Event News: Democracy Conference 2015

Getting under the skin of democracy

Rabbi Sacks and Bettany Hughes among speakers

Rabbi Sacks

Some of society’s top thinkers, researchers and academics came together at Middlesex University to discuss and get under the skin of democracy in today’s society.

Historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks were among the cast of speakers the University brought together to shine a light on what democracy is in 2015.

They were joined by leading experts including Councillor Dr Devra Kay, Harris Bokhari and members of The Patchwork Foundation, which promotes and encourages the positive integration of under-represented, deprived and minority communities into British political society.

Click here to watch the video from the event.

Are religion and democracy compatible?: Rabbi Sacks

Speaking about whether religion is compatible with democracy and quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, Rabbi Sacks said: “Religion has no power at all but it has an enormous amount of influence, de Tocqueville wanted to work this out and he asked religious leaders, who said the reason we have influence is because we never get involved in politics, because politics is divisive so if we got involved in it we too would become divisive.”

Click here to listen to the full audio clip of Rabbi Sacks.

The birth of democracy: Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes said: “Suddenly in Athens you have a space where farmers, and cheesemakers, and perfumers, and road sweepers, and generals all have the ability to stand with one another in the democratic assembly to not only vote together but decide on what they are voting.”

Click here to listen to the full audio clip of Bettany Hughes.

Engaging young people in democracy: Patchwork Foundation

Chidi Amadi, from Patchwork Foundation, said: “Government should have a role and responsibility to come towards young people in the sense of having the right policies to appeal to them and ensuring that they have a large body of voters that they need to encourage to vote for them.”

Temi Shogeloa, also from Patchwork Foundation, added: “Decisions that are made for them, affect them, and if you’re removed from that decision making process you have ultimately lost out on your chance to make a decision and bring about a longevity change.”

May I say thank you to the delegates that attended the Democracy Conference. If you could please spare 2 minutes to fill in the survey below regarding your experiences it would greatly help us improve our events for the future:



Event News: Creative Economies

Middlesex puts creative economies on the agenda

Creative economies were on the agenda when Middlesex University brought together top creative thinkers to share thoughts on the future of arts, cities and media in an increasingly digital world.

BBC Creative IndustriesDSC_0153

The event at BBC’s Broadcasting House, organised by Middlesex University’s Centre for Ideas, saw the BBC, Middlesex University, The Mayor’s Office and Thames and Hudson Publishing discuss the opportunities, threats and futures creative economies bring.

Creative economies: media

Alan Yentob, Creative Director of the BBC told the audience: “The opportunity of digital media has been phenomenal. It’s very important we understand the role of creativity.

“Creativity is also about collaboration, it’s about teamwork. You need practical tools, you need insight, you need imagination, you need people with different perspectives on the world.”

Will Saunders, Creative Director, Digital, BBC TV talked about trends in video. He said: “BBC has always been at the heart of technological innovation, content innovation has been a big part of everything we do.

“Strategy changes a lot in my environment, you don’t necessarily need to drive people to your website, they will find it in their timelines. Radio 1’s mantra now is listen, watch, share.”

Creative economies: art

Middlesex University Professor of Fine Art Sonia Boyce said: “Despite this idea that there’s this huge creative energy taking place here in the country, a kind of optimism you might say of how the creative industries are not only creating an enormous amount of money. But there is this other side about what

BBC Creative IndustriesDSC_0218

“The problem here is this tension between writers and artists about having to supply money for the use of images. Artists rely on writers to disseminate not only ideas but reinforce the sense of the intellectual and cultural value of the works that artists are making, but writers depend on artists too.”

Creative economies: cities

Kirsten Dunn, Senior Culture Strategy Officer at The Mayor’s Office, pointed out that creative economies bring jobs. She said: “While the Fourth Plinth attracts a huge amount of comment on social media, it also provides jobs. It’s the perfect illustration of the close links between art and manufacturing and art and the creative industries.

“We don’t want a city where there are no artists and creative, creative people give cities their authenticity. The creative economy in London requires a balance – you have to play to the city’s strengths. To maintain London as a world city we need to keep its cultural edge.”

Graeme Evans, Professor of Urban Cultures at Middlesex University said: “The balance between place, economy and culture is the holy grail that all cities are trying to triangulate and achieve some balance between the three.”