• Opening Event with Zadie Smith

    18:00-18:30 - Ciné Lumière – Opening
    Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador to the UK, will launch the Night of Ideas 2023.
    British Novelist Zadie Smith will then talk about her work and what this year’s theme More? means to her with Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.


  • Can Democracies Solve the Climate Crisis?

    18:30-19:20 - Ciné Lumière – Debate
    From short-termism to the difficulty of consensus-making, critics have highlighted how democratic methods appear unfit to tackle the climate emergency. Still, others argue that more democracy, not less, is the solution to avoid an ecological disaster. As scientists urge governments around the world to take action, are democracies up to the challenge?

    Chaired by Fiona Harvey, Environment Editor at The Guardian.

  • Shifting Limits

    18:30-19:20 - La Médiathèque – Debate
    The original Olympic motto – “Faster, Higher, Stonger” – characterises sports as an instinctive striving to push our limits beyond the imaginable. But as preoccupations around care and wellness emerge, how can sports fit into a new paradigm of the self, centred on one’s pleasure and limitations? Can self-optimisation and self-care be reconciled?

    Chaired by David Papineau, Professor in Philosophy at King’s College London.

  • A More Cordial Entente?

    18:30-19:20 - Les Salons – Debate
    Franco-British relations have always had their ups and downs, with occasional challenges, misunderstandings and arguments. They have also regularly been tainted by a sense of emulation if not rivalry. Against a challenging and fast-evolving geopolitical backdrop and in light of the war in Ukraine, we will be looking at what brings France and the United Kingdom together, hoping for another new dawn in their relations.

    Chaired by Sophie Pedder, Paris bureau Chief for The Economist and Author.

  • The Ethics of Good Looks

    19:40-20:30 - Ciné Lumière – Debate
    In light of the climate crisis, the concept of ethical consumption is becoming essential. However, fashion brands and designers are faced with an enormous challenge: how can an industry based on novelty and desire accommodate the imperatives of sustainability? Could these limitations pave the way for innovative creative opportunities?

    Chaired by Sarah Kent, London Editor, The Business of Fashion.

  • You’ve Reached Maximum Capacity!

    19:40-20:30 - La Médiathèque – Debate
    Seemingly invisible, the digital realm has become the intersection of our public and private lives. Yet far from abstract, concerns over issues such as environmental costs, political radicalism or algorithmic discriminations are reminders that the digital can have far-reaching consequences beyond our screens. As our dependence on the Internet deepens, should we limit our interconnectivity?

    Chaired by Helen Margetts, Professor in Society and Internet at the University of Oxford.

  • Opening the Gates

    19:40-20:30 - Les Salons – Debate
    Prestigious universities and top schools in France and the United Kingdom have been faced with the pressing issue of social inclusion. Whilst some have supported initiatives to achieve more inclusive cohorts, a contradiction still lingers: built on the premise of selectivity, how can these institutions avoid reproducing social biases? Can elitism and diversity coexist?

    Chaired by Simon Kuper, Journalist and Author.

  • Until We Fall

    19:40-20:30 - Ciné Lumière II - Debate
    “To do more” or to “achieve more” is today regarded as problematic. It is associated with a hyper consumptive society, a senseless race for growth. Far from being considered a sterile outcome, the idea of “more” becomes an aesthetic stance for artists who wish, through length, experimentation and the spectacular to go through with their art or reinvent it. “Until we fall” will gather artists and researchers to explore this idea of exhaustion in their respective disciplines and artistic practices.

    Chaired by Clare Finburgh Delijani, Professor in Theatre Studies at Goldsmiths University of London.

  • Sexual (R)evolutions

    20:50-21:40 - Ciné Lumière – Debate
    The politics of sex has considerably evolved in the past decade, thanks to the essential advocacy work of feminist movements around the world. The #MeToo uprising has contributed to a wider awareness of sexual and gender-based violence, encouraging us to reassess attitudes and behaviours related to sexuality. Are we living through a new kind of sexual revolution, only this time more preoccupied with gender identity, consent and justice? How do we represent desire, break existing norms and reinvent relationships in its aftermath?

