AC Grayling On Democracy's Crisis

Join internationally renowned philosopher AC Grayling as he examines the failure of the best political system we have: democracy. And explores how to put it right.

Has democracy reached its point of crisis? In recent years, we have seen the rise of populism and authoritarian leaders in the US, the UK, Russia and the Middle East. Democracy, the system designed to manage these forces, described by Winston Churchill as ‘the least bad of all systems’, seems to have failed.

What are the merits of representative democracy today? What is the future of democracy? Is there a viable alternative?

AC Grayling believes representative democracy is stuck between a rock and a hard place, yet it is this space that it must occupy if a civilised society is to flourish. Plato asks us to remember that voting in an election is a skill. Today, we tend to think of democracy as an unambiguous good, rather than something which is only ever as effective as the education system which surrounds it.

Join AC Grayling and The School of Life as we look to history to teach us how to overcome our society’s current challenges. We will delve into the idea of representative democracy and ask how to safeguard an accountable and intelligent democracy to step forward as a society?

This event is proudly presented in association with Bloomsbury Publishing.


18.15      Doors Open
18.30     Welcome & Introduction
18.40     On Democracy's Crisis
19.30     Audience Q&A 
19.50     Closing Remarks 
20.00    Book Sales & Signing

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'A human lifespan is less than a thousand months long. You need to make some time to think how to live it.'
– AC Grayling


AC Grayling is the Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and its Professor of Philosophy, and the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He is a columnist for Prospect magazine, and was for a number of years a columnist on the Guardian and Times. He has contributed to many leading newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, and to BBC radios 4, 3, 2 and the World Service, for which he did the annual 'Exchanges at the Frontier' series; and he has often appeared on television. He has twice been a judge on the Booker Prize, in 2015 serving as the Chair of the judging panel. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Democracy and Its Crisis

Democracy and Its Crisis (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017) will be available for purchase and signing on the evening.


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject. 

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AC Grayling On Democracy's Crisis


Special Event
When and where:
  • Wednesday 13 September 2017 6.30 – 8pm,
    Melbourne City Conference Centre, 333 Swanston St Melbourne VIC 3000

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Full price: $35.00
Concession: $25.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original class date.

For ticketing and box office enquiries please call 0434 492 669 or email


Melbourne City Conference Centre
333 Swanston St
Melbourne VIC 3000

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

This event features Auslan interpretation. If you require this service please book tickets and a reserved access seating section will be available on the evening.

Please note that this event will be photographed and audio recorded.