Intelligence Squared

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      Rembrandt Vs Vermeer: The Titans of Dutch Painting

      (For a list of all paintings referenced by Simon Schama and Tracy Chevalier in this talk please go to: Rembrandt van Rijn is the best known of all the Dutch masters. His range was vast, from landscapes to portraits to Biblical scenes; he revolutionised every medium he handled, from oil paintings to etchings and drawings. His vision encompassed every element of life – the s...



      Psychiatrists & the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders

      Drug pushers. We tend to associate them with the bleak underworld of criminality. But some would argue that there’s another class of drug pushers, just as unscrupulous, who work in the highly respectable fields of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. And they deserve the same moral scrutiny that we apply to the drug pedlar on the street corner. Within the medical profession labels are increasingly being attached to everyday conditions previously thought to be beyond the remit of m...



      Hilton Als and Afua Hirsch on Race, Gender and Identity

      In March 2018, we recorded a special episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast at the Acast studio in east London. Pulitzer prize winning writer and chief theatre critic for The New Yorker Hilton Als was in conversation with Guardian columnist and author Afua Hirsch. In this wide ranging discussion, they talked about issues of race, gender, culture and identity, which were some of the themes explored in Als' recent book White Girls.  Image © Brigitte Lacombe ...



      Stop Brexit

      It’s time we came to to our senses. Brexit is a disaster and must be stopped. Leave campaigners promised our exit from the European Union would herald a glorious new era – the sunlit uplands of ‘global Britain’, with new trade deals signed in a matter of months and an extra £350 million per week for the NHS. But what do we have today? Sterling has collapsed, Boris has been busy bungling in Brussels, and the government’s own leaked economic assessments show that leaving the EU will harm every ...



      If You Believe You Are a Citizen of the World, You Are A Citizen of Nowhere

      When Theresa May uttered these words at the Tory party conference in 2016, there was uproar. May was targeting the liberal establishment, who flit business class from Mayfair to Monaco, from Davos to Doha; those in positions of power, who, as May put it, ‘behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road’. But many people who don’t fit in this frequent flyer category felt under attack too. For this group, believing you are a citizen of th...


       2018-03-23  1h11m

      Disruption Ahead: Will Future Transport Systems Benefit Society Or Drive It Apart?

      A transport revolution in our cities is under way. Ride-sharing schemes, driverless cars and electric vehicles look set to bring us all kinds of benefits, such as lower pollution, faster flowing traffic and fewer accidents. But these benefits won’t just fall into our laps. What will we have to do to ensure that we reap the rewards of these changes and avoid potential pitfalls? Will technological change bring us closer together as a society or drive us further apart? Will we the consumers b...


       2018-03-16  1h4m

      The Power of Poetry, with William Sieghart, Jeanette Winterson and Helena Bonham Carter

      For 15 years, the power of the spoken word has been at the heart of Intelligence Squared’s mission. Argument and debate, we believe, can move, persuade and create real change. Now, in these anxious and divided times, we held a special event that celebrated the positive, transformative force of another kind of spoken word – poetry. William Sieghart told the extraordinary story of his bestselling book, The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and So...


       2018-03-09  1h34m

      Western Parents Don't Know How to Bring Up Their Children

      Why are there so many Chinese maths and music prodigies? Because Chinese mothers believe schoolwork and music practice come first, that an A-minus is a bad grade, that sleepovers, TV and computer games should never be allowed and that the only activity their children should be permitted to do are ones in which they can eventually win a medal - and that medal must be gold. These methods certainly seem to get results but do they make for the rounded individuals Western parents are striving...


       2018-03-02  1h9m

      The Left has right on its side

      Letís be honest. Itís the political Left that has societyís best interests at heart, that works for the good of all. It has always been the Left that has struggled to protect the weak from the strong, that has fought for workersí rights, for sexual and racial equality, for the welfare state. It is the Left that now challenges abuses of power by corporations and financial institutions. And it is the Left that seeks to build a world based on mutual respect, not individualistic self-seeking. It ...


       2018-02-23  1h10m

      James Rhodes And Armando Iannucci on the Transformative Power of Music

      In February 2018 Intelligence Squared brought Armando Iannucci and James Rhodes to our stage to discuss the transcendent power of music. Rhodes is known as the wild man of concert pianists. His approach to the piano is raw and unbridled, his tousled hair a whirl, his hands a blur over the keyboard – the diametric opposite to the composed figure in white tie and tails of classical music convention. He is as likely to play the Latitude pop music festival as the Albert Hall. His k...


       2018-02-16  1h11m