Issue 03 of our print magazine is available to buy now

Issue 03 is available to buy now

A Brief History of Anthropy

A Brief History of Anthropy

The what, when and why of Anthropy23.
25th Oct 2023

Three days. 180 sessions. 500 speakers and organisations. Over 2000 attendees. The future of business, politics, NGOs and the planet is on the cards. 

What is Anthropy? 

Anthropy was conceived by John O’Brien MBE at the start of 2021 in the aftermath of the economic and social challenges that arose following the pandemic and Brexit. The first Summit, Anthropy22, took place the following year. O’Brien realised that in order to embrace inclusive, longer-term thinking, we would need to relinquish our traditional systems and silos in order to create a new vision for Britain. 

What’s the aim of the summit? 

The Anthropy summit is a gathering of over 2,000 leaders from across business, politics, academia, the public sector, media and beyond. Held across three days in the Eden Project in Cornwall, individuals will be invited to leave their job titles and egos at the door as they meet to bring new perspectives together in order to face today’s challenges. 

After the success of the first summit, held in 2022, this year’s agenda hopes to build on that momentum and push for tangible change across four pillars: people, prosperity, place and global perspective.

The summit will feature over 180 sessions discussing topics ranging from inclusive leadership and equality to climate change and financial equality. At its heart is a unique gathering for leaders that sparks imagination and fosters fresh thinking. 

How can discussions drive change? 

Over 500 speakers and organisations will flock to Cornwall to attend this year’s Anthropy, including retailers and brands such as IKEA, John Lewis Partnership and Google, charities such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Red Cross and Blueprint For Better Business, media organisations including BBC, Raconteur and Financial Times, as well as UK political parties.

Speakers this year include the CEO of Channel 4 Alex Mahon, Emma Bridgewater, the Chair of John Lewis Partnership Dame Sharon White DBE, and singer and songwriter Imogen Heap.  

Duro Oye, Co-founder and CEO of 20/20 Levels was an attendee at the first Anthropy Summit last year and this year is speaking across five different panels. 

“For me, Anthropy is the connecting force between so many different sectors – public, private, NGOs, government,” says Oye. “It enables discussions that might never have happened. For example, I might never have been able to bring 20/20 Levels to the House of Commons, but at Anthropy I can, while being bolstered by our corporate partners and sponsors.”

“Anthropy is the connecting force between so many different sectors – public, private, NGOs, government. It enables discussions that might never have happened.” 

Duro Oye

20/20 Levels is a social mobility organisation, empowering Black and racially underrepresented young people through opportunities to maximise their potential. Its mission is simple: to help change that, to give overlooked entrepreneurs the opportunities they deserve.

“This year, we’ve nominated a group of diverse young people to attend Anthropy. We’ve identified them as the emerging leaders of the future. They’re the ones that are going to shape what Britain will be in 30 years’ time; it’s important that these people are therefore brought to the conversation.”

What issues does Anthropy address? 

All 180 sessions are geared to answer four critical questions: what life do we want the people of Britain to lead in 30 years, what qualities will it take to get there, how will our economy and business fit into this, and how can we express this to the rest of the world to solve our collective issues? 

Key themes arise from these four questions, including how we can foster responsible and diverse leadership, unlocking opportunities for social mobility, and how we can create a positive vision for the future of our environment, economy, health and education.

Business is just one of the avenues that Anthropy is spotlighting for building a more positive, sustainable, equitable and successful vision for Britain. For example, speakers from Natwest, B Lab UK and Blueprint for Better Business will be discussing how businesses can be an active force for good. There will also be a session on business’ role in ensuring social inclusivity to create a more equitable society, with speakers from EY Foundation, Youth Futures Foundation and the BBC.

What are Anthropy’s goals? 

Anthropy aspires to hit four key pillars: 

  • People: where there’s equity of opportunity and the ability for everyone to be the best versions of themselves and contribute positively to society
  • Place: a country whose natural and built environment thrive for all those who inhabit it
  • Prosperity: that our business and economy support the creation of positive value
  • A global perspective: to think beyond national silos and address global issues to support humanity’s collective success.

The first Anthropy Summit was pivotal in helping to define the Anthropy Charter, which is a way to ensure that ‘Anthropists’ are aligned towards a common goal. More than anything, it’s about inspiring a mindset change for the people of Britain – one that is foregrounded in hope for our future.

What does the future hold? 

Anthopy23 will be an immersive and diverse gathering of voices, insights, expertise and ideas. It’s only the second summit, but Anthropy is gaining momentum

“When I’m not speaking, I like to be a keynote listener – actively listening and embracing the diversity of voices and perspectives that are being gathered together. Everybody’s got something to contribute to the conversations that we’re having.”

Duro Oye

“I’m excited about the incredible connections and spontaneity that events like Anthropy foster,” Oye concludes. “When I’m not speaking, I like to be a keynote listener – it’s a phrase I heard someone use recently. Actively listening and embracing the diversity of voices and perspectives that are being gathered together. Everybody’s got something to contribute to the conversations that we’re having.”

Founder John O’Brien is passionate about the growing impact that Anthropy can have: “We want[ed] people to bring their experience but leave their silo and their ego at the door, so that people would go beyond the normal parameters that they work in,” he commented. “My aim is to get Britain poured into a cauldron.”

Anthropy23 will be held at The Eden Project in Cornwall 1st-3rd November 2023. Find out more at