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The following event was hosted by the Academy of Ideas Arts & Society Forum on 12 May: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/does-classical-music-still-matter/

Following January’s debate, ‘What is the future of classical music in the UK?’ and drawing on some of its themes, the Arts & Society Forum is delighted to host this special one-off ‘in conversation’ with Marina Frolova-Walker, professor of music history at the University of Cambridge. The conversation will touch upon some of the key challenges and opportunities facing classical music – from music education to concert-going, from scholarship to charges of elitism – and ask the central question: does classical music still matter?

Professor Marina Frolova-Walker is a Russian-born British musicologist and music historian. She is Professor of Music History at Cambridge University, Director of Studies in Music at Clare College, Cambridge and Professor of Music at Gresham College, Cambridge. As one of the world’s leading authorities on Russian music, she has introduced international audiences not only to new repertories, but also to new ways of thinking about established works. She has published extensively on Russian music and is a well-known lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014, and the recipient in 2015 of the RMA Dent Medal for her outstanding contribution to Musicology, Professor Frolova-Walker is committed to sharing the insights gained from her research with a wider public, through talks, radio and tv appearances, and publications.

Mo Lovatt is a programme coordinator for the Academy of Ideas (AoI) and a trustee of the music charity, Living Song. Prior to working at the AoI, Mo spent 20 years in the cultural sector and was involved in developing a range of music education projects. Working with Youth Music, Faber and Sage Gateshead she developed Music Manifesto’s Sing Up International programme & Vocal Force – ‘training the trainers in music education’. In 2014, she worked with the National Working Group for Music Education on the ‘Inspire Music’ project – a peer-learning resource for anyone involved in music education. She plays violin and piano for fun, is a tenor in the Tyneside-based Inspiration Choir and has a CME certificate in choral conducting.

The following event was hosted by the Academy of Ideas Arts & Society Forum on 12 May: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/does-classical-music-still-matter/

Following January’s debate, ‘What is the future of classical music in the UK?’ and drawing on some of its themes, the Arts & Society Forum is delighted to host this special one-off ‘in conversation’ with Marina Frolova-Walker, professor of music history at the University of Cambridge. The conversation will touch upon some of the key challenges and opportunities facing classical music – from music education to concert-going, from scholarship to charges of elitism – and ask the central question: does classical music still matter?

Professor Marina Frolova-Walker is a Russian-born British musicologist and music historian. She is Professor of Music History at Cambridge University, Director of Studies in Music at Clare College, Cambridge and Professor of Music at Gresham College, Cambridge. As one of the world’s leading authorities on Russian music, she has introduced international audiences not only to new repertories, but also to new ways of thinking about established works. She has published extensively on Russian music and is a well-known lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014, and the recipient in 2015 of the RMA Dent Medal for her outstanding contribution to Musicology, Professor Frolova-Walker is committed to sharing the insights gained from her research with a wider public, through talks, radio and tv appearances, and publications.

Mo Lovatt is a programme coordinator for the Academy of Ideas (AoI) and a trustee of the music charity, Living Song. Prior to working at the AoI, Mo spent 20 years in the cultural sector and was involved in developing a range of music education projects. Working with Youth Music, Faber and Sage Gateshead she developed Music Manifesto’s Sing Up International programme & Vocal Force – ‘training the trainers in music education’. In 2014, she worked with the National Working Group for Music Education on the ‘Inspire Music’ project – a peer-learning resource for anyone involved in music education. She plays violin and piano for fun, is a tenor in the Tyneside-based Inspiration Choir and has a CME certificate in choral conducting.

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YouTube Video VVVqb0Y0alM0b1I0NzlfWTJ5OU9rc2JnLkhKbHdRM0hOX3dz

Does Classical Music Still Matter?

106 views Monday 17 May 2021

The following event was hosted by the Academy of Ideas Arts & Society Forum on 21 April: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/the-art-of-drink/

As we look forward to the end of lockdown and a return to normal life, we thought we would explore in a light-hearted way our relationship, expressed through visual art, to beverages many of us may have become over reliant on during these strange times!

