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Welcome to Malvern Festival of Ideas
4-6 March 2022

Conversation. Discussion. Education.

The theme for 2022 is Imagine. With our wealth of art, science, literature and history, what is the world we imagine? What is the future of democracy, the Union, the health and education services and the environment? Can we imagine a world where we act for the benefits of the earth’s communities? What steps should we be taking? These are just some of the questions we hope to address. 

Home MFI 2022: Welcome

About Us

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

Check out our speakers and presenters below. 

Home MFI 2022: About

Our Speakers

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Asad Rehman

Executive Director of War on Want


Tim Jackson

Ecological Economist, Writer and Playwright

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Jane Davidson

Former minister for environment, sustainability and housing in the Welsh Government


Liz Zeidler

CEO, Centre for Thriving Places


Dominic Grieve

British barrister and former politician and Attorney General

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Will Hutton

Journalist, Author and Chief Executive


Steve Richards

Broadcaster and political columnist


Afraa Hashem

Revolutionary Syrian woman, Human rights campaigner & Political Activist

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Onjali Q Raúf

Bestselling author and human rights activist

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Nathan Waddell

Author and Senior Lecturer, Early Twentieth-Century and Modernist Literature

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Tom McLeish

Theoretical Physicist, Academic Leader and Author

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Hannah McDowall and Jake Garber

Canopy Social Imagination Project

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Tom Crawford

Teaching and Outreach Fellow in Mathematics

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Lucy Eckersley

Wild Animal Biologist and Science Presenter

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Bernadette Russell

Storyteller and author of non-fiction for adults and children

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Malvern Green Space

Eco-Community Centre

Home MFI 2022: Speakers

Malvern Festival of Ideas 2022 Tickets

This year, we have a Progressive Payment System:

  • Standard - the price that enables us to recover costs;

  • Patron - an enhanced price that supports our discounted ticket;

  • Discount - a subsidised ticket.

You choose the ticket price suitable for you. 

Home MFI 2022: About

Malvern Festival of Ideas Schedule

Don’t Miss Out


DontLookDown: Is Capitalism killing the planet?

7.30pm, Friday 4th March 2022

Asad Rehman, Executive Director of War on Want, will explore the idea of turning this moment of multiple crises into justice and what that actually entails. It will contain threads that other sessions during the weekend will elaborate further on  - such as refugee rights, climate and degrowth, and future generations. 

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Time to think differently

10am-11.30am, Saturday 5th March 2022

Tim Jackson and Jane Davidson will explore ideas around alternative futures, based on their books Post Growth: Life After Capitalism and  #futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country. In conversation with Liz Zeidler,  internationally recognised leader in sustainable wellbeing.

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Social Imagination Workshop I: Money, power and gardening

12noon-1pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

Imagination Session: Money, power and gardening with Hannah McDowall and Jake Garber

Treasure, serious treasure, is found deep beneath the earth. The ones who found it don't know what to do, perhaps none of us do. Join us for a playful session re-imagining our collective and individual response to Wealth, Sustainability and Justice.

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Can we be better governed?

2pm-3pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

Dominic Grieve will address the question Can we be better governed?  

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


The State We're In

3.30pm-4.30pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

Will Hutton and Steve Richards will discuss The State We’re In, beginning with the question of how to blend the economics of I and We, individualism and the group, into a new liberal social democratic alchemy and then progressing from there with interaction with the audience.

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Social Imagination Workshop II: Democracy is our shared imagination

5pm-6pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

Imagination session: Democracy is our shared imagination with Hannah McDowall and Jake Garber

Imagining a better world can't be left to our politicians. In this session we will 1) share personal stories of imagining and living new possibilities and 2) time travel into the future to imagine the world in which we can imagine together.

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


How to be hopeful

7.30pm-9pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

There is always hope. Even when we're grieving or afraid, worn down by everyday troubles or relentless bad news, it is there. As an expert on the multiple benefits of hope and kindness, Bernadette Russell reveals how hope can be nurtured by all of us, even in these uncertain times.

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Imagining Resilient Communities

10am-4pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

Malvern Green Space will offer a mini "pop-up Green Space" with a small swap shop, eco-bricking workshops, seed swap and permaculture display. PLUS a making station for kids to make pieces to contribute to a collaborative collage. Something for everyone.

A FREE event at Malvern Cube

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



12noon, Saturday 5th March 2022

On August 18th 2011, in response to the UK riots and after a chance encounter in a post office, Bernadette Russell embarked on a reckless mission to be kind to a stranger every single day for a year. This show, part stand up, part storytelling, charts this amazing year, which began with burning buildings, and ended with the flame of the Olympic torch. It attempts to answer the question: “is it possible to change the world just by being kind?”

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


Million-dollar Maths

2pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

The million-dollar maths equations are 7 maths problems that are seen as the most difficult in all of maths and thus have been assigned a $1-million prize for anyone that can help us to solve them. Tom Crawford will focus on the idea that to be able to solve these it will require a great deal of imagination and creativity as all previous attempts over the past 100+ years have failed.

