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© 2018 Malvern Festival of Ideas

Speakers 2019

Hubris. The Road to Donald Trump. Power, Populism and Narcissism

The Rt Hon Lord Owen CH FRCP

7.30pm to 9.30pm Friday 1st March 2019

The Chase School, Geraldine Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3NZ

David Owen was a Member of Parliament for Plymouth for 26 years from 1966-92. Under Labour Governments, he served as Navy Minister, Health Minister and Foreign Secretary. He was co-founder of the Social Democratic Party established in 1981 and its Leader from 1983-87 and 1988-90. He currently sits in the House of Lords as an independent Social Democrat. From 1992-95 Lord Owen served as EU peace negotiator in the former Yugoslavia working alongside the UN negotiator, Cyrus Vance and then Thorvald Stoltenberg.  Since then until he retired from business he had business interests in the US, Russia and the UK.

David Owen has written many books including In Sickness and In Power: Illnesses in Heads of Government, the Military and Business leaders; The Hidden Perspective. The Military Conversations 1906-1914; Cabinet’s Finest Hour. The Hidden Agenda of May 1940 and British Foreign Policy After Brexit. His latest book published in November 2018 is entitled Hubris. The Road to Donald Trump. Power, Populism and Narcissism.

Crisis in our NHS?

Professor Allyson Pollock

10am to 11am Saturday 2nd March 2019

The Chase School, Geraldine Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3NZ

Allyson Pollock is director of the Institute of Health & Society at Newcastle University. A public health physician, she is a leading authority on the fundamental principles of universal health systems, marketisation and public private partnerships, and international trade law and health. Universal access to health care is the primary focus and in particular the means by which local and national systems redistribute resources across society by sharing the risks and costs of ill-health. Her current research is around access to medicines, pharmaceutical regulation, and public health; and child and sports injury. Her book, NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care, was published by Verso, and she is currently working on a book An Anthem for the NHS.

Mental Health Crisis

Professor Dinesh Bhugra

11.30am to 12.30pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

The Chase School, Geraldine Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3NZ

Dinesh Bhugra CBE is the current President of the British Medical Association. He is Emeritus Professor of Mental Health and Cultural Diversity at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. His research interests are in cultural psychiatry, sexual dysfunction and service development. He has authored/co-authored over 400 scientific papers and 32 books and is the Editor of three journals.  Previously he was the Dean and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK, where he led on major policy initiatives on psychiatry’s contract with society, public mental health and the role of the psychiatrist. He has led major  surveys on discrimination against people with mental illness and medical students’ interest in psychiatry.

How more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everybody's wellbeing

Professor Kate Pickett

2pm to 3pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

The Chase School, Geraldine Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3NZ

Kate Pickett trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell University and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. She is currently Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at York University, and the University's Research Champion for Justice and Equality. Kate is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman, winner of Publication of the Year by the Political Studies Association and translated into 26 languages, and The Inner Level, published by Penguin in 2018. She is co-founder of The Equality Trust.

How the legacy of the British Empire led to the Brexit attempt and what it tells us about ourselves

Professor Danny Dorling

Professor Sally Tomlinson

3.30pm to 4.30pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

The Chase School, Geraldine Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3NZ

Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor in Geography at the University of Oxford. He was previously a professor of Geography at the University of Sheffield, and before then a professor at the University of Leeds. Much of Danny's work is available open access (www.dannydorling.org). With a group of colleagues, he created the website www.worldmapper.org which shows who has most and least in the world. His work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education, wealth and poverty. His most recent book, with Sally Tomlinson, Rule Britannia: Brexit and the end of Empire, concerns what the 2016 EU referendum and 2019 ‘exit’ told us about the British. He is a patron of the charity Roadpeace and a Senior Associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Sally Tomlinson started out as a primary school teacher and has worked in the universities of Warwick, Lancaster, Goldsmiths London (where she is an Emeritus Professor) and Oxford (where she is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Education Department). She has researched and written mainly about race, ethnicity and education and education policy. She was a Trustee of the Africa Education Trust for twenty years and has worked in Somaliland, Kenya and South Africa. From 2011-2015 she was on the Governing Council of the South Worcestershire Further Education College which included Malvern Hills College. She is author of Education and Race from Empire to Brexit (2019); The Politics of Race, Class and Special Education (2015) and (with Danny Dorling) Rule Britannia: Brexit and the end of Empire (2019).

Gaza in Crisis

Professor Ilan Pappé

7.30pm to 9.30pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

St Matthias’ Church, Church Road, Malvern, WR14 1NP

Ilan Pappé is the Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. He founded and directed the Academic Institute for Peace in Givat Haviva, Israel, from 1992 to 2000, and was the Chair of the Emil Tuma Institute for Palestine Studies in Haifa between 2000 and 2006. His research focuses on the modern Middle East and in particular the history of Israel and Palestine. He has also written on multiculturalism, Critical Discourse Analysis and on Power and Knowledge in general. He is author of many books, including Ten Myths About Israel (2017); The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2007); The Biggest Prison on Earth: The History of the Israeli Occupation (2016) and (with Noam Chomsky) Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians (2011).  

