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      From the Director

For this year’s IoI Christmas lecture, we are delighted to welcome not one but three speakers from a range of perspectives to help us make sense of one of the key issues of our times - the Eurozone crisis. Festive it might not be, but after grappling with the hard realities awaiting us in the new year, we shall retire for Christmas drinks in a nearby pub. See below for more details, and I hope to see you there on Thursday 15 December. Meanwhile, congratulations to Our Lady Queen of the Missions School from Kolkata, winners of Debating Matters India 2011, and also to all the winners of the Qualifying Rounds in the UK competition, who will be going through to the Regional Finals - see below for more.

Also see below for details of next year’s three-day residential Academy in July. Following the success of this year’s event, we will be running strands on history and the Classics again in 2012, while adding another on literature. Next year’s unifying theme will be free will and determinism. The Academy is exclusively for Institute of Ideas associates - if you haven’t done so already, why not join now? Associate membership of the IoI could also make the ideal Christmas gift for anyone enthused by the idea of the Academy, the Battle of Ideas, and our other work. 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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IOI Xmas Lecture: It’s Christmas in Euroland
7pm, Thursday 15 December @ Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

As 2011 comes to an end, what was unthinkable at its start is now on all our lips: member states could leave and the Euro could fail. The dream of European unity – to consign the prospect of war to the bloody annals of the early twentieth century – is no longer assured. At a special Institute of Ideas Christmas Lecture, Christmas in Euroland, lecturers will reflect on what has brought us to this point and what next year may hold.

Phil Mullan: economist; business transformation director, Easynet Global Services; author The Imaginary Time Bomb
Simon Nixon: European editor, Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column; author, The Credit Crunch: how safe is your money?
Mark Seddon: writer and broadcaster; author, Standing for Something: life in the awkward squad
Chair: Angus Kennedy: head of external relations, Institute of Ideas; chair, IoI Economy Forum

Tickets: £8 / £6. Book online.


The Academy 2012
Saturday 21 - Monday 23 July 2012 @ Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire

In July 2012, the Institute of Ideas will run its second Academy. The Academy is a three-­‐day residential event for Institute of Ideas members aiming to remind us just what universities should be like and to demonstrate the importance of scholarship through an examination of subjects in depth.

The first Academy featured 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 second will add a third parallel lecture series – on Literature – in addition to Classics and History while the plenary lecture series will concentrate on the overall theme of the event: free will and determinism.

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.



Bookshop Barnie Xmas Balloon Debate
6 for 6.30pm, Tuesday 20 December @ The Gallery, Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

It’s nearly that festive time of year again… of fun, frolics and financial failure. So to alleviate the Christmas gloom, you are invited to come along for free drinks at 6pm to the Bookshop Barnie Xmas Bash Balloon Debate. Arrive at 6pm for drinks and the Balloon Debate kicks off at 6:30pm. The challenge is: What is the best book in the world?

... a panel of brave souls try to convince you that they know, but you don’t have to agree.
Speakers include:
·      Shiv Malik (investigative journalist, co-author, Jilted Generation) on Norman Mailer’s “Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968”;
·      Humphrey Hawksley (BBC foreign correspondent) on Voltaire’s “Candide”;
·      Jeremy Myerson (director, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and founder, Design Week) on Victor Papanek’s “Design for the Real World”;
·      John Fitzpatrick (director, Kent Law Clinic) on “The Selected Works of WB Yeats”;
·      Nicolette Jones (literary critic, Sunday Times) on George Eliot’s “Middlemarch”;
·      Shirley Lawes (subject leader, modern foreign languages, Institute of Education) on Emile Zola’s “Germinal”
·      Cosmo Landesman (film critic, Sunday Times) on… er… Cosmo Landesman’s “Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family and Me”.

