Challenge, Empathise, Innovate


The Big Tent Community is Going Digital
Come and Join the Discussion


The Big Tent is the place in which all are welcome and encouraged to discuss why and how Britain needs to change as we re-emerge from Covid-19, back into the world. Everyone is encouraged to:

  • Learn things you didn’t know
  • Challenge your own assumptions
  •  Find common ground and empathy for those you don’t agree with

More than ever, these are the values we need if we are going to help shape a better Britain for us all. Our Big Tent culture really matters – and that doesn’t change online. Our Values are non Partisan: we are united by a desire to see progress for the UK. Our members are Passionate, energetic, creative and optimistic; leading change in new and exciting ways. We are open to new ideas and encouraging of new voices.

Above all, we are collaborative; we want to convene and connect original thinkers and innovators, seeking to catalyse progressive partnerships. We are bringing together people from every background – science, politics, business, the arts and more. We want to ask “What matters? What do we need know? What is going on out there that Westminster politics has ignored?” We want to probe the pressing problems, looking at them from different angles. And most importantly, we want to find out what the solutions look like – and how we all can do something about it.


Our digital tents

While we cannot meet in person in any physical tents for the time being, that does not mean the spirit cannot continue online. So the Big Tent is delighted to announce a series of digital events, where members and supporters will get a chance to be part of shaping discussions and challenging each other, and we can hear from the experts on the ground across the UK.

In keeping with our festival spirit, there will be different events, different content, different ways to participate, and events that focus on different parts of Britain. You can dip in and out, and see what takes your fancy, from our events:

“IN Debate
A chance to change people’s minds and challenge assumptions.

“IN Depth
What do we really need to know? Who should we listen to ?

“IN Conversation
A chance to hear the life and lessons from a person of the day, one on one.

“IN Place
Uncovering innovation and local successes – as well as failures and mistakes that have been ignored nationally.



As we try and imagine a future after this, what are the big themes that matter most? We have chosen to focus on these four big themes that reflect the interests and experience of our community, and we will be going in depth in all four:

And we want your ideas for what you want to hear;
you tell us, we’ll try and organise it.



The Big Tent Digital Programme

Here’s a taster of we have planned – with many more to come:

IN Debate

One or two speakers setting our their points – then it is your chance to interrogate them, challenge yourselves, and see which arguments are more persuasive.

The Balancing Act 
Local Innovation vs Central Control in the NHS

How are we going to pay it all back?
The UK public finances in an economic crash

Has Government messaging in Covid been too effective?
Group psychology in a time of crisis

Who owns my health data?
Informed consent in the Covid-19 world

Who should Britain be mates with?
Global alliances in a post Covid world

Will things automatically “get better” after Covid?
The fate of Liberal Democracy in an economic depression

Everybody needs good neighbours
Lessons from Covid-19 – The community response 

The Sporting Taboos:
Periods, pain, performance

IN Depth

What are the key issues that we really need to know the detail on? This is the chance to hear from the experts, and get the answers we need. Coming up we will explore:

Testing the Nation

What is COBRA? How does it really work, and is it prepared for the next threat?

Mental health and isolation: How can we look after ourselves, and each other?

What does history teach us about the effect of pandemics on politics and economics?

IN Conversation

Different experiences matter, and the chance to hear peoples stories can be very powerful. There is the chance to hear form those figures with experience across a wide range of areas.

We will be talking to Leading politicians about their life in politics, Top athletes, ballet dancers and actors will talk about how they achieve creative and artistic excellence, and leading industry figures will give their perspective on how technology is transforming our workplaces.

IN Place

The Big Tent will shine a light on the local innovations the rest of us are missing. We will probe the challenges on the ground, understanding the mindset of those involved, and try and draw out connections go other areas facing the same issues. What has, or hasn’t worked, and why? Taking one place at a time, we will look in detail at the results of:

Health and Social Care integration – What does it look like in reality?

Lessons from Local Trust funding: Community economic development

Innovation in education: how we can connect schools and businesses to equip students

The experience of cultural renewal in transforming a local economies

Join Big Tent Digital events