Berkeleyside’s fifth Uncharted Ideas Festival promises conversations that matter

What’s the extent of class cluelessness? What’s up with sexism in Hollywood? How can education succeed in the most disadvantaged communities? How does a refugee from South Sudan get a foothold in the U.S.? What’s the most segregated hour in American life? Are there any “good” Republicans left?

Early bird tickets available until Sept. 6. 

Those are just a few of the questions we’ll be debating at Berkeleyside’s fifth Uncharted Festival of Ideas, Oct. 27-28 in downtown Berkeley. The festival offers two days of lively, probing conversations, music and dance performances, fun labs, great local food and drink, plenty of time for schmoozing with speakers and fellow festivalgoers, an opening night cocktail party, and a closing night happy hour.

There are several exciting new things to report this year.


Helena Brantley has joined in the role as co-curator of Uncharted after working for the last few years as the festival publicist. In the last year, Brantley has been involved in an ongoing online dialogue with women in Alabama who voted for President Trump and women in the Bay Area who voted for Hillary Clinton. Her conversations with them, and her work as a book publicist and marketer, have helped to inform her thinking about this year’s Uncharted program.

“We’re trying hard to make it almost impossible to look at this two-day program and not find something that piques your interest,” said Brantley.

A new collaboration with the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay will offer attendees “living room conversations” that allow festivalgoers to dive more deeply into the knotty issues raised during the two days.

Also new this year is an alliance with with Mother Jones magazine, which includes welcoming reporter Wes Enzinna on stage for a conversation with “reformed extremist” Christian Picciolini.

“Uncharted is about reaffirming Berkeley and the Bay Area’s continuing role as a global center for innovative thinking is a wide range of areas,” said Knobel. “Together with Helena and drawing on our wide network of past Uncharted speakers and friends, we’ve been able to curate an exciting roster of the people you will want to hear.”


Here are just some of the speakers on the 2017 lineup:

  • Jon Rapping, criminal justice innovator and founder, Gideon’s Promise
  • Rick Wilson, Republican political strategist and columnist
  • Bandak Lul, South Sudanese refugee and human-rights activist
  • Gina Welch, screenwriter (Feud)
  • Richard Misrach, photographer
  • Allyson Hobbs, Stanford University associate professor of history and contributing staff writer, The New Yorker
  • Ralina Joseph, founding director of the University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference and Equity
  • Prudence Carter, dean of the graduate school of education, UC Berkeley
  • Cesar Cruz, Mexican immigrant activist on education

To see the program and get full details of the festival, visit BerkeleyIdeas.com

To get a quick glimpse of what Uncharted is about, check out our video:

Berkeleyside would like to thank the following partners for their support of the Uncharted Festival:

Levi Strauss FoundationPanoramic InterestsDeYoe Wealth ManagementBregante + CompanyNorth Berkeley Investment PartnersJetton Construction2000 Center Street Mechanics BankMcCutcheon ConstructionJCC East BayHotel Shattuck Plaza Diablo Magazine /KALW / Mother Jones.


Follow Uncharted Festival on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram #BerkeleyIdeas — Listen to past Uncharted conversations on the Uncharted podcast.