Leeds Salon Autumn Schedule of Events

Leeds Salon has a packed start to this autumn with three events in 12 days covering the arts, sport and a documentary about suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.


As part of the new Leeds Independent Presses Poetry Festival (LIPPfest) which takes place Saturday 24 September at the Carriageworks, Leeds Salon has been invited to host a debate on how we value the arts.

At a time of scarce resources the arts sector needs to make a better and better case for public funding. Under pressure from policymakers, and unsure about aesthetic judgment, arts organisations are increasingly justifying what they do in terms of socio-economic impact rather than artistic quality.

But should and can the impact the arts be measured in this way, or is it possible to reach public agreement on the quality of artistic production through aesthetic judgment? And does the latter necessarily mean imposing the values of a cultural elite onto the wider public?

Speakers include:

Tiffany Jenkins – cultural sociologist and author of Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections: The Crisis of Cultural Authority.

David O’Brien – lecturer in Cultural Policy, Leeds Metropolitan University, and author of the recent DCMS report, Measuring the Value of Culture.

Javier Stanziola – economist, award-winning playwright, lecturer in Management and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds.

Paul Taylor – senior lecturer in Communications Theory, University of Leeds. He is author of several books including the recent Žižek and the Media.

See the recent Spiked-online debate between Tiffany Jenkins (It’s Not the Economy, Stupid!) and Dave O’Brien (It Isn’t Philistine to Judge Art Economically).

Should the Arts be Judged or Measured? is on Saturday 24 September in Room 1, The Carriageworks, Leeds, 12 noon (for a 12:15 start) to 2pm (£3 suggested donation on day).


On Thursday 29 September Leeds Salon is hosting a screening of a new documentary about the life of radical political activist Sylvia Pankhurst produced by the charity WORLDwrite.

In feature length essay form, Sylvia Pankhurst, Everything is Possible traces Sylvia’s ideas, campaigns and political life. Researched and filmed by over 100 volunteers, the film is packed with facts from primary sources, rare images, interviews with historians and compelling testimony from Sylvia’s son Richard Pankhurst and his wife Rita.

Sylvia was imprisoned more than any other suffragette for her tireless campaigning and unlike her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel, who dropped the fight for votes for women to support the war effort, Sylvia refused to sacrifice the fight for universal suffrage until it was won. Her opposition to the war and her internationalism were and remain exemplary and her bravery in fighting for equality and opposing all misanthropic trends puts her, as one interviewee says, ‘up there with the angels.’

The film will be introduced by WORLDwrite co-director Ceri Dingle, who will also answer questions at the end.

Sylvia Pankhurst, Everything is Possible is on Thursday 29 September in Room 1, The Carriageworks, Leeds, 6:15pm (for a 6:30 start) to 8:30pm (£5 waged/£3 unwaged on the door).


As part of the Battle of Ideas 2011 satellite of events, Leeds Salon is hosting a debate on Wednesday 5 October on doping, performance enhancement technologies and the changing boundaries of human nature.

With only a few months remaining before the London 2012 Olympic Games, British athletes are preparing hard in pursuit of a record haul of medals. To help them better the 47 won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an army of coaches, doctors and psychologists is at hand, along with a thriving sports technology industry, all backed by an unprecedented level of public and private investment. National ambitions aside, we all want to see exceptional performances from the world’s best athletes. Yet sometimes we are uneasy when athletes shatter old records, fearing it is artificial aids, and not the athlete’s individual effort, that accounts for the achievement. We seem to be hanging in a precarious balance between expecting a superhuman performance and fearing the crossing of nature’s boundaries.

So where should we draw the line between the artificial and the natural in sport, between effective sports equipment and ‘technological doping’, between legitimate medical therapies and illegitimate, performance enhancement treatments, between the struggle to excel and the need to have fair and balanced competition?

Speakers include:

David James – senior lecturer in Sports Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, researcher and science communicator.

Andy Miah – chair of Emerging Technologies in the Faculty of Business and Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland.

Jim Parry – visiting professor in Philosophy, Charles University, Prague; visiting professor of Olympic Studies 2012, Gresham College, London.

The Olympics, Doping and the Meaning of Sport is on Wednesday 5 October in the Millennium Room, The Carriageworks, Leeds, 6:30pm (for a 6:45 start) to 8:30pm (5 waged/£3 unwaged on the door).

Paul Thomas is co-founder of Leeds Salon and challenges any other UK city to lead Leeds as a city of debate.

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