talks & debates

Our year-round programme of talks and debates showcases leading thinkers, activists, politicians and cultural observers. Be stimulated by new thoughts and ideas, or challenged to see the world with fresh eyes by today’s most exciting speakers.

This season documentarian Louis Theroux reflects on two decades of groundbreaking work and Lenny Henry takes us on a trip down memory lane. Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain talks cake and kids and comedian Sara Pascoe assesses what really matters to humans. We also welcome Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Dawkins, Hannah Gadsby and many more.

see upcoming talks & debates

 

Perhaps you don’t recognise that you have power but if you’re doing something to try to make a change you are already exercising power.
Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder of Ballet Black, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2018
The paradox of the last 20 years has been that we have increased our communication, its frequency, participants and methods to do so. But instead of taking this opportunity to produce a clear picture of the world, the content of that information, and what we actually know, is decreasing.
Yannis Varoufakis, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2015

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Sisters Uncut set off rainbow-coloured smoke in solidarity with LGBTQ+ migrants during a demonstration in support of detainees at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre
7:00 pm
Thu 18 Jul 2019
7:00 pm | Thu 18 Jul 2019
art & exhibitions
talks & debates
Artists Ajamu, Holly Falconer, Amrou Al-Kadhi and Del LaGrace Volcano in a talk chaired by Paul Clinton
Artists Ajamu, Holly Falconer, Amrou Al-Kadhi and Del LaGrace Volcano in a talk chaired by Paul...
Jean-Paul Gaultier, fashion designer
6:00 pm
Tue 23 Jul 2019
6:00 pm | Tue 23 Jul 2019
performance & dance
performance & theatre
The man behind the conical bustier: Jean Paul Gaultier discusses his decades at the forefront of fashion
The man behind the conical bustier: Jean Paul Gaultier discusses his decades at the forefront of...
Merck Mercuriadis and Nile Rodgers
7:30 pm
Thu 08 Aug 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 08 Aug 2019
talks & debates
New frontiers in music: songwriter Nile Rodgers and manager Merck Mercuriadis share their industry knowledge
New frontiers in music: songwriter Nile Rodgers and manager Merck Mercuriadis share their industry...
Etgar Keret, writer
7:15 pm
Tue 03 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 03 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
Richard Ayoade, actor, comedian, writer and director
7:30 pm
Thu 05 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 05 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam Buxton
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam...
Malorie Blackman, writer
2:00 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
2:00 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
family & young people
literature & poetry
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts & Crosses
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts &...
Sara Pascoe, comedian
7:30 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Nathan Filer, writer
7:15 pm
Mon 09 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 09 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
Osi Umenyiora, American football defensive end
1:00 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
talks & debates
Explore the complexities, possibilities and personal cost of protest in sport
Explore the complexities, possibilities and personal cost of protest in sport
Africa Utopia Member's Salon

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
talks & debates
Turn the pages of timeless and undiscovered works of African literature
Turn the pages of timeless and undiscovered works of African literature
Akala, rapper and activist
2:45 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
2:45 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk
A woman in glitter on the side of her face
4:30 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
4:30 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
talks & debates
How can the industry better represent diverse identities, both on and off the catwalk?
How can the industry better represent diverse identities, both on and off the catwalk?
Beauty: It's a Shady Business
6:15 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
6:15 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
talks & debates
Beauty: from self-expression and the performance of identity, to purely the skin deep
Beauty: from self-expression and the performance of identity, to purely the skin deep
Simon Frederick, actor
1:00 pm
Sun 15 Sep 2019
1:00 pm | Sun 15 Sep 2019
talks & debates
A panel discussion on the power of black perspectives, both in front of and behind the lens
A panel discussion on the power of black perspectives, both in front of and behind the lens
Africa Utopia Member's Salon at the Royal Festival Hall

