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Cambridge Festival of Ideas: top picks for week two

Immigration in post-Brexit Britain, migration issues in the EU, religious and political extremism and revenge porn top the bill during the second week of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

The Festival runs until 28th October and is packed with over 100 events during the second week, including debates, talks, exhibitions, film screenings and performances at venues across the city.

Top picks for the second week include:

In What does a global Britain mean post Brexit? (23 October, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, St John's College),  a panel of experts explore whether Britain's exit from the EU could be an opportunity to rethink immigration policy and if it has highlighted a need for a broader discussion about Britain's place in the world today.

The problem of evil (24 October: 5:00pm - 6:00pm, Faculty of Divinity) Can we use evidence of 'evil' in the world to convince someone that God doesn’t exist? This fascinating session explores responses to the problem of evil that have been made by Christian thinkers and philosophers through the ages.

Religion and politics: using the past to explain the present (24 October: 6:00pm - 7:30pm, Faculty of Divinity) A discussion on the relevance of dynamics between Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in late antiquity (c. 100–800 CE) for understanding and analysing the dynamics between religion and state today.

What is the cultural value of species? (24 October: 6:30pm - 8:00pm, David Attenborough Building, New Museums Site) Plant and animal species around the globe are at risk of extinction. Join a panel of environmental artists and conservationists to discuss why species matter from a cultural perspective and why we should care about their extinction.

Love, sex, race and war (24 October: 6:30pm - 7:30pm, Anglia Ruskin University) Of the three million US serviceman who passed through Britain during World War II, approximately 8% were African-American. Black GIs’ relationships with local women resulted in the birth of many mixed-race babies. Professor Lucy Bland, Anglia Ruskin University, draws on over 40 oral history interviews and throws light on a little-known history.

Going to religious extremes? Renouncing the world in Hinduism and Christianity (25 October: 5:00pm - 6:00pm, Faculty of Divinity). This thought-provoking conversational presentation introduces and explores connections and differences between ‘renouncer’ traditions in early Christianity and Hinduism.

How anticolonial resistance influenced British critics of empire (25 October: 6:00pm - 7:00pm, St John's College Old Divinity School) A fascinating talk by Dr Priyamvada Gopal, covering opposition to the British empire and the ways in which African and Asian thinkers influence anti-colonial thinkers in Britain. This talk is based on Dr Gopal’s forthcoming book.

Political extremism in science fiction and fantasy (25 October: 6:30pm - 8:00pm, Anglia Ruskin University) Critics and creative practitioners from Anglia Ruskin’s Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy discuss how science fiction and fantasy literature engage with the issue of political extremism, and explore the representation of voting and democracy in imagined future worlds.

Solidarity in the European union: quo vadis? (25 October: 6:30pm - 8:00pm, Anglia Ruskin University) A panel, including EU Law expert, Professor Catherine Barnard (University of Cambridge) and Dr Esin Küçük (Lancaster University) look at the meaning and practical manifestations of transnational solidarity in the European Union, with particular focus on migration as the topical issue linked to European solidarity.

The top picks for the final weekend of the Festival include:

Tackling image-based abuse and revenge porn (27 October: 1:30pm - 3:00pm, Anglia Ruskin University) Bringing together a range of experts, from the fields of law, criminology, film studies, and social media, this interactive roundtable addresses the growing social issue of image-based abuse in the digital era.

Language skills for the 21st century (27 October: 2:00pm - 5:00pm, Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics) How can we inspire love for languages in young people and nurture strong linguists for our globalised world? Academics from linguistics, education and modern languages exchange ideas with a teachers, parents and pupils in an afternoon of talks followed by an open discussion.

Crime fiction: extreme pleasures (27 October: 3:30pm - 4:30pm, Anglia Ruskin University) Four crime and psychological thriller writers discuss why crime fiction is so popular and some of the techniques they use to deal with violence and suspense. A Q&A and book signing follows. Sunday Times bestselling author B.A. Paris has published three psychological thrillers. Her most recent book is Bring Me Back. Alison Bruce is the author of the Gary Goodhew series of Cambridge crime novels. Her most recent book is the psychological thriller I Did It For Us. Nicola Upson is the author of the Josephine Tey series set in 1930s Cambridge and East Anglia. Her most recent book is Nine Lessons. Mick Finlay is the author of the Arrowood series set in Victorian London. His first book is Arrowood, with the sequel to follow in December.

Extreme measures: how the thin ideal dominated the world (27 October: 5:00pm - 6:00pm, Anglia Ruskin University) The globalisation of a thin ideal of appearance is argued to be a cause of widespread negative body image. Professor Viren Swami provides a fascinating insight into how and why the thin ideal emerged and how it’s shaping beauty ideals across the globe.

A certain sense of order (27 October: 5:30pm - 7:00pm Newnham College) A thoughtful and provocative pocket opera, exploring the American poet Anne Sexton, presented here on the 90th anniversary of her birth. Using a single poem, For John, Who Begs Me Not to Inquire Further, the piece reflects on Sexton’s life and work, and on reading poetry more broadly.

The Festival sponsors and partners are St John’s College, Anglia Ruskin University, RAND Europe, University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden, Cambridge Junction and Cambridge University Press. The Festival media partners are BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Cambridge Independent.