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British Academy events in 2019 explore utopia and dystopia

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The British Academy’s programme of events and talks will explore hopes and fears in a changing world, as part of the Utopia or Dystopia - Imagining Futures season running throughout 2019.

Dystopian novels and films conjure up nightmarish visions of how our futures might unfold. From oppressive regimes to environmental disasters, these dark reflections of society often blur the line between reality and imagination.

But is the future so bleak, or can utopian thinking provide direction and a sense of purpose?

From January to March, British Academy events will take in desire in the social media age, the future of London’s LGBTQ nightlife, and the modern pandemic of loneliness.

Award-winning writer Olivia Laing, whose most recent book, Crudo, is set in the turbulent summer of 2017, will be in conversation to discuss the utopias and dystopias found within her work, and the importance of art, love and solidarity amid chaos and despair.

Discover the history of LGBTQ club culture and the precarious future of the London venues that have long been spaces to express queer identities and desires.

For an alternative way to mark Valentine’s Day, new research sheds light on desire in the digital age. TubeCrush is a website where users can post secretly-taken photos of ‘guy candy’ spotted on public transport. Is this harmless fun celebrating the male form, or does it raise moral questions about consent and modern relationships?

Nine million Britons say they experience loneliness, making the themes of dystopian stories a living reality for many. Consider how we can break down barriers to social participation as we hear from experts in fields ranging from history of art to behavioural science and health.

For the full list of British Academy events and to book tickets, visit the website.

In addition to the Utopia or Dystopia – Imagining Futures series, the British Academy’s programme of free lectures includes talks by leading academics on themes including decolonial feminism, Chinese archaeology, and medieval Welsh law.

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