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Sponsored by: The Royal Institute of Philosophy and The University of Kent

Comedians meet Philosophers in a meeting of minds live on stage!

Performances!  Talks and Debates!  Live Q&A Panels!  Tours of Kent’s Stand-Up Comedy Archive!

Analysing comedy is said to be like dissecting a frog: nobody cares and the frog dies.

But that’s not true!  Comedy, now more than ever, has a vital role to play in all of our lives and raises so many questions and issues:

  • What role does comedy play in a society that values free speech?
  • Is there anything one can’t joke about and any way one can’t joke about a topic?
  • How do we strengthen and subvert stereotypes with humour?  How do we create ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups?  How can comedy bridge divides?
  • How do humour and jokes help us cope with serious matters – grief, loneliness, despair?  What is the attraction of gallows humour and swearing?
  • How does humour help to create persona?
  • What does the history of comedy and satire teach us about these questions?



  • Steve Bell (The Guardian)
  • Robin Ince (R4’s Infinite Monkey Cage)
  • Julian Baggini (philosopher and writer)
  • Rosie Wilby (podcaster and author of The Breakup Monologues)
  • …and many more comedians and philosophers



Julian Baggini – writer and broadcaster –

Simon Kirchin – University of Kent –

Emily McTernan – University College, London –

Lucy O’Brien – University College, London –

Rebecca Roache – Royal Hollway, London –

Please note some events during the day will have a limited capacity and will be on a first come first serve basis.

The organiser is Simon Kirchin (University of Kent).

If you have any questions about the content of the programme, please get in touch with him at

[For questions about tickets, the venue and anything else, please contact the Box Office.]

Click here for the full event timetable.


ART31 takes its name from Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that ‘Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities’.

ART31 is a vision created with, by, and for young people in Kent, championing the belief that all children and young people have an entitlement to access high quality arts and culture, to empower them to achieve their creative potential, and to genuinely engage young people as equal partners in any decision making that affects them.

The ART31 Youth Board is made up of young people from across Kent aged 13-25 who steer its governance, and influence policy and practice across the county and beyond, challenging the creative sector to examine existing ways of working and integrate young people into the core of their practice.

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