Free Thinking 07 – This Weekend

From BBC Radio 3…

Free Thinking 2007
A festival of ideas in Liverpool 9-11 November 2007, on radio and online.

Phil Redmond on Identity
The festival opens Friday, 9 November 2007, with Phil Redmond’s keynote lecture. It’s very exciting to have such an important figure to open Free Thinking as our host city of Liverpool prepares to take on the title of European Capital of Culture 2008.

Phil will be talking about the complexity of modern identity. What defines our identity? Are we still in control of who we are, or does the real key to our identities lie in the records of our internet searches, mobile phone calls and supermarket purchases? Can data tell us who we really are? We’re also delighted that we can hold the lecture in one of Liverpool’s most important venues, the beautiful Small Concert Hall at St George’s in the very heart of the city. A refurbishment programme has returned the hall to the glorious setting it must have been when Charles Dickens’ penny readings were a regular attraction in the 1860s.

We’re returning to the hall on Saturday night for Mark Ravenhill’s play ‘Yesterday an Incident Occurred’, which he’s written specially for the atmospheric civil court beneath the hall itself. It’s a great place to be exploring Freedom, the key theme of this year’s festival: it’s hard not to imagine yourself in the imposing dock, or being taken down the steep stairs to the cells below.

After that, we go back to the concert hall to join Ian McMillan for Radio 3’s Words and Music, and we’re very pleased that Liverpudlian actors Cathy Tyson and Mark McGann will be there too.

Your choice, your voice
Have you voted in the People’s Choice? All four of our proposers have cleared their diaries for Sunday afternoon so that they can join the debate if they end up winning. Adjust their travel arrangements yourself by voting at

And if you’re interested in offering your own thoughts to the Free Thinking community then press record on your phone camera, upload your video to You Tube and email us the link to
Then watch yourself and other Free Thinking You Tubers at
Or do it without pictures on the message board

Book yourself in for festival tickets and broadcasts

I very much hope that you’ll be able to get to Free Thinking in Liverpool and take part in person. Tickets are free to all events except films but must be booked ahead – spaces are limited and going fast.
Booking information:

Sign up to our text alerts to be sent timely information about our special Free Thinking broadcasts in the weeks following the festival. It’s the perfect way to check if your brilliant panel-stumping question made the final cut. And, of course, the more questions you ask, the more chance you have of getting on air.
Details of how to sign up for text alerts will be in the next newsletter and will be published on the website in the coming week.

More on the website

Don’t forget to visit the website if you’d like to add to the ABCs of Childhood, contribute haiku for the Free Thinking haiku screensaver or take one of�the many polls on issues from this year’s festival.

Radio 3’s The Verb’s resident ‘eartoonist’, Peter Blegvad, has made a special illustrated Free Thinking eartoon. Watch, listen and be entertained at

Latest news
Finally, I thought I’d let you know about some more fabulous thinkers we’ve secured for the festival in the last few days. Gloria Hyatt MBE, pioneer of the UK’s first black-led Independent School and Rod Holmes, director of Liverpool massive regenerative Paradise Project, are going to join us to decide if we’ve ‘destroyed the dream of equality’ on Sunday.
Ellen Inglis, the president of the Liverpool University debating society and Jan Swann, Chief Exec of Liverpool’s Natural Breaks organisation are joining the panel for ‘What’s the point of university?’ on Friday afternoon.
And legendary TV drama producer Michael Wearing – who produced Our Friends in the North and the Colin FirthPride and Prejudice as well as Blackstuff and countless others – is going to be joining Alan Bleasdale for our Boys from the Blackstuff 25th anniversary landmark.