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directorClaire Fox

Claire Fox

Claire Fox is the director of the Institute of Ideas (IoI), which she established to create a public space where ideas can be contested without constraint. Claire initiated the IoI while co-publisher of the controversial and ground-breaking current affairs journal LM magazine (formerly Living Marxism). The IoI has since worked with a variety of prestigious institutions in Britain and abroad. Claire convenes the IoI's flagship event, the yearly Battle of Ideas festival, which takes place in London at the end of October. The IoI has also established the prestigious Debating Matters competition for sixth form students in the UK and India under Claire's direction.

Claire is a panellist on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze and is regularly invited to comment on developments in culture, education, politics and the arts across the whole range of media outlets: such as BBC Question Time, BBC Any Questions?, SkyNews Review, and BBC Breakfast. Claire writes regularly for national newspapers and a range of specialist journals. She has a monthly column in the MJ (municipal journal) and presented ‘Claire Fox News’ on the internet TV channel '18 Doughty Street'.

Claire is a Member of the European Cultural Parliament and sits on the Advisory Board of the Economic Policy Centre

Claire previously worked as a mental health social worker and as a lecturer in English literature. She was a judge on the panel for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 (download her speech given to the 2006 Orange Prize Libraries Seminar) and features in the ‘Who’s Who’ almanac 2007. Claire was number 64 in Time Out’s 2006 London Movers and Shakers list, and was named the capital’s No.3 activist. Claire also features in the Telegraph's list of Britain's 100 most influential people on the Left.

Claire has a particular interest in education and social issues such as crime and mental health. She opposes ‘youth voice’ initiatives as patronising and an abdication of adult responsibility, is an advocate of a liberal arts and academic curriculum for all school pupils, and is a fierce opponent of the politicisation of and interference into the curriculum for social or policy ends.

She is highly critical of authoritarian developments such as New Labour's 'antisocial behaviour orders', any form of restriction on free speech, the erosion of civil liberties and attempts to manage and 'nudge' the public's behaviour. She is also a passionate supporter of the arts, and strongly believes that they should be valued for their own sake rather than as instrumental means to social ends. Claire wrote No strings attached! Why Arts Funding should say no to instrumentalism for Arts & Business (4 July 2007) to lay out her opposition to instrumentalism in ther arts.

Recent articles

Selected appearances

  • 24 April 2009: Claire was on Question Time on BBC One. The programme is available to watch again on BBC iPlayer, by clicking here.
  • 12 June 2008. Claire was a 'dinner guest' on Dinner with Portillo: The Iron Lady and the Glass Ceiling on BBC Four
  • 16 May 2008. Claire was on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions
  • 08 May 2008. Claire spoke at the World Development Movement debate 'Can the free market stop climate change?'. Watch it here
  • 29 January 2008. Claire gave a speech on 'Has child protection gone too far? How Government fosters a climate of fear and mistrust' at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS) public seminar series in the School of Law, University of Leeds.
  • 11 January 2008. Claire was on Little Atoms on Resonance FM. Download the mp3
  • 27 November 2007. Claire gave a lecture as part of a series on Ethics and Mental Health at Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • 23 November 2007. Claire spoke at the New News, Future News conference organised by Ofcom/Reuters Institute.
  • 26 September 2007. Claire gave a guest lecture on academic freedom and the right to be offensive to the University of Hertfordshire Humanities Department induction week.
  • 25 September 2007. Claire spoke at three Labour conference fringe events:
    - Social Market Foundation meeting - 'Prohibition for Protection? Should government force people to choose healthier lifestyles?';
    - Dr Foster Intelligence - 'This house believes it is role of the state to guarantee the nation's health and wellbeing' (opposing Ben Bradshaw MP);
    - Smith Institute meeting - 'Higher Education: A Public Service'
  • 18 September 2007. Claire spoke at two Liberal Democrat conference fringe events:
    - Local Government Association Question Time - 'Towards a Devolutionary Future';
    - Smith Institute meeting - 'Higher Education: A Public Service'
  • 13 August 2007. Claire spoke at the Big Ideas Forum in Sydney, Australia in the debate 'In praise of elitism'
  • 9 June 2007. Claire spoke at the Compass National & Robin Cook Memorial Conference on an 'Unlocking Democracy' session alongside David Aaronovitch
  • 30 January 2007. Intelligence Squared debate, ‘Too many people go to university’. A recording is available at the IoI Media archive.
  • 29 January 2007. Claire was on BBC Radio 4’s Start The Week with John Kampfner, Nick Cohen and Hermione Lee.
  • 26 November 2006. Claire spoke on 'Culture War: Radical Islam, Ideological Struggle and Lessons from the Cold War' at the Libertarian Alliance annual conference. Watch it here.
  • Selected articles


  • 19 October 2009. Don't ban the BNP - even racists deserve a debate Evening Standard
  • 01 October 2009. Academy strikes back: the fight for 'useless' knowledge starts here Times Higher Education
  • 30 September 2009. Stop monitoring the public The MJ
  • 12 August 2009. Could sisters do it all better? The MJ
  • Summer 2009. Article on idealism Fabian Review
  • 22 July 2009. Give us some space The MJ
  • 10 June 2009. Censoring the BNP 3: Claire Fox responds to Andy Newman Index on Censorship
  • 03 June 2009. Censorship is the wrong way to combat BNP Index on Censorship
  • 30 April 2009. Engagement is kids’ stuff The MJ
  • 22 April 2009. Give this moralising the brush-off The MJ
  • 25 March 2009. Wheeling out the unpalatable The MJ
  • 04 March 2009. A needle in a haystack The MJ
  • 2008

  • 11 December 2008. Religion and free speech Time Out
  • 25 October 2007. Debate is being stifled by a new form of inquisition Independent
  • 18 August 2007. Strike up the band for elitism The Australian
  • 16 July 2007. Anything but the arts myA&B Arts & Business blog
  • 24 July 2007. 2012 Cultural Olympiad Time Out
  • 8 July 2007. The folly of the 16-year-old voter The Sunday Times. A critical response to the article was published on openDemocracy's 'Our Kingdom', to which Claire responded here
  • 18 June 2007. Claire was quoted in the BBC impartiality report, From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century (pdf)
  • June 2007. No strings attached! Why Arts Funding should say no to Instrumentalism Arts & Business Future Culture Symposium (pdf)
  • June 2007. Carbon rationing: a valuable way of cutting carbon emissions? Science & Public Affairs
  • 24 March 2007. Abandoning rational discussion on climate change is worse than anything nature can do Sunday Herald
  • Profiles/interviews

  • 18 January 2009. Discovery of India Express India
  • 11 January 2009. Room to argue The Telegraph (Calcutta)
  • 21 October 2009. Interview with Claire Fox and Angus Kennedy from the Institute of Ideas Cultural Diplomacy News
  • 18 August 2008. Daily Politico: Claire Fox Total Politics
  • 28 May 2006. 'Relative Values'. The Sunday Times Magazine
  • 19 November 2005. ‘Infamy’s Child’. Guardian
  • 17 December 2002. Claire was profiled in The Times