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Institute of Art and Ideas


Institute of Art and Ideas

Institute of Art and Ideas
Formation 2008
  • Hay-on-Wye, Wales, U.K.
Founder Hilary Lawson

The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI)[1] is a not-for-profit organisation, which aims to create an open, vibrant intellectual culture through events and online video broadcasting.

The IAI hosts two annual festivals: HowTheLightGetsIn and Crunch at the globe in Hay.[2] The globe was recently described as "Hay’s answer to The Groucho Club".[3]

Since 2009, talks, debates and performances hosted by the festivals have been available for free viewing online, through IAI TV.[4]


  • HowTheLightGetsIn: the Philosophy and Music Festival at Hay 1
  • Crunch: the Art and Music Festival at Hay 2
  • Notes and references 3
  • External links 4

HowTheLightGetsIn: the Philosophy and Music Festival at Hay

HowTheLightGetsIn Talk Tent

HowTheLightGetsIn is the world's largest philosophy and music festival hosted by the Institute of Art and Ideas.[4] The event takes place over 10 days and features more than 350 events. It aims "to get philosophy out of the academy and into people's lives"[5] by bringing together philosophers, writers, academics and musicians for debate, talks, music and late night parties. Previous speakers include Vince Cable, Philip Pullman, Helena Kennedy, Bryan Eno, Bianca Jagger, Martin Amis and many more.

HowTheLightGetsIn 2012 'Uncharted Territory: Progress for a New Era'

Last year’s festival sought to question existing notions of progress through an exploration of issues surrounding political, economic and ethical advance in the West. By acknowledging the uncertainty of the future and its values, do we need to establish new ideas of progress or is such a suggestion inherently flawed?

It was held in Hay-on-Wye and ran between 31 May and 10 June 2012,[6] during which time there were almost five hundred sessions staged across the site’s five venues.

Amongst the speakers on the festival’s programme were musician Brian Eno, founder of Glastonbury festival Michael Eavis, literary theorist and critic Terry Eagleton and independent scientist and inventor James Lovelock.[7] Musical highlights included performances from Charlotte Church, Emmy the Great, and Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard, as well as a twelve-hour painting marathon from artist Stella Vine to accompany a performance by alternative rock band The Chapman Family.[8]

London's Open Gallery, an institution dedicated to the medium of video painting, also staged a series works by filmmaker Roz Mortimer entitled, ‘Sites of Memory’.

HowTheLightGetsIn 2011 ‘New Gods: Icons and Ideas in a Changed World’

2011's HowtheLightGetsIn questioned whether the great narratives that have built and sustained the West under threat and, if so, what are the new gods that will replace them?

Speakers at the festival included critical theorist Leela Gandhi, Times columnist David Aaronovitch, poet Simon Armitage, New Statesman culture editor Jonathan Derbyshire and screenwriter Jez Butterworth.

Cultural highlights ranged from the likes of Ghostpoet, Mount Kimbie and The Correspondents, to comedy and the screening of documentaries from around the world with BBC Four.

HowTheLightGetsIn 2010 ‘Being Human’

The 2010 festival posed the questions: What is it to be alive? What is essential to our humanity and what is peripheral? What is truly important in life?

Author of Politics of Fear Frank Furedi, filmmaker David Bond, award-winning author Philip Pullman and Labour politician Jon Cruddas, were amongst the speakers on the line up.

London’s Open Gallery, dedicated to the medium of video painting, explored the boundary between the human and the natural. The Wellcome Trust Identity Project presented an exhibition and two days of events on the topic of Identity. Notably, The School of Life hosted a series of philosophy breakfasts with leading thinkers over the 10-day festival.

Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and John Rostron, the duo behind the Sŵn Festival, curated a night of cutting-edge music, which was accompanied by live performances from Johnny Flynn, Cate le Bon and Radio 1’s Bethan Elfyn.

Crunch: the Art and Music Festival at Hay

[1] Crunch brings together the world’s leading artists, curators and critics to debate the questions that lie at the core of contemporary art. The 3-day festival features talk sessions and debates, live music, performance acts, creative workshops, art exhibitions and late night parties.

Crunch 2011 ‘Awake in the Universe’

Actress Rosie Fellner and director Nicolas Roeg at Crunch 2011

The festival has doubled in size and features controversial art historian Julian Stallabrass, artist Susan Hiller and postmodern painter and psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger debating how art and creativity make us alive; Serpentine Director Hans Ulrich-Obrist on the rise of the curators and outspoken artist Jake Chapman in conversation with Paradise Row founder Nick Hackworth.

With exhibitions from galleries such as The View, the UK's contemporary art scene combines with a debate series featuring significant cultural figures such as former Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Adrian Noble, novelist Mark Haddon and art historian Griselda Pollock.

Other highlights include a trio of Cabaret acts, comedy from the BBC's John-Luke Roberts and music performances from British Sea Power, Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo and Mara Carlyle.

Crunch 2010 ‘What’s the point of art?’

The 2010 festival highlighted that the art world is in a state of flux and that an emerging generation of artists and curators are pushing for a new arts agenda. It was described by Harper's Bazaar as “The art and soul of the party.”[10]

Amongst those that took part in debates were Bianca Jagger, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery Julia Peyton-Jones, art critic Matthew Collings, The Evening Standard's art correspondent Godfrey Barker, The BBC's Arts Editor Will Gompertz and musician Brian Eno.

The newly installed globe field hosted the Great British Art Debate, the Crunch Art Fair [11] and the ‘Globe On Fire’ installation. Inside the globe, The Museum of Everything[12] brought its Exhibition #2 to Hay.

Crunch 2009 ‘Art in an Ephemeral Age’

Crunch 2009 explored the issues at the heart of contemporary art, with topics such as performance, environmental art and installation taking centre stage. Guest speakers included former head of The Ruskin School Michael Archer, Radio 4 presenter Godfrey Barker, sculptor Richard Wentworth, graffiti artist Felix Braun, and curators from The Saatchi Gallery, The ICA and Hayward Gallery.

Visual art performers The Paper Cinema[13] demonstrated a blend of illustration and film with The Lost World and The Night Flyer, and musician Richard ‘Kid’ Strange performed classics from his thirty-year career.

Crunch 2008 ‘Art in a New Era’

The first annual art festival hosted by the IAI focused on the implications of the credit crunch upon the art market and the wider art community. The festival brought together some of the foremost artists and art professionals working in the UK including Gavin Turk, Anthony Hayden Guest and Ben Lewis.

It was the first official UK forum to address the effects of the global economic recession upon artists and the art market. Ben Lewis' keynote speech provided a preview of the content of his subsequent documentary on Channel 4.

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "Institute of Art & Ideas: Philosophy & Big Ideas » IAI TV". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Live Music - Arts Venue - Cafe - Restaurant - Hay on Wye, Hereford". Globe at Hay. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  3. ^ "A world of entertainment on Hay's doorstep".  
  4. ^ a b "Institute of Art & Ideas: Philosophy & Big Ideas". IAI TV. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  5. ^ Michelle Pauli (2009-05-22). "Enlightenment comes to the Hay festival | Books". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Inspirational Speakers at HowTheLightGetsIn 2013". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  8. ^ "Music Festival Line Up 2013 – HowTheLightGetsIn at Hay". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Crunch: the art and music festival at hay". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  10. ^ "The art and soul of the party :: Harper's BAZAAR". 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  11. ^ "Crunch Art Fair". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  12. ^ "The Museum of Everything". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  13. ^ "perform a unique form of live animation and music". The Paper Cinema. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 

External links

  • The IAI Official Website
  • The IAI on Google Plus
  • IAI Youtube Channel
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