28 Nov 2012: Happy 10th Birthday Debating Matters!

DM10 – a celebration of what Debating Matters has achieved and has to offer over the next ten years starts here.

In December 2002 a novel approach to debate, that privileges substance over style, was conceived at a day of debates hosted by the Academy of Ideas in partnership with the British Library and Hodder Education.

Since then Debating Matters has become a fixture in the calendar of hundreds of schools across the UK and in the diaries of journalists, scientists, politicians, artists and business people who act as judges. Rigorous, informed and nuanced debate on the important issues facing society is more important today than ever. During 2013, in the run-up to the 10th National Final, we will celebrate DM10 on our website and social media platforms, as well as seek your help to build the future of the competition.

A huge amount of enjoyment has been had, not only in the UK, but also in India where Debating Matters was introduced four years ago. However, in the midst of our expanded Debating Matters UK competition – with 72 qualifying events running from Aberdeen to Bodmin – and visiting India to work with our colleagues at the British Council on the Regional Finals for Debating Matters India Year 5, we have little time to celebrate now. So we are inviting all those have enjoyed their involvement with Debating Matters to date to help us get the party started.

Over the month of December, we would like to hear from as many of you as possible about your experience of Debating Matters – whether that is about what you got out of being a debater or judge of the competition, your highlights or amusing anecdotes, or your reflections on the importance of rigorous debate for young people. We’d love to hear from teachers about their experiences and reflections, especially how your debate society or school has made use of the Debating Matters format and approach. Good wishes for the future of Debating Matters are obviously welcome, as are any thoughts about what you’d like to see Debating Matters achieve over the next ten years.

We’d really appreciate people posting their comments to our Facebook page. To do this, first you’ll also need to ‘Like’ it. Or for those who want to post something pithy, feel free to tweet using #debatingmatters and remember to follow us @DebatingMatters.

If Facebook doesn’t appeal, we’d also be very pleased for you to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) your comments to indicating whether you’d be happy for us to publish them or not.

We’d especially like you to share information about Debating Matters with others who might like to get involved: from teachers or schools you know, individuals that might like to try their hand at judging or organisations that might be interested to partner with and sponsor Debating Matters.

Finally, ten years ago, the first Debating Matters Best Individual prize winner, Tom Ogg, wrote an article about his experience of Debating Matters and the importance of a ‘collision of ideas, rather than of orators’. You can read his article here.

Thanks to everyone – the sponsors and partners, teachers and students, judges, volunteers and alumni – who have made the last ten years of debate possible, we look forward to hearing from you!

From all at the Academy of Ideas

The Academy of Ideas would like to thank current sponsors and partners for helping to make this tenth year of Debating Matters possible. In particular we would like to thank the Wellcome Trust, Statoil, Hodder Education, the Medical Research Council and Unilever UK & Ireland. We would also like to give a special mention to Pfizer, our first headline sponsor, who provided eight years of generous support and lots of encouragement, as well as to the Wellcome Trust for its substantial support as our primary funder since 2004.


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