The Battle of Ideas is an initiative of the Institute of Ideas
(click on the logo to find out more about the Institute of Ideas)
in partnership with:
Royal College of Art
Research Councils UK
Arts & Business
BDP (Building Design Partnership)
General Teaching Council for England (GTCE)
European Dana Alliance for the Brain
Royal College of Music
The Poetry Society
Generation Youth Issues
The Future Cities Project
Sovereignty and its Discontents
Centre for Death and Society
Body & Soul
with thanks to:
Reuters Fellowship Programme at the Reuters Institute, University of Oxford
Save Kids TV
School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London
Dr Eliot Forster vice president of development, Pfizer, says:
'Pfizer is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2006 Battle of Ideas, a festival which enables the exploration of new ideas, innovative research and academic trends, and examines the social and cultural climate in which they take place. New ideas and innovative research are commonplace in Pfizer - they are essential steps in the discovery and development of new medicines. Every research programme begins with a new idea about how a disease might be tackled. Innovative research, in both the lab and the clinic, leads to new medicines for patients. This 12 year process of innovation involves much debate and, very often, the reappraisal or abandonment of ideas. Tough though this is, it is a reality of advancing scientific understanding and medical progress. At Pfizer, our researchers and doctors frequently have their assumptions challenged and have to think of new ways to tackle a disease. We believe the lively debate that takes place at the Battle of Ideas prompts people to rethink their assumptions and consider a fresh perspective - something that can only help in the search for solutions to some of the problems society faces.'
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling rector, the Royal College of Art, says:
'In a world where joined-up thinking is often invoked but seldom happens, the Battle of Ideas likes to dig into many of our most important themes - education, creativity, innovation, community - and give them a good shake-up. The Royal College of Art hosted last year's event, which was a terrific success. We felt - and feel - that the RCA offers a highly appropriate environment for this - a heady mixture of cutting-edge creativity and innovation, educational excellence and interdisciplinarity, with a student body from over 40 countries. The College has long been described as a creative hothouse, an ideas factory, an incubator for the themes of tomorrow, which is why we're particularly pleased to be hosting the Battle of Ideas for a second time. This is what the College is about; trying new things in an atmosphere that permits experimentation, relishes cross-fertilisation of ideas and disciplines, and tries to achieve the very highest outcome possible, whether in practice or in research. Just think of the mixture of delegates the conference will attract: academics and practitioners, political activists and polemicists, journalists and creatives, intellectuals and businesspeople. We're the ideal location, given the College's unparalleled reputation as a worldclass postgraduate institution of art and design.'
George Brock Saturday editor, The Times, says:
'The Times is proud and happy to support the Battle of Ideas because this conference does what it says on the tin. People come to provoke, to be provoked, to proselytize, to prosecute (ideas, not people), to promote, to prod new ideas into life, to predict, to puncture prejudice and to philosophise. Speakers are encouraged to cross intellectual frontiers and audiences are encouraged to upstage the speakers. Be warned: your mind may expand. Join the debate.'
Catherine Ewert acting director, strategic planning and communication, Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, says:
'As the UK's strategic science investment agency, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council is delighted to be sponsoring the innovation strand of the Battle of Ideas. At PPARC, our programme is all about finding answers to the big questions such as "What is the Universe made of?" and "Are we alone in the Universe?". By looking beyond the scientific quest to exploit the knowledge, technology and skills arising from PPARC-funded research, we deliver benefits that reach further than the fields of particle physics and astronomy, into areas as diverse as healthcare, security and computer games.
We hope that our involvement in this year's Battle of Ideas will attract a wide variety of people to engage in discussions about the value of our work to the economy and society in general as well as providing an opportunity to find out more about the science that we support.'
Ruth Welters events manager, NERC, says:
'With environmental issues coming to the top of the agenda the Natural Environment Research Council is pleased to support the innovative techniques of the Battle of Ideas. This is a great way to reach new audiences who want to go beyond the science to consider some of the issues that affect us all.'
Claire Varley events officer, Arts and Humanities Research Council, says:
'The Battle of Ideas has rapidly become a key event for discussing important, intellectually urgent issues, which are all too often marginalized in the mainstream media. The Arts and Humanities Research Council is supportive of this event as it helps to ensure that the major cultural, scientific, intellectual and social challenges of our time remain at the forefront of debate. The always impressive speaker line-up is underpinned by a genuine commitment to the importance of audience participation, which also makes it an unrivaled opportunity for grassroots discussion.