RSVP – futurecitiesproject@gmail.com
This is a ‘thank-you’ drinks evening for all the Bookshop Barnies’ Barn-ees, Barn-ers and Barnie-ees over the years









      IoI FORUMS
Next meeting to be announced. Contact Jane Sandeman at parents@instituteofideas.com.
Members of the forum will be attending the Bookshop Barnie on 20 December, with the next formal meeting in January. Contact Mark Taylor on education@instituteofideas.com. Also contact Mark for a free copy of the pamphlet 'A defence of subject-based education'.
Next meeting in the new year. Contact: Martin Earnshaw.
The next Institute of Ideas Book Club will be at 7pm on Tuesday 17 January. Penny Matheson will introduce the Man Booker Prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Contact: geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com
Members of the forum will be attending the IoI Xmas lecture on the Eurozone. Details of the next meeting will appear on the forum web page. Contact: emergingeconomies@instituteofideas.com.
Next meeting to be announced. For information, contact: patrickhayes@instituteofideas.com.
The next meeting will be in January, on ‘The Death of the Critic’. For details contact Tiffany Jenkins.

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

Next meeting to be announced. For details contact Sean Bell.
On Tuesday 6 December, the salon will hold a 'First Tuesday' discussion on current affairs. More information at: manchestersalon.org.uk
On Monday 12 December, Rob Lyons will introduce his book, Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed an Eating Disorder. www.leedssalon.org.uk
On Tuesday 6 December, Rob Lyons will introduce his book, Panic on a Plate, for a discussion on 'Are you what you Eat? Is our obsession with what we eat healthy?'. For more information, see www.birminghamsalon.org
On Tuesday 13 December in Derby, Rob Lyons - author of the best seller 'Panic On A Plate' - will defend our right to Eat, Drink and Be Merry against the unseasonable miserabilists. The chair will be academic and Lebanese supercook Rania Hafez. Contact Dennis Hayes on d.hayes@derby.ac.uk or see www.eastmidlandssalon.org.
Next meeting to be announced. For details, contact Luke Gittos.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 12 January 2012, on 'Fat, Food Fads and Fears'. Further details at: croydonsalon.com


Tuesday 29 November: Geoff Kidder spoke at the Lisbon Salon in Portugal on ‘work and its discontents’.

Friday 9 December: Claire Fox will give a speech to the Sixth Form at Magdalen College School, Oxford, on ‘The Politics of Happiness – can and should it be the aim of government to measure and promote happiness?’

Mid-December: Dolan Cummings will chair a panel discussion on the role of protest in a democratic society to complement diG.shaKe.riSe.andblEEed,myloVe., a site specific installation by artist Eran Tsafrir at the Old Shoreditch Station Project Space. Date to be confirmed - email Dolan for details.



A number of videos are now available of sessions at this year’s Battle of Ideas.

Highlights include: Drinking by numbers: should we count our alcohol units, Middle East revolutions: hopes and fears, What is innovation good for?, Skilling up the jilted generation, Performing politics: is all the world a stage, Drugs and bionics, Sex in the brain: do men and women think differently, Has tolerance gone too far?, The Rise of European populism, and the Festival Showreel.

Audio recordings of several sessions are also available, including the Keynote Controversies, Battle for the World and Battle for our Brains strands - see individual session pages.

An audio recording is available of David Bowden’s speech at the Frankfurt Battle Satellite, Over-regulation on all fronts?

Tiffany Jenkins was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the repatriation of human remains to the Torres Straits Islands, 23 November 2011

Past episodes of BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, featuring Claire Fox, are now available as podcasts.




There have been numerous Battle of Ideas Independent blogs since the festival weekend itself, and these will continue on an occasional basis in the future:

Against evidence-based policy-making, by Ben Pile, 28 November 2011

Are the left’s multicultural policies to blame for the rise of the right?, by Tom Bailey, 27 November 2011

It takes more than online PR campaigns to change the world, by Tom Slater, 26 November 2011

Cyber-village or anti-social network? We decide!, by Tony Breslin, 23 November 2011

One language in Europe: no populism please!, by Angus Kennedy, 22 November 2011

Politics at the Opera, by Baldur Bronnimann, 21 November 2011

Stop the Blatter Bashing: What’s said on the pitch should stay on the pitch, by Duleep Allirajah, 21 November 2011

This could be Africa’s decade, but not if it relies on aid, by Nick Thorne, 20 November 2011

