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Chelsea Manning is making her first UK public appearance

The activist is being honoured by the Institute of Contemporary Arts

American activist, whistleblower, and former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning is set to make her first UK public appearance in early October.

Manning, who will be honoured at this year’s Annual Friends of The Institute of Contemporary Arts Dinner – the institution’s second to date – will hold an ICA-hosted public Q&A on October 1 at 2pm.

Speaking at the Royal Institution, she will be answering questions about artificial intelligence and technologies, and their role in contemporary society. Manning will discuss how AI affects public policy, and address how digital technologies are contributing to political transparency – in the cases of Panama Papers or NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – or threatening and compromising democracy, as we’ve recently witnessed with Cambridge Analytica.

As a long-standing advocate for queer and transgender rights, Manning's LGBTQI+ activism and her role in backing J20 supporters will also be among the topics addressed in the Q&A.

ICA's director Stefan Kalmár, who established the Friend's Dinner last year, said in a statement: “Honouring Chelsea Manning in today’s media and political landscape will, I hope, show that the power of an individual can change the world through bravery, courage, determination and vision.”

Manning served seven years in military prison after initially being sentenced to 35 years for leaking government documents. Her sentence was commuted by then-president Obama, and she was released in 2017.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Manning described Donald Trump as “not an aberration”, but the “inevitable conclusion of a trend... of the political system in the United States”.

“The more concerning thing for me is the fact that a single person, a single office has the power to do these things, and this has been allowed to happen,” she said. “Because of that we have to reconsider how we structure our political system – I often ask the question, ‘Why do we even have a president?’”

ICA presents Q&A with Chelsea Manning, 1 October, 2pm, at the Royal Institution, London, W1S 4BS