Each year the Arts & Humanities Research Council provides approximately £90 million to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,500 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.'
Jonathan Tuchner director of press and public affairs, Arts & Business, says:
'Arts & Business aspires to be the world's most successful and widespread creative network. We help business people support the arts and the arts inspire business people, because good business and great art enrich society. Since 1976, Arts & Business has been the first port of call for the cultural community, enabling arts and businesses to develop effective, creative partnerships. Arts & Business welcomes public debate and conversations which place the arts centre stage. We respond well to compelling ideas and insights. We are going into Battle to fight for a new sexiness, a renewed purpose and a deeper understanding of arts and business partnerships.'
Sheri Besford Building Design Partnership, says:
'We especially like the idea that while it is a Battle, the aim is not for one side to win but that we are all winners if we get a glimpse of another way of thinking. Moving away from familiar and often entrenched opinions, however well-informed, and being encouraged or even caused to see another's view, explore or simply to think, must be the way of progress. In a world where many of us just "go with the flow" we are glad and excited to be associated with an event that challenges.'
Robert Byrne media relations manager, Camelot, says:
'Camelot exists to raise funds for ideas. More than £18.6 billion has been raised since the National Lottery was launched in 1994, and that money has been used for more than 238,000 individual awards.
Those awards help make ideas reality - from big ideas like the Eden Project and Tate Modern, to smaller ones like the refurbishment of village halls.
Millions of ideas jostle for the lottery cash that's available from the independent lottery distributers, so the Battle of Ideas feels like familiar territory for Camelot. That's why we're delighted to be supporting this year's event.'
Nathalie Rothschild public relations officer, cScape, says:
'Last year’s Battle of Ideas festival put forward a range of forceful challenges to current conventions in the spheres of science, politics and the arts. We at cScape look forward to more of the same at this year’s event. We support the defence of experimentation as intrinsic to modern life. The past decade’s exciting developments in computing and communication technologies have transformed our everyday lives and we at cScape would like them to be put to creative ends that benefit human development. The Battle of Ideas is at the forefront of public debate in Britain and it encourages a society in which technological and scientific progress is embraced rather than frowned upon. That’s why cScape is delighted to support it for the second year running.'
Fiona Johnson director of communications, General Teaching Council for England, says:
'The General Teaching Council is vwry pleased to be supporting the 2006 Battle of Ideas. Last year, we found that the education debates were lively and stimulating, so we have come back for more. The weekend conference gives us access to a different audience, with an interesting mix of students and professionals from many backgrounds. This year's education debates, on parental involvement and on pupil voice, are hot topics and we hope they will generate both light and heat.'
Tony Matharu managing director, Grange Hotels, says:
'In a world where, despite great past sacrifices, it appears that the lessons of history have not been learned and where the views of large numbers of people are selectively ignored and/or deliberately misrepresented by our 'leaders" it is essential to the global community that innovative thinking and philosophical debate are encouraged and that this assists in stimulating change. The Battle of Ideas provides hope and an exciting opportunity for creative thought and intelligent dialogue to replace the narrow vision and often ill-conceived self interest of those for whom political expediency dictates their thought and actions. We have all witnessed the reactions of those who feel threatened and/or who perceive injustice. We welcome innovative thought, improved understanding and the opportunities which spring from intelligent dialogue to overcome the great challenges of our time. In an increasingly interdependent world where travel and improved communication already do much to improve our knowledge and understanding, inclusive debate and joined up creative thought can provide a catalyst for meaningful and timely change - and hope for us all.'
Pierre Magistretti vice-chairman, European Dana Alliance for the Brain, says:
'The Battle of Ideas will challenge the minds of academics and the public alike, working through concepts that we all need to get a grip on, yet so often are thwarted by lack of information. The debates will prepare us all better by allowing an exchange of views with people who hold very different opinions. The European Dana Alliance for the Brain is an organisation that promotes brain research through its network of leading neuroscientists participating in international programmes of public events and activities. We are, therefore, delighted to be involved with "Human Enhancement: Creating Superhumans or Dicing with Our Destinies?" This session will explore how we seek to improve ourselves, what is acceptable and what should be avoided. Understanding the brain is one of the final frontiers of science and promises to help millions of people worldwide. Manipulating brains is not new, but today's pace of science, medicine and technology produces a whole host of controversies that we must keep up with and work out how the science should be applied to best effect. This in itself has given rise to "neuroethics": the ethics of brain research. The Battle of Ideas is a great forum to air some of these difficult dilemmas.'
