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Get your mind blown at the Southbank Centre's Belief and Beyond Belief festival this weekend

By Ellie Broughton

Ready for something intense? Belief and Beyond Belief at the Southbank Centre talks about 2017’s last taboo. No, not house prices: religion. This weekend of talks touches on everything from shamanism to feminism via neurology and space, a preview of a whole year of awkward moments and genuinely brilliant questions. Here are five times you'll get your mind blown at Belief and Beyond.

Greywolf, Chief of the British Druid Order

In what is literally an unorthodox addition to the programme, chief druid Greywolf joins some other leftfield spiritual leaders to present a debate on ‘how to be a shaman’. Check your dreamcatchers, ponchos, and other breadhead clichés about shamanism at the door.

A power orthodox jew and a lady bishop

In a fun-sounding panel discussion about what it means to imagine God is a woman, a super-influential orthodox jew and the bookies' favourite for first female bishop will share ideas on the reasons why we’ve historically been unable to deal with the idea that God’s something other than a dude.

Southbank Centre


The bishop who lost his faith (and his job)

Back in 2000 the Bishop of Edinburgh put everything on the line, admitting he’d lost his faith. But rather than taking early retirement to chain-watch 'The Vicar of Dibley' and 'Father Ted', he decided to face the music and explain what it means when a member of the clergy comes out as ‘post-religion’.

This is your brain on God

Baroness Greenfield and co present some information about which bits of the brain fire during religious and spiritual experience, and the mental experiences that atheists miss out on. Are some of us more prone to particular beliefs than others, or does spirituality itself change the way our brains work? Some uncomfortable truths await in our grey matter.

An account of memory loss

'The Sea is An Edge and An Ending' is a short film written and directed by poet Lavinia Greenlaw, investigating what it means to lose your memory, and Greenlaw’s doing talks after one of the screenings. Given the nature of memory loss, it’s pretty hard to represent accurately – this is something of a first.

The opening weekend of Southbank Centre's year-long festival Belief and Beyond Belief in partnership with London Philharmonic Orchestra explores 'The Search for the Meaning of Life' and runs January 21–22. 

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