Reclaiming freedom in education and society

On Tuesday 17 March at 7:00PM in Hallmark Hotel Derby, Midland Road, DE1 2SQ Derby, the East Midlands Salon is hosting a discussion entitled ‘Reclaiming freedom in education and society’

Liberal education and the progress of knowledge depend on tolerance of the widest possible diversity of ideas and expressions of those ideas. As Mill described in On Liberty, revolutions in ideas depend on tolerating even the most countercultural arguments, and personal growth depends on confronting even the most seemingly false ideas.

Today, liberal education appears to be under threat even in universities which should embody societal commitment to freedom of speech and inquiry. Recent research*, by the online magazine spiked, show that 80 per cent of universities create a chilling environment for freedom of speech or actively engage in censorship. Other research** shows that senior managers in many universities are ambiguous in their attitudes to academic freedom. They formally support academic freedom but do not give it the attention or support needed to ensure it isn’t undermined by the bureaucracy and its many committees.

Are the freedoms required for a liberal education and a free society really under threat? The panel of experts at the Salon will give their assessment of the present state of freedom in education and society and how freedom in education can be reclaimed. They are:

Adam KisselAdam Kissel is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago. His academic interests include the history and theory of liberal education, the history and theory of rhetoric, and rhetoric’s relationship with philosophy. Adam was Vice President of Programs at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in Philadelphia and has given dozens of lectures about academic freedom and free speech on college campuses nationwide. His visit to Derby is part of his Free Speech England Tour.

Dennis HayesProfessor Dennis Hayes is the director of Academics For Academic Freedom (AFAF) and was a member of the Spiked team that drew up the first ever Free Speech University Rankings. He has published widely on academic freedom and among his many publications is a book on The McDonaldization of Higher Education. He is a member of the editorial board of the Times Higher Education magazine.

Judith GillJudith Gill is a senior lecturer in human resource management in Derby Business School. Her areas of interest in research are almost diametrically opposed, these being the role of the HR practitioner and leader, and academic freedom in universities and she considers that these bring an interesting perspective to some of her work. Her on-going research on university leaders’ perceptions of academic freedom will be the basis of her presentation.

Ruth MieschbuehlerThe chair will be Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler, a researcher at the University of Derby, who has undertaken extensive research into the learning experiences of students in higher education and how these match the universal ideals implied by a liberal education.


Tickets are available now through Eventbrite.

Time and Date: Please arrive in time to get yourself a drink for a 19.00 start (Ends 20.30), Tuesday 17 March 2015

Tickets: £5 (£3 Concessions) Book now through this Reclaiming freedom in education and society link.

Venue: Hallmark Hotel Derby, Midland Road, Derby DE1 2SQ.

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