Briefing for London and the future: Will we still be a major player in the world in 2050?

Time and location

Friday 8 October 2010 from 18:30 to 20:00. (The  Conference Centre bar will be open from 17:30 but it won’t be open following the debate.) Please can you arrive at the Conference Centre for 18:00.

Location: British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

When you arrive, look for anyone from the Story of London Festival. Ask for us at registration and we will introduce you to your fellow speakers and your chair, and pass on any final updates.

Event description

At the turn of the twentieth century, London was the largest and most influential city in the world. In the early twenty-first century, there are many other big players – Shanghai, Tokyo, New York to name a few. Will our position as a leader in finance, culture and science remain strong, or will we lose out to competitors? How will London’s ability to innovate fare in a time of spending cuts in the arts, higher education and research, and in a climate of increasing regulation? Will other cities which are developing their education, arts, science and technology research centres begin to take over, or is there something special about London’s character and cosmopolitan nature which means it will continue to furnish the world with ideas?

Event on Story of London Festival site.

All debates Future City Keynote Debates

  • Bankers and Bonuses: What has the City ever done for London? on the evening of Monday 4 October
  • Is London growing too big too fast? on the evening of Tuesday 5 October
  • London and the Olympics: Predicting the legacy of the twenty-first century on the evening of Wednesday 6 October
  • Is London missing out on the potential of new technologies? on the evening of Thursday 7 October
  • London and the future: Will we still be a major player in the world in 2050? on the evening of Friday 8 October

More information and booking: British Library Story of London page.


Professor Lisa Jardine, Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary, University of London


Lisa Jardine CBE is Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge, and holds honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University. She is a Trustee of the V&A Museum and was for five years a member of the Council of the Royal Institution. She is Patron of the Archives & Records Association and the Orange Prize. For the academic year 2007-8 she was seconded to the Royal Society as Advisor to its Collections. In April 2008 she took up the post of Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Professor Jardine writes and reviews widely for the media, and has presented and appears regularly on arts, history and current affairs programmes for TV and radio. She is a regular writer and presenter of ‘A point of view’, on BBC Radio 4: a book of the first two series of her talks was published by Preface Publishing in March 2008 and a second — Another Point of View — in 2009. She judged the 1996 Whitbread Prize, the 1999 Guardian First Book Award, the 2000 Orwell Prize and was Chair of Judges for the 1997 Orange Prize and the 2002 Man Booker Prize.

Lisa Jardine has published over fifty scholarly articles in refereed journals and books, and seventeen full-length books, both for an academic and for a general readership, a number of them in co-authorship with others. She is the author of a number of best-selling general books, including Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance, Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution, and biographies of Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Her most recent book on Anglo-Dutch reciprocal influence in the seventeenth century, entitled Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland’s Glory, published by HarperCollins UK in 2008 and HarperCollins USA in 2009 was awarded the prestigious Cundill International Prize in History.

During the first semester of the 2008/9 academic year Professor Jardine was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, jointly sponsored by NIAS and the Royal Library in The Hague (the KB). In 2009/10 she was a Scaliger Visiting Fellow at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, and held the Sarton Chair and receive the Sarton Medal at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Point of view for this debate

  • London needs to be at a hub and embrace developments, as it did with printing in the past (and which other cities/civilisations didn’t)
  • UK moments of glory have been contemporaneous with a successful capital
  • But today we may over-estimate our global impact, and we shouldn’t do that
  • We need to invest more  in science and technology
  • We need to be innovative, not just about resources but ‘in the right time’
  • Will our accidental location turn out to be a boon or a bane?, ie: will our temperate climate lead to mass migration to London driven by climate change?

Jude Kelly, artistic director, Southbank Centre


Jude Kelly OBE is the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution. Southbank Centre consists of the Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall (containing the Purcell Room), and the Saison Poetry Library. Southbank Centre also manages the Arts Council Collection and organises the National Touring Exhibition programme in venues throughout the UK. Situated on the south bank of the River Thames, Southbank Centre is at the heart of London’s arts quarter and showcases local, national and international work across classical and contemporary music, dance and performance, learning and participation, the visual arts, and literature and spoken word.

