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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all events

Dancers in The Clore Ballroom

Free

Free

Various times
13 Mar 2019 - 24 Apr 2019
Various times | 13 Mar 2019 - 24 Apr 2019
Talks & Topics
Disability & Inclusivity
Have a ball at our nine-week dance programme for people with dementia and their carers
Have a ball at our nine-week dance programme for people with dementia and their carers
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
UNTIL 6 MAY 2019: The first UK survey exhibition of Kader Attia’s urgent, poetic and political work
UNTIL 6 MAY 2019: The first UK survey exhibition of Kader Attia’s urgent, poetic and...

Free

Free

7:00 pm
Wed 20 Mar 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 20 Mar 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
Join us for the launch of the artist’s new photobook
Join us for the launch of the artist’s new photobook
Orchestra on stage
6:30 pm
Tue 26 Mar 2019
6:30 pm | Tue 26 Mar 2019
Classical music
Orchestra
South-eastern sounds: over 1,000 performers from the London Borough of Bexley showcase their talent
South-eastern sounds: over 1,000 performers from the London Borough of Bexley showcase their talent
Various times
Sat 30 Mar 2019
Various times | Sat 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
Violet Nights: La Colonie

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Sat 30 Mar 2019
8:00 pm | Sat 30 Mar 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
Discuss, contemplate, dance and celebrate at an evening inspired by Kader Attia’s cafe and art space
Discuss, contemplate, dance and celebrate at an evening inspired by Kader Attia’s cafe and art...
 Paris mirrors, September, 2016. Hannah Starkey, courtesy Maureen Paley, London.
7:00 pm
Mon 01 Apr 2019
7:00 pm | Mon 01 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
Installation view of Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion at Hayward Gallery, 2019
7:00 pm
Wed 17 Apr 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 17 Apr 2019
Art
Talks & Topics
A diverse range of thinkers and practitioners discuss repair as a physical and symbolic act
A diverse range of thinkers and practitioners discuss repair as a physical and symbolic act
Illustration for A World of Magic at Southbank Centre
Various times
Sun 28 Apr 2019
Various times | Sun 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
Writer, Hisham Matar
7:15 pm
Tue 30 Apr 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 30 Apr 2019
Art
Literature
Hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the themes of his work, from memory and family to war and repair
Hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the themes of his work, from memory and family to war and...
Image credit Barrie Tullett

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Tue 30 Apr 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 30 Apr 2019
Art
Literature
See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic poem
See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic...
Kit de Waal, writer
7:30 pm
Wed 01 May 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 01 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
What does it mean to be working class in Britain today?
What does it mean to be working class in Britain today?
Rose McGowan, author and activist
7:30 pm
Sat 04 May 2019
7:30 pm | Sat 04 May 2019
Literature
Talks & Topics
The actor and activist discusses her life and the realities of exposing the truth about injustice
The actor and activist discusses her life and the realities of exposing the truth about injustice
11:00 am
Fri 10 May 2019
11:00 am | Fri 10 May 2019
Talks & Topics
Our 7,866-pipe organ reveals its mysteries in an in-depth workshop
Our 7,866-pipe organ reveals its mysteries in an in-depth workshop
Karen Armstrong, author
7:15 pm
Mon 03 Jun 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 03 Jun 2019
Literature
Talks & Topics
One of the world’s leading commentators on religion speaks on the use and abuse of holy texts
One of the world’s leading commentators on religion speaks on the use and abuse of holy texts
8:00 pm
Wed 05 Jun 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 05 Jun 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Poets Kate Davis, Abi Palmer and Meryl Pugh reflect on gender, disability, place and the body
Poets Kate Davis, Abi Palmer and Meryl Pugh reflect on gender, disability, place and the body
7:30 pm
Mon 10 Jun 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 10 Jun 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The Oscar-winning writer of biopic Milk brings Hollywood sparkle to the LGBTQ+ literary salon’s stage
The Oscar-winning writer of biopic Milk brings Hollywood sparkle to the LGBTQ+ literary salon’s...
Juliana Huxtable Untitled (Lil’ Marvel) 2015, image courtesy of the artist and Project Native Informant London.
Various times
12 Jun 2019 - 8 Sep 2019
Various times | 12 Jun 2019 - 8 Sep 2019
Art
Artists & Thinkers
12 JUN – 8 SEP 2019: A group exhibition exploring gender identity and gender fluidity in contemporary art
12 JUN – 8 SEP 2019: A group exhibition exploring gender identity and gender fluidity in...
Paul Burston, journalist and author
7:30 pm
Fri 26 Jul 2019
7:30 pm | Fri 26 Jul 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Stride into summer with the best in queer writing at an evening with the LGBTQ+ literary salon
Stride into summer with the best in queer writing at an evening with the LGBTQ+ literary salon
High Sky, 1991. Oil on canvas. 165 x 227 cm. Copyright Bridget Riley 2018. All rights reserved.
Various times
23 Oct 2019 - 26 Jan 2020
Various times | 23 Oct 2019 - 26 Jan 2020
Art
Talks & Topics
23 OCT 2019 – 26 JAN 2020: A major retrospective exhibition spanning 70 years of this celebrated British artist’s work
23 OCT 2019 – 26 JAN 2020: A major retrospective exhibition spanning 70 years of this celebrated...

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talks & debates highlights

30 Apr
Art
Literature
Hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the themes of his work, from memory and family to war and repair
3 Jun
Literature
Talks & Topics
One of the world’s leading commentators on religion speaks on the use and abuse of holy texts
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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