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RA Festival of Ideas at the Royal Academy – 7th to 16th September 2018

In September 2018, The Royal Academy of Arts hosts the inaugural RA Festival of Ideas (7 – 16 September 2018), a 10- day celebration of creativity, culture and critical thinking. The new 250-seat double-height Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, part of the Royal Academy’s transformed campus, will play host to a meeting of great minds from across the spheres of art, architecture, film, theatre, literature, design, dance and music. Building on the RA’s heritage of rigorous debate, the festival will explore creative practice and current cultural, social and political issues through a series of interviews, conversations and panel discussions, as well as offering a range of family workshops inspired by the programme in the new Clore Learning Centre.

Friday 7 September

Artist Gilbert & George RA will discuss how their collaborative partnership defines their creative process, with the Royal Academy’s Artistic Director Tim Marlow. (7pm)

Saturday 8 September

Prize winning authors and illustrators Stephen Collins and Isabel Greenberg discuss The Art of the Graphic Novel, chaired by journalist and founder of the Observer graphic novel prize Rachel Cooke. (1.30pm)

 Artist and drum ‘n’ bass pioneer Goldie will talk about the relationship between his music and visual art, in conversation with broadcaster and journalist Nihal Arthanayake. (3.30pm)

In The Future Of Museums and Galleries in the 20th Century, three leading figures in the art world, Director of the V&A Tristram Hunt, Tate Modern Director Frances Morris and Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes at UCL Tonya Nelson, discuss the state of the gallery and museum industry today, chaired by broadcaster John Wilson. (5.30pm)

 Artist and designer Es Devlin, known for creating kinetic stage sculptures for theatre, opera, music concerts and museums, as well as in collaboration with Beyoncé, U2 and Adele, will discuss her practice and process across multiple, diverse artistic disciplines. In conversation with design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn. (7.30pm)

Sunday 9 September

Playwright James Graham and Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre Rupert Goold come together to talk about making theatre that is inspired by real and recent events and their shared ambition to make theatre more accessible. Chaired by journalist Sarah Crompton. (1pm)

Class, Culture and Creativity with Asif Kapadia, Dreda Say Mitchell and Bob and Roberta Smith RA invites three artists from the worlds of film, literature and visual art to debate how class has shaped and influenced their creative output; whether it has helped or hindered them and what needs to change. The talk is chaired by the writer and broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake. (3pm)

Renowned British portrait photographer David Bailey joins the Royal Academy’s Artistic Director Tim Marlow to discuss a career that spans over 60 years. (5pm)

Monday 10 September

Cultural historian and lecturer, television producer and author Franny Moyle will discuss the challenges of writing about the lives of well-known artists from Turner to Holbein. (1pm)

Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare RA discusses how race, class and cultural identity have shaped his work, with critic and author Louisa Buck. (7pm)

Tuesday 11 September

 In Art and Dementia, Thriller writer Nicci Gerrard talks to academic Dr Hannah Zeilig about the transformative power of art, and how crucial the arts and creativity can be in keeping a person connected to the world around them. (1pm)

 Historian David Cannadine delivers a lecture on ‘the statesman as artist’, taking a closer look at Winston Churchill’s talents as a painter. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, Charles Saumarez Smith. (7pm)

Thursday 13 September

World-renowned architect Amanda Levete will consider some of her most pioneering projects – from the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, to the Exhibition Road Quarter at the V&A in London – and the importance of risk in architecture. The talk will be followed by a Q&A with writer and broadcaster Tom Dyckhoff. (7pm)

 Friday 14 September

Twenty-five years after the publication of Birdsong, and in the month when his latest novel Paris Echo is published, best-selling author Sebastian Faulks examines how the shadow of war has shaped his work. In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Suzi Feay. (1pm)

Photographer Don McCullin talks to broadcaster and journalist Alex Clark about how his experiences of war photography have shaped his landscapes and still-lifes. (4pm)

