HowTheLightGetsIn festival announces speaker line-up including Rory Stewart, Slavoj Zizek & Vince Cable

 HowTheLightGetsIn festival announces speaker line-up including Rory Stewart, Slavoj Zizek & Vince Cable

HowTheLightGetsIn features a world class speakers line-up

Following a sold-out debut in London in 2018, the IAI is delighted to announce that HowTheLightGetsIn is again returning to London. The world’s largest philosophy and music festival returns this September to Hampstead Heath in the idyllic setting of Kenwood HouseGardens, for a packed weekend of world changing ideas, music, comedy and culture – right in the heart of our capital city.

The full programme features over 50 debates and talks with 100 of the world’s leading thinkers, plus 40 music andcomedy acts across 8 stages.

First speakers announced for September include:

International Development Secretary and rising political star Rory Stewart, coming to HowTheLightGetsIn to debate the future of politics after his surprise shake-up of the Conservative leadership race.

Philosopher, sociologist and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek, screenwriter and presenter of  The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema andThe Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, who will be debating at HowTheLightGetsIn via video link.

Further speakers announced: Lib Dem Leader Vince Cable  /  economist and best-selling author of The Entrepreneurial State and The Value of Everything Mariana Mazzucato  /  Astronomer Royal Martin Rees  /  former Green Party leaderNatalie Bennett  /  co-founder of Novara Media and author of Fully Automated Luxury Communism Aaron Bastani  /  author of The Precariat and  founder of the Basic Income Earth Network Guy Standing  /  BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling  /  political theorist Chantal Mouffe  /  novelist, poet, playwright and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo  / author and parapsychology researcher Rupert Sheldrake   /   writer, critic and broadcaster Shahidha Bari   /  and many more

This year’s theme is Uncharted Territory. We’ll be exploring how to navigate the uncharted territory that we face on many fronts, from our everyday lives to the deepest philosophical puzzles, from the future of sexuality to the state of the nation. 

In 2018, due to overwhelming demand, HowTheLightGetsIn tickets sold out in record time. Festival ondoners expect this year to be no different. Pre-sale tickets for London 2019 have already sold out in under a week. Earlybird tickets are now on sale.

First Debates Include:

The End of Left And Right: since the French revolution we have divided politics into left and right, and our political parties with it.  But have traditional political categories lost their relevance, and is it time to move on from the old divide?

The Mystery of Life:Life is strangely puzzling. Genetics and evolution have combined to give us a seemingly detailed account of life on earth. But science remains uncertain, and theories abound, about just how it began. We don’t even have an agreed definition of what life is. As we explore the planets of the solar system researchers hope they will find evidence of life.  But would it be like life on earth?  And would be able to identify it as life at all? 

The Strange World: Once we assumed that reason and rationality would gradually uncover the truth.  But from quantum mechanics to set theory, positivism to deconstruction, paradox is found at the heart of our most revered theories. Is paradox an unavoidable consequence of human thought – or will we one day find our way out if we reason hard enough?

What’s Wrong With Us:Computers have the potential to analyse symptoms and determine what is wrong with us more accurately than ever before. Will this usher in a new era of diagnosis in which doctors are redundant?  Or is there something special about human analysis which computers can never match? 

Adventures in Space: A new age of space exploration is under way, led by billionaires and a space race between China and India. But should we applaud the return to grand adventure with the potential to replenish the planet’s depleted resources, or give up on our fantasies of conquering the moon, Mars and beyond?

The Godless World: Has religion really lost its relevance in modern life? Or, with our faith in progress and reason faltering, in a world in which the future seems increasingly precarious and uncertain, should we look to the spiritual afresh?

Founder of the IAI and festival director, Hilary Lawson said:  

“We’re delighted to be returning to London in September after our sell out first year in 2018. We’ve found at Kenwood on Hampstead Heath an escape from the urban status world, where festival goers can leave their anxieties behind and explore our world-beating programme of debates across philosophy, politics, science and the arts, discover the hottest new music acts, and laugh until their sides hurt with our indecently funny comedy line-up.”

Earlybird tickets for the full weekend are available from £98. All students and under 25s are eligible for a 30% discount. 

For tickets and details please visit

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