Monday, 3 November 2014

BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking at Sage Gateshead

The Limits of Knowledge - Radio 3's Festival of ideas at the Sage Gateshead

With so many options of interesting events to go to as part of the Festival of Ideas programme at The Sage, Gateshead, I initially decided to choose one that would give me an insight into many of the 'thinkers' of today. 

Listed as, 'Speed Dating' with New Generation Thinkers, the programme took the format of a speed dating night. There were 8 tables, at which 8 thinkers were sat, one at each table. Audience members were asked to sit at a table with a 'New Generation Thinker', so all of the thinkers had at least one member of the audience to converse with. The thinker was given 1 minute to explain their idea to the member(s) of the audience sat with them at the table. A noise was made to signal the end of the first minute, and then the audience were given 2 minutes to ask questions to the thinker about their idea. The beat of a drum signalled the end of the allotted time, and then the audience were asked to move in an anti-clockwise direction to the next table where the same process happened. We made our way round the 8 tables, and at the end had to vote for the thinker that we believed had the best idea. It was a really interesting exercise, and there were a varied collection of ideas. Here they are (in the order that I encountered them in):

1. Alasdair Cochrane - get rid of predators

2. Tiffany Watt-Smith - get rid of the term love, and break it down into its 6 constituent parts like the ancient greeks:
Eros, or sexual passion
Philia, or deep friendship
Ludus, or playful love
Agape, or love for everyone
Pragma, or longstanding love
Philautia, or love of the self
The rationale behind this idea is that there would be more love if we accepted or recognised love in all these parts rather than focusing purely on romantic love, and the notion that if you are single, it means there is something wrong with you.

3. Tom Charlton - Books on bikes (a mobile library)

4. Alun Withey - re-introduce public humiliation as a form of punishment i.e. criminals have to make a public apology to the masses

5. Will Abberley - get rid of all rules of English spelling so that misspelled words are not frowned upon, but merely seen as a creative way of spelling a given word. 

6. Naomi Paxton - give a free moon cup and training on how to use it to every female adolescent

7. Preti Taneja - ban public funding being spent on exporting Shakespeare as an English cultural icon, and allow other countries to have their own interpretation of the Shakespeare text

8. Jo Cohen - teach children manners in primary schools

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