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Introduction to The Battle Of Ideas

The Battle Of Ideas is an annual festival of debates in which academics, artists, educators, politicians, writers and thinkers present their views on a range of topics and current issues. Held at The Barbican Centre in London over the course of a Saturday and Sunday (13-14 October), The Battle Of Ideas is open to all in terms of people and ideas. You can, said Claire Fox in her opening speech, expect to be offended.

I like to think of The Battle Of Ideas as a place where people's feelings do not matter. Nobody goes out of their way to offend individuals and nobody goes out of their way to avoid offence. It is simply ideas that are protected or rejected. In the tradition of free speech The Battle of Ideas seeks to be incisive and rigorous in the true spirit of enlightenment values. This really means that there are no topics of conversation off the table. Free speech is allowed.

In the following posts I have tried to give a summary of the debates that I attended and offer some further talking points for the staffroom and the classroom.

Introduction questions

  • Why is debate so important?

  • What was the enlightenment?

  • Which enlightenment values are especially important today?

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