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TGD Vimeo channel
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TGD Schools Programme
the great debate schools programme
the great northern debate
the great north debate
ETUDE project
ETUDE
gt northern youth voices
great northern youth voices citizen journalism
Our facebook group
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Geo-engineering
Geo-engineering: the key to the future
The Great Debate People
Caspar Hewett Caspar Hewett
Mo Lovatt Mo Lovatt
Jon Bryan Jon Bryan
Jackie Scollen Jackie Scollen
Frances Enearu Frances Enearu
Lucy Probert Lucy Probert
Charlie Winstanley Charlie Winstanley
Dave O'Toole Dave O'Toole
Jon Pugh Jon Pugh
Oliver Moss Oliver Moss
HYPODS project
HYPODS citizen journalism project
NECTER / RCE North East
NECTER / RCE North East
Space of Democracy
The Space of Democracy and the Democracy of Space
The Leeds Salon
The Leeds Salon
Videos
The Thirsty 10 Billion
The Thirsty 10 Billion:
Are we managing?: EGU 2014
ETUDE Videos
WoE Stand up
ETUDE WoE Stand up
WoE Bridge building demo
ETUDE WoE Bridge building demonstration
WoE debate 1
ETUDE WoE debate 1
Is Engineering a Force for Good?
WoE debate 2
ETUDE: WoE debate 2
Who is Responsible for Communicating 
Science and Engineering?
The Fracking Great Debate
ETUDE: The Fracking Great Debate
Part 1 - introduction
ETUDE: The Fracking Great Debate
Part 2 - discussion
Rescuing Our Brownfield Spaces
ETUDE: Rescuing Our Brownfield Spaces Video
More Videos
Geoengineering the climate
Geoengineering the climate:
the way forward?: EGU 2014
Decline and Fool
Decline and Fool Videos
Waking The Dawn
Great North East Youth
HYPODS project videos
Whatever Happened to Equality? interviews
Whatever Happened to Equality? speaker interviews, 
November 2012
Equality vs Difference
Equality vs Difference debate,
November 2012
Equality, Equity and the Dispossessed
Equality, Equity and the Dispossessed, 
November 2012
school debate competition final 2011: nuclear power
The Great Debate schools Competition final 2011:
'Nuclear power is the answer to the world’s energy problems'
great northern youth voices
great northern youth voices videos
Infrastructure Debate
The Great Infrastructure Debate, 
April 2012
Transport Challenges
The Challenges of Sustainable Transport,
March 2012
The Future of Energy
The Future of Energy for the North East,
December 2011
Too Many People?
Too Many People? debate, 
November 2011
Engineering the Future
Engineering the Future debate, 
November 2011
Facing the Future
vox pops
Facing the Future vox pops, 
November 2011
Facing the Future
interviews
Facing the Future speaker interviews, 
November 2011
Visions for the Future of the City
Visions for the Future of the City, 
October 2011
Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? Porritt & Ben-Ami
Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? 
Head to head debate between Daniel Ben-Ami and Jonathon Porritt
Oct 2010
Limits to Growth
Limits to Growth debate with Daniel Ben-Ami, 
Richard Dyer and Phil O'Keefe, August 2010
Food & Water Security
Food & Water Security debate with Tony Allan, 
Jennie Barron, Julia Brown and Ben Campbell,
March 2010
Living in a Changing World
Living in a Changing World, 2010
Getting Real About Energy
Video of Getting Real About Energy at EGU 2010
Don't Shout at the Telly North East 2009
Don't Shout at the Telly North East 2009
Flush it (10 min edit)
10 minute edit of WORLDwrite video Flush it
Darwinism without Darwinitis
Discussion following key note talk by Raymond Tallis on Darwinism without Darwinitis
Human Nature Debate
Rita Carter, Caspar Hewett, Thomas Pink and Kevin Yuill: 
The Great Human Nature Debate
Science & Human Nature
What can science tell us about human nature?
Bruce Charlton, Pauline Hadaway and Igor Aleksander
What is radical politics today? Hutton & Giddens
What is radical politics today? 
Will Hutton and Anthony Giddens
in conversation with Jonathan Pugh
Keeping Africa Small
Keeping Africa Small Debate
I'm a subsistence farmer ... Get me out of here!
I'm a Subsistence Farmer ... Get Me Out Of Here! debate
TGD 10th Anniversary
The Great Debate 10th anniversary
Buy books from Amazon
Amazon.co.uk

