forums & salons

Arts & Society Forum

The Arts & Society Forum was established in 2011 and meets every 4-8 weeks, about 6 times a year, to discuss issues and controversies relating to the state of the arts today. Have the arts lost sight of the importance of making judgements about good and bad? Are all arts equal or are some arts better at expressing the human condition than others? Is the arts establishment elitist? Should the arts be more accessible? Should they be used to serve social and economic purposes?

We like to get under the skin of contemporary relativism, and test various philosophical perspectives. Each discussion starts with an introduction from an invited speaker, followed by informal (and sometimes heated) discussion.

Topics discussed recently include futurism and innovation, radical theatre, performance art, film as art or entertainment, poetry and politics, graphic novels as literature, the future of classical music, reading and writers. If you would like to check us out and join the discussion, check our Facebook page or join the mailing list by getting in touch with Wendy Earle.

Meeting attendance is usually free. Any charge is just to cover the cost of the room if necessary

Next event

Barb Jungr’s Musical Inspirations

Tuesday 8 December, 7pm (UK), online, via Zoom

events archive

The art of collage: present and past, part 2

7:00pm, Wednesday 18 November

What future for the arts in the post-lockdown world?

7:00pm, Thursday 6 August

Classical inspirations: JS Bach and Helmut Lachenmann

7:30pm, Tuesday 28 July

Morality and Hell: the power of Dante’s Inferno

7:30pm, Wednesday 8 July

The Art of Composition: Gericault and Picasso

7:30pm, Thursday 18 June

The shock of the old: Steven Berkoff’s ‘Greek’

7:00pm, Thursday 28 May

The novel lives!

7:00pm, Tuesday 12 May

The tragic imagination in poetry

7:00pm, Tuesday 14 April

Dido Powell’s London art museum tours 2020

10:45am, Sunday 22 March

From symbol to individual: a gallery tour

11:00am, Sunday 13 October 2019

Dido Powell’s London gallery tours, 2018-19

11:00am, Sunday 2 June 2019

Book discussion: Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

7:00pm, Monday 2 July 2018

Great Apes: are human beings overrated?

5:30pm, Saturday 7 April 2018

Dido Powell’s London gallery tours

10:30am, Sunday 19 November 2017

Will campaigns against cultural appropriation destroy the arts?

6:30pm, Friday 10 November 2017

What future for the arts?

7:00pm, Tuesday 20 June 2017

The Arts and the Public

7:00pm, Monday 8 May 2017

Understanding Art

6:30pm, Friday 28 April 2017

Democracy and the arts in Europe: artists in a global world

7:00pm, Tuesday 28 March 2017

On Cosmopolitanism

7:00pm, Tuesday 20 September 2016

Keeping Their Marbles

7:00pm, Tuesday 19 April 2016

The Power of Reading

7:00pm, Monday 1 February 2016

Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society

7:00pm, Monday 7 December 2015

A good read: Reading Lolita in Tehran

7:00pm, Monday 24 August 2015

Brecht and the need to alienate the Public

7:00pm, Monday 6 July 2015

Realism on stage: the individual vs society

7:00pm, Monday 8 June 2015

Comedy, satire and social critique in pre-revolutionary France

7:00pm, Monday 18 May 2015

English Medieval and Renaissance Drama: creating the audience

7:00pm, Monday 27 April 2015

How should we look at photographs?

7:00pm, Monday 9 March 2015

Tell it like it is? Sincerity and (In)authenticity today

7:00pm, Monday 27 October 2014

Is architecture an art?

7:00pm, Monday 22 September 2014

Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination

7:00pm, Monday 23 June 2014

Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation

7:00pm, Monday 12 May 2014

Connoisseurship in Art

7:00pm, Monday 17 March 2014

Technology and art

7:00pm, Monday 25 November 2013

Politics and poetry: the Romantic Imagination

7:00pm, Monday 9 September 2013

Graphic novels

7:00pm, Monday 29 July 2013

Has cinema transformed entertainment into art?

7:00pm, Monday 24 June 2013

What do readers do?

7:00pm, Monday 13 May 2013

Conceptual art: what is it and is it any good?

6:45pm, Monday 11 March 2013

Arguing for theatre

6:45pm, Monday 4 February 2013

What is music?

6:15pm, Tuesday 18 September 2012

What is Literature?

7:00pm, Monday 18 June 2012

Transcendence – Lost and Found?

7:00pm, Monday 23 April 2012

Great art for everyone?

6:30pm, Monday 5 March 2012

The Death of the Critic

6:30pm, Monday 30 January 2012

Is Art a Craft or vice versa?

6:30pm, Tuesday 22 November 2011

John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’

6:30pm, Wednesday 5 October 2011

The Eclipse of Art?

6:30pm, Thursday 8 September 2011