Join the debate: 5 Mind-Improving Events
It’s a cliché I know, but I honestly wish I’d spent more time at school and university taking advantage of the education I had available to me. But in reality it got in the way of all the exiting things in life, the ones that didn’t involve sitting in a lecture theatre and perhaps did involve activities more illicit than learning the finer details of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. But it’s only now, slightly later in life, that I’m realising that there’s a real value in mind-broadening talks and battles of ideas. So I’ve been looking into some options for places where I can take my brain to be exercised; here’s what I’ve found.
Why: The Lost Lectures re-imagines the lecture format by pushing its creative boundaries and inventing interactive worlds for audiences to play in and bringing together a diverse mix of speakers including scientists, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and others. Next month they launch ‘The Electrograph’, housed in a disused power plant and hosting an off-grid culture club that will bring a combination of world-class talks, music, interactivity as well as culinary delights and surprise performances among other excitements. much more, specially tailored to the millenial generation.
Where: At a secret location!
Why: What is it? 2012? No, it turns out that Ted Talks really are still a thing. TedX are the local version of the bigger Ted movement, independently organised on a community-by-community basis. Which means there’s a bunch in the capital, and not only TedX Covent Garden and Square Mile, but there’s one in Rotherhithe and another in Walthamstow, meaning that meaningful mini-lectures are very much at hand. Oh, and if you’re wondering why they’re called TED talks, it stands for Technology, Education and Design. So now you know (why would be a good tagline for TED, come to think of it).
Why: Intelligence Squared host live debates attracting some of the best minds in the world to discuss some of the most fascinating topics. Whether its Stephen Fry, Google’s Eric Schmidt or Richard Branson or else an obscure but talented academic you’ve never heard of their debates bring sharp minds and deep wisdom to bear on topics from Brexit to Memes.
How The Light Gets In
Why: Yeah, a festival’s all well-and-good, who doesn’t love shivvering in a tent covered in mud and tripping on illegal legal highs? But there’s a better way to go about things, at HowTheLightGetsIn Festival. A more cerebral alternative to Glastonbury et al, HowTheLightGetsIn is the world’s largest music and philosophy festival, and it’s coming to London this month. Set at Hampstead Heath’s Kenwood House the unique mix of talks, music and comedy should be a fascinating, brain expanding weekend.
Saturday September 22nd – 23rd
Where: Hampstead Lane, Highgate, NW3 7JR
Bright Blue's Think Forums
Why: Going to a large event is all very well, a good chance to hear the opinion of the experts that Michael Gove is so un-fond of. But it’s not exactly personal, what if you want to have an input? Think tank Bright Blue, admittedly a centre-right group, have a novel idea. Why not get a bunch of clever, interested, people along to a pub to discuss issues in person? Which is exactly what they do with their think forums (surely think fora?). Designed not to have a political argy-bargy but to discuss actual policy ideas and reforms.