A Brave New World?


Welcome to Malvern Festival of Ideas, a multidisciplinary festival of ideas taking place in Malvern, Worcestershire. It is a themed weekend of talks, discussion and activities.

In 2020, the title of the Festival is A Brave New World? In a rapidly changing world, can we look to the future positively and with hope? In what ways can emerging ideas in areas relating to social policy, economics, medicine, science, politics, psychology, arts and foreign policy lead to a better world?

Themed sessions explore this topic from different perspectives. 



The Festival of Ideas at Malvern is one of the most thought provoking and considered of its kind in the UK. There is plenty time to think, debate and question with no rushing between sessions and complicated ticketing. Set between the hills, in a beautiful town, this is a highlight in the year.

Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford

Various venues in Malvern, Worcestershire



Colin Blakemore / Irene Guijt / Ruth Lister / Anthony Painter / Grace Blakeley / Julian Baggini / Subramanian Ramamoorthy / Ivana Bartoletti / Peter Tatchell / Bernadette Russell/ Tom Crawford / Chris Budd.



Friday Evening

The Past, Present and Future of the Human Brain

Professor Sir Colin Blakemore


Saturday Morning

Inspiring Futures

Dr Irene Guijt


Towards a Good Society

Professor Baroness Ruth Lister


Saturday Afternoon

The Systems That Make and Break Us

Mr Anthony Painter


Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation

Ms Grace Blakeley


Saturday Evening

How the World Thinks

Dr Julian Baggini


Sunday Morning

How Can Intelligent Robots Help in the Operating Theatre?

Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy


Artificial Intelligence: Utopia or Dystopia, or Both?

Ms Ivana Bartoletti


Sunday Afternoon

What next for LGBT+ rights?

Mr Peter Tatchell



Saturday at Malvern Cube

The Wishing Tree

Bernadette Russell is an award-winning storyteller and author of short stories and creative non-fiction for adults and children, including "The Little Book of Kindness" and "Be the Change, Make it Happen."  She is also a playwright and poet. She has been a monthly columnist for Balance magazine since 2016, and has created work for National Theatre, Southbank Centre, National Trust and English Heritage amongst many others.

Bernadette will lead three interactive story-telling and activity sessions based on her book, The Wishing Tree, at 10am, 11.45am and 1.45pm




Two family presentations on how mathematics can help address important environmental issues

How Mathematics Can Save the Whale

Professor Chris Budd, 2pm Cube Theatre

Saving the whales and curing cancer are two of the great challenges of the present day, and mathematics has a part to play in addressing them. This talk will use these two examples to illustrate the process of mathematical modelling to gain insights into how the world works and how we can change it.


How Mathematics Can Clean up Ocean Pollution

Tom Crawford, 3pm Cube Theatre

Tom describes his research looking at where river water goes when it enters the ocean and why it is important for controlling pollution.



Malvern Festival of Ideas 2020

On line: Visit the Eventbrite page mfi2020.eventbrite.com

By telephone: Call 01684 565708

By email: info@MalvernFestivalofIdeas.org.uk state the event and number of tickets required.





Support the Festival 

Support the Festival and our parent charity EngageMalvern. 

A key feature of the event is that most sessions are available free of charge to the public, so that no-one is prevented from coming by the cost of a session.

In order to achieve this, we rely on the generosity of many people and organisations. If you would like to help and make a donation, there are a number of ways you can do this. Donations go to our parent charity (EngageMalvern). The main costs are venue and equipment hire, speakers travel and accommodation and publicity. 

  1. Make a donation via PayPal (click the Donate button below)

  2. Purchase a Donation ticket when you book tickets on Eventbrite

  3. Transfer to EngageMalvern a/c: 65863800 sort code: 089299 Ref: MFI2020

  4. Make a donation in cash or by card at an event 



© 2019 Malvern Festival of Ideas

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