Festival of Ideas

The Festival of Ideas, the UK’s only arts, humanities and social sciences festival, occurs throughout Cambridge during 19-30th October. There are more than 160 free events for all ages, which last year attracted over 9,000 visitors.

World-class speakers, celebrity writers and leading academics will be on hand to engage, explain and examine today’s burning issues – and looking at what lessons we can learn from the past.

As the population imminently approaches the seven billion mark, we ask leading academics to debate whether the Earth can sustain this many people.

Meanwhile, whistleblowers, computer security researchers and policymakers will discuss whether the Internet should be censored in light of the Wikileaks revelations;  and experts will debate the consequences of the uprisings, protests and civil wars in the Arab world.

Organiser Sophie Smith said: “The purpose of the festival is to examine the biggest questions facing us today and not shy away from contentious issues. That is why we’re holding debates on everything from the right to have reproductive freedom in light of an ever-increasing world population, to Mau Mau torture claims, to the Arab Spring.”

The main day of the festival, on Saturday, October 22, is bursting with free events for the whole family to enjoy. There will be talks by world-famous children’s authors Marcus Sedgwick and zombie-loving Charlie Higson; debates by pioneering academics and dozens of hands-on activities for adults as well as children.

Popcorn comedy for kids sees Holly Walsh and CBBC’s Ed Petrie present some of the funniest videos online mixed with stand-up comedy for all the family.

Also on October 22, Dr Michael Scott will explore Delphi and Olympia; and the fate of the English language will be questioned by Dr Andrew Dalby and Dr Stephen Pax. Leonard, just returned from a year spent recording the language of the Inughuit people of north-west Greenland, the northernmost settled population in the world.

Further details for all of the events can be found on the Cambridge Festival of Ideas website (www.cam.ac.uk/festivalofideas). You can also find us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/cambridgefestivalofideas) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/camideasfest).

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