Every Cook Can Govern: the life, work and impact of C.L.R. James

c-l-r-james-3Our unique June Salon is the Midlands’ premiere of Every Cook Can Govern, the first feature-length documentary to explore the life, writings and politics of the great Trinidad-born revolutionary C.L.R. James who died in Brixton in 1989.

This historical tour-de-force interweaves never before seen footage of C.L.R. James with unique testimony from those he knew, alongside interviews with the world’s most eminent scholars of James’ life, work and politics. Through a challenging overview of his life and his thoughts on colonialism to cricket, from Marxism to the movies, from reading to revolution, what emerges in this film is an understanding of what it meant to be an uncompromising revolutionary in the 20th Century.

Every Cook Can Govern marks the culmination of a three year multimedia project arranged by the education charity WORLDwrite and its Citizen TV station WORLDbytes. Its unique production history – crowd-funded, crowd-featured and crowd-filmed – does credit to James’ conviction that every cook can govern. The film brings to life James’ thought and shows what it means to be uncompromising in one’s principles to the very end and to fearlessly question received wisdom and the world around us.

Ceri Dingle, the producer and Director of WORLDwrite, will introduce the film. We hope you can join us.

Date, Time and  Venue:  Tuesday 21 June at 17.30 at One Friar Gate Square, Derby, DE1 1DZ.

Tickets available on Eventbrite  £5/£3 (unwaged) Continue reading

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The morality of tourism

Tourism%20Responsible

From the 1960s, tourism was encouraged as an unquestionable good. With the arrival of package holidays and charter flights, tourism could at last be enjoyed by the masses. The UN even declared 1967 ‘International Years of the Tourist’, and recognised tourism was as ‘a basic and most desirable human activity, deserving the praise and encouragement of all people’s and all governments’.

Today, however, tourism is no longer seen in such a positive light. Since the 1990s there’s been growing criticism of the tourist industry, and tourists themselves. Mass tourism is deemed to have wrought damage to the environment and host societies, while many tourists are seen as caring little for the countries they travel to. To remedy this, new forms of tourism have developed that proclaim themselves to be ‘ethical’ or ‘responsible; that can help make a positive difference to the world, or at least minimise our negative impact.

However, in recent years responsible tourism has also face criticism. On the one hand, ethical tourists are often regarded as naïve, patronising and more interested in salving their own guilty Western consciences than genuinely helping people. On the other, some argue that such tourism constitutes a burden that actually hinders progress and development in countries that need it the most. It is also claimed that, while such tourism may have the language of responsibility, it is really about restricting travel for the masses and keeping it for the privileged ‘ethical’ few.

So is tourism an innocent pleasure, or is there a need to curb the excesses of the holiday industry, and even holiday makers themselves? Should holidays be solely about enjoyment, or do we have a responsibility to the places we visit to ‘tread lightly’ or even ‘put something back’? What is ‘ethical tourism’ and who does it benefit?

Our speaker for this topical Salon is Dr Jim Butcher, reader in the geography of tourism at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Date, time and venue: Tuesday 24 May at 7 PM in the Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite

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Is ’empowerment’ empowering?

Empowerment 1‘Empowerment’ is a term in widespread use today and one that is often considered to be a self-evident good. In this talk Ken McLaughlin will explore its emergence in the 1960s through to its rise in the 1990s and ubiquity in present day discourse in education, social work and health and social care discourse. He will examine how it constructs and positions those being empowered and those empowering and will argue that a focus on empowerment has superseded the notion of political subjects exercising power autonomously.

Date and time: Tuesday 26 April at 7 PM

Venue: The Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby

Tickets: £5 waged / £3 unwaged available on Eventbrite or at the door.

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Parenting, neuroscience and the state

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David Cameron argues he wants parents to see parenting classes as ‘aspirational’. He and others involved in policy making across the political spectrum argue there is a pressing need for more and more such early intervention in the lives of children, starting in-utero. This is where the opportunity exists to make lives better, or impair them for good, they say, claiming neuroscience tells us this is true. In this talk Dr Ellie Lee (Reader in Social Policy at the University of Kent and director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies) will argue against the rise of ‘neuroparenting’ and explain why it degrades both family autonomy and tarnishes science.

Date, Time and Venue: Tuesday 22 March at 7 PM in the Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby

Tickets available on Eventbrite.

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Is there a ‘rape culture’ or is it a dangerous myth?