Is there a place for violence in protests?, by Saleha Ali, 19 November 2011

So-called student ‘radicals’ should learn the value of debate, by Joel Cohen, 19 November 2011

What’s the future for manufacturing in the 21st century?, by Niall Crowley, 18 November 2011

Who’s afraid of the EDL ‘clicktivists’?, by Patrick Hayes, 17 November 2011

Banning smoking in cars is poisonous to a free society, by David Bowden, 16 November 2011

Why it’s important to defend capitalism today, by Anton Howes, 14 November 2011

Is the ‘Olympic Spirit’ a myth?, by Viral Shah, 13 November 2011

In defence of charities, by Lexy Barber, 12 November 2011

Tourism as an opportunity, not a threat, by Dominic Standish, 11 November 2011

The paradox of the fragile revolutions, by Karl Sharro, 10 November 2011

Creativity and curiosity: Do we make stuff up or find it out?, by Professor Colin Lawson, 9 November 2011

Why we must embrace the unquantifiability of the arts, by Paul Kilbey, 8 November 2011

Islamophobia: Why we have to get over our fears, by Rania Hafez, 7 November 2011

The growing epidemic of stats misuse, by Hilary Salt, 6 November 2011

Dreaming spires for all? Only if we face up to some hard truths, by Jacob Reynolds, 5 November 2011

Other articles:

Leonardo da Vinci: a curious humanist, by Angus Kennedy, spiked, 17 November 2011

A dawn raid on the home of a 17-year-old caught singing, by Kevin Rooney, Scottish Review, 23 November 2011

Tiffany Jenkins was quoted in Torres Strait islanders reclaim their ancestral bones, by Pallab Ghosh, BBC News, 23 November 2011

    November's highlights on CW included Matt Trueman on theatre, including the Tricycle's latest verbatim show, The Riots, Michael Savage on Leonardo at the National Gallery, and Paul Kilbey on contemporary music.  

Debating Matters is now nearing the end of a successful season of qualifying rounds, and will have completed 48 events by the end of the year. The team has been very pleased with the level of discussion across the past few months, with students tackling topics as diverse as nuclear power, press regulation, the banning of the burqa and the effects of supermarkets on local communities.

Feedback we have received from students, teachers and judges suggests all those who participate are getting a great deal out of the robust exchange of views that Debating Matters encourages. Teacher Dinah Hopley from Trinity Sixth Form Centre in Cumbria, whose school completed in Debating Matters for the first time this year, said of the competition: ‘It was a great experience for our students at Trinity, who have had very little opportunity to engage in this form of tougher debating challenge. The structure of the debate was much more demanding than any they have taken part in before, and they have been fired-up by the experience. We will certainly want to be involved next year.’

Once the qualifying rounds are complete, we will publish the full list of winners going through to the next stage of the competition. For now though we would like to congratulate all those teams who have made it through to the Regional Finals, and we look forward to seeing you for more fiery debates in the spring.

In India, the Debating Matters Competition enjoyed its fourth National Final in mid-November, with eight schools from across India taking part in three days of intense discussion on issues ranging from the role of civil society in India’s democracy to euthanasia. After some hard-fought debates, Our Lady Queen of the Missions School from Kolkata won through to become National Champions. Speaking afterwards, the school’s principal, Sr. Joicy Madassery said of Debating Matters India: ‘It is indeed a brilliant portal of education with a difference and the experience of it will be ever etched on the minds of all those who attended it.’ Ujjani Chatterji, a student from runners-up team Christ Junior College from Bangalore, said of her experience: ‘The three days of our national final summit are the best of learning experiences. We could not have attended a better forum to discuss everything we believed in… We graduated to a higher pedestal of reasoning and felt more confident about making a difference to the world.’

After a successful few months in the UK and India, Debating Matters would like to thank all the teachers, students and judges who have contributed to making the competition such a success this year, and of course our partners and sponsors whose support we value enormously. Thanks to: the Wellcome Trust; the Economic and Social Research Council; the Medical Research Council; the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; Statoil, Sanofi-Aventis and the British Council.






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