Main     News     Current Projects     New on this site     Videos     Comments on The Great Debate


Forthcoming Events

The Right to be Offensive? Freedom of Expression in the 21st Century
Details to be announced

What Has The European Convention on Human Rights Ever Done For Us?
New article by Caspar Hewett. Click here

Why #FucktheTories just isn’t good enough
New article by Mo Lovatt. Click here


The Great Debate Wins Award

The Great Debate is delighted to announce that our great northern youth voices project has won an outstanding flagship project award from United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Special thanks are due to Jackie Scollen for all her hard work, to Charlie Winstanley for his valued contribution to the project, to Mo Lovatt for her role in getting us started on this road and Jon Bryan without whose support The Great Debate simply would not have kept going the last few years. December 2014


gnyv Citizen Journalism and documentary-making training

Welcome to The Great Debate! The Great Debate is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to maintaining a space for public discussion through courses, day schools, debates and workshops for the general public on topics ranging from Darwinism and human nature, to free speech and environmental thought. We run a schools programme that includes public discussions, debating workshops in schools and thegreatnortherndebate project. We are committed to education, discovering knowledge and developing informed opinion through discussion and research. The Great Debate is a partner in the NECTER regional network.

The Great Debate is organised by director and chair Caspar Hewett, co-director Mo Lovatt, treasurer, Jon Bryan, secretary, Charlie Winstanley and the team: Jackie Scollen, Oliver Moss, Lucy Probert, Jon Pugh and Dave O'Toole. In our sixteen year history we have organised more than fifty public debates, over twenty day events, and over twenty courses, seminars and talks, attracting a wide audience drawn from the general public of ages 14 to 80. Current activities include film-training for young people not in employment, education or training, debate workshops for schools and a programme of events engaging engineers in conversation with the general public.

The Great Debate website includes listings of events, articles, reviews and useful links to other sites. We hope that you will find our website to be a useful resource.

Comment on The Great Debate:
"Fun is not usually a word that complements intelligent discussion, but without wishing to devalue the serious nature of the enterprise that's exactly what The Great Debates are. For more than three years I have been going to the debates on all sorts of subjects and never been disappointed. The speakers are always willing to engage with the audience even if what they have to say is a little off the wall. Attendance is usually free, which means all my poor friends can come along as well. The atmosphere is friendly and inclusive, during intervals there is the possibility of free flowing intellectual engagement."
                                                          Abdul Hamed, Sept 2010
More comments

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Current Projects

ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events

Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events

ETUDE was a project funded by Royal Academy of Engineering as part of the Ingenious grant scheme which engaged engineers in dialogue with the general public in order to improve understanding the intersection of technology with human values and behaviour. More ...


great northern youth voices

Big Lottery Funded
In January 2014 we restarted this highly successful citizen journalism programme thanks to a second Awards for All grant. Previously funded by Big Lottery and Dulverton Trust the programme provides documentary-making training and production for young people not in employment, education or training. More ...

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the great northern debate project recognised by United Nations

 news

In April 2015, The Great Debate co-convened a debate at European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna. 'The thirsty 10 billion: Are we managing?' challenged the geosciences community to think about what can be done to make sure that people have the water they need now and in the future. Click here for video of the debate. This event followed on from 2014's equally successful debate at EGU, 'Geoengineering the climate: the way forward?' which can also be viewed on video by clicking here.

The Great Debate is delighted to announce that in late 2014 our great northern youth voices project won an outstanding flagship project award from United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Special thanks are due to Jackie Scollen for all her hard work, to Charlie Winstanley for his valued contribution to the project, to Mo Lovatt for her role in getting us started on this road and Jon Bryan without whose support The Great Debate simply would not have kept going the last few years.