Drink is a constant and contradictory theme in Western art. It has been presented in painting and sculpture as a dual magic potion, both sacred and profane, pleasurable and dangerous, enlivening and numbing. It is also seen to induce opposite states of sociability and social alienation.

Alcohol is alluded to through objects: chalices, vessels and jugs; it is displayed in glasses, tankards, barrels and hip flasks. Its presence and effects are shown through themes of redemption and classical hedonism, glowing images of bountiful living and camaraderie and of vice, sin and debauchery. The inclusion of drink in art allows for the creation of narratives, the use of symbols and the demonstration of technical virtuosity in the depiction of reflections and liquid.

To counter the privations of lockdown, Dido Powell will explore artworks from the Renaissance to the present day, focusing on themes of spirituality and wine, sensual pleasure and vice. We will delve into the ways in which absinthe played a key role in the creation of ‘modernity’ in art and how gin continues to reflect being British.

SPEAKER:

Dido Powell is a painter, having graduated in fine art from the University of Leeds. She also teaches art history, and has led several successful series of gallery tours for the Arts and Society Forum. She has also contributed a chapter on art in What Should Schools Teach.

The following event was hosted by the Academy of Ideas Arts & Society Forum on 21 April: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/the-art-of-drink/

As we look forward to the end of lockdown and a return to normal life, we thought we would explore in a light-hearted way our relationship, expressed through visual art, to beverages many of us may have become over reliant on during these strange times!

Drink is a constant and contradictory theme in Western art. It has been presented in painting and sculpture as a dual magic potion, both sacred and profane, pleasurable and dangerous, enlivening and numbing. It is also seen to induce opposite states of sociability and social alienation.

Alcohol is alluded to through objects: chalices, vessels and jugs; it is displayed in glasses, tankards, barrels and hip flasks. Its presence and effects are shown through themes of redemption and classical hedonism, glowing images of bountiful living and camaraderie and of vice, sin and debauchery. The inclusion of drink in art allows for the creation of narratives, the use of symbols and the demonstration of technical virtuosity in the depiction of reflections and liquid.

To counter the privations of lockdown, Dido Powell will explore artworks from the Renaissance to the present day, focusing on themes of spirituality and wine, sensual pleasure and vice. We will delve into the ways in which absinthe played a key role in the creation of ‘modernity’ in art and how gin continues to reflect being British.

SPEAKER:

Dido Powell is a painter, having graduated in fine art from the University of Leeds. She also teaches art history, and has led several successful series of gallery tours for the Arts and Society Forum. She has also contributed a chapter on art in What Should Schools Teach.

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YouTube Video VVVqb0Y0alM0b1I0NzlfWTJ5OU9rc2JnLmkzdHdic2Vza1RR

The Art of Drink

45 views Thursday 13 May 2021

This event was organised by the Academy of Ideas on Thursday 6 May 2021: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/who-needs-human-rights/

Whether enshrined in international treaties or national law, a commitment to a universal set of human rights is a basic feature of national and international politics. But from crackdowns on protest to restrictions on socialising, governments around the world have adopted sweeping new powers to respond to the coronavirus pandemic which have called into question many of our so-called human rights.

In theory, human rights protect individuals (and sometimes groups) from harm or interference by governments – everyone has a right to things like health, security or family life. In the case of the pandemic lockdowns, many have used the framework of human rights to challenge government overreach, demanding visiting rights in care homes and hospitals, support for affected businesses or greater attention to the plight of families and lovers separated by the restrictions.

In reality, however, human rights give rise to numerous controversies. In April, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of allowing compulsory vaccinations – a ruling that many believe goes against the rights of individuals to refuse medical treatment or their right to privacy. The UK’s adoption of the Human Rights Act did not stop the UK government engaging in mass surveillance of its citizens, amassing a huge DNA database of innocent people, deporting citizens in the Windrush scandal or waging a series of wars in the Middle East. Some have pointed to the hypocrisy of human-rights legislation when China, widely condemned for violating the human rights of ethnic minorities and political opponents, recently re-joined the UN’s Human Rights Council.

