The Academy 2019

Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 July 2019 at The Woodlands Event Centre at Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire.

The Academy has been running since 2011. Bringing together a wide range of people of all ages and educational backgrounds, The Academy is a modest attempt to demonstrate the value of scholarship in itself in today’s climate of instrumental approaches to knowledge, the use of universities as social-engineering battering rams and the incessant demands to show value for money. The Academy is now organised by the boi charity.


The theme of The Academy 2019 is Culture Wars: then and now and will examine the nature of contemporary cultural life and ask how and why does culture become politicised. The culture wars that continue to define Western life seem to pit differing identities against each other in the friend or foe dynamic of contemporary debate. Ideas seem to clash – say globalisation against nationalism – but they are hollowed-out abstractions. The debates between say science and religion, church and state, modernism versus tradition, used to represent a dynamic and productive tension. Today the debates seem much less ambitious and they jump around. The culture wars have their roots in the nineteenth-century, culminating in the First World War which marked an end of the authority of tradition but failed to replace it. Why are certain areas chosen as battle grounds for the culture wars: for example in the pre-political sphere of the family, marriage, parenting, and so on? What are the chances for and what might a democratic political culture look like in the twenty-first century?



10.45-11.00 Welcome address

On culture Angus Kennedy, convenor, The Academy

11.00-12.30 Plenary

The emergence of the culture wars Lecturer: Frank Furedi, sociologist, commentator and author of numerous books, including  Populism and the European Culture Wars

13.45-15.15 Lectures 1

Choice of lectures, to be announced 

15.45-17.15 Lectures 2

Option 1: Family Matters Lecturer: Jan Macvarish, sociologist of interpersonal relationships, parenting, family life, health, sex and intimacy; author Neuroparenting: the expert invasion of family life (Palgrave Macmillan 2016)

Option 2: to be announced

17.30-19.00 Plenary 2

Cultural Contradictions Lecturer: to be announced


09:30-11.00 Plenary 3

The crisis of bourgeois ideology: from Nietzsche to Heidegger Lecturer: Tim Black, editor, the spiked review; columnist, spiked

11.30-13.00 Lectures 3

Option 1: Culture: technology, art, Heidegger Lecturer: Angus Kennedy, author, Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination and From Self to Selfie: a critique of contemporary alienation (editor with James Panton)

Option 2: to be announced

14.00-15.00 Sunday Shorts Choice of three lectures:

  • Sixties counter-culture Lecturer: Dr Greg Scorzo
  • Mass Century Lecturer: Timandra Harkness
  • Tribes Lecturer: Ben Cobley

15.15-16.45 Plenary 4

The Cultural Turn Lecturer: Frank Furedi, sociologist, commentator and author of numerous books, including Populism and the European Culture Wars


  • Francis Fukuyama, Identity: contemporary identity politics and the struggle for recognition
  • Paul Berman, Power and the Idealists: or, the passion of Joschka Fischer and its aftermath
  • Allan Bloom, Closing of the American Mind
  • Frank Furedi, First World War: still no end in sight
  • Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human
  • Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: 1780-1950
  • Theodor Adorno, The Culture Industry
  • Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology
  • John Dewey, Democracy and Education
  • Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism


Early bird rates available until Tuesday 30 April

Single occupancy two nights £295 Buy tickets

Single occupancy one night £200 Buy tickets

Double occupancy two nights £495 Buy tickets

Double occupancy one night £365 Buy tickets

Day rate (charge per day, no accommodation) £55

Concession rates are available for full time students, senior citizens and unwaged. Please email or call 020 3176 0827 for further details.