Spring Debate, Thursday March 26th 2020


Join the De Beauvoir Balloon Debate on Thursday, March 26th for an evening of ideas and engagement. We invite three speakers to present an idea they feel passionately about. At the end of the evening, you vote for your favourite!

DATE: Thursday, March 26th. Doors open 7pm. Debate starts 7.30pm prompt.

VENUE: De Beauvoir Block, De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN. 

REGISTER HERE (Free entry)

Manick Govinda 2020    Olivia_Vinden

MANICK GOVINDA: “Let’s cancel ‘cancel culture’.”

Manick Govinda is a freelance arts consultant, and was formerly programme director at SPACE. He is an associate consultant for Counterculture LLP and has worked closely with a range of artists for many years as a producer, advisor, mentor, curator, strategist and fundraiser. He currently runs his own mentoring programme for artists and emerging arts professionals at all stages of their career.

Manick is also a freelance writer and commentator. He has written for spikedIndex on Censorship, British Council, a-n The Artists Information Company, Sluice and All In Britain. He runs arts campaigns for the Manifesto Club, where he led the campaign against the UK government’s visa restrictions on non-EU artists and academics. He also co-founded Artists for Brexit and Brexit Creatives. Follow Manick on Authory.com

OLIVIA VINDEN: “Why we all need a savings revolution.” 

Olivia Vinden leads Alpha’s UK fintech & innovation practice and advises on emerging technology and its impact on Asset and Wealth Management operating models. A member of the advisory panel of Velocity (the fintech accelerator from the Investment Association), she also leads client forums on innovation.

A specialist in blockchain &  fintech, Olivia also has over 10 years of experience with large transformational change programmes within investment managers, and an in-depth understanding of best practice operating models covering a range of different systems. Olivia is a regular contributor to the acclaimed Fintech Insider podcast.

Third speaker to be confirmed shortly.

Top photo: @DeBeauvoirBlock

De Beauvoir Balloon Debate, Winter 2019

Balloon Debate-BarWarm up: The Winter Debate is on its way!    

DATE: Wed 4th Dec, 2019. Doors open 7pm. Debate starts 7.30pm prompt. (Note to regular Balloonists, it’s on a Wednesday this time),

VENUE: De Beauvoir Block, De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN. Free entry.


S-Hare      Michal Matlon     Hugo Tagholm

STEPHANIE HARE: “Privacy is worth fighting for”

Dr Stephanie Hare is a researcher working across technology, politics and history. She is publishing a book next year on technology ethics, exploring biometrics and privacy, and how big data affects civil liberties and human rights. Selected as part of the BBC Expert Women initiative, Stephanie’s regular radio column is on the BBC’s World Business Report and Radio 4’s Business Daily. She has contributed to the Financial Times, Washington Post, CNN and Guardian/Observer and her academic article ‘For Your Eyes Only: US Technology Companies, Sovereign States and the Battle for Data Protection’ was selected as a case study for Harvard Business Review.

Previously Stephanie worked at Accenture Research, Palantir, Oxford Analytica and Accenture, and taught history at Oxford, where she held the Alistair Horne Visiting Fellowship at St Anthony’s College. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics (PhD, MSc) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  @hare_brain

MICHAL MATLON: “It’s time to put beauty back into architecture”

 Michal Matlon specialises in user experience and the psychology of architecture. He studied applied psychology and explores how the built environment affects our thinking, feeling and behaviour. Michal helps create spaces for life and work, and uses his passion for public speaking and writing to spread awareness of these topics. In the past, he also worked in the fields of technology, journalism, photography and marketing, which still inspire his work today.     Instagram: @michal.matlon

HUGO TAGHOLM: “We CAN change the plastic system”

Hugo Tagholm is Chief Executive of the national marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). The charity takes action from the beach front to the front benches of Parliament, where it unites a voice for the ocean through its Ocean Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group. It mobilises over 100,000 community beach and river clean volunteers annually and has been instrumental in helping introduce and enforce new government legislation to protect our seas.  Hugo is an environmentalist, campaigner, surfer, charity professional and a TEDx speaker. This year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his services to Marine Conservation by Exeter University. Twitter: @hugoSAS

Top photo: @DeBeauvoirBlock

De Beauvoir Debate, Autumn 2019

BalloonDebate-43 audience

DATE: Thursday 26 September 2019. Doors open 7pm. Debate starts 7.30pm prompt.

VENUE: De Beauvoir Block, De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN. 

Anne Baxendale March 2019 -7    20180323_ing_ali_miraj_0026_hi res  Freddie_Sayers

ANNE BAXENDALE: “For equality, fix work – not women”

 Anne Baxendale is a Deputy Director at Shelter, where she has run many successful (and unsuccessful) campaigns to get housing to the top of the agenda and win change for people who are homeless or in bad housing. She is also a trustee at the Child Poverty Action Group and a governor at her son’s primary school in Tottenham. Her passion is learning how to build healthy, effective civil society organisations that enrich and transform communities and help people live good lives.

ALI MIRAJ: “Public life needs more contrarians”

Ali Miraj is a social entrepreneur, political activist, DJ and financier.In 2012, he founded the Contrarian Prize to recognise British public figures who demonstrate independence, courage and sacrifice.

He was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the marginal seat of Watford at the 2005 General Election and contested the 2001 General Election in Aberavon, South Wales. He served as a Councillor (London Borough of Hillingdon) from 1998-2002, elected at the age of 23.  He was a Board Member of both the Conservative Party’s Policy Commissions on Quality of Life and International and National Security (2005-2007). Ali currently works as a Director in Infrastructure Finance at a leading bank.