In 2014, we ran a series of events as part of ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events in partnership with Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities and Institution of Civil Engineers. The ETUDE project engaged engineers in dialogue with the general public in order to improve understanding the intersection of technology with human values and behaviour. Building on the success of our 2011/2012 project Sustained Engagement, ETUDE used a variety of formats to develop dialogues between participating engineers and our general audiences with events running throughout 2014. ETUDE was funded by Royal Academy of Engineering under their Ingenious grant scheme. More ...

In 2013 The Great Debate celebrated its fifteenth year of providing a space for public debate in the North East. We had a fitting start to the year with a nod to where it all started with a seven week evening course on The Science of Humanity. This was followed in April with the first of our Great North Festival Debates which ran throughout the year. One highlight of the year was Media, Culture, Voice: Tackling inequality and marginalisation in July with Vinod Pavarala of University of Hyderabad.

We were also pleased to anounce that we won two other grants in our fifteenth year which kept us busy throughout 2013-14:

Economic and Social Research Council supported us for the seventh year running to contribute to their Festival of Social Science in November 2013. Decline and Fool: Changing Ideas in the Twenty Teens looked at the declining influence of ideas that have dominated politics, philosophy and the arts for decades and asked what, if anything, is taking their place. This day of active debate and documentary-making included two panel debates: Environmental retreat, examining how environmentalism has become less central in the popular imagination since the economic downturn; and After the fall?, looking at postmodernism, asking what people think it is, whether it has any relevance to the general population and what we would we like to see replace it. More ...

Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All scheme is now offering follow-on funding for existing projects, and we were extremely pleased and proud that they awarded us £10,000 to resume great northern youth voices, our venture into documentary-making training for young people not in employment, education or training. In 2011 a £10,000 startup grant from Big Lottery Fund enabled us both to buy the minimum of kit needed to make this aspect of our work sustainable and provided the funds to run a set of pilot workshops. This was followed up by £5000 from Dulverton Trust which enabled us to continue running workshops into 2012. The latest grant allowed us to continue this work throughout 2014. More ...

The Great Debate continued to roll out our programme of debate workshops for schools throughout the North East in the 2011/12 academic year. This included a series of workshops in schools and a School Debating Competition sponsored by Newcastle University.

In previous years ESRC Festival of Social Science events have included Whatever Happened to Equality? (2012), Facing the Future (2011), Getting Real About Climate Change (2010) Don’t Shout at the Telly, Change What's on it! (2009) The “Credit Crunch”: Consequences for UK Households (2009) Developing World Challenges (2008) and The 3rd Workshop on Development, Sustainability and Environment (2007).

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New on The Great Debate website

What Has The European Convention on Human Rights Ever Done For Us?
Article by Caspar Hewett.

Why #FucktheTories just isn’t good enough.
Article by Mo Lovatt.


Videos from the HYPODS project


Can't Surf, Won't Surf!
Review by Danny Crossley of "Media, Culture, Voice: Tackling inequality and marginalisation", a panel debate held at Northumbria University in July 2013 looking at what roles media and culture can and should play in tackling inequality and enabling the marginalised to speak.


Motion, Midges and the Magician of the North
Review by Danny Crossley of "Water and wind - Can renewables deliver?", a panel debate held at Cragside, June 2013 looking at a variety of ways in which energy can be obtained from water and wind and asking how much of our future energy requirements they can provide.


Whatever Happened to Equality?

Whatever Happened to Equality? was a day of active debate and documentary-making held as part of ESRC Festival of Social Science 2012. The event took a critical look at how the ideal of equality has been eroded in recent times, becoming replaced by notions of equity and the celebration of difference. Participants of our film-making programme for young people filmed the debates and interviewed speakers. View Videos


The Great Debate schools Competition final 2011
Nuclear power is the answer to the world's energy problems
Video of the final of Newcastle University Year of Sustainability School debate event held in November 2011. Recorded by participants of great northern youth voices project. View Video


great northern youth voices videos
great northern youth voices videos
Young people taking part in our 2011/12 film-making programme conduct interviews and reflect on change. Includes interviews from Facing the Future, a day of documentary-making and debate held in November 2011. View Videos


The Great Infrastructure Debate, April 2012
The Great Infrastructure Debate
Proceedings of an event held in April 2012 as part of the Sustained Engagement project. With ICE President, Richard Coackley; Edward Bentley, Northumbria University; Richard Dawson, Newcastle University; Stephanie Henderson, Environment Agency; Laura O'Toole, Jacobs; Tony Quinn, National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec). Read details and view video.


