Groupthink: do East Midlands universities put conforming before criticism?

Speakers from several East Midlands universities will discuss the claim that ‘Groupthink’ is rife in universities at our second Battle of Ideas Satelleite event. Speakers include Dr Vanessa Pupavac (Nottingham); Dr Glynne Williams (Leicester); Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler (Derby) Dr Nikos Sotirakopoulos (Loughborough) and others academics from East Midlands universities. Come along and share your thoughts but places are strictly limited – so book early!

“A recent report by the Adam Smith Institute claims that a ‘groupthink’ mentality is rife within academia. According to the report, 75 per cent of British academics are left-liberals.

There are concerns that excessive ideological homogeneity creates the risk of bias in scholarship, with certain research areas deemed politically unpalatable and consequently ignored or even demonised. Studies from the US reveal that conservative academics are discriminated against in grant reviews and in hiring decisions, and more than 80 per cent of conservative academics feel there is a hostile climate towards their beliefs at work. In many disciplines, certain approaches are informally excluded when it comes to the appointment of staff. For example, anyone committed to knowledge-based education would stand little chance of getting a job in a university teacher-education department. Is this ‘groupthink’ or is it a reasoned rejection of out-dated approaches and the promotion of new and better ones? Continue reading

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Should we study dead white philosophers?

Students at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are campaigning to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ by including more thinkers of Asian and African origin in place of the current dominance of the ‘dead white males’ of Western philosophy. They complain that the university is a ‘white’ institution promoting the mythical universalism of the European Enlightenment to legitimise continuing racial domination and colonial oppression. Continue reading

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Creative Destruction: How to start an economic renaissance

Or speaker, economist Phil Mullan, argues in his new book, Creative Destruction: How to start an economic renaissance that the only way to ensure a better future is to create one. Mullan believes that what is needed is comprehensive economic restructuring backed by political and cultural change. For too long state intervention has been about ‘stabilising’ the economy: creating a corporate dependency that has entrenched economic stagnation.

This restructuring means embracing the painful disruption involved in letting the low-productivity parts of the economy go, to allow new sources of wealth creation to flourish. Crucially, for Mullan, this means seizing both the economic and democratic opportunities offered by Brexit.

So how do we create an economic renaissance? Do we need a bout of creative destruction, or should caution still reign? And does Brexit offer important opportunities to act decisively to renew British capitalism?

Date, Time and Venue: Thursday 22 June at 7 PM in The Parlour of the Brunswick Inn, Derby (£3 waged/£2 unwaged)

About Phil Mullan Continue reading

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Is it time to depoliticise art?

“The author Howard Jacobson once wrote that if an artist’s work is political, it only works as art if it transcends politics. Today, curatorial choices seem to have been driven by political perspective rather than artistic merit. Or, as art critic Matthew Collings wrote of the Tate Modern, its overriding message now appears to be ‘Meaning must always entail moralising’.

Worse still – argues our speaker Wendy Earle – “the modern politics of art is trite, the idea of collective art-making and performance art largely uninteresting, and the general slightness and messiness of many of the works irritating and the overall lack of nuance, subtlety and, yes, beauty is wearisome and tedious.”

Date, Time and Venue: 11 May 2017, 7 PM in the Parlour of the Brunswick Inn, Derby. £3 (£2 unwaged).

Speaker: Dr Wendy Earle

Wendy writes on the arts and culture for spiked and is convenor of the Institute of Ideas Arts and Society Forum, which promotes open and open-ended discussion of the arts and culture and of the place of arts and culture in society. She works at Birkbeck, University of London, to promote knowledge exchange and public engagement with research in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Previously she worked in educational publishing and at the British Film Institute.

A selection of Wendy’s articles is available in the Spiked Author Archive

Chair: Dr Vanessa Pupavac (University of Nottingham)

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What is the role of the teacher today?

 

This event is organised by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) in partnership with the Standing Committee for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT),Deventio Education and the East Midlands Salon.

Increasingly it seems that it is harder than ever before to be a teacher. Almost weekly there are news headlines warning of unprecedented numbers of teachers leaving the profession and of the difficulties of being able to attract new recruits.

Why is this “brain drain” from the teaching profession taking place? Certainly pay and conditions should not be overlooked, especially at a time of tightening budgets, and nor should limited resources. But research suggests that teachers are also feeling like their role is changing. Some argue that teachers are no longer at the heart of schools and that they are becoming technicians, expected to deliver lessons by the manual, with their performance measured and directed by inappropriate numerical targets.

Is the nature of the 21st century classroom such that this shift is inevitable? Or can teachers begin to regain autonomy and build the profession of teaching? Can innovations in technology and resources help teachers better achieve this? How should performance and targets be set and measured in schools?

Join a panel of educationalists to reflect on this important topic that aims to get to the heart of what the role of a teacher is – and should be – today.

Speakers include would be and new teachers as well as leading teachers and educationalists:

  • Professor Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education, University of Derby; Honorary Secretary of the Standing Committee for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT)
  • Dr Nick Daniel,  A New Teacher
  • Damien Roberts, Director and Co-Founder, Derventio Education
  • Ged Rae, Lead Principal at Nottingham Academy
  • Beverley Henshaw, a Student and intending  Teacher

Chair: Patrick Hayes, Director of BESA

Date, Time and Venue: Tuesday 23 May at 7 PM in the Hallmark Hotel Midland, Derby.

FREE – BUT PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL ON EVENTBRITE 

NB The discussion will start at 7 PM followed by a drinks reception at 8.30 PM kindly sponsored by Derventio Education.

This event will also be the Midlands launch of the SCETT book The Role of the Teacher Today (£3.50)

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