Plugging Into OffGrid

OffGrid Sessions - 2019

by Sam Leith @ OffGrid Sessions – Pic James Clarke


It’s a paradox of the name that OffGrid is where you go to recharge, turn on, make connections and freshen up your tired old thinking circuits with a jolt of intellectual electricity. This year’s sessions gather a range of the most exciting thinkers and speakers working now to address perhaps the most pressing issue of the age, and one that crosses over the worlds of politics, science, business and communications.

Truth and reality: how do we know what we know? How can we trust what other people tell us? How can we trust what we tell ourselves? How does the world *really* work?

We live in a world of unreliable information and unexamined assumptions. We run on rails. And you’re going to be listening to speakers who’ll give you a toolkit to assess that information and challenge those assumptions. You’ll learn how to jump those rails.

Take gender: Caroline Criado-Perez will be here to help us see the world through fresh eyes, showing how the world is built for men in ways so pervasive they have become almost invisible. Or Bobby Duffy and Michael Blastland, who brilliantly unpick the very foundation of our assumptions about the world and show us how much that we think we know is wrong — and how we move forward from there.

Or the entrepreneur Alex DePledge, who’s going to tell us how many of the accepted wisdoms about how businesses work are wrong — and how smart leaders can use that to their advantage. Or Ed Warner on the hidden forces that really power the vast industry of sport. Or Eric Barker, a dazzlingly original social scientist who’s helping rewrite the rules on how we cooperate and compete and what that means for the shape of our markets and our societies. Or Nick O’Shea, using his personal experience as an economist-turned-brewing entrepreneur to raise a glass to the effervescent potential of untapped talent in the workforce. And in an age of volatility, Jaideep Prabhu shows us how businesses can move fast, travel light, and do more with less.

We’ve got the war photographer Paul Conroy and documentarian Catrin Nye bringing news from the sharp end — and affirming the vital importance of old-fashioned reportage in a world of fake news… and how sometimes, even if we can know the truth, we don’t want to. Artists Alison S M Kobayashi and Wilfrid Wood are here to sidestep the data and show the different truths that a creative eye can see. And Rachel Parris is here to affirm that amid all the chaos there’s another way of looking at the world: one that can use unexpected connections in the service of that most valuable thing, a laugh.

OffGrid Sessions assembles all these perspectives to give you new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of operating in the world. We hope you enjoy plugging in to it.