The Big Tent Ideas Festival – The Hopes and Fears Tent

Demos is delighted to be hosting a tent at the Big Tent Ideas Festival. Our Hopes & Fears tent will explore the opportunities and challenges presented by a rapidly changing world. We will uncover what Brits feel most optimistic about and where we most face division and discontent, discussing the impact of the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, climate change, immigration, fake news, and all the other seismic forces that have shaken our politics to its core.

Our aim is simple: we want to move from diagnosis to cure – to identify what brings the nation together, reinvigorates our democracy, and ensures the benefits of change are spread equally across society.

We’ll be counting on you, too. At the beginning and end of each session audience members will be given to opportunity to vote on whether they are feeling hopeful or fearful about the topics. We will also be asking people to put their ideas and hopes for Britain on our ‘Optimism Wall’ as a way of reconnecting with the power of politics to deliver positive change.

Sessions and speakers

Project Fear verses Project Hope

  • Polly Mackenzie, Demos Director
  • The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
  • Dan Hannan MEP
  • Peter Kyle MP

Other speaker to be announced

Education in the machine age

  • Alan Lockey, Head of Research, Demos (Chair)
  • Bim Afolami MP
  • Nick Boles MP
  • Baroness Sally Morgan
  • Kate Kettle, Kings College London

In conversation session

Ayesha  Hazarika and Robert Peston

Is good news sustainable?

  • Alex Krasodomski- Jones  (Chair)
  • Johnny Mercer MP
  • Alice Thwaite, Founder & Editor, Echo Chamber Club
  • David Wheeldon, Group Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Sky

Immigration and integration; time for a new settlement?

  • Polly Mackenzie (Chair)
  • Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
  • Nimco Ali, Co-founder & Director, Daughters of Eve
  • Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Other speakers to be announced

Artificial Intelligence; to fear or not to fear

  • Polly Mackenzie (Chair)
  • Trevor Phillips OBE , Writer, broadcaster & former Labour politician
  • Elaine Warburton OBE, Chief Executive, QuantuMDx
  • Josh Smith, Researcher, Demos

Others to be announced

Is this the end of the liberal era?

  • Jamie Bartlett, Director of CASM at Demos (Chair)
  • Julia Hobsbawm OBE, Social health commentator & Hon visiting professor, Cass Business School
  • Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV;
  • Professor David Runciman, Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
  • Ryan Shorthouse,Chief Executive, Bright Blue & others for this debate.

Have a look at the full programme


Date & time

8th September 2018, 11am – 7pm


Babraham research Campus, Cambridge


Use the discount code DEMOS to get tickets for £15 each.

Get your tickets here.