    Chaired by Louise Perry, Journalist and Author.

  • Love Me More

    20:50-21:40 - Les Salons – Debate
    One need not look far to see that, in today’s world, love is most definitely in the air – the movies we watch, the music we listen to, and even the apps on our phones seem pre-occupied with romantic concerns. While love can feel great in many ways, there is a darker side that often goes ignored. Are there limits to love, and can too much love be a negative thing?
    With UCL Debating Society students:

    • Christian Dasilva, BA History and Politics of the Americas, 2nd Year
    • Yelyzaveta Zhura, BA Philosophy and History of Art, 2nd Year
    • Conor Dolan, BA History, 2nd Year
    • Phoebe Luxford, BA History and Politics of the Americas, 2nd Year
    • Manca Rakun, BASc Arts and Sciences, 3rd Year
    • Umar Buckus, MSc Building and Urban Design in Development

    Chaired by Tim Beasley-Murray, Associate Professor of European Thought and Culture, UCL.

  • Closing Concert with roscius

    22:00-22:45 - La Médiathèque – Concert
    Live performer, producer and London-based French composer roscius will close the Night of Ideas with an improvised set of electronic music. Combining percussion experiments, vocals, live sampling and harmonization skills, he has spent the last years building himself a unique reputation on the London music scene.
    Book your ticket(s)


  • E-Sport, Beyond Practice

    18:00-21:00 - L’Atelier - Video Games
    Awakening the body, training, enhancing your potential: this is what we want to encourage through our e-sports tournament. Professionals, amateurs, or even supporters will be invited to watch or take part in the virtual sport of their choice (rock climbing, tennis, bowling, football etc.); and to put their bodies in motion- individually or collectively.

  • Social Media Reconstructed: Two Films by Gabrielle Stemmer

    18:30-19:30 - Ciné Lumière II - Screening
    Director Gabrielle Stemmer uses the Internet’s large archive box as a playground and research field. Her work explores female virtual communities on social networks, as well as the new spaces of sociability that are created online. She has directed several short films, all made through an impressive classification and editing of large swaths of images posted online by women about themselves.
    During the Night of Ideas and to accompany the panel You’ve Reached Maximum Capacity!, the following films will be played twice in Ciné Lumière II. They will be presented and discussed by Gabrielle Stemmer.
    Clean with Me (After Dark)
    FRA | 2019 | dir. Gabrielle Stemmer | 21 mins
    In this short documentary, Stemmer questions the phenomenon of cleaning videos on YouTube through a clever and playful montage of ‘Net Found Footage’ posted online by military wives in the USA. Clean with Me silently and subtly unearths the loneliness and neuroses that often underpin both the cleaning and the mise-en-scène of it, in a society in which women are homemakers and the home is their gilded cage.
    Women on TikTok
    FRA | 2020 | dir. Gabrielle Stemmer | 4 mins
    During lockdown, while everyone was stuck at home, Stemmer dived into the world of young women who film themselves on TikTok, often expressing their exasperation with household chores and with their companions, who more often than not seem very little concerned…


    Book your ticket(s):

  • Zero Waste Packaging: Notpla Presentation

    19:30-20:30 - Foyer - Workshop
    What will “responsible” consumption look like in 2023? Earthshot 2022 award winner Notpla, and its co-founder Pierre Paslier, are providing an ingenious answer, with packaging solutions made from plastic-free alternatives. Pierre will introduce participants to “Ooho”, a fully biodegradable beverage package, during this fun and engaging taster session!


  • Zero Waste Fashion Workshop

    20:30-21:40 - Foyer - Workshop
    In this workshop led by Holly McQuillan, participants will explore zero waste garment design and textile-form systems through the making of two trouser prototypes (in paper). Together we will unpack the problems inherent in the current industry, and the opportunities (and risks) that are enabled by alternative ways of thinking and doing.

    • Holly McQuillan, Assistant Professor in Multimorphic Textile Systems TU Delft and Co-Founder of Zero Waste Design Online