Battle of Ideas

Royal College of Art Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU

Now in its sixth year, the Academy of Ideas’ Battle of Ideas festival comprises 75 debates and satellite discussions confronting society’s big issues and unresolved questions. The Battle of Ideas affords the opportunity for some clear thinking, rational debate and agenda-setting. Above all, we hope it will be future-orientated, while retaining a healthy regard for the past achievements of humanity.

The Battle of Ideas aims to be the 21st century equivalent of Emerson’s ‘university of knowledges’. This is an appeal that we all become thoroughly modern scholars, a new generation of public intellectuals. It is not about being academic per se, and certainly not about being po-faced or over-earnest; we expect our attendees to be free thinkers with verve, passion and idealism, embodying a spirit of irreverent scepticism. As the name suggests, the Battle of Ideas rejects safe consensus. Taking ideas and ourselves seriously means questioning and criticising one another. It can mean saying the unsayable and challenging received wisdom. It certainly means holding true to the Battle of Ideas’ motto ‘Free Speech Allowed’.



Thursday 27 June:
Oxfordshire Championship at Oxford Union, in partnership with Magdalen College School and Oxford Festival of Arts

Friday 5 July:
North East Championship at Durham Sixth Form Centre


Find a list of all our previous championship events here.


Bernie Whelan, our DM coordinator, is raising money for Debating Matters. To stage one of our Championships for six to 12 teams costs £6,000. Find out more on Bernie’s Wonderful fundraising page.


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