Ali is also a DJ, playing at leading venues around the world, and founded “Decks and the City” a monthly night in Shoreditch for City professionals.

FREDDIE SAYERS: “Why conservatives could be the new hippies”

Freddie Sayers is the Executive Editor of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome. He is also CEO of UnHerd Ventures, the investment arm of UnHerd that is developing new media and data businesses.

Top photo: @DeBeauvoirBlock

De Beauvoir Balloon Debate Summer 2019

BalloonDebate-Debate opensjpg

Join the De Beauvoir Balloon Debate on Thursday, 27 June for an evening of ideas, engagement and fun. We invite three speakers to present an idea they feel passionately about. At the end of the evening, you vote for your favourite!

DATE: Thursday 27 June 2019. Doors open 7pm. Debate starts 7.30pm prompt.

VENUE: De Beauvoir Block, De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN. 

Kyro Brooks      Sharro Izadi Debate   Herb Kim copy

KYRO BROOKS: ‘Online communities can be a force for social good.’

Kyro Brooks is the co-founder of Mobilise Care, an online platform which seeks to transform the lives of those that care for a loved one.  Prior to this, Kyro was the CEO of the Young Camden Foundation, a charity looking to increase the support and opportunities for young people.

Outside of work, Kyro is a keen traveller who recently took part the Clipper Ocean Race, racing across the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

SHAHROO IZADI: ‘Kindness is the key to changing our behaviour.’

Shahroo Izadi is Behavioural Change Specialist, coach, speaker and author of “The Kindness Method”. Her therapeutic approach is influenced by the experience she gained working in various roles across the addiction treatment field. She has since been dedicated to highlighting what those in long-term recovery from addiction can teach the general population about changing day-to-day habits by building self-esteem, self-belief and motivation.

Shahroo openly shares how the same motivational tools she passes on to others have helped her to transform her relationship with herself and her body after a lifetime of abusing food, extreme yo-yo dieting, low self-esteem and negative body image.

HERB KIM: ‘Ted Talks, Trump and the Power of Narrative.’

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Herb Kim is founder of Thinking Digital Conference, which has been described by The Guardian as “the UK’s TED”. He is also Founder of TEDxManchester, TEDxLiverpool & TEDxNewcastle. He is a Trustee for the Sage Gateshead Music Centre and the Visiting Professor of Innovation & Enterprise at Newcastle University Business School. He is a former Board Director for Tech City UK and the Founding Chairman for Tech North.

In 2014, Buzzfeed included Herb on its list of “Geordie Heroes”. In 2011, Wired Magazine included Herb as one it’s Wired 100 top tech industry influencers. In 2010, The Guardian named Herb as one of its Top 100 most influential media figures.

Herb earned his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, moved to the UK in 1997 and is currently based between Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. He’s a proud father to a 13yo daughter. They both share the opinion that Avengers: Endgame was deeply disappointing.

Top photo: @DeBeauvoirBlock


De Beauvoir Balloon Debate, Spring 2019

Balloon Debate-IntervalJoin the De Beauvoir Balloon Debate on Thursday, February 28th, for an evening of stimulating ideas. Door opens at 7pm. Debate starts at 7.30pm prompt.

COME to hear three speakers present three ideas. VOTE for your favourite!

VENUE: De Beauvoir Block, 92-96 De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN

paul embery        dana_qarout               bee-rowlatt

Paul Embery: “Our politicians are scared of working class identity.”

Paul Embery has been a firefighter in the London Fire Brigade for 20 years and serves on the Executive Council of the Fire Brigades Union. A member of the Labour Party since 1994, he is also the national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU.

Dana Qarout: “Education has not liberated women in Jordan – yet.”

Dana Qarout is a Weidenfeld-Hoffman scholar at Oxford University. Previously, Dana worked for the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development in Jordan, working to reform the public education sector and develop subject-specific teaching standards. Dana’s main focus has been on the use of data within the design of education policies.

Bee Rowlatt: “Mary still matters: Rediscovering Wollstonecraft.”

Bee Rowlatt is a writer and journalist. Her current book, In Search of Mary, is inspired by the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. Her best-selling Talking Abour Jane Austen in Baghdad was dramatised by the BBC. Bee contributed to Virago’s Fifty Shades of Feminism and has clocked over two decades at BBC World Service (now freelance).

Top photo: @DeBeauvoirBlock

De Beauvoir Balloon Debate, Winter 2018

Date: Thursday, November 29th 2018

Time: 7pm for 7.30pm start

Place: St Peter De Beauvoir Crypt, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA


Sara-Louise-Burke-Windrush                     Caroline Cox             Dave_Rich

SARA-LOUISE BURKE: ‘The Personal is always Political’.

Sara-Louise Burke is Subject Leader for English & Literacy at the Bushey Academy. In 2018, she was involved in fighting the Windrush scandal, campaigning for the rights of British-Caribbeans threatened with deportation. She has recently started Purple Hued Views, a blog and book club in which she discusses her life experiences and other topics from a womanist perspective.

CAROLINE COX: ‘International aid is both pain and privilege’.

Baroness (Caroline) Cox was a deputy speaker of the House of Lords from 1985 to 2005.  She was Founder Chancellor of Bournemouth University; Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University from 2006-2013 and is an Hon. Vice President of the Royal College of Nursing. She was a founder Trustee of MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International) and is Founder and President of HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust). Her humanitarian work takes her to conflict zones all over the world.

DAVE RICH:  ‘Labour’s Jewish problem is all of our problem’.

Dr Dave Rich is a British author and expert on antisemitism. He is an Associate Research Fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Head of Policy at the Community Security Trust (CST). He holds a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. His book, The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti‑Semitism (2016) began as his doctoral dissertation.