2017: Uncertainty

The Malvern Festival of Ideas builds on the success of the Malvern Science and Faith Weekends, which began in 2012. The new title reflects the addition of other disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics and political theory. The success of the Weekends has led to discussions with related ventures in Malvern and to the formation of a charitable trust, EngageMalvern, to develop this work.

The 2019 Malvern Festival of Ideas will be 1-3 March 2019


Details of previous Weekends are given below

2015: Human Being - Being Human


2013: Sustainability

2012: Malvern Evolution Weekend

Compassion and Education

Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham.

Ms Vinciane Rycroft, Mind with Heart


Compassion: Science Perspectives

Professor Maria Engstrom, Linkoping University

Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland, King's College, London

Compassion in Healthcare

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, King's College, London. Talk entitled: Soft skills for hard times: the science underpinning compassion in nursing

Revd Dr Tom Keighley

Professor Joshua Hordern, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: Civic compassion for healthcare today

Economics and Compassion

Ms Miriam Kennet, Green Economics Institute

Professor Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh

Morning service

Revd Barrie Hinksman, Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, Archarya Modgala Duguid

Lunchtime talk

Archarya Modgala Duguid. Talk entitled: Wings of a Bird. Wisdom and Compassion in Buddhism

Reflections on Compassion

Professor Roger Trigg

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah


Activity Day: The Art of Science

Jon Wood

Tony De Saulles

Guide Dogs;

Compassion Crafts

Human Being: The Evolving Animal

Professor Eric Olson, University of Sheffield.

Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker, Newman University


Being Human - Beginnings and Endings

Dr June Jones, University of Birmingham

Professor Dawn Brooker, University of Worcester

Being Human: Evolving Consciousness I

Professor Raymond Tallis. Talk entitled: Was Schubert (Just) a Musical Brain?

Dr Shabbir Akhtar, University of Oxford

Being Human: Evolving Consciousness II

Dr Peter Moore. Talk entitled: Augmented Consciousness – Hype, Hope, Heaven or Hell?

Panel Discussion: Raymond Tallis, Shabbir Akhtar, Pete Moore, chaired by Fern Elsdon-Baker

Being Human: Justice and Social Engagement

Morning service and Lunchtime talk (Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By)

Revd Dr Roger Ray, Springfield Community Church

Human Being: More Than Matter

Professor Keith Ward

Activity Day: Human Being: Brains & Bots

Jon Wood;

QinetiQ STEM Ambassadors;

body-inspired art and science activities

Opening Talk - Revd Peter Owen-Jones, Anglican priest, broadcaster and author. Talk entitled: Living the Simple Life.


Three Afternoon Talks and Question Time - The Big Bang

Professor Eric Priest, University of St Andrews. Talk entitled: Can a Scientist be a Person of Faith?

Dr Chris Lintott, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: The Science of the Beginning and End of the Universe.

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: Being a Scientist and a Quaker.

Discussion Evening - Faith and Secularism

Professor Angie Hobbs, University of Sheffield, and Revd John Churcher, Progressive Christianity Network, in discussion: Faith and Secularism.

Group Interfaith Discussion Afternoon - God and the New Physics

Dr Usama Hasan, Quilliam, Jay Lakhani, Director of the Hindu Academy, and Professor Richard Bell, University of Nottingham, in discussion.

Activity Day: Heavenly Bodies

Thinktank, the Birmingham Science Museum; astronomy art and science activities; the Malvern Space Station 

Fringe activities

Health and Faith - discussion meeting with Julian Wood

Science, Spirituality and Song - a personal journey exploring the relationship between material science and spirituality with Jonathan Penley

For 2013, the scope expanded to include a multi-faith perspective and became Malvern Science and Faith Weekend. The theme was Sustainability.


Satish Kumar, Editor-in-Chief of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine; founder and Visiting Fellow of Schumacher College. Talk entitled: The Spirituality of Sustainability

Rianne ten Veen, member of the Management team of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environment Sciences. Talk entitled: Creation Care: Shared Opportunity for People of Faith to do Good

Revd Dr Rosalind Selby, Principal of Northern College, Manchester; chair of the Joint (Baptist, Methodist, URC) Public Issues Team report on climate change theology. Talk entitled: Hearing the Voice of Creation Groaning

Activity Day: Save the Planet


Museums Worcestershire

Project Earth

Science for Sustainability Workshops led by Keele University School of Physical and Geographical Sciences.

Film Evening

The Economics of Happiness, organised by Transition Malvern Hills with comment by Satya Robyn, Geoff Richardson and Melanie Jameson

Music Event 

Songs of Harmony, led by Jonathan Penley

Malvern Festival of Ideas began in 2012 as Malvern Evolution Weekend


Science of Evolution

Professor Mark Pallen, University of Birmingham. Talks entitled: The Rough Guide to Darwin and Evolution: Evidence and Ideas

A Time of Wonder

Revd David Coleman, Iona Community and Greenock West URC. Talks entitled: A Time of Wonder and Dinosaur Sunday


Activity Day: Fun with Fossils

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust

Museums Worcestershire


Islam in a Time of Uncertainty

Professor Tariq Ramadan, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: Islam in a Time of Uncertainty: Political and Theological Reflections


Science of Uncertainty

Dr Magda Osman, Queen Mary University of London. Talk entitled: Controlling Uncertainty.

Mr Brian Clegg, science writer. Talk entitled: Quantum Uncertainty.

Professor Frank Close, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: Nothing.

Professor Marcus du Sautoy, University of Oxford. Talk entitled: What We Cannot Know.


Uncertainty, Societies and Economies

Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent. Talk entitled: Insecurity in a Globalised World.

Dr Mark Flood, Financial Economist. Talk entitled: Measuring Uncertainty in a Financial World.

Uncertainty in Politics

Ms Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party. Talk entitled: Political Uncertainty in a Time of Radical Transformation.

Personal and Spiritual Uncertainty

Professor Frances Young, University of Birmingham. Talk entitled: Uncertainty in Christianity and Our Own Lives.

Act of Worship

The Right Reverend Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester

Activity Day: Not Quite Sure

Jon Wood, Science Presenter: I Think I'm Sure/Bubble Science

Kjartan Poskitt, Murderous Maths. Murderous Maths Magic/Murderous Maths Numbers/The Space Show

Dr Mark Lewney, guitar physicist: The Future Ain't What It Used To Be.

Uncertain Crafts

2016: Compassion