Friday, November 11, 2011

Thom Brooks - "Mention of the Big Society is a Big Worry"

. . . first published in The Journal (Newcastle) in June. Full link here. An excerpt:

"[. . .] News spread fast in academic circles. I launched a campaign to have the Big Society removed from the AHRC delivery plan with immediate effect. The campaign has been supported by 4,000 academics including Fellows of the British Academy The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It was established by Royal Charter in 1902, and is a fellowship of more than 800 scholars. The Academy is self-governing and independent. and Royal Society. It has received further support from over 30 learned societies and the University and College Union. Even the Universities Minister, the Rt Hon David Willetts, recently spoke of the "hazard" of including political campaign slogans in delivery plans.

The story has received national and international support as well as media coverage. Still the AHRC has refused to make any concessions to the widespread cross-disciplinary support for change that transcends political divisions. This issue is highly important and it is a position of principle, not politics: political campaign slogans have no place in determining strategic research funding priorities. This is as true for the arts and humanities as it is for any other area of research.

I remain hopeful that continued public support for this principle will lead to the AHRC making the right decision and removing the Big Society from its delivery plan without further delay. [. . .]"

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