I’ve just been at a three-day seminar at the Institute for Government, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to help academics learn how to influence public policy. The seminar brought together 15 academics in disciplines ranging from literary criticism to design and urban planning.The IFG arranged an impressive line-up of Westminster big-wigs to Read more…

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There are few areas of our society going through such bewildering change at the moment as higher education. It is a difficult and distressing time for academics and students alike. But this upheaval also means we have a rare opportunity not merely to defend the status quo but to experiment with new models of higher Read more…

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What I love about being a freelance blogger (besides the loneliness, economic insecurity and gnawing sense of irrelevance) is the ability to roam wherever you fancy to discover new ideas. You don’t have to write what your editor tells you. It’s just a great feeling, sometimes, the ability to follow a new trail wherever it Read more…

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The New Republic has a cover story by eminent social historian Deirdre McCloskey warning of the dangers of Happyism, or ‘the creepy new economics of pleasure’. The piece shows American culture beginning to engage more deeply with the politics of well-being – there have also been excellent articles recently in The Atlantic and I wrote Read more…

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I just got back from Wellington College, the boarding school in Berkshire which has been a pioneer in teaching well-being. I was invited to give a ‘fireside chat’ to some of its pupils by the headmaster Anthony Seldon. Seldon is a remarkable person – besides being a successful boarding school headmaster, he’s also very spiritual, Read more…

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