forthcoming events

Living Freedom 2018

Explore the past, present and future of freedom. Three-day school for 18- to 25-year-olds.

6:00pm, Thursday 5 April, CIEE Global Institute, Russell Square, London

About Living Freedom

Living Freedom is our annual three-day residential school aimed at 18- to 25-year-olds interested in exploring ideas as they relate to the past, present and future of freedom. Taking place at the CIEE Global Institute in central London over the course of three days (with hostel accommodation provided to all attendees for two nights), Living Freedom provides a stimulating forum for around 40 young advocates of freedom to attend expert talks and participate in meaningful debates. As well as the chance to get to grips with key thinkers and engage in a series of intellectual challenges, the school provides a social forum, offering a chance to meet and socialise with peers from throughout the UK and beyond. 


Living Freedom 2018 is an opportunity to explore contemporary conundrums around liberty and autonomy, using both the insights of ‘the best that is known and thought’ and the provocations of contemporary intellectuals, to get to grips with the complexities and contradictions of freedom in the twenty-first century.

Freedom and tolerance are frequently asserted as fundamental values. In practice, however, aspects of freedom as they relate to different experiences or discrete groups are increasingly viewed as being in conflict.  This has led many to question the virtues of an unconditional defence of tolerance or a no-holds-barred approach to the exercise of freedom. For example, if one culture or identity needs to be protected from appropriation by other groups, how does this effect universal notions or treating people equally? Or if an individual or group requires being shielded from potentially offensive remarks, then protecting the freedom of one depends on the denial of freedom to others. Such is the minefield of confusion around freedom today that what once were considered historic gains are now called into question: national sovereignty seems to conflict with rights to freedom of movement; sexual liberation with the right of women to be protected; the freedom not to be judged by gender or the colour of one’s skin with the demand for segregated safe spaces, whether on campus or public transport. Living Freedom aims to make the case for freedom today while providing plenty of opportunity for challenging discussion.


We believe that it is only by critically engaging with ideas that we can we equip ourselves with the intellectual armoury required to reinvigorate freedom in the twenty-first century. Delivered by a series of experts, thinkers and campaigners, this school challenges all attendees to develop their critical faculties and take the intellectual risks required to achieve the ambition of making a fresh response to contemporary constraints on freedom.

How the school works

Alongside the specialist lectures on the philosophy and history of freedom, there will panel debates, workshops, seminars and group-based tutorials.  Attendees attend a film club and discussion, take a writing challenge and present their ideas to a panel of expert judges with prizes available for the stand-out presenters. Social events will provide plenty of opportunities for networking.

Who can apply

The school is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years of age, regardless as to whether studying or in employment.

Application Process

To apply to attend the school please submit a short statement of between 300 and 500 words stating:

• two key contemporary constraints on freedom and your understanding as to why they represent an attack on liberty
• why you would like to attend the school and how you will potentially benefit.

Applications must be submitted no later than Monday 5 March. Attendance will be at the discretion of the organisers. Successful applicants will be notified no later than Friday 9 March.



All those selected to attend will be deemed to have committed to attending all lectures and workshops for the entire duration of the London based school starting at 6pm on Thursday 5 April until the close at 7pm on Saturday 7 April; and to residing overnight on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 April in the accommodation provided.


Attendees pay a nominal fee of £40 which is payable in advance of attendance upon confirmation of acceptance. This fee covers hostel accommodation for two nights in central London, an evening meal on 6 April and sandwich lunches on 6 & 7 April.


CIEE Global Institute, 46-47 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4JP


Should you need further information please contact Living Freedom convenor Alastair Donald by emailing or calling +44 (0)20 7269 9233.

Lectures, panel debates and seminars include

What is freedom?
The classical conception of freedom
The Enlightenment and freedom: four short lectures on four classic texts
Stop Funding Hate: consumer boycott or censorship?
Freedom of conscience: religious freedom – a critical right or license to discriminate?
National sovereignty versus freedom of movement
Identity politics – finding ourselves or a threat to freedom?
Genetics, genomics and society – determinism versus free will
Generation snowflake – myth or reality?
The new gender wars
Decolonising the curriculum or racialising knowledge?
Silicon Valley: technological/libertarian utopia or surveillance state?
Law & order vs liberty
What the papers say…
Is women’s liberation helped or hindered by #MeToo?