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      From the Director

We have now begun work on the programme for this year’s Battle of Ideas festival in the autumn, which promises to be as unmissable as ever. There will be several sessions on the media and the fallout from the Leveson Inquiry, as well as in-depth discussions about the meaning of ideas like freedom and equality today. Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics recently published the first results from its Measuring National Well-being programme, so the festival will be an opportunity to reflect on and interrogate some of the assumptions behind the politics of well-being. I began to do just that in a lecture last year (see video). The Battle of Ideas programme will be confirmed and published over the summer.

Good luck to all the sixth-form debaters who have made it through to the Regional Finals of our Debating Matters competition, taking place throughout the UK this month - see below for dates. And on a similar note, I’m pleased to announce a scholarship programme for university students to attend The Academy, our three-day residential conference in July, at heavily subsidised rates - more below.

If you are not already an associate, please do join the Institute of Ideas. Apart from the benefits for associates, we really do need your financial, intellectual and moral support to continue doing what we do.

Claire Fox

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The Liberty League Freedom Forum 2012
Friday 30 March - Sunday 1 April @ Newcastle University

Something for all young and student libertarians and classical liberals! The Liberty League Freedom Forum 2012 will be held at Newcastle University on the weekend of Friday 30 March and Sunday 1 April.

A number of Institute of Ideas members will be taking part in sessions on everything from the history of liberty to the morality of food and parenting controversies, as well as environmental policy and currency reform. Speakers include Chris Snowdon on prohibitions, Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute on economics and philosophy, and Claire Fox and Angus Kennedy of the Institute of Ideas. spiked is the forum’s media partner and a number of spiked writers will also be involved - see programme for details.

There will also be time to socialise and meet other young pro-liberty people from across the political spectrum. All accommodation, meals, workshops and events are included for just £30. But there are limited places available so book your ticket as soon as possible.



Bookshop Barnie - What are universities for?
6pm on Wednesday 28 March @ Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

The next Bookshop Barnie is with Professor Stefan Collini on his latest book, What are universities for? Collini challenges the common claim that the priority for universities is to contribute to economic growth, and criticises the instrumental use of education. He offers a compelling argument for completely rethinking the way we see our universities. The Guardian says it is ‘heavy on the hand-wringing’; the Independent says it’s ‘an excellently cogent intellectual basis for thinking about these issues’. So, is it all relative?

Arrive at 6pm for drinks and a 6:30 start. All welcome, RSVP: futurecitiesproject@gmail.com


The Academy 2012
Friday 20 - Monday 23 July 2012 @ Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

This week is the last chance to book tickets for The Academy at the early-bird rate. Contact geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com without delay to avoid missing out.

See the Academy web page for a provisional programme and booking information. This event is for IoI members only. To join, or for more information on how to attend, please contact geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com.

The Academy features three parallel lecture series in three days - on Classics, History, Literature - as well as a plenary series on free will and determinism.

Academy Scholarship Programme

This year the Institute of Ideas is launching an Academy Scholarship Programme allowing a limited number of full-time students between the ages of 18 and 23 to attend The Academy for only a fraction of the full cost - £60 for three nights accommodation and full board.

Application Process

To apply for an Academy Scholarship for 2012, please submit a 500-word (no more) essay on the question: "What is the value of the humanities today?" Please also submit a 300-word motivation on why you in particular deserve to attend The Academy.

Submit applications online by 11am on Tuesday 15 May 2012.

For more information email scholarship@instituteofideas.com.









      IoI FORUMS
The next meeting will be on Thursday 22 March, on the recent controversy about gender identity in young children. Contact Jane Sandeman at parents@instituteofideas.com.
The next meeting of the Education Forum will be held on Monday 12 March. The speaker will be Dr Tony Sewell, chair of the Mayor of London's Education Inquiry, who will share his thoughts 'On Education' Contact Mark Taylor on education@instituteofideas.com.
The next meeting is to be announced. Contact: geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 17 April, when Phil Mullan will introduce a discussion on 'The Great Stagnation' by Tyler-Cowen. See the forum web page for details. Contact: emergingeconomies@instituteofideas.com.
Next meeting to be announced. For details contact Tiffany Jenkins.

The Salons advertised below are inspired by the Institute of Ideas but run independently by groups and individuals across the country.

On Tuesday 6 March, Rob Lyons will discuss his book Panic on a Plate. If you can't make it for the discussion, enjoy a drink with us afterwards. For details contact Sean Bell.
On Monday 12 March, Mike Koefman, Lauren Collins and James Woudhuysen will introduce a discussion on how science can help develop a solution to the looming energy crisis. More information at: manchestersalon.org.uk
The next meeting is to be announced. www.leedssalon.org.uk
Next meeting to be announced. For more information, see www.birminghamsalon.org
The next meeting will be at 7pm on Wednesday 21 March in Derby, when Professor Dennis Hayes will show through examples how education is being undermined by a new therapeutic ethos. Wendy Hardy, a teacher and a specialist in Behaviour Emotional and Social Difficulties, will respond. Contact Dennis Hayes on d.hayes@derby.ac.uk or see www.eastmidlandssalon.org.
The next meeting will be in late March, on the growing regulation of football fans - exact date to be announced. For details, contact Luke Gittos.
Next meeting to be announced. Further details at: croydonsalon.com
On Thursday 12 April, Daniel Ben Ami will introduce a discussion on 'Good Capitalism vs Bad Capitalism?' Oxford Salon in Oxford, 7-9 pm - follow link for details.


