Kingston ‘festival of ideas’ coming to town


Residents and community groups have collaborated to organise the first Think in Kingston festival.


By Joel Durston

Kingston is getting philosophical with a ‘festival of ideas’ hitting the town this month.

Residents and local community groups have come together to organise this free and first independently-run Think in Kingston festival.

The council is funding the project, aiming to ‘channel and enrich the natural creative energy in the communities across the borough of Kingston upon Thames’ and ‘to encourage informed discussion about contemporary issues’.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘happiness’, an idea which everyone can get involved in – young, old; ‘educated’ or ‘uneducated’.

One of the organisers, Marilyn Mason, 65, said: “We chose happiness because it’s something that everyone thinks they want, so we thought we’d find about more about it.

“Since it was the first year we thought it would be nice to have a theme.

“Not a narrow one, but an all-encompassing one that different people could participate in; The (Philosophy) Café, the local amnesty group and others. It opens people’s minds which is good.”

She was speaking at the Tuesday showing of  The Economics of Happiness.

This film calls for a reduction in capitalism in favour of ‘responsible’, localised economies – an ethic also put forward by the Transition Town Kingston movement, some of whose leaders were in attendance.

Some of the free events to take place include a Comedy Poetry Night, yoga and happiness-centred singing and various debates including ones on human rights and social equality, which will wrap up the whole event.

This event aims to show people that ‘weighty’ issues needn’t necessarily be the preserve of chin-stroking academics.

It is ‘an attempt to bring philosophy out of the academy and back to the streets’, as the partnering Kingston Philosophy Café claims.

For more information, see the event website:, the council’s event guide: or contact the participating organisations:

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