Festival of Big Ideas Program

festival of big ideas

So…what happens at the Festival of Big Ideas?

On one level, it’s an opportunity to stay in a medieval castle and have really interesting conversations with 75 other people who also read interesting books and listen to podcasts just as you do 🙂

On another level it’s an opportunity to understand why you think the way you, why you hold certain opinions, to learn why others might see the world differently, an opportunity to change your own mind…

This is the first edition of the Festival of Big Ideas and it’s something of a sandbox as together we’ll find out what we want the event to be. It’s a non-profit event and we want it to be a community-inspired event that meets our needs and dreams.

We don’t have a fixed schedule yet as we’re inviting ideas and proposals from our extended 5 Minute University community but the weekend may look something like this:

Friday evening

  • Welcome dinner
  • Icebreaking games, chats around the fire


  • Mindfulness meditation in the arboretum
  • Breakfast
  • Workshop on storytelling
  • Lunch
  • Workshop on the art of seeing the other side of the argument
  • Group dynamics games: Who wants to be President of the World?
  • Dinner
  • 5 Minute University in the chapel
  • Music around the fire


  • Mindfulness meditation in the arboretum
  • Breakfast
  • Workshop on How do we know anything at all?
  • 5 Minute talks in the Tower garden
  • Lunch and goodbyes

There will also be longer form talks given by participants that will be announced closer to the time – you can make one, too!

Why morning meditation? You might know the feeling of arguments getting too heated – this is an aid to staying human even when we meet disagreement 🙂 And it may give us the calm and composure we need to change our minds when we hear a persuasive point of view rather than doubling down for dear life on our core beliefs.

You’ll stay in the castle itself in dormitory rooms (or find a hotel in the town 10km away) and have all your meals there – we’ll eat together in an underground cave room lit by candles. And there will be a tea room where you can go at any time to get a tea or coffee and have an interesting chat with someoene.

No phones are allowed once breakfast has begun until dinner is over. We’re here to be with each other. And to that end we’ll assort everyone into Idea Pods where each morning you can share a tea and share the insights, ideas and feelings you’re experiencing at the festival