Time for Action!

Saturday 6th May
Written by Lucy Fegan 

In the political whirlwind of the last twelve months, it’s difficult to see where we’re heading, who’s telling the truth and if equality will ever prevail. Time For Action aimed to study and explore the current world. It was one of our biggest and star-studded days as it brought together journalists, writers, activists and politicians. Bookended with a key note speech from Gary Younge and an uplifting and informative performance/speech from Akala, the day bought together thought provoking and immediate responses to the global and political developments that happened in the lead up to the festival.

Gary YoungeCharlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and Nahella Ashraf discussed the rise in hate-crime in the aftermath of Brexit in 'I’m Not a Racist But…' ,  Nahella Ashraf stated that she was shocked at how upset her Muslim friends were after the vote and many saw it as a collective vote against their right to be here. Charlie discussed the importance of BAME bursaries and scholarships such as Creative Access, as both Gary and Charlie entered the writing world on the same bursary. 

'Fake It Till You Make It' brought together The Canary’s Kerry-Anne Mendoza; author of The BBC: Myth of a Public Service, Tom Mills; and editor of multiple publications Thomas Barlow to discuss the Fake News! Phenomenon. The discussion circled around critical thinking, stating that we cannot take our news from one source anymore as bias and sensationalist headlines fill the national newspapers.  ‘Brexit Britain - Bright or Broken?’ was a debate that considered the wide spectrum of opinions about Brexit, Article 50 and its aftermath. Guests included Natalie Bennett from the Green Party, Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, Michael Dougan, Professor of European Law and Chris Nineham from Stop The War. Sparks were flying across the stage as they all presented different perspectives.

Time for Action also bought Raoul Martinez and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown together in conversation, about his book Creating Freedom: Power, Control and the Fight for our Future in which they explored freedom through the lens of political theory, economics and philosophy. Audience participation was key throughout the day as it allowed people to speak up and get involved, creating a real sense of community and an urgency for revolution. 

Time for Action continued into the night featuring hilarious comedy sets from the wonderful Kerry Leigh, Isma Almas and Annette Fagon before Akala took to the stage. In between his raps and poetry, he took questions from the audience, talking about politics, anti-intellectualism, feminism and history.