Since 2000, the IoI has created a forum for intelligent and lively public debate of complex social issues. The Institute of Ideas grew out of three years of highly successful events organised by LM (formerly Living Marxism) magazine. These events were commended for daring to ask difficult questions, and for inviting panellists to speak outside of their professional roles. Their success proved a widespread thirst for lively debate. Freed from the constraints of demands for practical policy, participants became creative thinkers. In this spirit, we realised that it was time to take the initiative and to set up a more permanent space for debate, a new academy of ideas.
Since then, the IoI has engaged with key debates around the themes of freedom, culture, science, thought and morality, and more in partnership with major institutions in London and beyond. The IoI hosts a yearly two-day festival, the Battle of Ideas, a reviews site, Culture Wars and runs an acclaimed Sixth Form debating competition, Debating Matters. The IoI has published several books, including the Conversations in Print, the Debating Matters series and a series of occasional papers.