The Long Conversation

A marathon of ideas

17th December 2019

The Long Conversation

Get ready for a conversation with more twists and turns than anyone could possibly predict…

Ever wanted to answers to questions such as, should we bring the dodo back from extinction? Or what is the future of gender? Or just want to see great minds going head to head on the topics that will define our future? Drop in to the Long Conversation at FutureFest 2020 and get ready for a radical experiment that celebrates our power to shape the future.

For the first time at FutureFest 2020 we will be hosting a Long Conversation. Over 30 speakers will take it in turns to interview and be interviewed in an epic relay race that will challenge perspectives and leave you feeling inspired about the future.

At Nesta, we believe the future isn’t set in stone. There are many possible futures that we can create for ourselves – but only if we have the tools to navigate towards the future that we want. That’s why FutureFest 2020 will offer you the chance to create a survival kit for our species, through an exciting mix of discussions, debates, performances and immersive installations. Together we’ll be exploring what tools and coping strategies we’ll need to reset the clock on doomsday and shape a better future. 

As part of the survival kit, we are excited to be producing a Long Conversation: an epic, experimental marathon of ideas that runs non-stop throughout the festival. We’ll hear from people like activist and writer Kajal Odedra from and physicist Dr Jess Wade, who has written Wikipedia pages for nearly 700 female scientists. There will be slots from economist Leigh Caldwell, artist Anette Mees, Drag King Adam All, as well as appearnaces from founder of Change Please, Cemal Ezel, and feminist artificial intelligence researcher Josie Young.

Each speaker will be on stage for 30 minutes, both as interviewer and interviewee. This unpredictable format means there will be no moderators or scripts. This Long Conversation brings together people from different backgrounds and disciplines to confront the future together, sparking ideas and conversations we might not see in a more conventional format. Speakers will be inspired by the conversation that has preceded them, and will influence the conversation that follows.  

The aim is to shed light on new solutions, give a voice to untold narratives and bring together unique two-person dialogues all unified by one common question: What would you add to the survival kit for the future? Each person will tell us about one idea, object or way of working that they would like to see in the survival kit. All the responses will be collected and shared with festival visitors, so everyone can add these ideas, curated by some of the best minds of our time, to their own survival kit.

The Long Conversation will takes twists and turns with each speaker, covering a huge range of topics, from the latest artificial intelligence technology to youth activism, from the climate crisis to political extremism and from the future of fashion to neurological diversity. Coming together for this experiment, our speakers are experts from a variety of backgrounds including business leaders, performers, scientists, authors, politicians, comedians and more. Through a conversation like no other, this debate across disciplines will inspire you to shape the future in new, surprising ways.