Sunday 11 March: Claire Fox will chair a panel discussion on Are Politicians and the Media as Bad as Each Other?, as part of the Bath Literature Festival, with the editor of the Independent Chris Blackhurst, Don Foster MP, Tristram Hunt MP, and Malcolm Dean, author of Democracy under Attack - how the media distorts policy and politics.

Monday 12 March: Claire Fox will be taking part in a panel discussion at Anglia Ruskin University on Are the Baby Boomers to Blame?.  The other panellists are Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, Aaron Porter, Higher Education consultant and former President of NUS, Julie Spence OBE QPM, former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, Christopher Maguire DIp, ARch, RIBA, Michael Thorne, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, and the chair will be Colin Walsh, co-founder of Book Production Consultants plc.

Monday 12 March: Tiffany Jenkins will be speaking at a debate on Archaeology and Contemporary Society at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, which will examine the ways in which the human past plays a key role in the current socio-political environment, and is part of The Institute of Archaeology’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

Thursday 15 March: Claire Fox will be chairing a panel discussion, A moral maze - is it social purpose vs survival? at a National Housing Federation conference in Solihull, featuring Peter McCormack, Chief Executive, Derwent Living, Chris Handy Chief Executive, Accord Group and Rudy de Jong Vice President, Cecodhas Housing Europe.

Friday 30 March - Sunday 1 April: Claire Fox, Angus Kennedy and other Institute of Ideas members will be taking part in The Liberty League Freedom Forum 2012 - see advert above.



Claire Fox will be a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, on Wednesdays 21 and 28 February.

On 21 February David Bowden was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph (video) and also appeared on Five News on proposals to extend the smoking ban.

Claire Fox’s speech on the politics of ‘nudge’ at last year’s Liberty League is available on YouTube.

Claire Fox’s speech on measuring well-being at last year’s Powerful Ideas lectures at the British Museum is also available on YouTube.




The following Municipal Journal columns by Claire Fox, published over the past year, are now available as PDFs.

On the shelf, by Claire Fox, MJ, 26 May 2011
Bill Stickers is innocent OK, by Claire Fox, MJ, 30 June 2011
Hacked off, by Claire Fox, MJ, 11 August 2011
Time to respect maturity, by Claire Fox, MJ, 15 September 2011
Unwrapping urban myths, by Claire Fox, MJ, 6 October 2011
Fair and square?, by Claire Fox, MJ, 9 February 2012

    February's highlights on CW included Dolan Cummings on the Old Testament and contemporary morality, Nicky Charlish on Lucian Freud and David Hockney and various reviewers on London theatre and opera.  

Keep debating: exciting new Debating Matters Resource pack now available

The DM team are looking forward to the Regional Finals, which start today in Tunbridge Wells (see below for details of all eight events) and wish good luck to all the student debaters!

For schools knocked out at the qualifying round stage of DM this year, we are delighted to announce the publication of our new resource pack for teachers. The pack - developed with helpful input from teachers who have established in-depth debates and DM-style competitions within their school - is intended to provide advice and an exchange of ideas between teachers who want to build on their achievements to date and to encourage their students to keep debating the important issues of the day.

So why not put our new debate topics (see below) to the test? To receive a free copy or our new resources pack please email Helen Birtwistle

We are also pleased to announce that Queen Mary's College of Basingstoke, Hampshire, were the winners of the Institute of Ideas & Unilever day of Global Development Debating Matters debates kindly hosted by Unilever on 7 February. QMC beat Barton Court Grammar School from Canterbury in the final debate on population growth and sustainability. The sixth form students gave strong opening presentations, and faced some tough question from judges: Dr Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes, Wellcome Trust; Rob Killick, CEO, cScape; and Chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, Amanda Sourry.

QMC won, as part of their prize, a lunch and discussion with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and impressed him with their insightful questions.

Meanwhile Our Lady Queen of the Missions School from Kolkata, winners of Debating Matters India 2011, enjoyed a dinner event, hosted by Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council, for the winners of a number of British Council run competitions in India including Debating Matters.

New Topic Guides

Offensive Language: "There should be no legal curbs on 'offensive' language"
Biofuels: "Governments should stop supporting the biofuels industry"
EU Referendum: "The UK should have a referendum on membership of the European Union"
Performance-Enhancing Drugs: "Allowing the use of enhancement drugs will not undermine the spirit of sport"
London Olympics: "The greatest show on Earth is worth it"
Organ Donation: "We should introduce a system of presumed consent for organ donation"
Sustainability: "Population growth and rising living standards are unsustainable"
Clicktivism: "Social media are rejuvenating political protest"

Regional Final Dates and Venues

South East Region: Salomons, Canterbury Christ Church University, 6 March 2012
London & South Region: Free Word Centre, 9 March 2012
North East Region: University of Newcastle, 13 March 2012
Scotland: University of Edinburgh, 19 March 2012
West & South Wales Region: University of Bristol, 20 April 2012
Central Region: University of Leicester, 24 April 2012
East Region: Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, 24 April 2012

If you are interested in attending any of the Regional Finals as an audience member, please contact Justine Brian.

Before the start of what is set to be an exciting period of debates, the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition would like to take this opportunity to thank our primary funder the Wellcome Trust and our sponsors, who of course make this possible; thanks also to the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Statoil. Thanks also to our donor champion Sanofi Aventis and all our venue partners above.






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