Free

Free

2:00 pm
Sun 15 Sep 2019
2:00 pm | Sun 15 Sep 2019
talks & debates
An open conversation on how we identify as African and what our labels mean
An open conversation on how we identify as African and what our labels mean
Africa Utopia Member's Salon at the Royal Festival Hall
3:30 pm
Sun 15 Sep 2019
3:30 pm | Sun 15 Sep 2019
talks & debates
Yes, there are roles outside rap for black men in the music industry - our panel explores
Yes, there are roles outside rap for black men in the music industry - our panel explores
The Music That Made Us
4:30 pm
Sun 15 Sep 2019
4:30 pm | Sun 15 Sep 2019
talks & debates
How does the music made by black artists explore the breadth of blackness?
How does the music made by black artists explore the breadth of blackness?
Philippa Perry
7:30 pm
Thu 19 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 19 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
Richard Dawkins, ethologist
7:30 pm
Sun 22 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 22 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Sabrina Mahfouz, poet
7:45 pm
Mon 23 Sep 2019
7:45 pm | Mon 23 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Louis Theroux, filmmaker
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Antoni Porowski, TV personality
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Lenny Henry, comedian
7:30 pm
Mon 30 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 30 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited autobiography
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited...
Celeste Ng, author
7:30 pm
Sun 06 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 06 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
Randall Munroe, cartoonist
7:30 pm
Mon 07 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 07 Oct 2019
talks & debates
accessible events
Open up new dimensions on the everyday in this talk by the webcomic creator and author
Open up new dimensions on the everyday in this talk by the webcomic creator and author
Man Booker at Southbank Centre
7:30 pm
Sun 13 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 13 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation
Hannah Gadsby, comedian
Various times
25 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 25 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The Australian comedian found her voice with Nanette, and with Douglas she plans to use it
The Australian comedian found her voice with Nanette, and with Douglas she plans to use it
Anne Carson, poet
7:30 pm
Wed 30 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 30 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Cheers to 40 years of the London Review of Books at an evening of poetry, music and collaboration
Cheers to 40 years of the London Review of Books at an evening of poetry, music and collaboration
Mariam Khan, editor and activist
7:00 pm
Thu 07 Nov 2019
7:00 pm | Thu 07 Nov 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Hear from writers, poets and activists as they discuss the contemporary Muslim female experience
Hear from writers, poets and activists as they discuss the contemporary Muslim female experience
Yara Rodrigues Fowler, novelist
7:45 pm
Tue 19 Nov 2019
7:45 pm | Tue 19 Nov 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Meet the lauded and vibrant voices of British Latinx writers at this discussion and reading
Meet the lauded and vibrant voices of British Latinx writers at this discussion and reading
Malcolm Gladwell, journalist
7:30 pm
Mon 25 Nov 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 25 Nov 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Dive into the many facets of why we misread other people with the bestselling author and journalist
Dive into the many facets of why we misread other people with the bestselling author and journalist
Nadiya Hussain, baker and television presenter
7:30 pm
Sun 01 Dec 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 01 Dec 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The Bake Off winner celebrates the publication of her memoir in her own warm, honest and humorous way
The Bake Off winner celebrates the publication of her memoir in her own warm, honest and humorous...
An audience at the Women of the World Festival
10:00 am
Fri 06 Mar 2020
10:00 am | Fri 06 Mar 2020
talks & debates
courses & workshops
Dive into a day of talks and workshops exploring the most vital issues facing women and girls today
Dive into a day of talks and workshops exploring the most vital issues facing women and girls today
Discussion panel at the Women of the World Festival
10:00 am
Sat 07 Mar 2020
10:00 am | Sat 07 Mar 2020
talks & debates
courses & workshops
All are invited to a day of events tackling the subjects that matter most to women and girls today
All are invited to a day of events tackling the subjects that matter most to women and girls today
Ira Glass, radio personality
7:30 pm
Sat 16 May 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 16 May 2020
talks & debates
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process

Pages

highlights

25 Sep
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian

Randall Munore

Image Credit 
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Randall Munroe, cartoonist
7 Oct
talks & debates
accessible events
Open up new dimensions on the everyday in this talk by the webcomic creator and author
see all events

blog: talks & debates

podcast
Dissect the making and unmaking of civilisations and cultures with Akala and David Olusoga
story
The best-selling writer and essayist discusses finding her place in feminism, intersectionality and grappling with pop culture