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Theme: The Curious Evolution of Us

Why do we feel transported to the past by a familiar smell? Why do we worry so much? Do old-fashioned cleaning methods really work? And just why do men skim stones? Join us for enlightening and entertaining talks about humanity's curious evolution. 

What's on

Sat
18
Jun

The Origin of Shared Feelings

Many of our strongest feelings are shared with others – we feel a mutual sense of grief at the passing of a loved one, compassion for suffering, awe and inspiration in what we find beautiful, or elevated by music. When and why did we develop a capacity to feel such intense shared emotions? Join leading international specialists from Philosophy and Archaeology as they debate the origins of our shared feelings.

Tue
14
Jun

How to be a Lazy Guru

Join Laurence Shorter, author of The Lazy Guru, as he explains his philosophy of enlightened relaxation, creativity and flow. In this entertaining talk you will learn how to connect with your inner lazy guru and achieve more by doing less - with practical tips on how to get back into flow in every aspect of your life. A cartoon guide to mindfulness that is suitable for adults and children alike.

Tue
14
Jun

How to be English

English culture is confused, muddled and often borrowed. Join David Boyle, author of How to Be English, for a complete grounding in the idiosyncrasies of the English. From the Beatles and Big Ben, to meat pies and allotments, David pins down the absurdities and warmth of Englishness at this best. Come along and celebrate bell-ringers and Morris dancers, bowler hats and cardigans.

Fri
10
Jun

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

Sara Pascoe, one of the most talented voices in stand-up, has consistently tackled femininity and the media’s portrayal of women. Join Sara for an entertaining evening as she talks about her first book, Animal: An Autobiography of the Female Body. Through a combination of autobiography and evolutionary history, she looks at how the female body has been oppressed, fetishised or misunderstood throughout history.

Fri
10
Jun

Classical Music Redefined: 1000 Years in 40 Minutes

Classic FM’s breakfast show presenter Tim Lihoreau lifts the lid on a brave new idea: nothing short of a brand new language for classical music. A light-hearted guide through the world of thrusheltons (manic lunge movement of a conductor which spatters beads of sweat onto the first desk of the strings) and botffari (the feeling of numbness experienced by the oratorio bass soloist who is only in one of the 78 movements)!

Wed
8
Jun

What if …? Worrying and the Modern World

Why do we worry? Where did it come from? Why is the word itself only known to us in its current meaning from the middle of the 19th century? Francis O’Gorman, author of Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History, will examine the short history of worrying as a product of the busy, individual-centred world that modern capitalism has created.

Wed
8
Jun

Why Men Skim Stones: A Guide to Modern Man

Journalist and writer Chris Windle answers some vital questions about modern man: why do men use satnav if they don’t trust it? Why can they sometimes be found weeing as high as they can up a wall? Using the knowledge he gathered in a completely unscientific manner while writing his book, Why Men Skim Stones, let him take you on a journey through man’s foibles.

Wed
8
Jun

Spit and Polish

Lucy Lethbridge’s most recent book was inspired by her researches into the lives of servants. In Spit and Polish: Old Fashioned Ways to Banish Dirt, Dust and Decay, she unearths traditional ways to clean and maintain the home – most of them surprisingly easy, remarkably cheap and healthily ecological. Using memoirs, advice books and old wives’ tales, Spit and Polish breathes new life into old knowledge.

Tue
7
Jun

MAN UP: Boys, Men and Breaking the Male Rules

We live in a man’s world, so why do many boys and men fail to flourish? Politics, the media and business are all male-dominated, yet so too are prisons, school exclusions and suicides. Join Rebecca Asher, author of Man Up, as she argues that harmful male stereotypes lie at the heart of the problems that men experience – and create. So, it is in all our interests to enable boys and men to be free to be who they want to be.

Tue
7
Jun

Experiencing the Past

How often do you find yourself transported back to the past by a familiar sight, smell, object or even a poem or story? Join us for an event which promises to help us to understand how the past ‘comes alive’ from contrasting perspectives – that of philosophy, archaeology and poetry. Be prepared to be transported to past worlds!

Festival themes