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
4:00 pm
Sun 12 Jan 2020
4:00 pm | Sun 12 Jan 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Mark Padmore and Elaine Mitchener perform at the launch of London Sinfonietta’s new digital platform
Mark Padmore and Elaine Mitchener perform at the launch of London Sinfonietta’s new digital...
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
8:00 pm
Mon 17 Feb 2020
8:00 pm | Mon 17 Feb 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
London Sinfonietta’s new digital channel features podcast The Music That Made Me: hear it live
London Sinfonietta’s new digital channel features podcast The Music That Made Me: hear it live
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
WOW 2020 Friday grand opening session in Royal Festival Hall
10:30 am
Fri 06 Mar 2020
10:30 am | Fri 06 Mar 2020
talks & debates
Start the ball rolling at the opening event of WOW - Women of the World’s tenth anniversary
Start the ball rolling at the opening event of WOW - Women of the World’s tenth anniversary
Young audience at a talk
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Whet your appetite with amazing short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments
Whet your appetite with amazing short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments
Women at Wow - Women of the World talk event
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What can the traits of pioneering, trailblazing women teach us about how to change the world?
What can the traits of pioneering, trailblazing women teach us about how to change the world?
Sarah Blumenau, business tutor
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Communicate with confidence, clarity and impact in front of any audience after this masterclass
Communicate with confidence, clarity and impact in front of any audience after this masterclass
 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?
Bolanle Tajudeen
3:30 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Delve into the genesis of black feminism in art with Bolanle Tajudeen, founder of Black Blossoms
Delve into the genesis of black feminism in art with Bolanle Tajudeen, founder of Black Blossoms
A woman with a microphone asking a questions at a talk event
3:30 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Whether you’re a mother or not, explore the impacts of motherhood for everyone
Whether you’re a mother or not, explore the impacts of motherhood for everyone
Jude Kelly at WOW - Women of the World closing session
5:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
5:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Round out the first day of WOW’s tenth year with special guest speakers
Round out the first day of WOW’s tenth year with special guest speakers
Caroline Criado Perez
7:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
7:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
See what is often unseen as the campaigner and writer discusses her groundbreaking book
See what is often unseen as the campaigner and writer discusses her groundbreaking book
Scarlett Curtis, author
9:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
9:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
talks & debates
In an afternoon of fun, frank and honest conversation, our panel discusses what feminism means to them
In an afternoon of fun, frank and honest conversation, our panel discusses what feminism means to...
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?
Discussion panel at the Women of the World Festival
9:30 am
7 Mar 2020 - 8 Mar 2020
9:30 am | 7 Mar 2020 - 8 Mar 2020
talks & debates
courses & workshops
All are invited to a day of events tackling the subjects that matter most to women and girls today
All are invited to a day of events tackling the subjects that matter most to women and girls today
WOW - Women of the World talk in Royal Festival Hall
10:30 am
Sat 07 Mar 2020
10:30 am | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Delve into the genesis of black feminism in art with Bolanle Tajudeen, founder of Black Blossoms
Delve into the genesis of black feminism in art with Bolanle Tajudeen, founder of Black Blossoms
Refusing to Be Silenced, Women at Awards Ceremony
12:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Come and hear from women of courage who stand for human rights and justice in war around the world
Come and hear from women of courage who stand for human rights and justice in war around the world
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
D/deaf adn Bossing It at Southbank Centre
12:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Navigate the challenges and opportunities of being D/deaf in the workplace at a talk in British Sign Language
Navigate the challenges and opportunities of being D/deaf in the workplace at a talk in British Sign...
 Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi, writers
1:45 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
1:45 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The realities of being a black girl in a white institution are laid bare by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi
The realities of being a black girl in a white institution are laid bare by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore...
Amelia Abraham, journalist
1:45 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
1:45 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does it mean to be queer in 2020? Author and journalist Amelia Abraham leads our panel discussion
What does it mean to be queer in 2020? Author and journalist Amelia Abraham leads our panel...
Audience at a talk event
1:45 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
1:45 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Dads and daughters talk about their relationships and their struggle for women’s equality
Dads and daughters talk about their relationships and their struggle for women’s equality
3:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
3:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
talks & debates
courses & workshops
If you’re a gender equality champion aged 8 - 10, this workshop is perfect for you
If you’re a gender equality champion aged 8 - 10, this workshop is perfect for you
Sabeena Akhtar, writer
3:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Add your voice to the discussion on how identifying as a working-class Asian affects you
Add your voice to the discussion on how identifying as a working-class Asian affects you
audience at at talk event
3:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Hear personal stories from beyond the breast cancer awareness campaign
Hear personal stories from beyond the breast cancer awareness campaign
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
Various times
Sat 07 Mar 2020
Various times | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Are you a budding young gender equality champion? Explore what being a girl means in a workshop
Are you a budding young gender equality champion? Explore what being a girl means in a workshop
Sold out
Jude Kelly at WOW - Women of the World closing session
5:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
5:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
WOW founder Jude Kelly and special guests close the day
WOW founder Jude Kelly and special guests close the day
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...
Deborah Frances-White, comedian
7:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
talks & debates
Ever felt like you should be better at feminism?
Ever felt like you should be better at feminism?
Emma Dabiri, author
8:30 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
8:30 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
british sign language
accessible events
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Appropriated. Explore why black hair is never 'just hair'
Straightened. Stigmatised. 'Tamed'. Celebrated. Appropriated. Explore why black hair is...
Activists at a climate change protest
9:00 pm
Sat 07 Mar 2020
9:00 pm | Sat 07 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Why should we be looking to feminist solutions to climate change?
Why should we be looking to feminist solutions to climate change?
Naomi Wolf, author
7:30 pm
Sun 08 Mar 2020
7:30 pm | Sun 08 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Author, journalist and feminist activist Naomi Wolf revisits her legendary international bestseller
Author, journalist and feminist activist Naomi Wolf revisits her legendary international bestseller
Letters Live at WOW, Southbank Centre
8:00 pm
Sun 08 Mar 2020
8:00 pm | Sun 08 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Outstanding performers read letters by or for women on International Women’s Day
Outstanding performers read letters by or for women on International Women’s Day
Philip Venables, composer

Free

Free

3:00 pm
Sat 14 Mar 2020
3:00 pm | Sat 14 Mar 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
The composer explores the creative process behind his latest production in conversation with colleagues
The composer explores the creative process behind his latest production in conversation with...
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
David Wallace Wells, journalist
7:30 pm
Wed 08 Apr 2020
7:30 pm | Wed 08 Apr 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Reflect on the book that changed the conversation around climate change at this talk with its author
Reflect on the book that changed the conversation around climate change at this talk with its author
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...
Ira Glass, radio personality
7:30 pm
Sat 16 May 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 16 May 2020
talks & debates
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process

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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