Financial Times Weekend Festival 2021

Image courtesy of FT Weekend



A short reflection by Lucy Hart, Coordinator of Research and Capacity-Building


On September 4, 2021, The Athena Advisors journeyed to the historic Kenwood House. A former 17th century stately home in Hampstead, London, on the northern boundary of Hampstead Heath, there could not have been a better location to launch our new name and focus, The Athena Advisors.

Financial Times Weekend festival goers, 2021

Image courtesy of FT Weekend

Our vibrant booth was the perfect location to meet an array of the 2,500 festival goers, offering a welcome opportunity to discuss how our firm can build capability, capacity and coherence to help socially focused organizations achieve even more.

The festival saw more than 100 leading authors, scientists, politicians, chefs, artists and journalists build on its poignant theme Reawakening: Imagining a post-pandemic world. Talks were given by the likes of Former British Prime Minister, Sir John Major, novelist and Booker prize winner, Ian McEwan and Oxford vaccine creator, Sarah Gilbert. There was even a wine-tasting by Soho Square’s Noble Rot.

Creativity and appreciation of the arts were resounding themes among speakers, as we learn new ways to navigate a world facing a pandemic and its effects, and we often find solace in art form. This was beautifully summarised by poet, playwright and activist Ben Okri:

“Art is not an add-on. Art is the central business of life.”

The Artist in Residence Program and Music Curator Program at the Athena Advisors bring the arts to clients and associates. The field of social justice can be demanding and exhausting, and the arts are a timeless response and respite.

The grand finale, to the sound of trumpets, was a special performance by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Ensemble.

A truly memorable day. We can’t wait for next year.