GREAT DEBATE BrightonUni Arts2015 042 e1502141738802

More than 200 people packed the Sallis Benney Theatre in Brighton to participate in The Great Debate 2017. The audience, which represented some of our city’s biggest businesses, iconic tourist attractions and most successful SMEs, engaged in a thought-provoking debate, followed by a lively networking event where the discussions continued.

The debate was chaired by former BBC presenter Miranda Birch, who worked for the BBC for 24 years and now runs her own business. She was joined by panellists Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, Giles Palmer, Founder and CEO of Brandwatch, Claire Hopkins, Founding Director at Ideal, and Andrew Goodall, Managing Director of Brunswick Developments and owner of Brighton Marina.

The debate covered topics including:

  • Whether the city’s brand of fun serves its businesses well.
  • How the city can best serve its creative and freelance industries.
  • What developments are needed to ensure the growth of businesses can continue.
  • How can the university support businesses to recruit and retain the best talent?

Miranda also asked members of the audience if they could sum up the city in one word, which prompted some very interesting responses.

The Great Debate revealed how important it is for businesses, universities and schools to talk to one another, to engage with the next generations of talent and to make sure that Brighton & Hove promotes what is on offer for businesses here.

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor, University of Brighton, said, “The Great Debate was a wonderful opportunity for the university to forge deeper connections with our local business community. There was a real buzz throughout the debate which covered many topics and we are looking forward to ensuring that our communities work together to ensure Brighton is open for business.”

If you would like to speak to the University of Brighton about ways the university community and your business can develop partnerships then contact 

If you would like to receive an audio recording of the full debate please contact

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