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20-22 July, 2013

In July 2013, the Institute of Ideas will run its third 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.

At a time when inclusivity, fair access and learning outcomes are the watchwords of higher education policy, and education seems to be valued for almost any sake except its own, we think it’s vital to take a stand for the value of the content of education instead of fixating on object and process.

It often seems that all spectrums of the education debate – whether for or against higher fees - accept the idea that university education should be to give value for money, should ‘deliver improved employability’ and increase ‘social mobility.’

Voices arguing for the value of learning in and of itself are too rarely heard and, when they are, are often shouted down as harking back to ivory-­tower elitism. Yet it needs to be pointed out that treating subjects as investments in future earnings can hardly be an invitation to study the liberal arts and humanities.

We want to try and buck this trend: spending a long weekend doing nothing but educating ourselves. For its own sake. Not even for the sake of understanding the world today better (though, if that’s your aim, it can’t hurt to know more about the history of ideas of course). The aim is simply to cultivate ourselves with good books, good guides and in good company.

If you have ever thought, what a shame I never had time to read Hobbes, Goethe, Cicero or Hobsbawm, now’s your chance to better yourself. Whatever your age or education. IoI members come from all walks of life and will bring different perspectives and genuinely interdisciplinary insights. What they all have in common is a passion for knowledge for its own sake.

The Academy features parallel track lecture series over the course of three days – on Classics, History, Literature -­‐ and a plenary series – on the human and nature – looking at the history of ideas from Hobbes to Nietzsche. Are humans natural or unnatural? A noble savage corrupted by society? Or made human by law and civilisation? Are we driven by genetic or unconscious forces or are we the makers of our own natures? Do we make monsters like Frankenstein when we act on nature or perfect ourselves? Just how does the human and nature interact?

Lecturers include: Professor Angela Hobbs on Plato, Professor Frank Furedi on Hobbes (and Hegel), Professor Timothy O'Hagan on Rousseau, Ken MacLeod on science fiction and Ivan Hewett on classical music. Reading lists are available to IoI members attending to focus preparation and allow people to get the most out of The Academy.

Academy Scholarship Programme

This year the Institute of Ideas will again run an Academy Scholarship Programme allowing a limited number of full-time students to attend The Academy for only a fraction of the full cost - £60 for three nights accommodation and full board.

Application Process

To apply for an Academy Scholarship for 2013, please submit a 500-word (no more) essay on the question: "Should we celebrate the death of Western high culture?" Please also submit a 300-word motivation on why you in particular deserve to attend The Academy.

Submit applications online by 11am on Monday 13 May 2013.

When your application is received you will be sent the initial reading list for the Academy.

Academy Scholars will also attend an extra day of lectures on Friday July 19th. For more information email scholarship@instituteofideas.com.

NB: Applicants do not have to be Institute of Ideas members in order to apply.

The Academy 2013 will again be held at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire


The Robinson Executive Centre is a professional conference centre with free access to swimming pool, gym and leisure facilities. Costs include 2 or 3 nights’ accommodation in double ensuite rooms and full catering.


The site is child friendly and under 14s can stay in their parent’s rooms for free. Reduced rates are available for 14-16 year-olds. The venue does not run a crèche so parents should consider pooling duties. If you plan to bring children, or have any queries, do get in touch with Geoff Kidder: geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com

Arrival times:

Arriving on the Friday night, 19th July: includes dinner that night and full catering through to lunch on Monday 22nd.

Arrival on Saturday morning, 20th July: catering starts with lunch that day. Please ensure you can be checked in and ready for the first session to start promptly at 11am.

Provisional schedule:

Scholars' Day (Friday 19 July, 12 noon start)

  • What is classical music?
  • Man: sinner or saint?
  • After tradition: thoughts on culture

Day One (Saturday 20 July, 11am start)

  • Plenary Hobbes: the nature of human government

  • Classics Nature. It is. It isn’t. Pre-­Socratics and Sophistics
  • History Louis XIV: man and monarch
  • Literature Man’s real nature: fallen angel

  • Plenary Jean-Jacques Rousseau, founder of the sciences of man

Day Two (Sunday 21 July)

  • History Hegel: the unnatural historian

  • Classics Nature, convention and society in Plato's Republic
  • History 1848 and the making of modern Germany
  • Literature Man in nature: the Romantic sensibility

  • Sunday Shorts 4 lectures including: Negroes with Guns! Jim Crow and disarming blacks 1866-1970; War and Politics; The Age of Allegory

  • Plenary Nietzsche: surpassing humanity

Day Three (Monday 22 July)

  • Classics Cicero: natural law; human duty
  • History Futurism: for science not art; youth not age; for the human; enslave nature!; smash the past!
  • Literature Man’s inner nature: self-­reflection and being psychological

  • Classics The self as work of art in the Renaissance
  • History The rise of big history (and the descent of man)
  • Literature Man’s future nature: science fiction and beyond

  • Plenary Freud: the unconscious and the repressive society

Delegate Rates

Rates Full Price
Single occupancy 2 nights £400
Single occupancy 3 nights £450
Single occupancy 2 nights (Concs) £275
Single occupancy 3 nights (Concs) £350
Double occupancy 2 nights £600
Double occupancy 3 nights £700
Double occpancy 2 nights (Concs) £500
Double occpancy 3 nights (Concs) £600

2 night stay is on Sat 20 and Sun 21 July 2013

3 night stay is on Fri 19, Sat 20 and Sun 21 July 2013

Concessions are available for unwaged, senior citizens and full-time students

This event is for IoI members only. To join, or for more information on how to attend, please contact geoffkidder@instituteofideas.com