For lawyer and writer Luke Gittos, human rights are not only impractical (or ‘nonsense upon stilts’ as Jeremy Bentham famously dismissed them) but a block on the political pursuit of freedom. In his latest book, Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why we should repeal the Human Rights Act, Gittos argues that unaccountable judges in the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights have presided over a catastrophic loss of freedom. Rather than improving citizens’ quality of life or winning progressive battles, Gittos argues that human rights arose as a new language for western governments following the collapse in their collective authority in the aftermath of the Second World War.

But, given the extension of state power during lockdowns, have worldwide lockdowns revealed the need for stronger, more hard-wired human rights legislation, like the Bill of Rights in the United States? Or has the whole framework of human rights been revealed as little more than symbolic? Putting the progressive case against human rights, Gittos asks whether it is time to do away with human rights in favour of a new way of thinking about our personal and political freedoms. Join Luke Gittos and Academy of Ideas’ director Claire Fox to discuss whether it’s time to call time on human rights.

SPEAKERS:

Luke Gittos is a solicitor practising criminal law and legal editor for the online magazine spiked. His latest book Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why we should repeal the Human Rights Act was published published by Zero Books in in February 2019.  Luke is director of the Freedom Law Clinic and he regularly appears in the media to comment on legal and political issues. His first book, Why Rape Culture Is A Dangerous Myth: From Steubenville to Ched Evans, was published in 2015

CHAIR: Claire Fox is the director of the Academy of Ideas and member of the House of Lords as Baroness Fox of Buckley. Claire is author of a book on free speech, recently republished as I STILL Find That Offensive! (Biteback, 2018), and No Strings Attached! Why arts funding should say no to instrumentalism (Arts&Business, 2007).

This event was organised by the Academy of Ideas on Thursday 6 May 2021: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/who-needs-human-rights/

Whether enshrined in international treaties or national law, a commitment to a universal set of human rights is a basic feature of national and international politics. But from crackdowns on protest to restrictions on socialising, governments around the world have adopted sweeping new powers to respond to the coronavirus pandemic which have called into question many of our so-called human rights.

In theory, human rights protect individuals (and sometimes groups) from harm or interference by governments – everyone has a right to things like health, security or family life. In the case of the pandemic lockdowns, many have used the framework of human rights to challenge government overreach, demanding visiting rights in care homes and hospitals, support for affected businesses or greater attention to the plight of families and lovers separated by the restrictions.

In reality, however, human rights give rise to numerous controversies. In April, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of allowing compulsory vaccinations – a ruling that many believe goes against the rights of individuals to refuse medical treatment or their right to privacy. The UK’s adoption of the Human Rights Act did not stop the UK government engaging in mass surveillance of its citizens, amassing a huge DNA database of innocent people, deporting citizens in the Windrush scandal or waging a series of wars in the Middle East. Some have pointed to the hypocrisy of human-rights legislation when China, widely condemned for violating the human rights of ethnic minorities and political opponents, recently re-joined the UN’s Human Rights Council.

For lawyer and writer Luke Gittos, human rights are not only impractical (or ‘nonsense upon stilts’ as Jeremy Bentham famously dismissed them) but a block on the political pursuit of freedom. In his latest book, Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why we should repeal the Human Rights Act, Gittos argues that unaccountable judges in the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights have presided over a catastrophic loss of freedom. Rather than improving citizens’ quality of life or winning progressive battles, Gittos argues that human rights arose as a new language for western governments following the collapse in their collective authority in the aftermath of the Second World War.

But, given the extension of state power during lockdowns, have worldwide lockdowns revealed the need for stronger, more hard-wired human rights legislation, like the Bill of Rights in the United States? Or has the whole framework of human rights been revealed as little more than symbolic? Putting the progressive case against human rights, Gittos asks whether it is time to do away with human rights in favour of a new way of thinking about our personal and political freedoms. Join Luke Gittos and Academy of Ideas’ director Claire Fox to discuss whether it’s time to call time on human rights.

