The Fight for Beauty: Our path to a better future

Hosted by the Department of Geography and Environment and the Literary Festival

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,


Dame Fiona Reynolds

Dame Fiona Reynolds

Professor Giles Atkinson

Professor Giles Atkinson

Nicholas Crane

Nicholas Crane


Dr Michael Mason

Dr Michael Mason

We live in a world where the drive for economic growth is crowding out everything that can't be given a monetary value and it's getting harder to find space for the things that really matter but money can't buy, including our future. Fiona Reynolds proposes a solution that is at once radical and simple - to inspire us through the beauty of the world around us. Delving into our past, examining landscapes, nature, farming and urbanisation, she shows how ideas about beauty have arisen and evolved, been shaped by public policy, been knocked back and inched forward until they arrived lost in the economically-driven spirit of today.

Giles Atkinson is Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE. Giles was a member of the UK Natural Capital Committee from 2012-2015 (an independent body advising HM Government on the unsustainable use of UK natural capital) and was a member of the Advisory Board of TEEB (The Economics of Economics Biodiversity -- an international study of the economic state of ecosystems initiated by the G8+5 countries and European Commission) from 2008-2015. He is currently a member of the World Bank's expert committee for its "WAVES Partnership" (Wealth Accounting for Ecosystem Services) and a member of the Steering Group for the Natural Capital Project led by the UK Office for National Statistics.

Nicholas Crane (@nicholascrane) is an author, geographer and cartographic expert. He is the recipient of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Mungo Park Medal in recognition of outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge, and of the Royal Geographical Society's Ness Award for popularising geography and the understanding of Britain. His books include Mercator: The Man Who Mapped the PlanetClear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe, Two Degrees West: An English Journey and most recently The Making of the British Landscape: From the Ice Age to the PresentHe has presented several acclaimed series on BBC Two, among them Map Man, Town, Britannia and Coast. He was elected President of the Royal Geographical Society in 2015.

Fiona Reynolds (@fionacreynolds) is Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and a former Director-General of the National Trust. A noted campaigner and media figure, The Fight for Beauty: Our Path to a Better Future is her first book, distilling decades of experience and thought. 

Michael Mason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment and an Associate of the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. His research interests encompass environmental politics and governance, notably issues of accountability, transparency and security.

The LSE Department of Geography & Environment (@LSEGeography) is a centre of international academic excellence in economic, urban and development geography, environmental social science and climate change. 

Suggested Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSELitFest

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2017, taking place from Monday 20 - Saturday 25 February 2017, with the theme "Revolutions".


A podcast of this event is available to download from The Fight for Beauty: Our path to a better future

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