Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Festival of Debate: Carry Hope in Your Fists

Thu 10 May | 6:45pm | Quaker Meeting House | Free

Evil - a word not often seen outside tabloid headlines in the modern world.

'Administrative evil', however, is a phrase we all need to become more familiar with. It was coined by two American professors, Danny Balfour and Guy Adams, following long research into the potential for ordinary people to cause suffering and loss to others, within a legal framework and with an apparently clear conscience.

Their research began with the Nazis, but traces the ongoing issue through the US space programme and into modern business practice, their latest example being the torture controversies at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

This event brings together Prof Danny Balfour and Prof Matt Flinders, Founding Director of The Crick Centre, aiming to broaden public understanding of the issue and consider potential examples within the UK and our own city. Learn how lawful activities can be evil, how to spot it and join the conversation about how we go about unmasking evil in the modern age.


Thu 10 May | 7pm | Sheffield Students' Union | £10/£8

What happens when you’re branded ‘abnormal’ in a world obsessed with normality? How do you find your path in life? And is anyone really 'normal'?

A comedy show based on her best-selling book of the same name, What The **** Is Normal? takes Francesca Martinez's insightful, no-holds-barred exploration of that powerful six-letter word to the stage.

Francesca shares her own life-changing journey of growing up as ‘abnormal’, being rescued from high school hell by Grange Hill, letting Ricky Gervais take the piss out of her walk in Extras, supporting Frankie Boyle on tour, and working out what to say to the BBC after being offered the role of a 'vegetable'.

While the book and its associated show implore us not to look at Francesca as 'an example to us all', by all accounts the comedian, actor, writer and committed activist is just that.

After all, what the **** is normal anyway?


Thu 17 May | 7:30pm | Pennine Lecture Theatre | £9/£7

Reni Eddo-Lodge's highly-acclaimed 2017 book, Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race, is a sobering read.

A blog post written in sheer frustration in 2014 became the departure point for an engaging dissection of systemic racism, colonialism and white privilege.

Dismantling what you thought you knew about racism and re-building it brick by brick is no mean feat and she pulls no punches, charting the history of racism while showing just how far we still have to go as a society.

Hosted by collaboration with Our Mel, the collective behind Melanin Fest, this talk will see Reni explore the key points brought out in the book and its subsequent podcast, About Race, which have opened up the topic of race in Britain, in particular amongst white people. And yes, Reni is aware of the irony.


Sun 20 May | 7-8:30pm | The Void Cinema | £9/£7

“Identitarian art rarely manages to raise marginalised and ‘subaltern’ voices. Doing so successfully requires really listening to such voices in all their rich complexity – whereas identitarian art usually searches for subaltern props with which to bash the ‘dominant’ culture. Opposing the ‘oppressive’ mainstream is more important than examining the peripheral as it really is.”

In his provocative and highly-acclaimed book, The New Philistines, Sohrab Ahmari argues that current political narratives are infecting the arts, detracting from their historical function of pursuing beauty and truth, which are both universal and timeless.

This perspective has naturally been met with no small amount of outrage, particularly from the historically marginalised groups for whom the politics of identity have in many ways given a voice where previously there was none. In a time when outrage can too often close down debate, Ahmari’s careful considerations should be heard.


Next article in issue 122

More articles