David Soskin CEO, Cheapflights.co.uk, says:
'I am delighted to be taking part in the Battle of Ideas this year - this forum gives academics and experts from business and industry the opportunity to put forward ideas and relevant evidence on many issues that affect us all - not only in this country but globally. It is particularly important that we are not collectively pressured by single issue groups into actions whose effects, if implemented without broader debate, might precipitate knock-on harmful and wider consequences. By debating the broader picture, we at least create the opportunity to avoid such pitfalls.'
Susan Sturrock head of communications, Royal College of Music, says:
'The Royal College of Music is delighted to be involved with the 2006 Battle of Ideas. Music is the universal voice that expresses current concerns and explores future development, a language that can both stimulate or soothe. Engaging in innovative and sometimes uncomfortable debate about arts, sciences, current affairs and politics is the lifeblood of our artform and we look forward to making a contribution to this important event.'
'Tiscali's mission is 'to empower people, promoting equality through access to the internet'. Community and discussion forums are a big part of what we offer, and we think the Battle of Ideas is a fantastic way to kick off intelligent and open debates about a wide range of subjects. We also hope we can continue some of those discussions online after the event.'
Monami Bose marketing manager, BT Openzone, says:
'BT is delighted to be supporting this year's Battle of Ideas. At BT, oru focus is investigating how technology can improve the way we work, talk and play, as well as thinking imaginatively about how our future generations will communicate. Any forum which is genuinely committed to creating new ideas and exploring innovation is something we're keen to back.'
'The Poetry Society supports the Battle of Ideas because it supports the spokespeople of the future: young minds, young poets.'
Thomas Deichmann editor, Novo magazine says:
'Novo magazine has been tackling the real issues of German politics for more than a decade. Inoffensive conformism has become the dominant feature of discussion in most Western countries. It is therefore time to open the debate and look beyond the narrow realms of national concerns - and join the Battle of Ideas in London.'
Dan Travis director, OverTheNet, says:
'OverTheNet attempts to give young children the best possible start in sport. We believe in excellence in performance by encouraging children to aim as high as they can. Our attempts to achieve these aims are continually hampered by a culture of limits and mean-spiritedness towards competition. Child safety has become the priority of sports providers. This situation leads to a climate where achievement takes a backseat to protection. The Battle of Ideas will provide a forum to tackle the poisonous assumption that the adult-child relationship needs constant and ever expanding intervention. Such debates will help to challenge these attitudes that act as a barrier to introducting children to all that is best about being human.'
Stuart Waiton director, Generation Youth Issues, says:
'Generation Youth Issues was set up a decade ago to campaign against the growing regulation of young people. Over the years it has become increasingly clear that the 'regulation' of everyday life is increasing, but also that the forms this takes are also expanding. From CCTV to the growing child safety industry, the public and private lives of children and teenagers are today under more intense political scrutiny than at any time.
Various critics oppose the rise of ASBO's and surveillance in society but there is a often little said about the impact of 'child safety' on young people and communities, and less still about about how to create a pro-social society. The first step must be to develop ideas that can help understand society and at the very least repose the way the social problems we all face are understood. This is how those of us at Generation see the Battle of Ideas - as a starting point for a critical debate than can question the way young people and communities are understood.'
Ceri Dingle director, WORLDwrite, says:
'WORLDwrite is excited at the prospect of another highly stimulating Battle of IDeas after last year's phenomenal event. The chance to engage in such a high and ambitious level of debate provides a rare opportunity to critically address contemporary concerns and challenge prevailing assumptions. We are proud to support this unique venture and look forward to consuming the brain food it provides immensely.'
Austin Williams director, The Future Cities Project, says:
'It was obvious why we wanted to sponsor a session in this year's Battle of Ideas festival and surely anyone that came to last year's event would understand. To be able to play a part in producing and sponsoring such critically important discussions in an influential event such as this is a rare opportunity. We simply jumped at the chance. It's as simple as that.'
Philip Cunliffe co-convenor, Sovereignty and its Discontents, says:
'After our successful collaboration with the Institute of Ideas at last year's Battle of Ideas, we decided that we had to be involved in this year's Battle as well. The Battle of Ideas is simply the best place to have sophisticaed and pertinent political discussions on the key international issues of the day.'
Mick Hume editor, spiked, says:
'spiked's motto is "Question Everything". The Battle of Ideas seems the perfect place to raise some of the big questions that aren't being asked today. That is why we are delighted to be the online sponsor.'