SPEAKERS:

Luke Gittos is a solicitor practising criminal law and legal editor for the online magazine spiked. His latest book Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why we should repeal the Human Rights Act was published published by Zero Books in in February 2019. Luke is director of the Freedom Law Clinic and he regularly appears in the media to comment on legal and political issues. His first book, Why Rape Culture Is A Dangerous Myth: From Steubenville to Ched Evans, was published in 2015

CHAIR: Claire Fox is the director of the Academy of Ideas and member of the House of Lords as Baroness Fox of Buckley. Claire is author of a book on free speech, recently republished as I STILL Find That Offensive! (Biteback, 2018), and No Strings Attached! Why arts funding should say no to instrumentalism (Arts&Business, 2007).

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YouTube Video VVVqb0Y0alM0b1I0NzlfWTJ5OU9rc2JnLkpsM1VSSEN3NXNJ

Who needs human rights?

78 views Tuesday 11 May 2021

From cycle lanes to low-traffic neighbourhoods: who owns our streets?

403 views Wednesday 17 March 2021

This is a recording of a lecture given by Penny Lewis at the Arts & Society Forum on 3 March 2021: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/le-corbusier-universal-artist-or-technocrat/

The Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier (1887 –1965) is strongly associated with post-war mass housing projects; his name is often used as shorthand for their failings. He was arguably the most talented architect of the twentieth century and but he is popularly known for his association with the technocrat aspects of modern planning. Architecture lecturer, Penny Lewis will ‘visit’ two of Le Corbusier’s most influential buildings the Villa Roche in Paris (1923) and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille (1952) to compare his innovative pre-war and expressive post-war work. The talk will explore the architects’ ambition to express the universal qualities of architecture and the modernist impulse to engage with engineering and new technology.

The common assessment of Le Corbusier’s work is that he was a great architect but a poor (or even Fascist) urbanist. Perhaps now that we have some distance on the post-war period we can begin to appreciate his work, aesthetic and technocratic, as a whole. Corbusier’s work was produced in that rare moment when the emancipatory drive of mass society (and the technocratic impulse to contain that drive) provided space for serious innovation. The lecture will focus on his approach to form, materials and proportion alongside his ambitious urban propositions.

Penny Lewis is a lecturer in architecture and urban planning. She leads the joint architecture programme at the University of Dundee and the University of Wuhan in China. She studied architecture before she became an architectural journalist, writing for magazine, newspapers and editing Prospect, the Scottish architectural magazine, before becoming a lecturer and academic.

All of the Academy of Ideas’s online debates, discussions and forums have been free and open to the public throughout lockdown. Any donation – large or small – is greatly appreciated. Head to https://academyofideas.org.uk/support/ to support the Academy of Ideas.

This is a recording of a lecture given by Penny Lewis at the Arts & Society Forum on 3 March 2021: https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/le-corbusier-universal-artist-or-technocrat/

The Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier (1887 –1965) is strongly associated with post-war mass housing projects; his name is often used as shorthand for their failings. He was arguably the most talented architect of the twentieth century and but he is popularly known for his association with the technocrat aspects of modern planning. Architecture lecturer, Penny Lewis will ‘visit’ two of Le Corbusier’s most influential buildings the Villa Roche in Paris (1923) and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille (1952) to compare his innovative pre-war and expressive post-war work. The talk will explore the architects’ ambition to express the universal qualities of architecture and the modernist impulse to engage with engineering and new technology.

The common assessment of Le Corbusier’s work is that he was a great architect but a poor (or even Fascist) urbanist. Perhaps now that we have some distance on the post-war period we can begin to appreciate his work, aesthetic and technocratic, as a whole. Corbusier’s work was produced in that rare moment when the emancipatory drive of mass society (and the technocratic impulse to contain that drive) provided space for serious innovation. The lecture will focus on his approach to form, materials and proportion alongside his ambitious urban propositions.

