GIAF Announces First Thought Talks Autumn 2019

17 September 2019

2019's Autumn Talks explore the health of democracy, politics and food with lauded Irish and international participants.

Galway International Arts Festival’s popular First Thought Talks series returns next month to discuss some of the big issues of the day, including the health of democracy; the qualities of political leadership; politics and life in Europe for two left wing MEPs; and the evolving nature of our relationship with food. The three talks will take place at NUI Galway's Aula Maxima on Saturday 12 October 2019.

GIAF’s First Thought Talks programme provides a platform for both Irish and international thought-leaders to delve into some of the challenges we face in the world today. It has featured everyone from authors to war correspondents, supermodels to CEOs, constitutional lawyers to psychotherapists and playwrights to presidents. Most recently as part of its July Festival, the programme featured Mary Robinson, Kate Mulgrew (Orange is the New Black, Star Trek), Diarmaid Ferriter, Marion McKeone and many more.

This October, GIAF is delighted to welcome food writer and author Bee Wilson, who will be joined in conversation with Catherine Cleary, food writer with The Irish Times, to discuss our relationship with food. They’ll look at how we learn to eat, the evolving nature of our relationship with food and how we eat now. Bee Wilson is a journalist and historian and the author of five books on food-related subjects, the most recent being The Way We Eat Now: Strategies for Eating in a World of Change (2019). She has been described by Jane Kramer of the New Yorker as having “the kind of narrative charm that could carry large chunks of scholarship; weave them together; sprinkle them with asides, experiences, suppositions, and strong opinions; and entertain you.” Wilson is chair of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Find more info about this talk, entitled Food: The Vital Frontier, here.

With the continuing rise of nationalism and the emergence of ‘strongman’ leaders, many democracies across the world are coming under increasing threat. David Runciman, in conversation with Catriona Crowe, curator of GIAF First Thought Talks, will discuss the health of democracy and the qualities of political leadership. David Runciman is a political scientist who has written seven books on political structures and democracy. His 2018 book How Democracy Ends was an international bestseller and fuelled a debate on the fate of our most cherished political model. He has just published Where Power Stops: The Making and Unmaking of Presidents and Prime Ministers. He is Professor of Politics at Cambridge University and runs a regular and very popular podcast, Talking Politics. Find more info about this talk, entitled The Health of Democracy, here.

Clare Daly
and Mick Wallace have been TDs for Dublin North and Wexford respectively from 2011 to 2019, when they were elected as MEPs for Dublin and South. Since 2011, they have worked on many campaigns, including opposition to austerity, protesting US military aircraft stopping at Shannon Airport, highlighting policing issues and shining a light on practices employed by NAMA’s in selling off its property portfolio. They will be in conversation with Vincent Browne, probably Ireland’s best-known journalist. Find more info about this talk, entitled From Ireland to Europe: What Challenges for Two Left Wing MEPs?, here.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Drinks Partner Heineken and Education Partner NUI Galway.

GIAF’s First Thought Talks will take place on Saturday 12 October 2019 at NUI Galway. Tickets on sale at 2pm Tuesday 17 September. Tickets €10-€12 per talk or €25-€30 for all three.