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      From the Director

After months of preparation, the Battle of Ideas 2008 is nearly upon us. With the financial crisis continuing apace, serious debate about the state of the world is more important than ever, and the Battle of Ideas - now in its fourth year - is the place to do it. Past years have sold out in advance, so get your tickets now.

But don’t wait till the festival weekend (1 & 2 November) to get involved: our exciting series of Battle Satellites, in partnership with Time Out, begins next week. Get your tickets for next week’s Poetry and Radicalism and What is the point of British foreign policy?, or simply buy a pass to all of the Satellites.


Tuesday 7 October - Tuesday 28 October

We are delighted to have joined forces with Time Out, London’s favourite guide to the city’s happenings, and other partners, to bring you a range of Battle Satellites. The Battle Satellites kick off this Tuesday at Vibe Bar in Brick Lane and finish on 28 October at Foyles Bookshop.

Full programme / Buy tickets

Tuesday 7 October, 7pm: Poetry and Radicalism, Vibe Bar, Brick Lane, E1

Is poetry reclaiming its radical roots and confronting contemporary apathy? Or this just self-flattery, with too many modern bards mouthing insubstantial political platitudes out loud?

Speakers: Imogen Robertson, Chris McCabe, Paul Dunn, Todd Swift, Gary Day, Dave Bowden, Brendan O’Neill

Thursday 9 October, 7pm: What is the point of British foreign policy?, London South Bank University, Borough Road, SE1

New Labour came to power declaring they would pursue an ethical foreign policy based on the ideals of liberty and democracy rather than sordid national interest, but a decade on and after the debacle of Iraq, such rhetoric rings hollow. Can we define a national interest today? Is Britain’s foreign policy a coherent expression of it?

Speakers: Bruno Waterfield, Charlie Edwards, Philip Hammond, Ian Kearns

Time Out has features on the Battle Satellites this week. Read the Battle of Ideas dance preview here.



Poetry Review Speaks Out:
Where now for political Culture?

Thursday 23 October, 7.30pm @ Bishopsgate Institute, EC2M 4QH

Find out whether poetry can deliver a political message or if literature can explore themes and issues within politics without compromising its artistic quality. The Poetry Society proudly presents its new annual debate, Poetry Review Speaks Out.

The inaugural theme is ‘Where now for Political Culture?’, with writer and poet Blake Morrison, columnist John Walsh and Poetry Review Editor Fiona Sampson.

More information / Tickets









      IoI FORUMS
On Tuesday 21 October, Juliet Tizzard will introduce 'IVF provision, risk and morality'. Contact parents@instituteofideas.com.
On Monday 20 October, Austin Williams will introduce 'Environmental educators’ underhand tactics'. Contact education@instituteofideas.com.

New on the Education Opinion blog: Who needs censors with friends like these?, Michele Ledda

Battle of Ideas survey: the Education Forum and the Standing Committee for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT) are organising a survey of attitudes to teacher professionalism. Click here for details.
Date and details of the next forum to be announced. Contact science@instituteofideas.com.
The next forum will be in November; details to be announced. Contact culture@instituteofideas.com.
On Wednesday 1 October, Alex Hochuli will present 'Romantic anti-capitalism and the consumer society'. The following forum will be on 12 November. Contact postgrad@instituteofideas.com.
The next book club will be in November; details to be announced. Contact geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com.
On Thursday 16 October, Norman Lewis will introduce 'A Brave New World: Are the emerging economies the new technological innovators?' Contact emergingeconomies@instituteofideas.com.

On Sunday 5 October, Stuart Simpson will introduce the discussion ‘Economic crisis, or crisis of politics?’ Contact currentaffairs@instituteofideas.com.

The CAF has a regular blog on Culture Wars. Read it here.

      IoI SALONS
On Wednesday 22 October, Phil Hammond will introduce 'Media wars'. Visit the Brighton Salon website.
On Monday 13 October, Ken McLaughlin will introduce 'Social work - from radicalism to orthodoxy'. Visit the Manchester Salon website.
On Tuesday 21 October, the salon will discuss 'The new politics of Northern Ireland: arranged marriage or meeting of minds?' Visit the Belfast Salon website.


