The 2009 Battle of Ideas will finish with a question time session, where five of the festival speakers will be asked to name the two biggest challenges they think society will face over the next year, before taking questions from the audience.
The Battle of Ideas is more than a "talking shop," or even a festival. It's a declaration: that ideas matter and it's time to get serious. If we are really to shape the future through debate, however, we need to think about challenges beyond the festival weekend itself. As the aim of the festival is to understand the world with a view to changing it for the better, we need to identify the key social trends affecting every aspect of life, without getting bogged down in the minutiae of everyday policy.
Speakers and audience alike are asked to initiate a conversation that will carry on over the coming year about what matters and what needs to be investigated, interrogated and challenged.
James Boyle is the former controller of BBC Radio 4, founder of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, and chair of British Council Scotland.
Claire Fox is the director of the Institute of Ideas (IoI), which she established to create a public space where ideas can be contested without constraint.
Fox initiated the IoI while co-publisher of the current affairs journal LM magazine (formerly Living Marxism). The IoI has since worked with a variety of prestigious institutions in Britain and abroad.
Fox is a panelist on BBC Radio 4's "The Moral Maze" and is regularly invited to comment on developments in culture, education and the media on TV and radio. Fox writes regularly for national newspapers and a range of specialist journals. Fox has a monthly column in the Municipal Journal.
Anthony Horowitz is the author and creator of the novels Alex Rider and Power of Five, as well as the creator and screenwriter of "Midsomer Murders," "Foyle's War" and "Collision." Additionally, Horowitz is a journalist and a critic.
Susan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universitat Berlin, and taught philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University.
She is the author of Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant, Evil in Modern Thought and Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists 2008.
James Panton is a tutor in politics at St John's College, Oxford and co-convenor of the Battle of Ideas. He is co-founder of the Manifesto Club and sits on the steering committee of Pro-Test, the Oxford-based group which campaigns in defense of vivisection.
Panton's research looks at historical and contemporary debates around ideas of politics, democracy and rights. He is currently working on a research project investigating changing conceptions of the public and the private in post-war political thinking in the UK and the USA, and is writing a book investigating elite attitudes to political apathy in the 20th century.
Panton writes and comments regularly in the media on issues around vivisection, politics and education, and is the author of a number of academic articles on politics, education and the state of intellectual life in the 21st century. He is the editor of a forthcoming book on contemporary attitudes to science, Science and Superstititon: the case for a new scientific enlightenment (Policy Exchange, 2006).
Panton previously taught politics and sociology at Lady Margaret Hall and Exeter College, Oxford. He has held a number of awards, most recently Carlyle Scholar in the History of Ideas in the Modern History Faculty, University of Oxford. From 2003 to 2004 James was national co-ordinator of the Institute of Ideas and Pfizer Debating Matters schools debating competition. In January 2004 he established the IoI Post-Graduate Forum, an interdisciplinary research group for post-graduate students working in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Dr. Katherine Rake
Dr. Katherine Rake is CEO of Family and Parenting Institute.