© 2019 Swindon Spring Festival


JOSH COHEN – on how not working and more inactivity might be good for us. 

Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
12.30pm ~ 17th May ~ £8 (£7)

Can you remember a time in the recent past when you had nothing at all to do? How did it make you feel? Bored, content, creative, alive? 
More than ever before, we live in a culture that demonizes idleness. Work, connectivity and a constant flow of information are the cultural norms, and a permanent busyness pervades even our quietest moments. Do we fear inactivity? 
Author of numerous books, psychoanalyst, and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London Josh Cohen has now written Not Working, in which he explores four faces of inertia, and resultant achievements. 

MELANIE KING – on the tangled lives of two female spies!

Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon SN1 1QG
Tel: 01793 466454
7pm ~ 17th May ~ £6 (£5)

Mention female spies, and most people think of Mata Hari. But during the Roaring Twenties, two strong-willed, independent, and highly ambitious women unafraid of taking risks, were a cause célèbre of the time, their names splashed across newspapers around the world. Marguerite Harrison was a highly respectable America socialite and Stan Harding was a runaway bohemian artist and dancer.  
Almost a century later, it is easy to understand the fascination with these two remarkable women. Dodging bullets and interviewing colourful characters in war-torn Europe, the fateful meeting of these two intrepid women had repercussions that spanned three decades, involving heads of state and politicians in Britain, the United States, and Soviet Russia.
Writer and historian, Melanie King is the author of six books, and now, The Lady is a Spy.

MATTHEW TAYLOR – on overcoming the three Ps: polarisation, populism, and pessimism.

Presented in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society.

Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
6.30pm ~ 17th May ~ £8 (£7)

What does the term ‘populism’ mean to you?  Where does it come from, what does it mean, and what is its validity? Who are the populists? And what about pessimism and polarisation? In what ways do they apply to life today? 
Former Downing Street advisor and current Chief Executive of the RSA, full if antiquated title the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, whose mission is to enrich society through ideas and action and which believes that all human beings have creative capacities that, when understood and supported, can be mobilised to deliver a 21st century enlightenment, Matthew Taylor, looks at how we address and/or overcome the three Ps.

The arts are admired insurrection . . . 

DOUBLE TICKET for Matthew Taylor and Think Slam ~ £14

THINK SLAM – philosophy as thought-provoking entertainment!

Presented in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society.

Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
8pm ~ 17th May ~ £8 (£7)

This is what will happen at the tenth Swindon Think Slam.
Competitors have 3 minutes to present a thought-provoking idea, theory, or story. From then on,

it’s a knockout! Keen but kindly judges, chosen from among the keen and kindly audience, and

including Matthew Taylor as judge-supremo, will decide who pleases the thinking parts that others

cannot reach, who inspires good, great, or gruesome thoughts, and who does not. 
Just as in all good sporting competitions, there will be a first round, semi-final, and a final!

Though there may well be moments of seriousness, nervousness, and puzzlement, a spirit of wonder, wit, and good cheer will prevail! 
The winner will be crowned tenth Swindon Think Slam Champ and receive a bubbly-filled trophy, rapturous applause, and words of congratulation from our guest judge supremo Matthew Taylor. Cool compere, and something of a thinker in her own right, Sara-Jane Arbury, will maintain good Think Slam order, with clear instructions, firm hand, and thoughtful slam smile; and will be ably aided by sensible scorer, terrifying timekeeper, and crowd-pleasing prizes-provider Matt Holland.

HOW TO ENTER: Anyone brave and thoughtful enough, by their own standards, can apply to enter - full guidelines here. If you wish to enter the tenth Swindon THINK SLAM, please contact the Festival on 01793 771080 or at swindonspringfest@lowershawfarm.co.uk