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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Emma Dabiri, author
8:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
8:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Appropriated. Explore why black hair is never 'just hair'
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Appropriated. Explore why black hair is...
Guppi Bola, writer and activist
8:00 pm
Thu 19 Mar 2020
8:00 pm | Thu 19 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Find hope at a panel discussion with speakers who are fighting to protect the natural world around us
Find hope at a panel discussion with speakers who are fighting to protect the natural world around...
7:15 pm
Mon 06 Apr 2020
7:15 pm | Mon 06 Apr 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Climate and mental health specialists discuss how to deal with anxiety while staying informed
Climate and mental health specialists discuss how to deal with anxiety while staying informed
Dara McAnulty
7:00 pm
Thu 16 Apr 2020
7:00 pm | Thu 16 Apr 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
What does the future of the planet look like? Hear from leading young voices on the climate emergency
What does the future of the planet look like? Hear from leading young voices on the climate...

highlights

25 Nov
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Dive into the many facets of why we misread other people with the bestselling author and journalist
19 Nov
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Meet the lauded and vibrant voices of British Latinx writers at this discussion and reading
see all events

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