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The RA Festival of Ideas returns to the Royal Academy of Arts which brings together a variety of fascinating people in art, literature, film, design, dance and music for five days of discussion, debate and creative thinking in the Royal Academy’s Benjamin West Lecture Theatre.
The festival is rooted in the Royal Academy’s heritage of rigorous debate and will explore culture, creativity and critical thinking through a series of interviews, conversations and panel discussions, as well as classes in the RA’s historic Life Room.
Grayson Perry RA, one of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists, talks art, sex and creativity with psychotherapist Philippa Perry. Chaired by Tim Marlow, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language interpretation. (7pm)
Friday 3 May
Award-winning director Ken Loach talks to writer and critic Francine Stock about his 50-year career in film and the reactions his work has provoked, particularly in Britain. (12:30pm)
World renowned designer Sir Paul Smith discusses how the world constantly inspires him, leading him to look for ideas in everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. (2.30pm)
Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah talks to writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton about his lifelong passion for theatre and the joys and challenges of opening it up to wider audiences. (6.30pm)
Having composed his first song at the age of 9, Neil Tennant, the singing half of Pet Shop Boys speaks to BBC Radio 4 presenter John Wilson about pop, poetry and the art of song writing. (8.30pm)
Saturday 4 May
In Rewriting the past: Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse, two of the UK’s best-selling historical novelists, talk to the writer and broadcaster Alex Clark about their different approaches to exploring the past, and what the genre can reveal that eludes historians. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (1.30pm)
Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the RA Schools, Life drawing at the RA invites participants to follow in the footsteps of generations of artists in a life drawing class in the RA’s historic Life Room, led by an expert tutor. (2.30pm)
Posy Simmonds, one of the UK’s most famous female cartoonist, reveals her penchant for difficult and dangerous women and why she loves poking fun at the middle classes. In conversation with journalist Claire Armitstead. (3.30pm)
The Turner prize nominated artists, identical twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson RA discuss their fascination with politics, surveillance and conflict and the challenges of working together. Chaired by the Artistic Director of the RA, Tim Marlow. (5.30pm)
Sunday 5 May
In a provocative lecture entitled How the education system is crushing creativity, author, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen argues that the education system is strangling the arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (12.30pm)
The British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Three Daughters of Eve, talks to BBC presenter Razia Iqbal about gender, politics and identity in her work. (2.30pm)
Future of Feminism: Yomi Adegoke, Laura Bates, Candice Carty-Williams and Natalie Hayne presents a panel discussion with four leading feminists looking at what it means to be a woman in 2019, the era of Trump and #MeToo, and how they see the future of feminism. Chaired by the author and broadcaster Bidisha. (4.30pm)
Monday 6 May
Poet, playwright, broadcaster and educator Lemn Sissay MBE talks to writer and critic Alex Clark about how poetry saved his life and why language has the power to transform society. (11am)
Clio Barnard, the award-winning film maker behind The Arbor, talks to writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet about the social and political inspiration behind her work. (1pm)
Hofesh Shechter, the internationally-acclaimed dancer, choreographer and composer, reflects on how it feels to be an artist in a highly politicised world, with writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton. (3pm)
Having made seven films about lesser-known artists for the BBC, Michael Palin, the award-winning actor, writer, comedian and presenter speaks to broadcaster Martha Kearney about falling in love with painting and why he thinks it works so well on the small screen. (5.30pm)
Friday 3 May
Dame Jacqueline Wilson, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors, reveals the secrets behind creating her most memorable characters and why she’ll never stop writing, in conversation with BBC Arts Correspondent Rebecca Jones. (4.30pm)
Saturday 4 May
In The art of children’s illustration, talented storytellers and illustrators Cressida Cowell and Chris Riddell discuss the art of marrying words and pictures and treat audiences to live drawing on stage. (11am)
In the workshop How to train your dragon, audiences are invited to draw real life chameleons, geckos and bearded dragon lizards, inspired by the fantastical worlds of Chris Riddell and Cressida Cowell, led by Wild Life Drawing. (12.30pm and 3.15pm)
Sunday 5 May
In Designing a best-selling children’s book, author, illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and designer David Mackintosh reveal how they go about forming their popular creations. (10.30am)
A Family illustration workshop explores the art of illustration, as visitors learn about the techniques of Lauren Child and David Mackintosh, the team who bring Charlie and Lola to life, led by illustrator and educator Julie Vermeille. (12pm and 2.30pm)
Monday 6 May
Professional comic book artist Kev F. Sutherland, who writes and draws for The Beano, Doctor Who and Marvel comics, leads a Comic Art Masterclass, where participants can make a comic of their own (10am and 1.30pm)
For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here
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