When Things Go Wrong: 21st Century Responses to World Trauma

In this difficult time of global turbulence how should we react?

The London’s Burning programme explores contemporary crises, and the different responses to disaster and devastation. How do figures of authority manage the public’s concern and distress? In this talk, the panel will examine the rhetoric used to discuss catastrophe and the psychology of crisis and mass emergency behaviour.

Philip Collins is a British journalist, academic, banker and speechwriter. A columnist and chief leader writer for The Times, he is also the Chair of the board of trustees at independent think tank Demos and a visiting fellow at University College, Oxford. Prior to joining The Times, he was the Chief Speechwriter for former Prime Minister Tony Blair and wrote his last speech as leader of the Labour Party in 2007.

Dr John Drury is Deputy Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (Impact) in the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology. His work on mass emergency behaviour has been used by the emergency services, the Department of Health and Birmingham Resilience. John has also worked with government departments, arts and theatre groups, social media businesses and community organisations.

Lliana Bird is a radio DJ & broadcaster, currently on Radio X (formerly Xfm). In August 2015 she co-founded Help Refugees, a grassroots organisation which has gone on to become the biggest provider of aid to Calais and Dunkirk, and expanded all over the rest of Europe providing vital humanitarian aid and assistance to tens of thousands of refugees every day. She also wrote her first book in early 2016 entitled "The Mice who Sing for Sex, and Other Weird Tales from the World of Science", which will be out in October 2016.

Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read female writer and an award-winning novelist. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Shafak is also a political commentator; she has written for several international daily and weekly publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica and The Independent.

The Barbican rose from the ashes of one of the other great fires, the Blitz. It was developed from designs by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon as part of a utopian vision to transform an area of London left devastated by bombing during the Second World War.

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