St Geroge’s House, Windsor Castle Festival of Ideas – 21 – 24 June 2016

Windsor Castle at Sunset - Nov 2006

Distinguished speakers. Topical issues. Unique location at St George’s House, Windsor Castle this June.

Next month St George’s House, Windsor Castle marks its 50th Anniversary with a series of lectures and seminars on topics of national and international significance. The Festival of Ideas will run from 21st to 24th June in celebration of this unique organisation dedicated to nurturing wisdom through dialogue.

Europe, Liberty, Education and Shakespeare are the issues. Mervyn King, Shami Chakrabarti, Melissa Benn, Patrick Derham and Rowan Williams are the speakers. Experience the work of St George’s House at first-hand at our evening lectures or day-long seminars.

Lectures (in St George’s Chapel)

Tuesday 21 June 7pm UK Education: Is it fair and fit for purpose?

What sort of education do we want for our children? Does the current system offer equality of opportunity? Is it fit for purpose? Melissa Benn an outspoken campaigner for comprehensive education will debate the current state of the UK’s education system with Patrick Derham, Head Master of Westminster School. Broadcaster Martin Stanford will chair the discussion of this vital issue.


Wednesday 22 June 7pm Europe: Economics and Politics?

As the nation prepares to go the polls who better to take a considered view of the stakes than Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England? Lord King will look at the Leave or Remain question in depth. What is best for Britain? What are the implications of Brexit? Is our future inexorably tied to our European neighbours?


Thursday 23 June 7pm On Liberty

From the moment the planes flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11, human rights have been at the forefront of civic discourse. Are those rights in peril? Are our democratic institutions under threat? What is the relationship between human rights and a flourishing democracy?


Shami Chakrabarti, until recently Director of Liberty and currently chairing the Labour Party’s Anti-Semitism Inquiry, tackles these questions head-on in a lecture that has the potential to be as controversial as it is topical.


Friday 24 June 6.30pm Reflections on Shakespeare


While St George’s House celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, 2016 also marks Shakespeare 400. This evening’s lecture honours our greatest playwright. Lauded across the globe, Shakespeare’s plays are as relevant today as when they were written. He is in every sense a public playwright.


In this evening’s lecture, Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, gives a very personal perspective on the work of the man from Stratford-upon-Avon.


Seminars (in Vicars’ Hall, Windsor Castle)

Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd 10am – 4.30pm

Why not be a part of a St George’s House seminar during the Festival of Ideas? Taking each evening’s lecture as its theme, this is an opportunity to look in depth at the issues involved. Limited to thirty participants, each seminar will begin with short provocations from experts in the field.


These will set the scene for plenary discussions and group work throughout the day. Experienced facilitators will lead the sessions. Refreshments, including a two-course lunch, will be provided. The seminars will finish by 4.30pm to enable participants to attend Evensong in St George’s Chapel at 5.15pm, followed by the Festival of Ideas Lecture at 7pm.


Seminar leaders:

Tuesday 21 June – the state of Education in the UK

Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of Independent Schools Council,

John Abbott, Director of 21st Century Learning Initiative


Wednesday 22 June – Britain in Europe

Laura Sandys, Chair of European Movement UK and CEO of Challenging Ideas,

Stuart Coster, Director of the Democracy Movement


Thursday 23 June – Personal freedom, security and human rights in a democracy

Douglas Murray, Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society

Matthew Rice, Advocacy Officer at Privacy International


Festival of Ideas is in Windsor Castle, Tuesday 21 – Friday 24 June 2016.

Tickets and information:

Lectures: £15

Seminars (including lunch): £40

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