When we first met Anthea Garman, convenor of the Think!Fest lecture series, she was rushing into the lecture that was about to kick off the two week programme. After the talk we got to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and discuss this year’s Think!Fest. It is evident that she is passionate about her work as she spoke freely about the series with little prompting.
In the months leading up to Think!Fest, Anthea looks out for anything interesting that could become a part of the series. After months of collecting interesting ideas, she contacts potential speakers from a range of fields including everything from art and politics to neuroscience and health. Anthea is also approached by many people interested in speaking during the festival as they use this as a platform for exploring many relevant issues.
Anthea ensures that the lecture series attracts a wide range of people by including a diverse variety of topics. Some of the categories this year include youth leadership, the inner workings of the human brain, economics and development as well as many more.
At first glance it may seem that Think!Fest is aimed at an academic audience but it became clear that this isn’t so as we saw the mix of people attending the lecture. Anthea explains that the lectures facilitate a cross-over between academic and public spheres where academic leaders are encouraged to come out and speak to ordinary members of the public.
She also stresses that the programme would like to see a younger generation taking part in the series. Over the years she has included many topics such as hip-hop and graffiti as an attempt to make this happen. However, even though topics are successful, they are not repeated as Anthea tries to keep the programme up to date and current.
Every show promises to inspire thinking and spark new ideas so if something grabs your attention this year, don’t hesitate to attend because Think!Fest only comes around once a year.
By Devaksha Vallabhjee and Megan Deane