Jude founded Solent People’s Theatre in 1976 and Battersea Arts Centre in 1980, and became the Artistic Director of the York Festival and Mystery Plays in 1988. She later became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse where as Artistic Director and then CEO she established it as an acknowledged centre of excellence.  In 1997, she was awarded the OBE for her services to the theatre.   She has directed over 90 productions including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, the Châtalet in Paris and in the West End.

Jude left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal, artistic laboratory spaces in London, Liverpool and Southend.  Metal provides a platform where creative hunches and ideas can be pursued. It also involves cross-art collaborations and developing strategic projects to affect the built environment, people, communities and philosophies.

Amongst her many successes as a director, Jude’s production of Singin’ in the Rain transferred twice to the Royal National Theatre and was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production in 2001.  She directed Sir Ian McKellen in The Seagull and The Tempest, Patrick Stewart in Johnson over Jordon and Othello, Dawn French in When We Are Married, and the English National Opera in The Elixir of Love (Southbank Award – Newcomer Opera) On the Town, which was the ENO’s most successful production to date and was revived in 2007 at the London Coliseum and in 2008 at Théâtre du Châtelet, Carmen Jones, and the Wizard of Oz at the refurbished Royal Festival Hall. More recently, Jude directed Paco Pena’s Flamenco sin Fronteras in 2009 and Quimeras, also by Paco Pena, which had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in September 2010, and a production of Bernstein’s MASS at the Royal Festival Hall.

Jude has represented Britain within UNESCO on cultural matters, served on the Arts Advisory Committee for Royal Society of Arts, and jointly chaired with Lord Puttnam the Curricula Advisory Committee on Arts and Creativity.  She is chair of Metal, a member of the London Cultural Consortium, sits on the board of Creativity, Culture & Education, the board of New Deal of the Mind and on the Cultural Olympiad Board, and is part of the ongoing framework for delivering the creative, cultural and educational aspects of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. She is visiting Professor at Kingston University and Leeds University and holds several honorary degrees from national and international universities

Point of view for this debate

  • Importance of experimentation and risk-taking in the arts
  • Three of the BRIC nations have populations 70% under 25: Who will be the consumer of culture then? They will be producing and consuming.
  • Can’t be xenophobic. Rather than asserting ourselves need to be curious and inquisitive and learn from other cultures and will stay ahead. Need to be counter-intuitive and do more listening. Don’t develop French protectionism and fear losing our Britishness. Note the impact of the network on society and culture.
  • Philosophically we need to have links between disciplines to make a more intelligent society. See the Renaissance!
  • Experimentation? It’s about saying Yes to more things than you say No to. Societies getting less innovative tend to say they know what they like.
  • Role of culture? Becoming more important to more people because we have said that it is but it is unevenly distributed.

Peter York, social commentator, writer and broadcaster


Peter Wallis co-founded the influential management consultancy SRU with Lord Stevenson. He is a Non-Executive Director of Galiform plc, a Board Trustee of Arts & Business and is on the Tate Members’ Council. He is also well-known as Peter York, the writer, author and broadcaster on social styles and trends. He writes a weekly column for the Independent. His latest book (his eighth) ‘Cooler, Faster, More Expensive – The Return of the Sloane Ranger’, co-authored with Olivia Stewart-Liberty, was published in October 2007. His most recent BBC2 documentary, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Ad-Man’, was shown in September 2010. He is a Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London.

