Institute of curious minds

Fascinating stories, talks, debates and live interviews from international artists, experts and boundary-pushing thinkers. From illuminating Q&As with headline DJs from across the festival to discussions about the future of spirituality and money, food fads, fake news and even how to have better orgasms, this is a place where curiosity is king.

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dates & times

classes, talks & panels

  • Friday

    Morning Breath with Stuart Sandeman

    10:00 - 10:55

    Breathing: everyone does it but did you know that it can also help to improve performance, increase energy, productivity, communication, confidence and focus? And it can fight negative emotions such as anger, fear, frustration and depression, too. After this one-hour workshop you may never wake up the same way again as Stuart Sandeman, a DJ and the founder of Breathpod, explains how breathing is the secret key to feeling revitalised. He’ll discuss the health benefits and techniques of “conscious breathing” and how it can slip into your everyday routine, ahead of a free workshop at 5pm located in The Energy Garden Workshop Hub 

    How to Divorce your Phone

    11:00 - 11:55

    The average Brit checks their phone 10,000 times a year. We’re addicted to our screens, but what can we do about it? And should we be doing something about it? Our panel of experts, including Anisah Osman Britton, the founder of tech school 23 Code Street, and Carly Wilford, a DJ, presenter and founder of SISTER Collective, discuss the highs and lows of digital detoxing, from turning your screen monochrome to going old-school with a Nokia 3210, in order to find out whether it’s really possible to have a healthy relationship with our electronic gadgets.

    Ganjanomics

    12:00 - 12:55

    2018 marks the year that recreational use of cannabis became legal in California. But what about the UK – will it ever follow suit? While many are still forced to break the law to access marijuana to treat themselves or family members, a recent study that found that legalising cannabis in this country could bring in a projected £3.5 billion profit a year – enough to fund the NHS. This panel discussion looks at whether the future may well be green for our fair isle, the current state of cannabis policy and what moves are being made towards changing the public perception of smoking and toking.

    Back to Nature

    13:00 - 13:55

    Getting back to nature is a great way of improving your mental health – and it’s a trend that’s really taken off in 2018. Wild swimming is more popular than ever before, gardening is on the up and no longer the preserve of grandparents, and doctors are even prescribing time in the great outdoors as an alternative therapy. Set against a backdrop of beautiful rural Lincolnshire, come chat with musician Mary Epworth, green-fingered Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy-Cosslett and London Wildlife Trust’s Joanna Ecclestone about how, when you feel like throwing your laptop out of the window, nature could be the only nurture you need.

    The Story of Grime with Dan Hancox

    14:00 - 14:55

    The biggest phenomenon of the past five years in British music has been grime, a genre that was born in London tower blocks in the early 2000s and has since exploded nationwide and into the mainstream. Journalist and writer Dan Hancox was there in those very early days, at freestyle battles and raves, and has documented it in his book this summer, Inner City Pressure. He has seen the genre progress, from originators like Ruff Sqwad, Wiley and Dizzee Rascal breaking through to present-day heroes taking over TV screens, like Mercury Prize winner Skepta and megawatt rapper Stormzy. Here, Hancox charts the grassroots genre’s very DIY path to UK domination and asks, where will it go now?

    Anti Diet Riot Club

    15:00 - 15:55

    In 2018, there’s more choice and more advice on what you should be consuming than ever before, from endless lists of new superfoods to activated charcoal for sale in your local supermarket. But, isn’t it exhausting having to keep up with every newfangled food hype? And is it all really that good for us? Our panel of food and body experts, including Becky Young, founder of the Anti Diet Riot Club, will debunk clean eating myths and talk about why 2018 is all about body positive eating instead.

    The Black Madonna is your Mentor

    16:00 16:55

    Chicago’s Marea Stamp is one the most exciting DJs in the world, who has quickly established herself as a party person with a purpose. Not only is she a house hero but she’s unafraid to champion everything from gender equality, LGBTQ rights and diversity in the club world and challenges the status quo and dance music homogeny. Now, exclusively for Lost Village, you’ll get the chance to turn the tables on The Black Madonna and get her advice for everything from how to get into DJing to how to get shit done. She’ll be divulging some of her personal disco logic in this unmissable talk.

