Bishop Nick speaks at Belief and Beyond Belief Festival at London’s Southbank

Bishop Nick is taking part on the opening day of the year-long Belief and Beyond Belief Festival at London’s Southbank Centre on Saturday 21 January –  "a lively and timely exploration of what it means to be alive today".

He'll be part of two panels:

1)  What’s It All About? The Search For The Meaning of Life, 11.30am-12.30pm, The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall. More details here.

2)  Loving Your Neighbour: Meaning and Community, 1-2pm, Weston Roof Pavilion, Royal Festival Hall

In the morning session, What’s It All About? The Search For The Meaning of Life, a panel of writers, religious leaders and experts “will delve into the ways humanity has sought to understand the mysteries of existence, and live a good life”.

Other speakers on the panel are: Mona Siddiqui OBE, the Rt Revd Richard Holloway (author and former Bishop of Edinburgh) and journalist and writer Abdul Rehman Malik.

In the afternoon session, Loving Your Neighbour: Meaning and Community, the panel will discuss:

Does the greatest meaning come from helping those around us? Is our human capacity to look beyond your own interests to the community beyond what separates us as a species? And in a troubled world, is this quality more necessary now than ever?

Many religions teach the importance of community and loving your neighbour. But how easy is it in the modern world to practice what these religions preach? More connected by the internet to people on the other side of the world, what does this mean for our interactions with the neighbour nextdoor? And what are the obstacles that religions today have in getting their message out into wider society, and making a real difference?

A panel of faith and community leaders discuss their commitment to helping others, and the challenges along the way. Including the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines and Sayed Razawi, a government advisor on religious affairs and director general of Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, a faith-based organisation which supports the Scottish Shia Muslim community. More panellists to be announced.

More about the Belief and Beyond Belief Festival

Throughout 2017, the Southbank Centre and the London Philharmonic Orchestra present a new festival exploring what it means to be human through the music, art, culture, science, philosophy, ritual and traditions that have risen out of religion in its many guises.

The seemingly innate need for humans to find meaning for their lives and a sense of where they fit into the universe, with all its mystery and majesty, is a constant in all periods of human history and has inspired some of the greatest music and art ever created.

Even in an era when religion is said to be on the decline our headlines are dominated by it, often in extreme forms.

The Belief and Beyond Belief festival also looks at the broader questions of what it means to be human and asks which aspects of religious belief can be useful to the world in the 21st century. What are the risks to societies if they become more secular, and how will that influence artists?

From Haydn to Strauss, from Kancheli to Glass, Belief and Beyond Belief looks at music that speaks of the divine and the human spirit. From Richard Dawkins to Jeanette Winterson, from Rabindranath Tagore to Primo Levi, we investigate the struggle to define the absolute.

Nearly all of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017 Royal Festival Hall concerts form part of this Festival, alongside a wide range of performances, lectures, debates, and literary events programmed by Southbank Centre. More here.


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