Daleks, martians, statues, Vikings and intoxication: Cambridge Festival of Ideas returns for 2011

By Culture24 Reporter | 19 October 2011
A photo of a man talking into a microphone
Richard Dawkins discusses The Magic of Reality at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, headlining a typically imaginative line-up for the annual programme of discovery
Festival: Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, October 19-30 2011

Headline-grabbing star name Michael Moore may have cancelled his scheduled appearance at the Festival of Ideas but, in reality, the University of Cambridge's annual swapshop of intellectualism is always worth digging deeper into the schedule for.

If you haven't already booked tickets for Tim Minchin and Richard Dawkins then their appearances are already sold out, so there are no excuses for not finding out how our modern experiences of getting sozzled have been 400 years in the making, taking a guided wander around 600 lifesized casts of Greek and Roman statues (complete with trails for children) or discovering the revelation we knew all along - that culture can make you well - in a talk referencing Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point and the current controversy surrounding NHS reforms.

A family-friendly Big Draw tours a quintet of leading museums, or you can play your part in Poseiden, a growing dress made of corals on the edge of extinction under the stewardship of artists Fleur Howle and Anna Cocciadiferro.

History highlights include an exhibition on the proud but turbulent history of Kenya, tours of the Cambridge American Cemetery, displays of British satirical prints from the French revolution and an afternoon devoted to the violent warriors of Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain featuring recent insights into recent archaeological discoveries on the Norsemen.

Other highlights include a mass sculptural intervention around the streets of the academic city, insights into the philosophy of Daleks and martians, short talks aimed at empowering your efforts to become the next poet laureate and the Science Xchange, an all-dayer at the Guildhall hinting at the possibility of a public science centre in Cambridge and hosting a multi-player human machine sending a chain reaction around its participants.

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