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Live Debates from the Institute of Art and Ideas

The Institute of Art and Ideas, the online public philosophy platform, is pleased to announce the launch of a regular format of standalone live debates entitled IAI Live, which will take place totally online in an interactive virtual space. This represents a new solution to the question of how to organise group events and encourage collective thinking in the social distancing era.

The IAI Live series will kick off with the debut event Passion, Action and Hypocrisy on 26th October at 6pm GMT. The debate will feature American anarcho-primitivist ecophilosopher John Zerzan, co-founder of Novara Media and advocate of “fully automated luxury communism” Aaron Bastani, high-flying banker turned Buddhist nun Emma Slade, and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable. The panellists, who are at the forefront of thinking about politics today, will tackle the brief:

From family feuds to Twitter tirades, many speak passionately about the need for change, and draw inspiration from individuals who risked life and limb for progress. Yet few act on their beliefs, other than the occasional vote, and many continue to participate in systems that they publicly condemn and deem unjust.

Are we cowards, hypocrites or worse?

The event’s groundbreaking virtual reality technology was developed at HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest festival of philosophy and music, whose innovations were covered by the BBC, Financial Times and HuffPost. Each IAI Live event will take place in a virtual space consisting of:

  • a virtual pre-debate discussion hosted by the IAI, starting half hour prior to each IAI Live event and open to all attendees to explore their own ideas
  • an immersive venue for the main debate
  • a backstage, “Meet the Speakers” area where attendees can continue the debate with the participants after the main event
  • a box office enabling attendees to browse ticket options and future IAI Live events


As followers of the IAI have come to expect, the IAI Live series promises regular debates with world-leading thinkers from all fields. Recent IAI contributors include Noam Chomsky, Joseph Stiglitz, Judith Butler, George the Poet, Paul Krugman, Slavoj Zizek, Deirdre McCloskey, Carlo Rovelli, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Daniel Kahneman, and many more. The IAI showcases speakers who are dedicated to forming radical new ideas and solutions to the world’s problems.

The Institute of Art and Ideas is an online public philosophy platform curating video debates, specially commissioned articles, and interactive courses, all hosted at

Tickets to the debut IAI Live event, Passion, Action and Hypocrisy, will go on general sale on Thursday 14th October. To explore the virtual space now, visit





For more information, press images and interview requests, please contact


The Arena is the main debate venue where speakers will square off, with the discussion streamed live to attendees.



The Circle is a cosy backroom area containing the Introductory table where attendees can meet with IAI staff and fellow attendees before the event to talk open-endedly about the upcoming debate – and everything else. It also contains the Speakers table where the panellists will head to continue the discussion and field questions from the attendees post-event.  

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