Telling New Stories

Telling New Stories

How do we live with technology without being dominated by it? How do we cherish democracy but avoid the tyranny of the majority? And how do we reap the benefits of globalisation without losing our identities? We need new stories to guide us through the complex maze of modernity. This strand brings together a dazzling array of world-leading thinkers to help find them.

We have collaborated with a range of partners: with The Policy Institute at King’s College London to interrogate notions of trust, democracy, mental health and Brexit; with the Disasters Emergency Committee to look at international aid, climate crisis and humanitarianism; and with author and social activist Hilary Cottam, to interrogate the so-called ‘5th industrial revolution’ with radical re-imaginings of our economic, social and cultural futures. Finally, in an exciting new partnership with The New York Times, we examine some modern-day challenges: the environment, gender, human rights and the role of China.

Bobby Duffy

Outside the Echo Chamber

Wednesday 21 August 15:45 - 16:45

We’re quick to blame fake news and the web for our post-truth age, but perhaps we just don’t know the facts about the world around us. That’s what Bobby Duffy, director of King's College London's Policy Institute, suggests in The Perils of...

Children's Mental Health

Is the UK Facing a Crisis?

Wednesday 21 August 19:30 - 21:00

Almost 400,000 children a year are being treated for mental health problems and estimates suggest over 100,000 British 14 year olds are self-harming. An apparent increase has sparked reports of a crisis, but could it be that improved understanding has...

Will Storr with Charles Fernyhough

Twisting Tales Through History

Thursday 22 August 15:45 - 16:45

Storytelling is a human gift that’s been handed down for thousands of years. In The Science of Storytelling Will Storr, the AIB International Award-winning journalist and popular novelist, speculates on whether humans should actually be better at this...

Suketu Mehta

A Manifesto on Free Movement

Thursday 22 August 19:15 - 20:15

Having been away from Edinburgh since 2010, when he brought the award-winning Maximum City, we’re thrilled to welcome Suketu Mehta back with This Land Is Our Land – an impassioned defence of global migration. The West, he argues, is being destroyed...

Trust in Crisis: Fact or Fiction?

Have We Lost All Trust?

Thursday 22 August 19:30 - 21:00

Bankers, clergy, journalists and politicians have all suffered crushing blows leading our trust in them to plummet. But the trends in trust are not what you might think from the headlines, so why do some groups talk up a perpetual ‘crisis of trust’?...

John Browne

Is the Future Bright?

Friday 23 August 15:45 - 16:45

Technological advancements have been speedier and more dangerous in the last 50 years than in several previous centuries combined, but former BP CEO John Browne thinks today’s engineering brains should be encouraged to keep innovating. Striving to...

Deliberative Democracy

The Real 'People's Vote'?

Friday 23 August 19:30 - 21:00

Brexit has laid bare the flaws of representative democracy and binary referenda for complex issues. People’s sense of separation from the political process helped drive the Brexit vote. Could greater use of deliberative democracy, through Citizen...

Paul Mason

Man vs Machine

Friday 23 August 20:30 - 21:30

Faith in technological progress has verged on religious, but recently our trust in many things – truth, leadership, the digital world – has been badly dented. Paul Mason senses catastrophe. The popular political commentator thinks we need a humanist...

Pete Etchells

Game On

Saturday 24 August 12:15 - 13:15

According to some people, video games are a threat to both our physical and mental health. Psychology lecturer and video games researcher Pete Etchells does not hold that view. Instead, he believes they can be of great benefit to individuals and, in his...