Penny Lewis is a lecturer in architecture and urban planning. She leads the joint architecture programme at the University of Dundee and the University of Wuhan in China. She studied architecture before she became an architectural journalist, writing for magazine, newspapers and editing Prospect, the Scottish architectural magazine, before becoming a lecturer and academic.

All of the Academy of Ideas’s online debates, discussions and forums have been free and open to the public throughout lockdown. Any donation – large or small – is greatly appreciated. Head to https://academyofideas.org.uk/support/ to support the Academy of Ideas.

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YouTube Video VVVqb0Y0alM0b1I0NzlfWTJ5OU9rc2JnLnVxeGJjOXIwaTR3

Le Corbusier: universal artist or technocrat?

154 views Monday 8 March 2021

Debate hosted by the Academy of Ideas Education Forum on 4 March 2021.

A large survey undertaken by the NHS in July 2020 found that a staggering one in six children now have a ‘probable mental health disorder’. Since that report we have had another school lockdown. Anne Longfield, the outgoing Children’s Commissioner for England, argued that ‘damage to children’s mental health caused by the Covid crisis could last for years without a large-scale increase for children’s mental health services’.

It is widely accepted that lockdown and school closures have had a detrimental effect on young people, but what does that really mean? Some argue that a year of severe disruption to schooling has limited children’s educational, social and intellectual development, with the likelihood of knock-on effects on the future university and career prospects of GCSE and A Level students.

But are the NHS, Children’s Commissioner and others unnecessarily catastrophising the state of children’s mental health? Have the kids really been messed up by lockdown? Or might they be more resilient than may adults give them credit for?

At what point does missing your school friends transform from disappointment, sadness and frustration to mental illness? Is there now a danger that we stretch the definition of mental health so far that it encompasses many of the normal travails and anxieties of normal teenage life and growing up?

On the other hand, kids missing out on seeing their peers and grown-up role models such as grandparents and teachers is no trivial matter. Is it not bound to limit their emotional and social cognition and lead to serious problems? As schools get set to reopen, this latest online Education Forum debate will explore the impact of lockdown on the mental health of young people.

SPEAKERS

Molly Kingsley co-founder, UsForThem

Dr Ken McLaughlin senior lecturer in Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University

Sarah Standish school counsellor at a Harrow school

Debate hosted by the Academy of Ideas Education Forum on 4 March 2021.

A large survey undertaken by the NHS in July 2020 found that a staggering one in six children now have a ‘probable mental health disorder’. Since that report we have had another school lockdown. Anne Longfield, the outgoing Children’s Commissioner for England, argued that ‘damage to children’s mental health caused by the Covid crisis could last for years without a large-scale increase for children’s mental health services’.

It is widely accepted that lockdown and school closures have had a detrimental effect on young people, but what does that really mean? Some argue that a year of severe disruption to schooling has limited children’s educational, social and intellectual development, with the likelihood of knock-on effects on the future university and career prospects of GCSE and A Level students.

But are the NHS, Children’s Commissioner and others unnecessarily catastrophising the state of children’s mental health? Have the kids really been messed up by lockdown? Or might they be more resilient than may adults give them credit for?

At what point does missing your school friends transform from disappointment, sadness and frustration to mental illness? Is there now a danger that we stretch the definition of mental health so far that it encompasses many of the normal travails and anxieties of normal teenage life and growing up?

On the other hand, kids missing out on seeing their peers and grown-up role models such as grandparents and teachers is no trivial matter. Is it not bound to limit their emotional and social cognition and lead to serious problems? As schools get set to reopen, this latest online Education Forum debate will explore the impact of lockdown on the mental health of young people.

SPEAKERS

Molly Kingsley co-founder, UsForThem

Dr Ken McLaughlin senior lecturer in Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University

Sarah Standish school counsellor at a Harrow school

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YouTube Video VVVqb0Y0alM0b1I0NzlfWTJ5OU9rc2JnLlNKdnZUVkFoX3RZ

Is lockdown damaging children's mental health?

149 views Friday 5 March 2021