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, 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
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...
 Shahroo Izadi, author
1:45 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
1:45 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
If you're ready to make changes that last, you've come to the right place
If you're ready to make changes that last, you've come to the right place
People at a talk event
3:30 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does the real face of ‘intimate terrorism’ look like?
What does the real face of ‘intimate terrorism’ look like?
Union Jack Flags
9:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
9:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does it mean to be British today? Have identities shifted in the new Brexit Britain?
What does it mean to be British today? Have identities shifted in the new Brexit Britain?
Audience at a talk event
12:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Get answers to your fertility questions from Fertility Fest and a panel of experts
Get answers to your fertility questions from Fertility Fest and a panel of experts
Flo Perry
3:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
A guide to loving your body and having a fun, guilt-free sex life without the patriarchal bullsh*t
A guide to loving your body and having a fun, guilt-free sex life without the patriarchal bullsh*t
Shazia Mirza, comedian
6:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
6:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
talks & debates
performance & dance
Strap in for a hilarious and uplifting joyride into the art of survival at the comedian’s latest show
Strap in for a hilarious and uplifting joyride into the art of survival at the comedian’s latest...

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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