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Festival of Ideas 2023

Festival of Ideas 2023

We want all members of our school community to embrace learning, to listen and to question, to share and to challenge.  Each year all pupils and staff take part in a Festival of Ideas on a particular theme, explored through a wide range of talks by visiting speakers with a variety of stories and life experiences to share.

This year’s Festival was based on the theme of ‘Security’, a term that resonates deeply with every individual, community and nation. As Head of Enrichment Jamie Ings writes:

In the contemporary world, the concept of security encompasses a broad spectrum of concerns, each interconnected and essential for the well-being of a population.  The programme of lectures has been designed to cover many of these angles and each speaker will bring a unique slant to the term.  I hope that all Canfordians will approach this year’s festival with the curiosity to embrace new ideas, the enthusiasm to share and discuss these ideas with their friends and teachers, and the resilience to have their ideas challenged in turn.

The speaker programme was certainly wide ranging.  From the security of our planet, with Laura Buckle discussing ‘Securing a sustainable future for the textile industry’, to multi award-winning astronomy author, writer and speaker Colin Stuart discussing the concept of time travel and how we may live on Mars in the future, along with OC David Cherrett concentrating on energy trading, challenging common views on the future of national energy supply as well as some of Greta Thunberg’s public statements.  Fourth and Fifth Form pupils listened to Major General Peter Williams discuss his life as a Cold War military spy and Sixth Form Scholars and Fifth Form Historians heard from Tim Bouverie, author of ‘Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War’. Pupils were inspired by Charlie Walker, an explorer and writer who specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions to develop an understanding of the world’s most remote communities. They also heard the story of Emmanuel Jal who started his life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s. He was eventually rescued by a British aid worker Emma McCune and smuggled to Kenya where he overcame a huge number of struggles to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. Three talented Sixth Form scholars delivered talks to various groups of Canfordians on topics that interest them, including Janae discussing ‘Are we too harsh on criminals?’ Jimmy exploring ‘The Enigma Code WW2’ and Bee talking about ‘North Korean Dictatorship’ A full list of the Festival of Ideas talk schedule can be found below, some also linked in with Black History Month schedule of events. A link to the Festival of Ideas programme can be found here: 

We are very grateful to all those who took the time to share their experiences with us during this year’s Festival.