 Musician, filmmaker and author Viv Albertine and artist Sue Webster discuss how not conforming has shaped and influenced their professional and personal lives – both creatively and spiritually. Their conversation will be chaired by broadcaster and journalist Miranda Sawyer. (6pm)

 Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director and Lead Principal dancer of English National Ballet, on her career as one of the most prominent dancers of her generation, and her ambition to reinvigorate traditional ballet through her role at the English National Ballet, in conversation with broadcaster John Wilson. (8pm)

 Saturday 15 September

The Man Booker Prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson and award-winning Sunday Times art critic and broadcaster Waldemar Januszczak will examine Marcel Duchamp’s contested legacy, debating whether conceptual art is A Joke That Went Too Far or the Birth of Modern Art. (1.30pm)

In The Young Adult Novel, three leading authors, Malorie Blackman, Melvin Burgess and Juno Dawson, question how to tackle difficult issues such as drugs, sex and racism, and discuss whether there are any topics that are off limits in the young adult genre. The discussion is chaired by writer, journalist and broadcaster Nicolette Jones. (3.30pm)

Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet Ben Okri speaks to broadcaster and journalist Alex Clark about his artistic collaboration with Rosemarie Clunie on The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age – a collection of 25 paintings and 25 short stories. 5.30pm)

Akram Khan, one of the most respected dance artists working in the UK today, talks to journalist Sarah Crompton about his lifelong passion for dance, the power of storytelling and the joys and challenges of creative collaboration. (7.30pm)

Sunday 16 September

Founder of Heatherwick Studio, Thomas Heatherwick RA will talk about several of the studio’s projects including Coal Drops Yard, a new retail quarter in King’s Cross due to open in October 2018. The lecture will be followed by a conversation with RA Head of Architecture Kate Goodwin. (2.30pm)

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo talks to journalist and critic Claire Armitstead about the importance of creativity, why we must never talk down to children and why it is important for them to read about war. (12.30pm)

Artists Question Time with Sonia Boyce RA, Michael Craig Martin RA, Michael Landy RA, Farshid Moussavi RA and Sean Steadman sees a panel of artists field questions from the audience on issues of art, culture and creativity. The panel will be chaired by the Artistic Director of the Royal Academy, Tim Marlow. (4.30pm)

Family Events

Saturday 8 September

50 years after the publication of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, best-selling author and illustrator Judith Kerr talks to broadcaster and author Francine Stock about her life, work and escape from Nazi Germany. (11.30am)

Interactive Storytelling with Lauren Grierson, celebrates 50 years of The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Families will be invited to help recreate Sophie’s extraordinary tea time with music, props and movement. (11.15am, 12pm, 1.15pm, 2pm)

Sunday 9 September

Children’s author Andy Stanton talks about his multi-award-winning ‘Mr Gum’ series, as well as his new book, Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity (10.30am)

 Animal Life Drawing with Wild Life Drawing will take an interactive look at the creatures that inspire some of our most beloved children books. Specialist animal handlers will be on hand to provide an introduction to the animals and share fun facts on different species and where to find them. (10am and 1pm)

Saturday 15 September

Lauren Child, Charlie and Lola author, illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate, will look at the inspirations behind her work, the magic of reading and writing for children and how ideas can come from anywhere. In conversation with writer, journalist and author Nicolette Jones. (11am)

Gemma Burditt leads a Lauren Child Inspired Animation Workshop taking inspiration from much loved characters from Charlie and Lola or Ruby Redfort, helping guests design and create their own moving picture. (10am and 1.30pm)

Sunday 16 September

Interactive Storytelling with Wendy Shearer invites guests to weave a story around the character of Anansi the Spider, one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore, whose stories have been handed down for generations. (10am, 11.15am, 2pm)  Cressida Cowell, best-selling author of children’s book series, How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once, gives tips on becoming an author or illustrator and does some live drawing. (10.30am)

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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