Malvern Festival of Ideas 2024 – Telling Tales

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The programme for the 2024 Malvern Festival of Ideas has been launched. The title for 2024 is Telling Tales which explores the power of storytelling, both in the narratives themselves but also in the ideas they convey. Stories have the remarkable ability to introduce, explore, and propagate ideas in a compelling and impactful way. We hear from individuals who have a powerful personal story to tell as well as storytellers who explore thought-provoking themes that tackle societal issues and examine the human condition.

Featuring leading figures from academia, politics, activism and entertainment, the programme also includes a young people and family programme of education, storytelling, art and science.

Chris Packham opens the festival with the epic 4-billion-year story of the place we call home, the Earth.

Saturday’s programme opens with writer and former Irish politician Máiría Cahill who recounts the harrowing story of her life and of what she went through at the hands of what is now Ireland’s largest and richest party in Rough Justice. British academic and author specialising in Black Studies, Kehinde Andrews, speaks on living in a racist world in The Psychosis of Whiteness. Serlina Boyd, founder of Cocoa, the UK’s first black children’s magazines, speaks about the children’s magazine she launched in Giving black children a voice. Journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown delves into the human side of migration and asylum seeking with the Stories of Migrants and Asylum Seekers, shifting the focus from statistics to stories.

There is a full range of activities for young people, aimed at specific age groups, as well as family sessions. These include young people telling their own story, crash debating, and art workshops as well as storytelling with renowned storytellers Peter Chand and Michael Harvey. The Council of the World’s Animals with Rosemary Webb is an interactive session for children who want to make a difference in the world.

A highlight of the family programme is Professor Ben Garrod, presenter, author, and speaker, with extensive expertise in great ape conservation and evolutionary biology. Ben is known for his Extinct books and his latest series Ultimate Dinosaurs. He asks Why do some species go extinct and what can we do to save endangered species?

A programme for school-age children takes place on the Friday in which best-selling English author Onjali Raúf tells her story.

Sunday’s programme begins with Danielle Hindley and Alice Watkins from HackedOff speaking on the damage done when targeted by a national newspaper. Founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina Cantacuzino, speaks of the power of ‘restorative narratives’ to transform lives. Graphic novelist, Kate Evans, provides her perspective on many aspects of the national and international migration crisis. Liz Johnson and Abdullah Tamo are in conversation about Abdullah’s experiences resettling in Malvern having left his war-torn home in Syria and living in an Iraqi refugee camp for six years.

Additional sessions on Saturday and Sunday will explore the Festival’s theme in different ways.

Chair of the Steering Group, John Gill, said, ‘This year we have a very exciting and varied programme. It is a wonderful event for the community. In addition to a very full programme of talks, conversations and performance and we have a full programme for a younger audience and some smaller sessions where participants can explore the themes of the weekend in different ways. We also have an event for school-age children with the author Onjali Raúf’.

Malvern Festival of Ideas takes place 1-3 March 2024. Tickets and further details of the programme are available from the website or email [email protected] or telephone 01684 565708

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