Jacqueline Wilson and snake charming in Festival of Ideas at University of Cambridge

By Ben Miller | 14 September 2010
A photo of a woman working on an archaeological artefact
Archaeological workshops at the Festival of Ideas
Festival: Festival of Ideas, various venues, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, October 20-31 2010

"The Festival of Ideas is a window on the world in which we live," muses organiser Nicky Buckley ahead of the third year of the arts, humanities and social sciences foray.

"It allows us to travel through time. You can find out what it was like to live through the War of the Roses or the trenches of the First World War. We have talks on cyberdissidence in the Middle East and the potential for nuclear crisis with North Korea. It gives people the chance to find out about the sort of things we're interested in without having to take any exams."

A photo of a woman sitting in a chair looking at the camera
Author Jacqueline Wilson is one of the guest speakers
There are 56 venues to take in during this year's campaign, offering almost 200 events which are mostly free of charge. Hugely popular author Jacqueline Wilson makes an appearance on the opening Saturday, and Princeton University's Professor Linda Colley discusses the changing face of the British constitution in the annual Mark Pigott Lecture.

Other highlights include the first major retrospective of John Cage at Kettle's Yard, an interactive competition to try and run the economy better than our politicians and talks on everything from Spanish poets in 1930s Cambridge to Let us be Naked, an examination of the Japanese Meiji government’s attempts to outlaw nudity, sudo performance and snake charming.

Italian film, female art in Jamaica, archaeological workshops and a matrimonial talk by the Guardian's Lucy Mangan epitomise the disparate nature of the programme.

"Serious research lies behind these debates and lectures, constantly changing and rearranging the world as we know it," adds Buckley. "We're confident there is something for everyone, no matter what their age or interests."

Visit the online programme for full details.
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