The Battle of Ideas event at the Barbican is set to be an epicentre of informed debate in London on some of the big questions society faces.

While this certainly interests us, our eyes were drawn to these more leftfield topics up for discussion on Saturday October 17 and Sunday, October 18. Here are six of the best.

1. Does pink really stink?

A popular current topic it may be, but is there weight to the idea that gender is a societal construct rather than a biological one? This discussion on the gender-neutral parenting debate is sure to get people talking.

Sunday, October 18, 4pm, Frobisher Auditorium One

2. What’s wrong with cheap food?

In the 1930s, 30% of household income was spent on food, yet today the figure is closer to 10%. While this is seen as positive for households, is such intensive production and consumption of food good for our farmers, our health and our environment?

Sunday, October 18, noon, Frobisher five-six

Also Online: Battle Of Ideas 2015 comes to the Barbican

3. Why does Shakespeare matter?

You mean aside from reshaping the English Language and forming the basis of all modern storytelling? There is a school of thought that Shakespeare’s status is simply a matter of cultural and historical convenience as the favoured dramatist of a bygone age. So just how relevant is he?

Saturday, October 17, noon, Free Stage, Barbican

4. Battle over breasts

Aside from its title, which could conjure up bad memories for anybody who has been to a £10 all-you-can-eat buffet, the inter-feminist arguments over depictions of the female form is an interesting one. Some argue women’s position in society is adversely affected by the objectification of breasts and by images of breasts in public spaces. But is this infringing basic human freedoms?

Sunday, October 18, 2pm, Frobisher Auditorium One

5. Is the Pope Catholic?

The media has praised Pope Francis for his progressive views, and his very decision to take the name of Francis of Assisi implied a siding with the modest and, against the rich and powerful. He has shunned many of the luxuries that usually come with the Papacy but, as old attitudes clash with the new, is this starting a war between factions of the church?

Saturday, October 17, 5.30pm, Conservatory, Barbican

6. Is happiness good for you?

It might seem like a contradictory question, but are unpleasant emotions like misery, guilt and fury be perfectly rational reactions to awful realities or wrongdoing? The modern world is obsessed with personal fulfilment, but is this creating a generation of inward-looking narcissists?

Saturday, October 17, 2pm, Cinema 3, Barbican