Debating Matters Beyond Bars

The Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition is delighted to be working in partnership with G4S and HMP Birmingham, supported by the Ministry of Justice, on ‘Debating Matters Beyond Bars’.

Debating Matters Beyond Bars will see our challenging schools debating competition format taken into HMP Birmingham. Teams of prisoners will engage each other in debate on a series of contemporary social, political, biomedical and cultural debates, encouraging the inmates to think about the world around them, beyond bars.

The prison teams will be supported by Debating Matters with on-site debate training days, giving an overview not just of the competition format but also of the importance of debate more broadly. The prison debaters will also receive a series of specially updated Topic Guides, the competition’s acclaimed resources, which set the contemporary scene in which the topical issues they will discuss are taking place. Each debate will be judged, as always, by a panel of three invited guests, from all walks of life and professional backgrounds, who will cross-examine the prisoners on what they’re arguing.

The Debating Matters Beyond Bars debates will be held over two separate days in September 2016, and culminate in a grand finale between the two teams who win through to the final debate. As part of the final day, a ‘Question Time’-style debate will be staged, chaired by director of the Institute of Ideas, Claire Fox, with a panel of special guests, and an audience of prisoners, family members, HMP Birmingham staff and guests.


Day of Debate, 6 September

Grand Final, 15 September

In partnership with  


For further information about this partnership, or if you are interested in developing a similar one, contact Justine Brian


May 2017
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