Brockley Festival of Ideas for Change 2016

“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.”



On Sunday 20th November 2016, over 250 people attended the inaugural Festival of Ideas for Change in the Mural Hall at Prendergast Hilly Fields College. Throughout the day, a fascinating range of speakers came along to share their thoughts about the world we find ourselves living in, and their 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.

The Festival was free and open to all, but was particularly aimed at local people. Speakers with a variety of views and almost all with a local connection discussed non­‐party­‐political and non-­academic subjects of interest to everyone in Brockley and beyond.

Discussions were divided into four sessions, each with a different theme and consisting of the panelists speaking in turn followed by questions from the floor and a brief open discussion. Audience members were encouraged to comment on the issues under discussion via comment slips and through subsequent emails.

BFOI collage


Find out more about the speakers and their presentations, and listen to audio recordings of the four sessions on the following pages:

Session 1: Participation and Democracy

  • Sean Coughlan: The Future of Education
  • Ivo Mosley: A Constitution for a Genuine Democracy
  • Swetam Gungah: Sensible About Science
  • Camilla Berens: Creating Renewable Energy Locally
  • Michael O’Keefe: Change Money, Change the World

Session 2: A Fairer World

  • Natasha Wort: How to Save the World – A Buddhist’s Guide
  • Tassia Kobylinska: Film as Social Action
  • Lui Smyth: Unconditional Basic Income for All

Session 3: An Inclusive Society

  • Gabriel Gbadamosi: The Creative Community as a Condition of Multicultural Society
  • Andy Worthington: Demonising ‘The Other’: Tackling the Rise of Racism and Xenophobia
  • Rosario Guimba-Stewart: Refugees and their Challenges
  • Jackie Walker: From Life to Action

Session 4: Building a New Economy

  • Bruce Mauleverer: International Law and Enforcement of Human Rights.
  • Oliver Lewis: Bring Back British Rail
  • Aeron Davis: What Has the Financial System Ever Done For Us?
  • Helen Mercer: The Private Finance Initiative: How to End the Rip-Off

View a gallery of photos from the day here.

Display stalls included: Lewisham Pensioners Forum, RUSS Community-led Housing, Brockley Street Trees, and an exhibition about the 1977 ‘Battle of Lewisham’ brought by Goldsmiths Department of History.

Feedback has shown clear local enthusiasm for engagement with serious themes. We hope to incorporate the suggestions into future events and have already held a meeting of people who provided feedback and expanded our organising committee.

We would like to thank all those who helped make this event happen: the speakers, our volunteers, Prendergast Hilly Fields College, St Johns Society, our caterers, and Goldsmiths College for their technical assistance and participation on the day.

Brockley Society is a community association open and free to everyone living in the Brockley Conservation area and anyone adjacent who is interested. It was founded in 1974 and is run entirely by volunteers. Brockley Society does not endorse any political party, any speaker or any particular opinion.