Point of view for this debate

  • What has made London a centre? London as political, financial, media capital (but not science or manufacturing). London not a high tech city. It is near science places and finances and controls them. Was a centre of manufacturing in the second ring.
  • London has changed more than its occupants recognised: from a declining city in a declining nation to a rising city in a declining nation. Used to share joys and sorrows of the nation more.
  • Two big strengths are the arts and the creative industries. Tourist attraction and a business in themselves. People want to invest in places they like. Can London be the creative Athens to China’s Rome? Where did Paris’s creative reputation go? New York not so much a ‘melting pot as pie chart’. We intermix more.
  • Decline of advertising: what implications?
  • Education? There is great revenue here. Chinese students here going back to make added value goods at home. They only speak glob-ish and hang together. They won’t be depending on UK social networks in future! How can they be better integrated?
  • Could we parliamentarise other places and do their parliamenting for them?
  • Compound nature of London: needs assiduous curation.
  • The rich coming here and displacing local elites. Will people think they have to have house, money and get their teeth fixed here, as the Arabs have done? London as a city of the rich is very important: connected with London’s strengths and with inward investment.

Julie Meyer, founder and chief executive, Ariadne Capital

Julie Meyer is an American-born entrepreneur, investor, business adviser, networking expert, broadcaster and business commentator. Having worked in the investment and business advisory world for more than 20 years, Julie is the founder and Chief Executive of Ariadne Capital and the Managing Partner of Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs Fund (ACE).

She is the founder of Entrepreneur Country and was the co-founder of First Tuesday – the networking forum for start-up technology businesses across Europe – sold in July 2000 to Yazam, a subsidiary of Jerusalem Global, for $50 million. Meyer is also one of the two dragons on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den online and is a regular columnist for the free London business newspaper, City A.M. and regularly contributes to The Daily Telegraph’s business pages.

Julie has appeared as a general business commentator on the BBC (on shows including Newsnight and BBC news online) and CNBC as well as contributing to publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek and Spectator Business. She has won awards including the World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (October 2000) and a place in the Wall Street Journal’s 30 most influential women in Europe. She was also cited as one of INSEAD’s ‘50 alumni who have changed the world’(2010). Julie has lived in Europe since 1989

Point of view for this debate

[Not interviewed]

James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation, De Montfort University


James Woudhuysen is Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University, Leicester. A St Paul’s School scholar and physics graduate, he has a knack of registering trends before other people, and offering counter-intuitive proposals on what to do about those trends. The only things James does not forecast are the weather, the stock market, the horses and your own personal destiny.

Point of view for this debate

[Not interviewed]

Chair: Simon Fanshawe, broadcaster and writer


Since 1978 Simon Fanshawe has combined the careers of broadcaster, writer and award winning comedian with that of a social activist and Board member. He has exceptional skills of presentation, chairing and strategic thinking. He operates in the public domain as a provocateur and opinion former. He operates in the private and charity sphere as a Board director. He is a leading champion of diversity and has been active in gay rights for thirty years.

Format and presentations

We would like you to prepare introductory remarks to be presented in 5 minutes.

After the introductions there will be a short panel debate lead by the chair, and the discussion will then be opened to the audience for questions and points. We hope we will have more than half an hour for this element of the event.

As time will be very limited, we will not be asking for visual presentations, except where visuals are necessary to support an introduction. (If you do want to present we check with the AV staff at the British Library that your presentation will work, and if your time allows work with you on your presentation.)

Marketing and promotion

Online advertising for the Festival has already started. On 23 September the printed guide will be distributed with Time Out (75,000 copies). On 25 September the guide will be included with the Saturday Guardian (230,000 copies). This will be followed by a Tube poster run, and a large screen Tube platform advertising campaign.

If you want to share information about the event or promote it you can use the following text:

Future City: London and the future: Will we still be a major player in the world in 2050?, 8/10 (British Library) #StoryofLondon

The Mayor’s Story of London Festival 2010 #StoryofLondon

The Twitter handle for the Festival is @StoryofLondon and the hashtag for Tweets is #StoryofLondon.

There is also a Facebook page for the Story of London.


The event may be filmed or otherwise recorded. We may ask you if you will allow us to use these recordings for event documentation.


If you have travel or other expenses please keep your (dated) receipts and we will arrange for you to be reimbursed.


Nico Macdonald: +44 7973 377 897

Laura North: +44 77 7924 0556

[email protected]