On Thursday 23 October, Claire Fox will speak on ‘What good are the arts?’ at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, alongside John Carey, Julian Baggini and Adrian Monck



Claire Fox will be on The Daily Politics on BBC One on 17 October

Claire Fox will be on The Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 on 1, 8, 15 October




Claire Fox was included in Iain Dale’s list of Top 100 left wingers, Daily Telegraph, 22 September

The Labour ‘plot’ without a plot, Dolan Cummings, Daily Telegraph Ways & Means blog, 16 September

Cops and dealers (and The Wire), Dolan Cummings, Culture Wars, 12 September;
Peter Moskos, author of one of the reviewed books, described ‘Cops and dealers’ as the ‘best written review’

Literary Darwinism should be deselected, naturally, Shirley Dent, Guardian Arts blog, 5 September

Andy Warhol: A Celebration of Life… and Death, Tiffany Jenkins, Mortality, 13:4, November 2008

Prize Overdrive, Sarah Boyes (Culture Wars assistant editor), The Bookseller blog, 30 September

The Government wrongly considers children as obese, Jane Sandeman (Parents Forum convener), Daily Telegraph Ways & Means blog, 16 September

Rewriting the rules of social acceptability, Suzy Dean (Battle of Ideas committee member), The Free Society, 17 September

Teenspeak is not for adults, Martha Robinson (Debating Matters ‘Best Individual’ 2008 National Final), Independent, 12 September

    Highlights this month:

A busy month on Culture Wars sees the launch of editor Dolan Cummings' blog on the US elections and the 'most thoughtful review to date' of Steve Fuller's latest on intelligent design theory (which didn't stop him from responding.)

We also looked at sexual revolution to anarchy on the streets, and went from East to West and back again: our editorial notes are now archived here.

Other highlights include ruminations on The Wire, photos from Istanbul, and Chekhov's first play, Ivanov.

Debating Matters 2008/09 is underway and, to accommodate the expansion of the competition to 190 schools and 48 qualifying rounds, we’re getting off to a quick start. We begin our 11-week tour of Britain with a week in Scotland, including our first ever qualifying round in Aberdeen. This year will also see Debating Matters introduced to Northumbria, Bradford, York, Staffordshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall for the first time. Good luck to all schools taking part this year, especially those doing so for the first time. With so many Qualifying Rounds this Autumn, we need to secure 240 professionals to act as Debating Matters Judges.  If you’re interested in engaging in debate with sixth formers about key issues facing society, please email Helen Birtwistle or phone 020 7269 9232.

We would like to offer huge thanks to our sponsors and funders – the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and Canterbury Christ Church University – for continuing to make Debating Matters possible, and especially to our headline sponsor Pfizer, whose increased support for Debating Matters has made this ambitious expansion possible.

We would also like to welcome Abigail Ross-Jackson and Dave Bowden to the DM team. As DM alumni from our pilot competition year in 2003/04 they know all about what a nerve-wracking but hugely rewarding experience the competition can be. After a period of volunteering and interning with Debating Matters, we are pleased to be employing Abi and Dave to help make 2008/09 a big success.

Finally, well done to the British Council India for their swift and successful launch of Debating Matters India. Following our planning trip to India in August, things have moved on apace. On Monday 22 September, the British Council India went live with their online registration site, signing up over 100 Indian schools in 24 hours! Registration is followed by an online application which requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a pre-selected key issue in India; in this instance whether the media are lowering the level of public debate. With the closing date for applications not until 10 October, we await with fascination to see how many schools apply. Best of luck to all students taking part. The DM team look forward to meeting those schools who eventually make it through to the Debating Matters India regional finals in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai in January 2009.

Again, we would like to thank the British Council India and Pfizer for their substantial support in helping Debating Matters to take its first small steps on an international stage. If you know any students or schools in India who might be interested in taking part, please do refer them to the British Council India’s website.






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