    The World According to Friendly Fires

    17:00 - 17:55

    The St Albans band has been at the forefront of danceable indie music for a decade, having released their seminal self-titled debut a decade ago. Now, after a six-year hiatus, Friendly Fires are back and headlining Lost Village on Friday. Ahead of their main stage set, the Institute of Curious Minds welcomes the band onstage for an illuminating conversation about their hugely hyped return, their storied career to date, what to expect from their new album and the highs and lows of being in one of the best British indie-dance acts there is.

  • Saturday

    The Future of Money

    10:00 - 10:55

    We love it, we hate it, we literally can’t live without it, but do we really understand it? And more importantly, do we know where it’s going? Our crack team of experts discuss the future of dosh, debunking what Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is all about and uncovering what’s next for economics, cash and capitalism – the essentials for anyone with a bank account who doesn’t want to be left behind if we all go cashless! With Stuart McGurk, GQ’s associate editor and the journalist who tracked down Bitcoin’s elusive founder, alongside Rethinking Economics director Maeve Cohen and special guests.

    When Black Mirror Becomes Real Life

    11:00 - 11:55

    It’s the stuff of nightmares – psychotic dog robots with knives for hands relentlessly hunting you down – and the stuff of dreams – a San Junipero digital afterlife with your lover. Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror has given us all food for thought about our tech future. Do you think science is building us a dystopia or utopia? 

    How To Start A Cult Restaurant with Oobah Butler

    12:00 - 12:55

    VICE writer Oobah Butler trolled the restaurant industry, hipster foodies and TripAdvisor earlier this year. He caused both outrage and eyebrow-raised praise when he started a foodie hotspot, The Shed, and managed to turn it into the number one top-rated restaurant in London. Except, his restaurant really was just where he stored his lawnmower and his artisan cuisine was mostly Iceland ready meals served to his customers, on plastic garden furniture. In this talk, Butler explains how he managed to pull off the most talked-about prank of 2018 and what it tells us about our obsession with the next big thing in food.

    How to Upgrade Your Orgasm

    13:00 - 13:55

    Maybe you find it easy to climax but when it comes to rutting, you’re stuck in a rut and looking for new ways to hit those orgasmic highs with your down-belows. Perhaps your personal sat nav has failed while you try to find the G-spot (or P-spot, or A-spot…), and you need some expert direction. Or maybe you’ve not yet visited O Town and are looking for advice on how to finally get there. Join our entertaining panel as they discuss the common and not-so-common climax challenges we can all face at some point in our sex lives. Alix Fox (Sexpert of the Year 2018 and co-host of BBC Radio One’s Unexpected Fluids), Jess Wilde (resident expert at Love Honey sex toys) and Jack Smith (Gay Times) will be on hand with tips, tricks, red-hot ideas and some saucy freebies, too.

    So you Wanna be an Adventurer?

    14:00 - 14:55

    Ash Bhardwaj is a modern-day explorer. He has retraced secret WW2 missions through Albania’s mountains, met the Dalai Lama while walking 800km through India, trekked through Uganda and Sudan and to Everest Base Camp with wounded soldiers and worked with soldier Levison Wood on the Channel 4 documentary Walking The Nile. He has just come back from a journey along Russia’s border with Europe, looking at the surprising legacies of the Soviet Union. Join the travel writer, film-maker and globe-trotter as he talks about his escapades around the world, how to be an adventurer in 2018 and what it means to “travel with purpose”.

    Gou Talk: Q&A with Peggy Gou

    15:00 - 15:55

    Peggy Gou has had a whirlwind year. The South Korean-born, Berlin-based producer and DJ has quickly become one of dance music’s in-demand selectors thanks to her eclectic sets and inimitable style. In January she released one of the house tracks of the year, It Makes You Forget (Itgehane), from her debut EP on Ninja Tune, and has since gone on to grace the cover of Mixmag. Today she’ll be talking about DJing in all corners of the world, her touring and travel highs and lows, breaking through dance music’s glass ceiling, how she approaches her revered sets and the significance of giraffes, all giving a glimpse into the world of the DJ star.

