Mon, 3 February 2020

7:15 pm - 8:40 pm

How to Understand Our Times: Ai Weiwei In Conversation with Kenneth Roth and Helene Cooper


Central Hall Westminster

London, SW1H 9NH

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei meets Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and New York Times journalist Helene Cooper to explore how human creativity can address global crises.

From climate change to migration, populism to human rights abuses, the crises of the 21st century are global in magnitude, revealing the delicate web of connections that bind nations and citizens, individuals and ecosystems. Faced with tyranny and violence, to say nothing of the inordinate complexity of our times, can an artist really hope to make a difference? Does human creativity truly have the power to change our world for the better?

Ai Weiwei is living proof that it does. Raised in a labour camp and later beaten, surveilled and imprisoned on trumped-up charges by the Chinese state, Ai has dedicated his life to the struggle against corruption and oppression of all kinds. As a conceptual artist and activist fighting for justice, he has become an icon in his own lifetime, renowned world-wide for his work promoting freedom of thought and expression, compassion, and humanitarian values.

For one unmissable night at the How To Academy, Ai will be joined in conversation by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch – an NGO investigating and reporting abuses in five continents. From the Syrian Civil War to the Rohingya Crisis, US immigration to the South Sudan Conflict, the lawyers, journalists and country experts of Human Rights Watch help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.

Weiwei and Kenneth will be hosted by Helene Cooper, a Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times and herself a refugee to the United States, having fled a military coup in Liberia aged 14.

“How to Understand Our Times” is a live event series collaboration between The New York Times and How To Academy, bringing together New York Times journalists and leading figures in diverse fields to examine pressing issues in a changing world.

As part of our collaboration with The New York Times, take advantage of a special digital subscription offer. With investigative reporting and analysis from experts in the field, The Times uncovers the stories that impact the world.

For the biggest stories of our time, told by New York Times journalists each weekday, listen to “The Daily.” You can find it at or wherever you get your podcast.


Useful Information

Venue Address

Central Hall Westminster



Event Times

Doors Open: 6:30pm

Event Stars: 7:15pm

Event Finishes: 8:40pm

Refund Policy

No refunds, no credit.


Accessible via lifts.

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