events archive

The Academy 2011

At a time when inclusivity and equality are the watchwords of government higher education policy and education seems to be valued for almost any sake except its own, we think it’s vital to take a stand for the value of the content of education instead of fixating on object and process.

11:00am, Saturday 23 July 2011, The Academy 2011 will be held at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

From February 2019, The Academy is run under the auspices of a new charity, boi. For the latest information for The Academy 2019, and to buy tickets, visit the boi website.

The recent furore over tuition fees shows that both sides of the debate accept the idea that university education should be to give value for money, should ‘deliver improved employability’. Student protestors just want this ‘value’ for more and more students, for less money. Who dares to argue for the value of learning in itself? Few point out that treating subjects as investments in future earnings can hardly be an invitation to study the liberal arts and humanities.

We want to try and buck this trend: spending a long weekend doing nothing but educating ourselves. For its own sake. Not even for the sake of understanding the world today better (though, if that’s your aim, it can’t hurt to know more about the history of thought of course). The aim is simply to cultivate ourselves with good books, good teachers and in good company. If you have ever thought, what a shame I never had time to study Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hegel or Hume, now’s your chance to better yourself. Whatever your age or education. IoI members come from all walks of life and will bring different perspectives and genuinely interdisciplinary insights.

What they all have in common is a passion for knowledge for its own sake and a desire to educate themselves. For this first Academy, the lecturers, who will be IoI members, will deliver two parallel lecture series over the course of three days –one on Classics and one on History –and a third series, for everyone –on the historical development of consciousness.


The Robinson Executive Centre is a professional conference centre with free access to swimming pool, gym and leisure facilities. Costs include 2 or 3 nights’ accommodation in double ensuite rooms and full catering.


The site is child friendly and under 14s can stay in their parent’s rooms for free. Reduced rates are available for 14-16 year-olds. The venue does not run a crèche so parents should consider pooling duties. If you plan to bring children, or have any queries, do get in touch with Geoff Kidder:

Arrival times:

Arriving on the Friday night, 22nd July: includes dinner that night and full catering through to lunch on Monday 25th.

Arrival on Saturday morning, 23rd July: catering starts with lunch that day. Please ensure you can be checked in and ready for the first session to start promptly at 11am.

Provisional schedule:

Day One (Saturday 23 July, 11am start)

  * Plenary Humanism – problems and opportunities

  * Classics Greek philosophy and thought
  * History What is history?

  * Plenary The emergence of consciousness in the ancient and medieval world

Day Two (Sunday 24 July)

  * Classics Greek politics
  * History The English Revolution

  * Classics The Roman tradition
  * History The Age of Empire

  * Plenary The establishment of historical consciousness in the 17th century

Day Three (Monday 25 July)

  * Classics The rise and fall of Rome
  * History The origins of welfare thinking

  * Classics The Renaissance: old wine; new bottles
  * History Fascism and anti-modernity

  * Plenary Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment thought

Lecture titles and full reading lists will be available to attendees at the end of March.