As the microwave health issue continues to heat up in the UK with the draconian actions of the Telcos to squash community rights – and Michael Repacholi and his WHO continue to subvert science for the industry, the following conference comes at an opportune time. I suggest that this conference should be widely attended by those who are concerned about “the battle for ideas” being waged by the Telco industry and their spin merchants.
The Battle of Ideas
Leading UK organisations call for a battle of ideas publication date: 14 September 2005
The Institute of Ideas, together with the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Royal College of Art, will launch the inaugural Battle of Ideas festival at the Royal College of Art on 29 and 30 October 2005.
Claire Fox, the director of the Institute of Ideas, called for a real battle of ideas:
Never has a Battle of Ideas been so urgent. Since we conceived the festival, Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a ‘battle of ideas’ in response to the London bombings on 7/7. He knows a good slogan when he sees it, but unfortunately, many of the government’s policy proposals since then seem more about closing down debate than opening it up.
As the name suggests, the festival will see no holds-barred arguments between agenda setters from politics, the sciences, the arts, academia, business, the media and education about the key ideas and issues of our time.
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Arts and Chair of the Arts Council England, welcomed the Battle of Ideas as ‘long-overdue’ and continued:
‘The Battle of Ideas promises to dig into many of our most important themes – education, creativity, innovation, community – and give them a good shake-up.’
Other organisations who will join the headline partners in this endeavour include: including Arts & Business, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), cScape, the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), Intelligence Squared, the Liberal magazine, Poptel Technology, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), and The Times.
End of press release
And from the web site:
The Battle of Ideas will create a stimulating interdisciplinary event at which hundreds of people will have the opportunity to get to grips with and discuss the key ideas of our time. As the title Battle of Ideas deliberately suggests, this weekend of discussions will avoid being anodyne in the name of consensus, reflecting instead the IoI’s commitment to open and robust debate. Taking ideas seriously means they must be interrogated, argued for and fought over. The weekend will make virtues of free-thinking and lively exchanges of views. We aim:
* to showcase new arguments about the core issues of the day, while avoiding getting bogged down in the minutiae of everyday policy
* to initiate open-ended discussions regardless of the demands for immediate practical outcomes, which too frequently act as a brake on innovative thinking.
This weekend event will be divided into themed strands which will run alongside a number of salons, ‘in conversations…’, films and provocation lectures and keynote debates on different aspects of the future:
Emulating the best of academia, the Battle of Ideas will create an atmosphere of intellectual freedom and open-ended exploration of new ideas, innovative research and academic trends. Additionally we will challenge academics to distil their insights for a public intellectual gathering, creating a truly accessible university.
The IoI seeks to identify a new generation of thinkers, and create a space where they can meet and have their ideas held to account.
Emulating the best of the increasingly popular UK literary festivals, the Battle of Ideas will ask leading authors and writers to join panels and bring their written work to life. Additionally we will challenge authors to reflect beyond their latest books and apply their insights to broad questions of intellectual importance.
The IoI seeks to create a space where readers and writers alike can mull over the social trends reflected in the latest fiction and non-fiction.
Emulating the best of TV and radio, the Battle of Ideas will bring together broadcasters, journalists and columnists to continue their invaluable role as key inquisitors of current affairs. Additionally we will challenge panels of pundits to become more than talking heads, and instead interact with the audience and engage with their ideas.
The IoI seeks to gather together those who want to look behind the headlines and who are no longer prepared to be patronised with simplistic sound bites.