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.

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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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Aleksandra Mir Presents the Pre-Presidential Library

Free

Free

Various times
7 Jan 2019 - 4 Feb 2019
Various times | 7 Jan 2019 - 4 Feb 2019
Art
Artists & Thinkers
7 JAN – 4 FEB 2019: A free HENI Project Space exhibition featuring US tabloid coverage of Donald Trump, from 1986 to 2000
7 JAN – 4 FEB 2019: A free HENI Project Space exhibition featuring US tabloid coverage of Donald...
 Julie Cohen holding an umbrella in a cemetery
7:30 pm
28 Jan 2019 - 28 Jan 2019
7:30 pm | 28 Jan 2019 - 28 Jan 2019
Literature
Poetry
Popular author Julie Cohen headlines the beloved LGBTQ+ literary salon in its first showcase of 2019
Popular author Julie Cohen headlines the beloved LGBTQ+ literary salon in its first showcase of 2019
Stephanie Yeboah, journalist and blogger

Free

Free

7:00 pm
31 Jan 2019 - 31 Jan 2019
7:00 pm | 31 Jan 2019 - 31 Jan 2019
Talks & Topics
Society & Activism
Whose space is it anyway? Examine the politics of fatness in an age of body positivity
Whose space is it anyway? Examine the politics of fatness in an age of body positivity
Various times
13 Feb 2019 - 6 May 2019
Various times | 13 Feb 2019 - 6 May 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
13 FEB - 6 MAY 2019: An exhibition exploring the first seven years of the influential photographer’s career
13 FEB - 6 MAY 2019: An exhibition exploring the first seven years of the influential...
Kader Attia, Measure and Control, 2013
Various times
13 Feb 2019 - 6 May 2019
Various times | 13 Feb 2019 - 6 May 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
13 FEB - 6 MAY 2019: The first UK survey exhibition of Kader Attia’s playful and thought-provoking work
13 FEB - 6 MAY 2019: The first UK survey exhibition of Kader Attia’s playful and thought-provoking...
Kader Attia, visual artist
7:00 pm
13 Feb 2019 - 13 Feb 2019
7:00 pm | 13 Feb 2019 - 13 Feb 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
The artist discusses the themes behind his Hayward Gallery exhibition The Museum of Emotion
The artist discusses the themes behind his Hayward Gallery exhibition The Museum of Emotion
Stacey Dooley, documentary filmmaker and author
7:30 pm
13 Feb 2019 - 13 Feb 2019
7:30 pm | 13 Feb 2019 - 13 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Uncover stories from incredible women with the BBC3 presenter on the publication of her paperback
Uncover stories from incredible women with the BBC3 presenter on the publication of her paperback
Unavailable
The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
7:00 pm
14 Feb 2019 - 14 Feb 2019
7:00 pm | 14 Feb 2019 - 14 Feb 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
Hear from a panel chaired by arts writer Liz Jobey on the rarely seen early work of Diane Arbus
Hear from a panel chaired by arts writer Liz Jobey on the rarely seen early work of Diane Arbus
VG Lee, author
7:30 pm
15 Feb 2019 - 15 Feb 2019
7:30 pm | 15 Feb 2019 - 15 Feb 2019
Literature
Poetry
VG Lee headlines as Polari marks LGBTQ+ History Month with mayhem and sparkle
VG Lee headlines as Polari marks LGBTQ+ History Month with mayhem and sparkle
Man Booker 50 headshots
7:30 pm
25 Feb 2019 - 25 Feb 2019
7:30 pm | 25 Feb 2019 - 25 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The Man Booker winning author launches the first novel in his Dark Star trilogy
The Man Booker winning author launches the first novel in his Dark Star trilogy
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, explorer
7:30 pm
6 Mar 2019 - 6 Mar 2019
7:30 pm | 6 Mar 2019 - 6 Mar 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The world’s greatest living explorer in conversation with fellow adventurer Bear Grylls
The world’s greatest living explorer in conversation with fellow adventurer Bear Grylls
Drawing of Women
8:00 pm
6 Mar 2019 - 6 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 6 Mar 2019 - 6 Mar 2019
Literature
Poetry
Explore, experiment, celebrate difference and make noise with the all-women’s sound and performance collective
Explore, experiment, celebrate difference and make noise with the all-women’s sound and...
Audience in the Royal Festival Hall
2:00 pm
8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
2:00 pm | 8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Consider the state of the nation for women and girls - now
Consider the state of the nation for women and girls - now
Jo Brand, comedian
8:00 pm
8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
Literature
Writers
Join writer and comedian Jo Brand as she discusses her darkly funny guide to life as a woman
Join writer and comedian Jo Brand as she discusses her darkly funny guide to life as a woman
Angela Davis, political activist, academic and author
8:00 pm
8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 8 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Hear from legendary activist, writer and scholar Angela Davis on International Women's Day at WOW
Hear from legendary activist, writer and scholar Angela Davis on International Women's Day at...
Unavailable
Audience in the Royal Festival Hall
2:00 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
2:00 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
What does the future look like for girls and women?
What does the future look like for girls and women?
New Daughters of Africa
6:00 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
6:00 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Literature
Talks & Topics
WOW launches Margaret Busby’s major new global anthology of writing by women of African descent
WOW launches Margaret Busby’s major new global anthology of writing by women of African descent
Dame Diana Rigg, actress
7:30 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
7:30 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Literature
Writers
From The Avengers’ Emma Peel to Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones - meet Diana Rigg
From The Avengers’ Emma Peel to Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones - meet Diana Rigg
Naomi Klein, author, social activist, and filmmaker
8:00 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Renowned author Naomi Klein discusses the present political landscape with WOW founder Jude Kelly
Renowned author Naomi Klein discusses the present political landscape with WOW founder Jude Kelly
The Slumflower, author
8:00 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Consider love, life and self-worth with award-winning blogger Chidera Eggerue, aka The Slumflower
Consider love, life and self-worth with award-winning blogger Chidera Eggerue, aka The Slumflower
Unavailable
Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's Equality Party
8:30 pm
9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
8:30 pm | 9 Mar 2019 - 9 Mar 2019
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Hear Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer address soundbite culture in a messy world
Hear Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer address soundbite culture in a messy world
Angie Thomas, author
7:00 pm
12 Mar 2019 - 12 Mar 2019
7:00 pm | 12 Mar 2019 - 12 Mar 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The bestselling author of The Hate U Give presents her second novel, On the Come Up
The bestselling author of The Hate U Give presents her second novel, On the Come Up
Night photo of  Simpang Semanggi, Jakarta