The Challenges of Sustainable Transport, March 2012
The Challenges of Sustainable Transport
Proceedings of an event held in March 2012 as part of the Sustained Engagement project. With Matteo Conti, Northumbria University; Katja Leyendecker, Environment Agency, Newcastle Cycling Campaign; and Adriana Monroy-Olaya, Newcastle University. Read details and view video


Facing the Future vox pops, 
November 2011
Facing the Future
The Great Debate: Facing the Future was a day of active debate and documentary-making held as part of ESRC Festival of Social Science 2011. Participants were encourages to take a critical look at current discussions around population and the limits to social and technical engineering. View videos of: Vox pops with participants / Interviews with speakers / Debates


Visions for the Future of the City, 
October 2011
Visions for the Future of the City
Videos from workshop exploring the question "How do we create a sustainable and resilient city in 2050?" held as part of the Sustained Engagement project at Newcastle University, 22nd October 2011. View Videos


Is There Free Will? Finally an Answer 
by Alfred A. Barrios

What is Sustainable Culture?
Proceedings of a debate held on 20th August 2010
with Jonathan Dawson, Alex Hochuli and Clive Lord

A New Interpretation of Natural Beauty and Sexual Selection 
by Chenguang Lu


Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? 
Head to head debate between Daniel Ben-Ami and Jonathon Porritt
Economic Growth: Bane or Boon?
Head to head debate between Daniel Ben-Ami, author Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress and Jonathon Porritt, author Globalism and Regionalism, Living within our means, Capitalism as If the World Matters held at Northumbria University, 19th October 2010. View Video

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Limits to Growth debate with Daniel Ben-Ami, 
Richard Dyer and Phil O'Keefe, August 2010
Limits to Growth in the 21st Century
Discussion held as part of The Great Debate Green Phoenix Festival Programme, August 2010 with Daniel Ben-Ami, author Cowardly Capitalism, Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic Progress; Richard Dyer, Transport and Climate Campaigner, Friends of the Earth; Phil O'Keefe, Professor of Economic Development and Environmental Management, University of Northumbria. View Video


Food & Water Security debate with Tony Allan, 
Jennie Barron, Julia Brown and Ben Campbell
Food and Water Security, March 2010
Debate held as part of Getting Real About Climate Change with Prof Tony Allan, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate 2008, founder of London University's Water Issues Group; Dr Jennie Barron, research fellow in water management at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); Dr Julia Brown, Portsmouth University; and Dr Ben Campbell, social anthropologist, Durham University. View Video

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September Sky Howd interviews Mike Hamp for Living in a Changing World
Living in a Changing World
Video made by young participants of the documentary-making project Living in a Changing World, funded by Mediabox, 2010. The interviews featured were filmed at The Great Debate: Getting Real About Climate Change workshop held as part of the Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science/Newcastle Science Festival in March 2010. View video.


More videos and articles can be viewed by clicking on these links:
Videos       Articles

You can also join our facebook group, view our videos and hear about our events there.

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The Great Debate is a North East partner of the National Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition. Click Here for further details.

Debating Matters Competition Debating Matters Competition

The Leeds Salon

To sign up to our mailing list, please send us an email at

the great debate (all one word) at live dot co dot uk


Previous contributors to The Great Debate have included Tony Allan; Christopher Badcock; Susan Blackmore; Rita Carter; Tony Durcan, OBE; Frank Furedi; Anthony Giddens; Doug Henderson, MP; Will Hutton; Sir Bernard Ingham; Clive Lord; Kenan Malik; Catherine McKinnell, MP; Chi Onwurah, MP; Jonathon Porritt; Matt Ridley and Raymond Tallis.

Previous events have been organised in association with RCE North East, Discovery Museum, North East Centre for Lifelong Learning, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, the Institute of Ideas, RSA and WORLDwrite

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