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


Wildlife Chain Reactions

3pm, Saturday 5th March 2022

The natural world is in a careful balance, what happens when we start to mess with it? Follow food webs and trophic cascades to see what happens if remove (or add!) animals to ecosystems. Lucy Eckersley is the Outreach Officer and Postgrad Tutor of the Royal Veterinary College. She is Winner of the 2018 Aim Higher award for 'Inspiration'. She is also Mentor, Presenter and Comedian for the Science Showoff Talent Factory. She has performed are many institutions around the UK, such as Wellcome Collec-tion, Royal Institution, The Science Museum and British Science Festival.

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


Imagine . . . A World Where Basic Human Rights and Dignity Were Respected

10am-11am, Sunday 6th March 2022

Afraa Hashem is one of the main characters in the award-winning documentary, For Sama, which tells the story of Waad al-Kateab's life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo. Afraa opened a series of schools in Aleppo and chose to remain in the city with her family during the war, to help those around her.  Afraa will describe her experiences of the situation in Syria and how we can help to alleviate the pain of the innocent civilians affected by the war. 

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


Imagine . . . A World in Which We Never Lost our Childhood's Sense of Justice

11.30am-12.30pm, Sunday 6th March 2022

Onjali Raúf is a best-selling English author and the founder of the NGO Making Herstory, a woman's rights organisation tackling the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. Her work is informed in part by her experiences of racism in childhood. In this talk she will be drawing on all of her books (The Boy at the Back of the Class, The Star Outside My Window, The Night Bus Hero and The Lion Above the Door - as well as The Great Food Ban Heist) - and highlighting books by other authors, classics as well as new ones. 

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


George Orwell wasn’t a prophet (and it’s a good thing, too)

2pm-3pm, Sunday 6th March 2022

We tend to think of Orwell as a prophet, as someone who saw our world and knew what would be wrong with it. Yet Orwell himself rejected prophecy as a fool’s game; time and again in his work, the prophetic impulse is satirized, mocked, or simply rejected. Nathan Waddell reflects on what this tension in Orwell’s legacy tells us about his writing, and why it matters.  

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA


The Poetry and Music of Science

3.30pm-4.30pm, Sunday 6th March 2022

As any scientist knows, the imagination is essential to the immense task of re-creating a shared model of nature from the scale of the cosmos, through biological complexity, to the smallest subatomic structures. In The Poetry and Music of Science Tom McLeish takes a journey through the creative process in the arts as well as sciences, drawing attention to the communities within which new ideas and forms arise. Surprisingly, science, poetry and music share much in common, including their origins. 

Malvern St James Girls' School, 15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA

Home MFI 2022: Schedule


There are three classes of ticket - Standard, Patron and Discount. Choose the one that suits you best. Tickets are available for individual sessions as well as a weekend ticket that gives admission to all sessions.

Ticket price includes the cost of refreshments (tea/coffee) at morning and afternoon sessions. Lunches must be booked separately.



A ticket that will help us recover costs of the Festival


A ticket that will support the Festival and help us to provde a discounted ticket scheme.


A ticket for those on a limited budget.

If you are unable to book online, or having difficulty, or require further information, please contact us.

Home MFI 2022: Services

Our Venues

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Malvern St James Girls' School

15 Avenue Rd, Malvern WR14 3BA
Conveniently located close to Great Malvern railway station, the school provides all catering and conference requirements for most of the sessions.

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Malvern Cube Community Centre

Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF
A short walk from the school, the Cube is the venue for the Family Day activities and science presentations.

Home MFI 2022: Products

The Team

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Andrew Webb

Festival Director

Sian Evans

Speaker Liaison

Laura Davies

Publicity and marketing

Dylan Cochrane

Video and image production

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Miriam Webb

Programme Planning

Home MFI 2022: Team Members


The Visit the Malverns website has an accommodation finder & interactive map to browse all of its accommodation listings. The Abbey Hotel has provided preferential rates for Festival attenders.

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Abbey Hotel

Abbey Rd, Great Malvern WR14 3ET

Go to the Abbey Hotel website, put in your date of arrival and departure and then click on the ‘more options’ box.  In this box type 040322FEST which will bring up the rates

Home MFI 2022: Products

Past Events

Recent Festivals

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2021: Unity and Diversity

Is the uniting force in some ways is stronger than divisions? What can we learn from our (positive) experiences and build on to face future threats and how? How do we need to change? What reforms are needed?

2020: 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, foreign policy and faith lead to a better world?

2019: Crisis

Exploring crisis in the NHS, mental health, democracy and politics: what are the issues and are we able to address them?

Home MFI 2022: Past Events

Get in Touch

We hope you're able to attend. If you have questions about the registration process, our schedule or general information, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We are only too pleased to help.

Great Malvern, Malvern WR14, UK

01684 565708

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Home MFI 2022: Contact
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