliot Forster
CEO, Immunocore; chairman, MedCity

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge
group leader in stem cell biology and developmental genetics, Francis Crick Institute

Bethan Wolfenden
co-founder, Bento Bio

Is globalisation over? The future of world trade
2 Dec 2017 @ 07:15 am

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017.

Globalisation is the process by which national and regional economies, societies and cultures have become more integrated through global networks of trade, foreign direct investment, transport, telecommunications and immigration. Many argue that globalisation has been an enormous boon to worldwide living standards. However, serious debate has now broken out about whether globalisation is finally grinding to a halt. 

What is globalisation, and is it really coming to an end? If its advocates are right to say that it has brought prosperity worldwide, why are so many people against it? Is it possible to have a ‘progressive’ globalisation, shorn of its free-market excesses?

SPEAKERS

Dr Gerard Lyons
economist; co-author, Clean Brexit

Professor Michael Mainelli
executive chairman, Z/Yen Group; alderman, City of London; author, The Price of Fish: a new approach to wicked economics and better decisions

Vicky Pryce
board member, Centre for Economics and Business Research; economic advisor, British Chamber of Commerce

Allen Simpson
chief operating officer, Labour in the City; economic and financial policy specialist

James Woudhuysen
visiting professor, London South Bank University; co-author, Energise! A future for energy innovation; author, Why is construction so backward?

 

In the wake of Weinstein: #MeToo, calling out and sexual harassment
24 Nov 2017 @ 12:06 pm

Recording of the Battle of Ideas Stockholm 2017 debate at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

(Please note, there is a very short introduction to the recording in Swedish, but the debate is in English.)

Is #MeToo a valuable way for the everywoman to show solidarity with victims and raise awareness of the broader problems of sexual harassment everywhere? Or does it stir up the gender wars, exaggerating the idea that most men are sexual predators and most women their victims? What does #MeToo reveal about deeper cultural trends?

SPEAKERS

Dr Jan Macvarish
visiting research fellow, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent

Marte Michelet
journalist and author

Jonathan Rollins
stand-up comedian

Cissi Wallin
television and radio personality

From AI to Big Data: can technology save the NHS?
21 Nov 2017 @ 10:15 am

Recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2017 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. See full details here: https://www.battleofideas.org.uk/session/from-ai-to-big-data-can-technology-save-the-nhs/

At a time of ever-increasing healthcare costs, waiting times and ever-increasing strains on GPs and A&E departments, there is increased urgency in trying to find new approaches to treatment. Against this backdrop of cost-driven strains in patient care, can engineering innovations save the day, perhaps giving patients more independence to accurately self-diagnose and more broadly revolutionise healthcare in the coming decades?

SPEAKERS

Terry Barnes
principal, Cormorant Policy Advice; fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs; former special adviser to two Australian health ministers

Trisha Greenhalgh
professor of primary care health sciences and fellow, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford

Timandra Harkness
journalist, writer & broadcaster; presenter, FutureProofing; author, Big Data: does size matter?

Professor Mark Tooley
medical technology consultant; president, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Dr ir Isabel Van De Keere
CEO & founder, Immersive Rehab

Censorship and identity: free speech for me, but not for you
13 Nov 2017 @ 05:24 am

How should free speech activists respond to the challenge of identity politics? It no longer seems sufficient to cite the First Amendment, quote JS Mill, or cry academic freedom in trying to thwart assaults on free expression. There was a powerful illustration of this problem recently when protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter gatecrashed an event at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and prevented the invited guest from the American Civil Liberties Union from speaking, chanting ‘the revolution will not uphold the Constitution’ and ‘liberalism is white supremacy’.

Is it time for civil libertarians to adjust their priorities, to ensure that people with ‘protected characteristics’ are given ‘particular respect’, and their views given a veto on what they deem as hate speech? Are those who argue for free speech – no ifs, no buts – too often providing the privileged with a licence to talk over the marginalised, even to incite bigotry? Or is identity politics the new tool of censorship and, if so, how should we respond?

SPEAKERS

Professor Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; author, Populism and the European Culture Wars; previous books include: What’s Happened to the University? and Invitation To Terror and On Tolerance

Nick Gillespie
US journalist and commentator; editor in chief, Reason.com and Reason TV, the online and video platforms of Reason magazine

Jodie Ginsberg
chief executive, Index on Censorship

Trevor Phillips
writer and television producer; founding chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Toby Young
director, New Schools Network; associate editor, The Spectator; editor, Spectator Life

Professor Stephen Farrall on Generation Right and the legacy of Margaret Thatcher
24 Oct 2017 @ 08:56 am

Stephen Farrall, professor of criminology in the Centre for Criminological Research at the School of Law, University of Sheffield, talks to Rob Lyons about his film Generation Right, which looks at the election of Margaret Thatcher and her subsequent policies, particularly in relation to crime and criminal justice policy.

Stephen notes how Thatcher's economic policies - in particular, the way they created mass unemployment and drove down welfare provision - led to an increase in crime. Yet she remained popular for aspirational members of the working class. He also discusses how it was subsequent administrations who really got 'tough on crime', for example in relation to sentencing, and whether we can still talk about 'Generation Right' since the rise of Jeremy Corbyn.

The film screening and debate, GENERATION RIGHT – THE LEGACY OF MARGARET THATCHER, takes place at the Battle of Ideas festival at the Barbican in London on Sunday 29 October at 2pm. Visit the Battle of Ideas website for more details.

Battle Cry: Jamie Bartlett on the reaction against Silicon Valley
18 Oct 2017 @ 09:23 am

Jamie Bartlett is the director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he specialises in online social movements, the impact of technology on society, and new big data research methods. He is also author of the best-selling book The Dark Net (2014) about internet subcultures and Radicals (2017) about fringe political movements. Earlier this year he presented the BBC series The Secrets of Silicon Valley.

In this podcast, Jamie talks to Max Sanderson about why Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have come in for increasing criticism recently, what impact the rise of data as the 'new oil' has had and to what extent the reaction against Silicon Valley is justified.

Jamie is speaking in the session Silicon Valley: From heroes to zeroes? at the Battle of Ideas festival at The Barbican in London on 29 October 2017.

Battle Cry: Joanna Williams on contemporary feminism
12 Oct 2017 @ 09:14 am

Feminists routinely argue that women remain disadvantaged in society. But as Joanna Williams argues in her new book, Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars, this is now rarely the case in the UK. In fact, as she explains to Max Sanderson, by emphasising vulnerability, contemporary feminism actually perpetuates some out-dated notions about women and moves us further away from equality and liberation.

Joanna is speaking in the session Women versus Feminism: do we all need liberating from the gender wars? at the Battle of Ideas festival at The Barbican in London on 28 October 2017.

Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars was published by Emerald on 10 October 2017.