Academics building academic freedom from the ground up

Battle of Ideas festival 2023, Saturday 28 October, Church House, London


The first Academics for Academic Freedom (AFAF) branch was formed at the University of Edinburgh in March 2022. In the time since, AFAF has grown rapidly with branches now covering over 20 universities. This is a unique achievement in the face of threats and intimidation by censorious individuals and groups.

All AFAF branches and their membership are committed to freedom of speech and the promotion of open debate and discussion. AFAF offers an independent voice as universities work out how to respond to the requirements of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act, which charges universities with a duty to champion free speech and academic freedom.

Branches have focused on a variety of issues, such as reviewing policy papers, defending individuals with controversial views, opposing ideological imposition by university administrators and management, and ensuring that there is viewpoint diversity throughout the disciplines.

AFAF’s ambition is to open branches in every university in the UK. Come along to hear about this compelling free speech success story – and to find out about how you too can get involved!

Dr Firat Cengiz
senior lecturer in law, University of Liverpool

Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler
senior lecturer in education studies, Institute of Education, University of Derby; author, The Racialisation of Campus Relations

Professor Ian Pace
pianist and professor of music at City, University of London

Dennis Hayes
professor of education, University of Derby; founder and director, Academics For Academic Freedom (AFAF); author, The Death of Academic Freedom? Free speech and censorship