Democracy and its Crisis

Professor A.C. Grayling

10am to 11am Sunday 3rd March 2019

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF

A.C. Grayling CBE MA DPhil (Oxon) FRSA FRSL is the Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and its Professor of Philosophy. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vice President of the British Humanist Association. This talk is about the failure of the best political system we have: democracy. And it is about how to put it right. In at least two of its leading examples in today’s world, the United States and the United Kingdom, ‘representative democracy’ has been made to fail. Notice these words: ‘made to fail.’ Professor Grayling will argue that if the ideas that underlie the concept of representative democracy were properly and transparently applied, democracy would truly be, as Winston Churchill described it, ‘the least bad of all systems.’ But it has been made to fail by a combination of causes, all of them deliberate.  He will explain the Trump election and the Brexit referendum in the light of what has happened to the West’s leading democratic systems. 

World capitalism in the early 21st century: an existential crisis for humanity and the planet

Dr Neil Faulkner

11.30am to 12.30pm Sunday 3rd March 2019

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF

Neil Faulkner FSA is an archaeologist, historian, and activist. He works as a writer, lecturer, and broadcaster, and he directs field projects at home and abroad. His many books include A People’s History of the Russian Revolution; Creeping Fascism: Brexit, Trump, and the Rise of the Far Right and A Radical History of the World.

He will argue that the current global crisis is multi-faceted, with economic, social, geopolitical, and ecological dimensions, and insoluble without the dispossession of the 1% (highest earners) and democratic control over society’s resources. He will further argue that the alternative is barbarism, and that this possibility is already apparent in the tidal wave of nationalism, racism, and fascism now sweeping across the world.

Colonisation and Decolonisation of the Soul

Professor Alastair McIntosh

2.15pm to 4.15pm Sunday 3rd March 2019

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF

NOTE: This is a change of venue from that originally published

Alastair McIntosh (Scotland) has been described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.” A pioneer of modern land reform in Scotland, he helped bring the Isle of Eigg into community ownership. On the Isle of Harris he negotiated withdrawal of the world’s biggest cement company from a devastating “superquarry”. The author of books including Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power, his honorary academic posts included fellowships at the University of Ulster and Edinburgh (School of Divinity), and honorary professorial posts at the University of Strathclyde and, currently, the  University of Glasgow in its School of Social Sciences.

In this closing session of the festival, Alastair will take as his springboard David Owen’s position that was laid out in the opening session: namely that narcissistic hubris drives much of modern politics. Drawing on his book on climate change, Hell and High Water (2008), he will explore how we have been manipulated by depth psychology and what marketing gurus like B.J. Cunningham have pushed as ‘corporate religion’. Drawing on his most recent book, Poacher’s Pilgrimage: an Island Journey (2016), he will take Donald Trump as a case study. Trump’s mother grew up just 8 miles from where Alastair was raised on the Isle of Lewis. Hard times in the 1920s led to her emigrating, and with it, arguably, to her son being raised without being held within the basket of a loving community. What might be the antidote? Not just for Trump, but for us all? His talk will close by walking through the island on a pilgrimage, reflecting on our collective psychohistory, asking what it means to be a human being in these times, and spiritually calling back the means by which to decolonise the soul.

Maths: It's all Greek to me!

Dr Tom Crawford

2pm to 3pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF

Tom is a tutor at St Hugh’s College, St Edmund Hall and St John’s College at the University of Oxford where he teaches maths to the first and second year undergraduates. He also runs this award-winning website and associated social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube @tomrocksmaths. Current partners include the BBC, the European Mathematical Society, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Oxplore – Oxford University’s digital outreach portal.

As part of his role at St John’s, Tom holds the position of Access and Outreach Associate for STEM helping to run the Inspire Programme which aims to encourage pupils at non-selective state schools to apply to top universities in the UK via application workshops and academic taster sessions.

Tom Crawford, the Naked Mathematician, presents Maths: it’s all Greek to me! and performs some experiments (wearing a toga).

What, actually, is maths?

Dr Mark Lewney

3pm to 4pm Saturday 2nd March 2019

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF

Mark Lewney, the Rock Doctor, winner of the first ever FameLab competition and guitar physicist blows your ears with rock guitar and blows your mind by Superstring Theory. Mark delivers amazing physics, science and maths shows, talks and presentations for schools and colleges - all complementing the national curriculum for science at KS3, KS4, GCSE and A Level.

Mark asks, What, actually, is maths? Does it exist independent of human minds? Is it invented, or discovered? Was there such a thing as "maths" in the age of the dinosaurs? Mark introduces the maths of guitars, telecoms, ocean waves and life itself, using all kinds of strange animations in order to “imagineer” the amazing concepts one might meet after A levels.