ITC Annual Lecture asks ‘Why do we travel?’

5th July 2014

Why do we travel? This seemingly simple question formed the inspiration for lively discussion at the ITC’s recent annual lecture, which was attended by over 100 guests and hosted at Rothschild’s stunning Sky Pavilion.  The engaging key-note speakers, Professor Charles Pasternak  and Stephen Bayley, set the stage for thought-provoking discussion on the important but widely overlooked topic of human travel motivations.

The topic of this year’s lecture was inspired by the exciting work already undertaken by the ITC in one of its key projects: Why Travel? As the evening’s discussions illustrated, the topic is broad – ranging from the evolutionary origins of Homo sapiens described by Professor Pasternak, to questions of culture and aesthetics raised by Stephen Bayley  – and it provokes differing, sometimes contradictory, answers from many different perspectives. But, as highlighted by Alan Baxter  in his introductory speech, this also makes it a crucial topic to try to understand as broadly and as deeply as possible, if we are to tackle the many challenges of the future. These range from the large-scale and strategic national and international decisions over transport infrastructure to decisions at the individual level about what we desire from travel and how we can meet those needs.

With so much still to be understood, and so much at stake, the ITC’s Why Travel? project aims to break new ground and help generate more holistic and realistic thinking about human travel. We hope to bring this debate to a wide audience through a book (to be published in 2015) as well as educational and broadcast media channels. The project website  showcases what we have learned so far as well as regular news updates and expert talks relevant to the question of why we travel. Video recordings from the event are available here.