Brockley Festival of Ideas 2017

“Openness and participation are antidotes to surveillance and control” 


“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating…. in every society, in every family.”




"...a fascinating and valuable festival..."

Sunday November 19, 2017. 10am – 5.30pm

Lewisham Southwark College (LeSoCo), Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT

In November 2016, we convened the first ‘Festival of Ideas’ to share ideas about how to achieve a more peaceful and equitable future. The aim was to stimulate discussion on ideas for positive change in our community.

In November 2017, we held our second Festival, again celebrating our great community strength, and bringing together diverse speakers on some of the big issues of our time.

A truly inspiring range of speakers offered challenging new perspectives to stimulate debate and inspire action.

Ideas were presented during themed sessions, followed by brief Q&As with the audience and a lengthier break-out group in an adjacent room. 

Explore audio recordings of the sessions by following the following links to the session pages.


"...fantastically well organised and a very stimulating and thought provoking day..."


Session 1: Battle of Lewisham: 40 years later

Festival welcome by Clare Cowen (Chair of Brockley Society) and Laurelle Henry (Lewisham Young Mayor)

Chaired by Lorna Jackson

Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry – Associate Professor, Criminology & Sociology, University of West London: “Victimisation and Persecution

Dr John Price – Senior Lecturer and Head of History at Goldsmiths: “Marking 40 Years of the Battle of Lewisham

Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson – Performance Poet: “Brockley Born and Bred; Tale Into Verse

Nacheal Catnott – Filmmaker and Goldsmiths Alumnus: “Our Unheard History

Esther Stanford-Xosei – Reparations Scholar-Activist: “The Aftermath

Session 2: Housing, Homelessness and Inequality

Chaired by Bartle Sawbridge

Michael O’Keefe – Positive Money: “Through the Roof: House Prices and Profiteers”

Beth Boorman – National Community Land Trust Network: “Community-Led Housing”

Tony Rich – RUSS (Rural Urban Synthesis Society): “Self-Build Project in Ladywell”

Cllr Damian Egan – Lewisham Cabinet Member for Housing: “Housing in Lewisham”

Andrew Mitchell – 999 Club: “Homelessness – a Growing Problem”

Martin Williams – Achilles Street Campaign: “Homelessness – a Growing Problem”

Session 3: Debt, Money and Exploitation

Chaired by Roger Lewis

Ravi Ravindran – Lewisham Plus Credit Union: “Combating Debt”

Ivo Mosley – Author: “Bank Robbery”

Helen Mercer – Associate Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Greenwich: “From Exploitation to Expropriation”

Sian Williams – Toynbee Hall: “How Profit Maximisation Increases Inequality”

Session 4: Food and the Environment 

Chaired by Greg Williams

Rosie Boycott – Chair, London Food Board: “The Future of Food”

Sophi Tranchell – Divine Chocolates: “Fair Trade vs. Corporate Food Production”

Olaf Garvey – Animal Rights Advocate: “How Animal Agriculture is Destroying Our Planet”

Trina Lynskey – Deptford Folk: “Evelyn200 Today”

James Skinner – New Economics Foundation: “Agri Villages”

Session 5: From Ideas to Action

Chaired by Ivo Mosley

Jon McKenna – Double Jab SE8: “Keeping Youth Out of Crime Through Boxing”

Fouzia Razvi – Citizens UK: “Housing and Integrating Syrian Refugees”

Alys Penfold – Library of Things: “Sharing Resources Within the Community”

Kajal Odedra – UK Director, “Online Campaigning”

Andrew Brown  – CEO, Elevating Success: “Empowering Young People”


"...great range of speakers and very stimulating discussions..."


View the full programme for the day here.

Over 150 people attended the event throughout the day. Both the main panel talks and the follow-up break-out sessions were both very popular, as was the homemade lunch.

You can see a photo gallery of the day, and read extensive attendee feedback.

Video and audio related to the Festival’s themes were screened throughout the day in a separate room:

  • The Listening Post: Sybil Phoenix (audio only; followed by Q&A with Sybil’s son Woodrow)
  • Aug 13th: What Happened?
  • Battle of Lewisham (introduced by director Nacheal Catnott and followed by a Q&A)
  • 13 Dead, Nothing Said
  • A Matter of Life
  • Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (trailer)
  • Mass Photo on Hilly Fields 2015
  • Walter’s Way: The Anarchist Housing Estate
  • Short films from 999 Club & Library of Things

Find out more about and stream these media on the Media (film and audio) page.


"...extremely interesting and stimulating event..."


For a variety of reasons we decided not to hold a Festival in November 2018, but are now actively considering whether to reinstate a Festival for this autumn, 2019. We would love to hear any ideas and suggestions for potential themes and speakers, and also welcome anybody who would like to get involved with the event organisation.





Links to other pages:

Session 1: Battle of Lewisham: 40 years later

Session 2: Housing, Homelessness and Inequality
Session 3: Debt, Money and Exploitation
Session 4: Food and the Environment
Session 5: From Ideas to Action
Film and Video
Picture Gallery


“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” 


“We always hear about the rights of democracy,

but the major responsibility of it is participation.”