Festival of Ideas – Week 3

Festival of Ideas – Week 3

Published on 3 October 2017

This week’s continuation of the series of the 2017 Festival of Ideas included our ninth Caritas Lecture featuring Professor Sarah Churchwell, discussing The Great Gatsby. The other feature speaker of the week was Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, and widely renowned speaker.

His enthusiasm for all aspects of life was an encouragement to all those present. Mr Higgins spoke highly of many aspects – art, mathematics and especially of literature. His main message to the S6 pupils who attended a 'meet and greet' lunch was that life should not be limited. Mr Higgins reiterated this point to the audience during his speech, telling pupils that they should explore all aspects of life that interest them, not merely what they are best at.

During his lecture, Mr Higgins impressed the crowd by reciting a great deal of poetry that he keeps stored in his mind for moments that he needs inspiration and encouragement. Mr Higgins gave an exciting account of the life of Mr Robert Burns, one of his favourite inspirations in life, and tied every aspect of it back to his experience in banking and to modern day life, to create relevance and closeness for the audience. He spoke very highly of Burns but also called him “a careless man”, tieing his talk back to the overarching theme for this year Careless People. He gave many examples of important figures in history and in the 21st century who have been inspired by Robert Burns, such as President Lincoln.

The main theme of Higgins' presentation was that carelessness is subjective yet can be avoided by common sense in many cases. It was an enthralling hour for the audience and extremely thought provoking.

Rachel Macmillan (S6)