It’s easy to identify the challenges we face; our new initiative – part of our autumn programme – looks at how to solve them.

Few deny that we have a major problem with social care and that climate emergencies will get worse. But on these two challenges alone there is no unanimity, with action on both being kicked into the long grass by many national governments and political parties. There are also fears and suspicions – about use of data, digital technology and robotics, or the future of democracy, for example – and an inability to think in the long-term. Simultaneously there are many good ideas that deserve wider coverage and public debate.

This new initiative builds on 15 years’ work of public debate in Bristol by Festival of Ideas on the great issues of our time

Image of an audience member asking a question

The Challenges

The challenges will change as the programme evolves and in response to ideas from you and our partners. They will be question-driven so that answers have to be found and can be debated. They are likely to include:

  • How can we encourage healthy ageing, living a good life through all life, and having a good death?
    • How do we make sure the future of work leads to being able to live a good life?
    • How do we rebuild trust?
    • How do we save animals and come to a new settlement between humans and the natural world?
    • How do we maintain open cities, nations, societies and regions and welcome newcomers?
    • How do we build personal, economic and and societal resilience in the age of pandemics and climate emergencies?

Format of the Programme
The initiative will operate online; be a public gathering; a book; and special events. It will be a campaign engaging widely with people and organisations. It will be a partnership bringing together ideas and people for debate and discussion over a five-month period with a biennial gathering 19-21 November.

In addition to articles, podcasts and events, the gathering will bring together experts and the public. This will be genuinely interdisciplinary and international, linking the arts and sciences. We want to have commissions and contributions from poets and philosophers; scientists and sociologists; economists and environmentalists; chefs and mathematicians; politicians and activists; architects and artists; teachers and social workers; and more.

The programme will continue in 2021 with a conference on basic income, our fourth Festival of the Future City, and special themed Festival of Ideas events.

Getting Involved
We’d like your ideas and contributions to this. We’ll be in touch with all of those on our mailing list, along with others, but please let us know your thoughts via our contact page in the meantime.

Featured image credit: Evan Dawson



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