    How To Be A Boss

    16:00 - 16:55

    The number of entrepreneurs in the UK is on the up, as are the numbers of self employed, but it can feel overwhelming to go it alone as a business owner or freelancer. Whether it’s a tech start-up or a record label, being a freelance creative or turning your hobby into money, you don’t have to make millions to make your dreams come true, you just need some inspiration from this crew of bosses. Join Louise Leolin, the co-founder of indie games start-up DinoByte Labs who was named an “inspirational woman entrepreneur” by Evening Standard, Kojey Radical, poet, rapper, artist and artistic director of fashion label Chelsea Bravo, and Charly Lester, author or The Female Entrepreneur.

    Mixmag Presents

    17:00 - 17:55

  • Sunday

    Lost Village Book Club

    10:00 - 1055

    Let's Get Spiritual

    11:00 - 11:55

    We live in increasingly secular times but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t still searching for a higher purpose and trying to get in tune with themselves and the universe. In this enlightening talk, The Times’ leading astrologer Shelley von Strunckel and Instagram witch Harmony Nice will be looking at how to find the meaning of life in the social media age and the various ways in which the world is looking for divine intervention, from tarot and spells to the stars and beyond…

    You Can't Handle the Truth

    12:00 - 12:55

    In 2018, fake news is big news – and even a threat to democracy. How many of us have fallen for an unlikely story on Facebook? How can we trust what we read online in a world of spin doctors, Cambridge Analytica, conspiracy theorists and ‘alternative facts’? And most importantly, are we beginning to lose our grasp on what’s true? Big questions for a big talk, in which a panel of experts, including philosopher and author of A Short History of Truth Julian Baggini, are going to help us navigate this weird new era.

    Masculinity: Rebooted

    13:00 - 13:55

    What exactly does masculinity mean in 2018? We don’t need to tell you that things are changing – fast. The feminist revolution of the past few years has set a new dawn in motion, the #MeToo movement is challenging notions of toxic masculinity and the end result is that the old-school bloke appears to be a species under threat. So what exactly does the future of the lad look like? And why is it time for a change? In this panel discussion, Martin Robinson (journalist and editor of The Book of Man), Jordan Stephens (actor and musician in Rizzle Kicks) and comedian Russell Kane will be talking about what masculinity is now and how to be a man in 2018.

    Lost Village Lecture - Charlotte Church

    14:00 - 14:55

    Artist, activist, mother and national treasure Charlotte Church gives the first Lost Village Lecture on how we can build a utopian future.

    Mixmag Presents

    15:00 - 15:55

    Dixon: The Evolution of Innervisions

    16:00 - 16:55

    German luminary Dixon is behind one of electronic music’s most celebrated labels and collectives, Innervisions, alongside Âme. Since 2005 it has quietly shaped the present and future of electronic music, encapsulating Berlin’s ever-mutating house and techno sounds with releases from leading lights including Henrik Schwarz, Laurent Garnier, Gui Boratto, Marcus Worgull and Osunlade. In this very special chat, the Institute of Curious Minds welcomes Dixon for an edifying introduction to what makes Innervisions tick, how it’s become a global success and how it’s continuing to lead the charge for quality electronic beats.

    The Science of Singledom

    17:00 - 17:55

    We all want it, but we’re just not very good at it – why is love so hard? From ghosting to benching, catfishing to endless swiping, modern dating is a mess, and even when you’ve found ‘the one’ it doesn’t get easier, with almost half of marriages ending in divorce. Maybe science has the answers! We’ll be discussing the ‘single gene’, black market Oxytocin and whether it’s your ‘attachment style’ that means you keep picking wronguns. Discover the real science of love with Dr Anna Machin (Neuroscience, Oxford University, C4’s Married at First Sight), comedian Rosie Wilby (author Is Monogamy Dead?) and special guest singletons.