Living Freedom 2019

Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 April 2019, CIEE Global Institute, London

Explore the past, present and future of freedom at this three-day school for 18- to 25-year-olds.

About Living Freedom

Living Freedom is our annual residential school aimed at 18- to 25-year-olds interested in exploring ideas as they relate to the past, present and future of freedom.

The three-day school is hosted at the CIEE Global Institute in central London providing a stimulating forum for around 40 young advocates of freedom who will attend expert talks and participate in meaningful debates. As well as the chance to get to grips with key thinkers and engage in a series of intellectual challenges, the school provides a social forum, offering a chance to meet and socialise with peers from throughout the UK and beyond.   

Living Freedom 2019 – programme

Living Freedom 2019 is an opportunity to explore contemporary issues related to liberty and individual autonomy, using both the insights of ‘the best that is known and thought’ and the provocations of contemporary intellectuals, to get to grips with the complexities and contradictions of freedom in the twenty-first century.

Freedom and tolerance are frequently asserted as fundamental values. In practice, however, aspects of freedom as they relate to different experiences, individuals or discrete groups are increasingly viewed as being in conflict. 

This year, Living Freedom attendees will explore questions and skirmishes around two main themes. Sessions related to the individual and society trace the historical development of the autonomous individual and the challenge posed by a new, fragile notion of self, as well as exploring moral dilemmas around protecting privacy and the behaviour of artists.

Sessions under the theme of universalism and particularism revisit the liberal idea of universalism and  interrogate the drivers behind the politicisation of identity and the rise of intersectionality. 

View the outline programme below and the full programme with descriptions of each session here.

How the school works

Delivered by a series of experts, thinkers and campaigners, this school challenges all attendees to develop their critical faculties and take the intellectual risks required to achieve the ambition of making a fresh response to contemporary constraints on freedom. Alongside specialist lectures on the philosophy and history of freedom, there will panel debates, workshops, seminars and group-based tutorials.  Social events will provide plenty of opportunities for networking.

Who can apply

The school is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years of age, regardless as to whether they are currently studying or in employment.

Application process

To apply to attend the school please submit a short statement of between 300 and 500 words on:

  • Your understanding of one important contemporary constraint on liberty and one key opportunity for making the case for freedom today and
  • Why you would like to attend the school and how you will potentially benefit from it

Applications must be submitted no later than Sunday 17 March. Attendance will be at the discretion of the organisers. Successful applicants will be notified no later than Wednesday 20 March.



All those selected to attend will be deemed to have committed to attending all lectures and workshops for the entire duration of the London-based school starting at 6pm on Thursday 11 April until the close at 7pm on Saturday 13 April; and to residing overnight on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 April in the accommodation provided.


Attendees pay a nominal fee of £50 which is payable in advance of attendance upon confirmation of acceptance. This fee covers hostel accommodation for two nights in central London, an evening meal on 12 April and sandwich lunches on 12 and 13 April.


CIEE Global Institute, 46-47 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4JP


Should you need further information please contact Living Freedom convenor Alastair Donald by emailing or calling +44 (0)20 7269 9233.


Outline Programme (for full session descriptions click here)


Registration, welcomes & introduction

18:30 – 20:00 Lecture
From the trial of Socrates to war on hate speech – a history of free speech




09:00 – 10:00 Lecture
What is autonomy?

10:15 – 11:15 Lecture
The rise of the fragile-self

11:30 – 12:30 Expert Seminars

  • Group A: Understanding Safe Spaces; or
  • Group B: Genome editing: implications for freedom

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 15:00 Panel debate
Social media and censorship: where draw the line in the online public square?

15:00 – 16:00 In conversation
The Peterson effect – search for morality or illusion of responsibility?

16:30 – 17:30 Lecture and workshop
Moral Maze: dilemmas of privacy

17:45 – 18:45 Lecture
Cultural conundrums: can we separate art from the artist?

Freedom Dinner



9:30 – 10:30 Lecture
Identity politics – finding ourselves or a threat to freedom?

11:00 – 11:45 Lecture
The liberal aspiration to universalism

11:45 – 12:30 Expert Seminars

  • Group A: CLR James – universalism and liberation; or
  • Group B: The role of the canon

12:30 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 14:15 Breakout Workshops
What the papers say  

14:30 – 15:30 Lecture
Interrogating intersectionality

16:00 –17:00 Lecture double header

  • Groupthink: the new tribalism
  • How to disagree, creatively

17:00 – 18:15 Panel Debate
Human rights – protecting liberty or illusory freedom?

Closing drinks reception