Free

Free

8:00 pm
14 Mar 2019 - 14 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | 14 Mar 2019 - 14 Mar 2019
Literature
Poetry
Venture beyond the pantun with this line-up of celebrated Indonesian poets
Venture beyond the pantun with this line-up of celebrated Indonesian poets
Valeria Luiselli, author
7:30 pm
19 Mar 2019 - 19 Mar 2019
7:30 pm | 19 Mar 2019 - 19 Mar 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Lose yourself in the powerful new novel by the award-winning author of The Story of My Teeth
Lose yourself in the powerful new novel by the award-winning author of The Story of My Teeth
Various times
30 Mar 2019 - 30 Mar 2019
Various times | 30 Mar 2019 - 30 Mar 2019
Classical music
Orchestra
A magical, interactive introduction to music-making for children between two and five
A magical, interactive introduction to music-making for children between two and five
Unavailable
 Paris mirrors, September, 2016. Hannah Starkey, courtesy Maureen Paley, London.
7:00 pm
1 Apr 2019 - 1 Apr 2019
7:00 pm | 1 Apr 2019 - 1 Apr 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
Explore Arbus’ early work at a talk with writer Charlie Fox and photographer Hannah Starkey
Explore Arbus’ early work at a talk with writer Charlie Fox and photographer Hannah Starkey
Illustration for A World of Magic at Southbank Centre
Various times
28 Apr 2019 - 28 Apr 2019
Various times | 28 Apr 2019 - 28 Apr 2019
Classical music
Talks & Topics
Take your little ones to a dream world inspired by Mozart’s fairy tale opera, The Magic Flute
Take your little ones to a dream world inspired by Mozart’s fairy tale opera, The Magic Flute

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talks & debates highlights

9 Mar
Literature
Talks & Topics
WOW launches Margaret Busby’s major new global anthology of writing by women of African descent
9 Mar
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
Renowned author Naomi Klein discusses the present political landscape with WOW founder Jude Kelly
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blog: talks & debates

podcast
Dissect the making and unmaking of civilisations and cultures with Akala and David Olusoga
story
The best-selling writer and essayist discusses finding her place in feminism, intersectionality and grappling with pop culture