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What is Freedom? Cultural Salon

What does it mean to be free? The event gives you the opportunity to discuss and explore freedom with cutting edge thinkers of our time: philosophers, designers, artists and scientists.

What to expect

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” Is Voltaire right that freedom is not straightforward? Are we unfree in ways we don’t even realise? Is being free perhaps not always desirable? Are we willing to accept the responsibilities that come with freedom?

Come and discuss what it means to be free today in this cultural salon. In the first part of the event, leading thinkers and designers lead conversations that explore the political, economic, cultural and philosophical trappings of freedom. The salon will then debate the value of freedom and design’s place in creating a better world.

This event is curated by Philosophy For All to compliment the Design Museum’s exhibition: California: Designing Freedom.

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Booking information

Adult £10
Student/Concession £7.50

Image credit | Emory Douglas, We Shall Survive Without A Doubt

Image credit | Shepard Fairey, We the people 2017

Image credit | Map of the World Drawn Entirely by Using Facebook Connections in 2015

Image credit | Easy Rider


Richard Baron: Freedom and Contentment

Richard Baron is a philosopher and Philosophy For All organiser living in London. He was educated at Cambridge. He is the author of the books Projects and Values, Deliberation and Reason, and Confidence in Claims, as well as numerous articles. He has also had a career as an adviser on tax policy, both for the British Government and for the Institute of Directors. His website is

Piers Benn: Free Speech and Toleration

Dr Piers Benn is a Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College London and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University London Centre. He is the author of ‘Ethics’ (Routledge 2000) and ‘Commitment’ (Acumen Press 2011).

Mark Fielding: Freedom through Technology?

Mark Fielding is a philosophy lecturer and co-founder of the London School of Philosophy.

Alex Gath: The Biology of Freedom

Alex Gath studied philosophy as an undergraduate before briefly working in clinical psychology. He then trained as an anthropologist and has maintained a strong interest in both socio-cultural anthropology (especially concerning India) and biological anthropology. He lives in Central London and tries to encourage, when he can, inter-disciplinary approaches to philosophy of science.

John Holroyd: The Spiritual Supermarket

John Holroyd is a philosopher of religion and author based in London.

Rian Hughes and Will Bouwman: Designing Freedom

Rian Hughes is a British graphic designer, illustrator and comics artist, who worked in the anthology 2000 AD at the seriesRobo-Hunter, Tales from Beyond Science, Really and Truly and Dan Dare, among others. Will Bouwman is a philosopher living in London.

Gerald Jones: The Freedom Game

Gerald Jones is a philosopher and co-originator of the “salon”-event format. He is the author of the philosophy A Level textbooks and head of Adult Learning Lewisham (ALL).

Jared Jones and Marcel Steinbauer-Lewis: Childhood Freedom

Jared Jones and Marcel Steinbauer-Lewis are thoughtful 7th graders with lots of experience of and enthusiasm for critical debate.

Rick Lewis: Libertarianism and Freedom from Politics

Rick Lewis is the founder and editor of Philosophy Now, and thereby one of the main initiators of the popular philosophy movement in the English speaking world.

Filiz Peach: Existentialist Freedom

Dr Filiz Peach is a Philosophy lecturer in Richmond. She did her PhD on the existentialist philosophies of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger and is an active member of the Karl Jaspers Society.

Kieran Quill: Scientific Freedom

Kieran Quill is a research chemist with extensive experience of scientific research and development in industry and academia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Kieran has had a lifelong interest in philosophy and philosophy of science, and has given a number of talks to the Philosophy for All Group in London, and at other venues.

Dominique Russell: Art and Freedom

Dominique Russell is an artist in London and Collections Assistant at the Science Museum.

Barrie Selwyn: Breaking out of the prison house of language - Nietzsche’s Joyful wisdom

Barrie Selwyn is a philosopher in London and former Head of Kingston Adult Education.

Anja Steinbauer: Self-Reliance Pro and Con

Dr Anja Steinbauer is a philosophy lecturer, president of Philosophy For All and co-founder of the London School of Philosophy.


Thomas & Devaki are musical/life partners from Trinidad and Canada respectively. They forged/grew their musical partnership in Western Canada for 20 years winning awards and selling thousands of albums. Now Londoners, they continue to produce, record & perform with musical icons including Jon Anderson (Yes), Buffy St Marie, Arrested Development and The Wailers. Their music mixes Folk Funk Soca Reggae & Rock.

Related exhibition

California: Designing Freedom

This is the first exhibition to examine California's current global reach. Picking up the story in the 1960s, the exhibition charts the journey from the counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture.