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5 speakers 15 minutes each
Thu 8th Sep 2011
Eileen Conn, is a community activist who has lived in Peckham for 38 years. She worked for many years in policy-making on the organisation, management and development of government systems for the UK Government in Whitehall and subsequently in developing systems of business corporate social responsibility. In the 1990s she established ‘Living Systems Research’ as an umbrella for her study of social dynamics and complex living systems, and her work in the field of sustainable and cohesive communities. As an RSA Fellow she founded the RSA Living Systems Group in 1994 looking at companies and other human social systems as complex living systems. In parallel, she has been an active citizen in London community organisations. She was Southwark Citizen of the Year in 1998, and in 2008 was Community Activist of the Year, Active Citizen of the Year, and Southwark Woman of the Year. In the UK’s New Year’s Honours of 2009 she was awarded the MBE for services to the community.
Architect and author Carolyn Steel uses food as a medium to "read" cities and understand how they work. In her book Hungry City she traces – and puts into historical context – food’s journey from land to urban table and thence to sewer. Cities, like people, are what they eat. The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it's never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware. How is the city transformed around food? And how can we transform it into a city utopia in the future?
Pico Iyer was born in Oxford in 1957 to parents from India then grew up in California and currently lives in Japan. He is the author of eight books: his first, Video Night in Kathmandu, appeared on many lists of the top travel-books of the 20th century, and his second, The Lady and the Monkwas was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the category of Current Interest. His first novel, Cuba and the Night, was optioned six times and then bought by Hollywood, and his book The Global Soul inspired multi-media shows, musical works and websites around the world. Since 1980 he has also written voluminously for magazines in America, Europe and Asia. In 1995 Iyer was named by the Utne Reader, along with the likes of Noam Chomsky and Vaclav Havel, as one of 100 visionaries worldwide who could change your life. Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father’s) for the last three decades - a continuing exploration of his message and its effectiveness.
Jude Kelly is Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre and former Chair of Culture and Education for London 2012. She is also an award-winning theatre director. After founding Battersea Arts Centre she joined the RSC, then took over the helm at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. As both Artistic Director and CEO of the country's largest regional theatre, she established a popular 'centre of excellence'. Amongst her many successes at Leeds, her production of Singin' in the Rain transferred to the Royal National Theatre and won an Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production. She also directed Ian McKellen in The Seagull, Patrick Stewart in Johnson over Jordon and Dawn French in When We Are Married. Jude left Yorkshire to found METAL, an artistic 'laboratory'. It provides a platform for collaborations between art forms and strategic projects which affect the built environment, people and communities. Jude represents Britain on cultural matters at UNESCO. She has also jointly chaired the Curricula Advisory Committee on Arts and Creativity, with Lord Puttnam.