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The 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 and equality are the watchwords of government 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 Aristotle, Virgil, Dante, Burke or Adam Smith, now’s your chance to better yourself. Whatever your age or education. Attendees 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.

For more information about The Academy, contact anguskennedy@instituteofideas.com

The Academy 2014

The Academy 2013

The Academy 2012

The Academy 2011