Joining us for a debate

All are welcome to attend our meetings free-of-charge, and no pre-registration is required (with the exception of online events during the Covid pandemic).  The guests attending a meeting are encouraged to speak and are also very welcome to observe.  See the details of upcoming debates at right, or below for mobile viewers.

Date and time

The Sylvan Debating Club typically holds a meeting on the first Monday of each month, excepting when the first Monday is a bank holiday when it occurs a week later.  Debates begin promptly at 7:00 pm.

Venue 

During the Covid pandemic the club meets virtually via video stream. To gain access to the debates, please either join the club’s email list by registering via the form at the bottom of the page (check your spam folder if you do not hear from us) or contacting us directly via our contact form.

During normal times, our debates are held at the Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street in their upstairs room.  The nearest tubes are Temple and Chancery Lane.  To confirm the venue location, please see individual debate pages or the calendar of upcoming events at right (desktop) or at bottom (mobile).

Meeting and debate format

The Sylvans employ a traditional motion-based debating format, along the lines of the Oxford and Cambridge Unions.  Each debate meeting is opened by two main speakers on each side of the argument (the Proposer and Opposer) followed by speeches from the floor.

Members and guests are then welcome to speak for up to 5 minutes each.  Afterwards, the main speakers each have a right of reply.  A vote is then taken to determine the outcome of the debate.

Topics for discussion

The Sylvans debate topical issues of public and political life.  For recent debate topics, click here.  For a list of past Sylvan motions since 1999, please click here.

All are welcome

Everyone is welcome to attend Sylvan debates. We encourage people of all backgrounds and viewpoints to participate in our free-speech forum. The more diverse the knowledge, opinions and viewpoints of a debate meeting, the greater the collective wisdom we generate. This leads to informed votes on the key questions facing the world today!