talks & debates

Our year-round programme of talks and debates showcases leading thinkers, activists, politicians and cultural observers. Be stimulated by new thoughts and ideas, or challenged to see the world with fresh eyes by today’s most exciting speakers.

This season documentarian Louis Theroux reflects on two decades of groundbreaking work and Lenny Henry takes us on a trip down memory lane. Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain talks cake and kids and comedian Sara Pascoe assesses what really matters to humans. We also welcome Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Dawkins, Hannah Gadsby and many more.

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Perhaps you don’t recognise that you have power but if you’re doing something to try to make a change you are already exercising power.
Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder of Ballet Black, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2018
The paradox of the last 20 years has been that we have increased our communication, its frequency, participants and methods to do so. But instead of taking this opportunity to produce a clear picture of the world, the content of that information, and what we actually know, is decreasing.
Yannis Varoufakis, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2015

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Bridget Riley, Aria, 2012. © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved.
7:00 pm
Thu 09 Jan 2020
7:00 pm | Thu 09 Jan 2020
art & exhibitions
talks & debates
US-based curator Lynne Cooke discusses Riley’s innovative practice
US-based curator Lynne Cooke discusses Riley’s innovative practice
Headshot of  Jeremy Noel-Tod
2:00 pm
Sun 12 Jan 2020
2:00 pm | Sun 12 Jan 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
On the day of the TS Eliot Prize Readings, the poetry critic assesses this year's shortlist
On the day of the TS Eliot Prize Readings, the poetry critic assesses this year's shortlist
Bridget Riley, Rajasthan, 2012
1:00 pm
Sat 18 Jan 2020
1:00 pm | Sat 18 Jan 2020
art & exhibitions
talks & debates
Take part in a stimulating half-day event devoted to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley
Take part in a stimulating half-day event devoted to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget...
Dancers in Invisible Harmony
7:45 pm
Tue 04 Feb 2020
7:45 pm | Tue 04 Feb 2020
performance & dance
performance & theatre
Bear witness to East Asian political resistance through poetry, spoken word and dance
Bear witness to East Asian political resistance through poetry, spoken word and dance
Supertato illustration
11:00 am
Sat 15 Feb 2020
11:00 am | Sat 15 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Supertato's always there for you when the chips are down
Supertato's always there for you when the chips are down
Illustrations of a child and a cat running
2:00 pm
Sat 15 Feb 2020
2:00 pm | Sat 15 Feb 2020
talks & debates
family & young people
Meet Rocket - she's going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller that has ever lived!
Meet Rocket - she's going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller that has...
Cressida Cowell, author
10:45 am
Mon 17 Feb 2020
10:45 am | Mon 17 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Calling creators of the future – hear from the pros on how to grow your own magical ideas
Calling creators of the future – hear from the pros on how to grow your own magical ideas
Robin Stevens, author
1:00 pm
Tue 18 Feb 2020
1:00 pm | Tue 18 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Create and solve a mystery of your very own with the author of the Murder Most Unladylike series
Create and solve a mystery of your very own with the author of the Murder Most Unladylike series
Cerrie Burnell, author
3:15 pm
Fri 21 Feb 2020
3:15 pm | Fri 21 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Children’s authors explain the wonderful things that can happen when you find yourself in the story
Children’s authors explain the wonderful things that can happen when you find yourself in the...
An audience at the Women of the World Festival
10:00 am
6 Mar 2020 - 7 Mar 2020
10:00 am | 6 Mar 2020 - 7 Mar 2020
talks & debates
courses & workshops
Dive into a day of talks and workshops exploring the most vital issues facing women and girls today
Dive into a day of talks and workshops exploring the most vital issues facing women and girls today

Pages

highlights

8 Apr
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Reflect on the book that changed the conversation around climate change at this talk with its author
19 Mar
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Find hope at a panel discussion with speakers who are fighting to protect the natural world around us
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blog: talks & debates

podcast
Listen to the Suede frontman discuss his latest book with Miranda Sawyer in this special podcast.
podcast
Listen to the poet and activist in this podcast recorded live at Poetry International