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The Salisbury Conversations 2019: Crossing Divides

The Salisbury Conversations 2019 series

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The Salisbury Conversations 2019: Crossing Divides

Posted By : Marie Thomas Friday 1st March 2019

The Salisbury Conversations 2019 series

This March, the Cathedral partnered with BBC Wiltshire to tackle some of the big issues challenging society today. The result was The Salisbury Conversations 2019: Crossing Divides - three events in which high profile panellists like Tim Montgomerie (conservative blogger and columnist), Harun Khan (Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain) and Natalie Haynes (comedian and author of The Ancient Guide to Modern Life), discuss contemporary issues and try to find common ground. 

Speaking about The Salisbury Conversations 2019, The Very Reverend, Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral said:

“The purpose of these events is to encourage us all to think about our future and how we can shape it. At a time when society is fragmented, Salisbury Cathedral offers a place in which to hold difficult conversations. This is in our DNA, after all: we are the keepers of Magna Carta, the foundational document of constitutional liberty. Our firm belief is that respectful conversation in this sacred space will allow people to discover common ground – to appreciate better those things that unite them, and to understand better those things that divide them”. 

The conversations were recorded and transmitted on BBC Wiltshire the following day and can now be heard via BBC Sounds.

1. HOW SHOULD WE TALK TO EACH OTHER? (To listen to the show click here)

The incident with the Russian flag that was hung on the Cathedral scaffold demonstrates just how easy it is for an Instagram post to hijack the news agenda. This conversation explores that phenomennon and explores how we talk to one another in a digital age and the way we exchange ideas about society, politics and our common future.

Panellists:    Sophia Gaston
Social and political researcher, Director of the Centre for Social and Political Risk, and deputy director of the Henry Jackson Society.
Jim Waterson
Former political editor of Buzzfeed and now media editor of the Guardian. The only media editor in the UK to have been a Cathedral verger
Nazir Afzal OBE
Lawyer and international expert on extremism and radicalisation, and member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation Complaints Committee
The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos
Dean of Salisbury and former criminal barrister

Facilitator:    Dan O’Brien
BBC Wiltshire’s political correspondent/reporter on the Sunday Politics show

2. WHAT IS A GOOD LIFE? (To listen to the show click here)
What is a ‘good’ life? Is there such a thing as a social contract, or common purpose that governs society – or has the cult of the individual developed to the point where joint enterprise is impossible?

From the environment to personal morality, hear panellists including Natalie Haynes, who believes that answers may lie in Ancient Greece and Rome, Leo Johnson, city guru, presenter of Hacking Happiness on R4, Harun Khan, one of Britain’s leading Muslims and the Bishop of Salisbury, Church of England’s lead on the environment and the spiritual leader of Salisbury Diocese, discuss these issues and try to find common ground. 

Panellists:      Leo Johnson
City guru and business disrupter, and R4 presenter 
Natalie Haynes
Comedian, classicist and author of The Ancient Guide to Modern Life?
Harun Khan
Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain
The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam
Bishop of Salisbury

Facilitator:    James Woodward
Principal of Sarum College

HOW SHOULD WE BE GOVERNED?  (To listen to the show click here)

The Brexit referendum has divided the country and put the UK at odds with its European neighbours. The Labour party has split over the issue and fissures in the Tory party are all too evident. What should our government’s priorities be now? What is the alternative? High profile panellists Tim Montgomerie, political activist, blogger and columnist. Professor Jane Green of Oxford University, poet Lemn Sissay and comedian Grianne Macguire discuss the issues at the heart of governance and try to find common ground.


Panellists:      Tim Montgomerie
Political activist, blogger and columnist, who is best known as the co-founder of  the Centre for Social Justice and creator of the Conservative Home website
Grainne McGuire
Irish comedian and self-proclaimed political nerd, who tweeted her menstrual cycle to the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, as a protest against the Irish abortion laws
Lemn Sissay MBE
Poet, broadcaster and a campaigner for children in care, Lemn is the author of Magniloquent Cartilage, which is part of the Ladders of Light: a new constitution for the UK installation                             currently on show in the Cathedral
                     Professor Jane Green
Professor of Political Science and British Politics and a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford

Facilitator:    Elinor Goodman
Former Political Editor of Channel 4 News

FOR ANY OTHER ENQUIRIES OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marie Thomas at Salisbury Cathedral 01722 555148