Lectures & Conversations

Ideas have enormous power: They inspire, they provoke, they delight. Enjoy FREE lectures and conversations from a wide variety of speakers and thinkers in the Festival's Ideas series.

Delve into pressing topics both in New Haven’s community and around the world. Explore the role art has in increasing diversity, predict the future of New Haven, and hear lectures that explore the hot topics of America and beyond. Join the conversation this June at the Festival!

Exploring Citizenship - Arts as a Gate Opener: A Town Hall

Last June, our high school Festival Fellows hosted a standing-room-only Town Hall meeting on gun violence. Join them this year as they explore the themes of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, opening up a public discussion about the continuing epidemic of racial inequity in America.

Thu, June 7, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
2 hrs

The Chasm and The Prism: Deploying Magic Strategies in the Sorted-Out City

Look at our city. What do you see? Who do you see? Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, psychiatrist and founder of the University of Orange, with University of Orange colleagues Molly Rose Kaufman and Aubrey Murdock examine urban divides caused by serial forced displacement and offer new ways of seeing that help to restore the urban ecosystem. Moderated by Kyle Pedersen.

Sat, June 9, 2018, 1:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

with Timothy Snyder

In these uncertain times, what can Americans learn and how can we move forward to protect our most precious values? Timothy Snyder discusses his new book, exploring the lessons learned from the rise of the Russian oligarchy which crushed their burgeoning democracy at the end of the Cold War.

Sun, June 10, 2018, 1:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

I'll Be Your Qubit!

The entanglement of quantum physics and art

How do you envisage something that would be altered simply by your own observation of it? Join Quantum Physicist Michel Devoret and Visual Artist Martha W. Lewis to investigate the relationships between art and science, to discuss their collaboration, and the benefits of engaging in multidisciplinary activities. Conversation moderated by Florian Carle.

Tue, June 12, 2018, 12:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

The New England News Collaborative Presents NEXT

Is Immigration Good For The Economy?

Executive Editor, New England News Collaborative's John Dankosky leads a lively discussion about the changing demographics of New England and the impact of immigration on our economy. Recorded for broadcast on WNPR, this lecture is part of our close partnership with the New England News Collaborative.

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale
Shannon Dooling, Immigration Reporter, WBUR/New England News Collaborative
Will Kneerim, Director of Employment and Education Services at IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services)

Tue, June 12, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Germany and the European Union

How was Germany able to transition from the “sick man” of Europe in the 1990s into the political and economic predominance within the European Union it is today? Director of the Yale Program in European Union Studies, David Cameron, looks at what the future holds for Europe.

Wed, June 13, 2018, 12:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Designing for the 5 Senses

Storytelling in an Oversaturated World

A world oversaturated with noise and light and interruption takes an enormous toll on our sensory systems, impoverishing our experience, attention span and empathy for each other. Itamar Kubovy, executive producer of Pilobolus, and Bruce Mau, chief creative of Massive Change Network and winner of the 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, talk about the new medium of “live” and unmediated five-senses design as a path to impact and engagement.

Wed, June 13, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Islam & Music: The Case of Iran

How did the newly established Islamic Republic regulate music following the 1979 revolution, and what have been the effects of those policies on music in contemporary Iran? Journalist and author, Nahid Siamdoust shares from her book, Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran, an alternative history of postrevolutionary Iran viewed through the field of music.

Thu, June 14, 2018, 12:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Refugee Resettlement - A Noble American Tradition Under Attack

Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS with a panel of guests lead a lively discussion of refugee resettlement in Connecticut. Where do refugees come from? How are they selected? How can we be sure they are not terrorists? How does the community get involved? How do refugees enrich our country? Why and how is the Trump Administration destroying the refugee program?

Thu, June 14, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Young People's Chorus of New York City: Music as a Unifying Force

MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, Francisco J. Núñez, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the artistic director/founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC), renowned worldwide for its diversity and artistic excellence. Francisco's talk will explore his visionary work with YPC, offering a bold new model for music-making that can inspire ensembles all over the country and throughout the world. He will be joined by several members of his ensemble.

Fri, June 15, 2018, 12:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Mexico Beyond the Headlines

The relationship between Mexico and the United States has never been so fraught. Diego Gómez Pickering discusses changes he’s seen since first appointed Consul General of Mexico to New York City in June of 2016 and the implications of President Trump’s campaign promise of a border wall coming to pass.

Fri, June 15, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

The Racial Imaginary

When Claudia Rankine was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation in 2016, she used her $625,000 award to build an extraordinary Interdisciplinary Cultural Library to provide a platform for artists and scholars to explore the idea of race. Two curators for The Racial Imaginary Institute—essayist and painter, LeRonn P. Brooks, Ph.D. and renowned poet and lawyer Monica Youn—will lead a discussion of this new model of art curation, collaboration, and its role in lifting voices that are otherwise unheard through galleries and museums.

Sat, June 16, 2018, 1:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

How to Make Your Town Somewhere Everyone Wants to Live

After more than 30 years touring the country, singer-songwriter Dar Williams has learned a lot about what makes a town great. She talks about her new book What I Found in a Thousand Towns and what small cities like New Haven can do to capitalize on resources and draw people together.

Sun, June 17, 2018, 1:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Risk, Anxiety, and Generosity

Defining the Culture of Money from Shakespeare to Today

What does a venture capitalist have in common with a Venetian man brought to life by Shakespeare more than 400 years ago? Our panel features experts in both economics and the Bard drawing parallels between the characters of The Merchant of Venice and the behavior of modern consumers and investors. Participants: Steve Mentz (moderator), Erik BlachfordTara Bradway, Judith Chevalier, and Holly Dugan.

Tue, June 19, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

The Act You’ve Known For All These Years

Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Four boys from Liverpool re-shaped popular music. The Beatles are so ingrained in our culture that we rarely take the opportunity to critically explore the value and nuances of their work as artists. Expert Beatlesologist Scott Freiman explores the cultural impact of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Wed, June 20, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

Curation and the Democracy of Arts

Curators play a significant role in shaping the visual dialogue of our times, in ways that are often mysterious or obscure in the minds of the museum-going public. Keely Orgeman and Justin Brown will have a conversation delving into the curatorial process, addressing a range of considerations—from logistical to political—involved in the implementation of exhibitions and the interpretation of collections. 

Thu, June 21, 2018, 5:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

New Haven 2040: Looking Toward the Next Twenty Years of Art and Culture

with Jock Reynolds, Pamela Franks, and Titus Kaphar

In June, Jock Reynolds ends his 20-year tenure as Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. Join us as he draws from his lifetime of experience to look forward, exploring what the next 20 years might look like for the artistic and cultural life of New Haven. Participants: Jock Reynolds, Pamela Franks, and Titus Kaphar.

Fri, June 22, 2018, 1:30pm  Details
1 hr 15 min

The Art of Crossing Cultures

Women in the Arts from Hong Kong

Join us for a discussion exploring the issues of artists working outside of their home cultures, as both stimulation and challenge. How do residencies, encounters, and collaborations with artists and audiences from across the globe change an artist and her work? How and why does some art successfully cross borders to connect with foreign audiences, while other works do not? For this dialogue, we feature the perspective of women artists from Hong Kong.

The program includes a video featurette with Tisa Ho (Hong Kong Arts Festival), a keynote, a demo and reading, and a panel discussion.

A collaboration with the Yale-China Association.

Sat, June 23, 2018, 2:30pm  Details
1 hr 30 min