Sabine

It is now an accepted view that we live in a society in which misogyny and everyday sexism have created a so-called ‘rape culture’, in which rape is pervasive, under-reported and ignored. Luke Gittos – our speaker – does not believe that the police and the law courts are failing women by failing to convict rapists. On the contrary, he will argue that the obsession with a ‘culture of rape’ has seriously distorted our view of sexual violence, and that the expansion of laws to protect women is eroding areas of privacy and inviting state regulation of our most intimate affairs.

 

This is dangerous for us all – not just men who may find themselves dragged into court following a sexual encounter they believed was consensual. The drive to prosecute (and improve conviction rates against) more and more people has dangerous implications for the fundamental principles of justice, and for basic freedoms. The situation as things stand does no one any favours: it undermines society’s ability to deal adequately with extreme assault, and it undermines our ability to live intimately with one another.

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Can a boy grow up to be a woman?

hermaphroditus4219‘Bruce Jenner, Lana Wachowski and Chelsea Manning all made the news recently by coming out as trans. This wave of high-profile cases prompted feminist campaigner Julie Bindel to condemn the prescription of hormone blockers to prospective trans kids as ‘child abuse’. She was widely censured as a result.
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East Midlands Salon Programme Spring 2016

microphoneThe East Midlands Salon Programme for the New Year brings ‘controversial views’ to Derby. Please put these dates in your diary:

Tuesday 26 January 2016 ‘Can a Boy Grow Up To Be a Woman?’ Speaker: Chrissie Daz: cabaret performer, teacher and, author.   Chrissie is currently completing a book on transgender and gender variant identity. Continue reading

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Are we living in the ‘Age of Emotion’?

emotionjiDuring the 1950s and 1960s, the New American Library published an aspirational series of books, edited by leading philosophers of the day, that divided the history of philosophy into six distinctive periods or ages: the Age of Belief of the medievals, the Age of Adventure during the Renaissance, the seventeenth century Age of Reason, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Ideology in the nineteenth century and finally the Age of Analysis with figures such as Wittgenstein and Sartre. Is it now time to declare a new philosophical age for the twenty-first century: the Age of Emotion? Continue reading

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What do teachers need to know?

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Initial teacher training underwent significant, perhaps fundamental, reform under the previous Coalition administration. A practical experience-based approach was favoured. Former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, argued that teaching should be understood as a ‘craft’ that was ‘best learnt as an apprentice observing a master’. Following this, funding shifted decisively to school-led programmes, in the belief that these would provide a common-sense alternative to the overly theoretical or ideological approach of many university-based programmes.

So what knowledge, skills and experiences do new teachers need? Does it help be understand teaching as a craft, a science, perhaps even an art? What balance should be struck between theory and practice? Do we need a new College of Teaching to act as a professional gatekeeper? And with increasing numbers of Academies now employing unqualified teachers, do teachers really need formal certification beyond their first degree? Continue reading

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A ‘rumble’ on religion: from Enlightenment tolerance to 21st Century offence

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One of the significant intellectual shifts heralded by the Enlightenment concerned attitudes to tolerance and religion.

 

 

Until the seventeenth century, being intolerant of other religions was considered a virtue. But in 1640, parliament abolished the Court of the King Star Chamber, which had previously silenced the voices of political opponents and religious dissenters, allowing the likes of poet and polemicist John Milton, to argue openly for the ‘spiritual liberty’ to follow one’s conscience. In his 1659 essay, A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, he wrote that ‘no man ought to be punished or molested by any outward force on earth whatsoever’ because of their ‘belief or practice in religion according to […] conscientious persuasion’.

Milton gave voice to the modern ideal of tolerance, even for those who hold views with which we strongly disagree – a principled philosophical opposition to the power of governments to determine what private religious groups and individuals could believe and think.

Now, more than three centuries later, policing the realm of the conscience is back in fashion. For example, one reaction to the rise of Islamic extremism has been a hardening of the public mood against the ‘special pleading’ of faith groups, whether relating to Halal meat or the injunctions that cartoonists should not depict the Prophet Muhammad. Meanwhile, contemporary equality legislation has led to demands to circumscribe religious groups’ rights, such as those who have been prosecuted for discriminatory actions relating to their views on homosexuality. Conversely, many religious people cite theological hurt to demand censorship. And of course, there are constant contemporary rows about the validity of faith schools. Continue reading

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