PROJECTS

Debating Matters/Global Uncertainties Day of Debate

A day of debate, in partnership with the Economic & Social Research Council’s Global Uncertainties programme.

Thursday 1 May 2014
Beckfoot School, Bingley

10:00 Coffee & Registration

10:30 Welcome

10:40 Introductory Global Uncertainites Lecture

by Kim Knott, Professor of Religious and Secular Studies, and Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow, Lancaster University

11:00-12:15 ‘Weathering the Twitter storm: the pros and cons of social media’

Whether it’s for charity fundraising or news coverage of major world events in the Ukraine and Arab Spring, social media has changed how we communicate. Having an online presence is now seen as so normal that Popes and Prime Ministers have a Twitter account. Social media is increasingly seen as a vital tool in social activism, helping to build protest movements and encourage public debate on issues ranging from government welfare cuts and libel reform to challenging instances of Everyday Sexism, racism and homophobia.

But for every positive example of online ‘clicktivism’, there are numerous examples of the darker side of blogs and Twitter. ‘Cyber bullying’ and trolling is increasingly seen as a problem: two people were jailed earlier this year for sending abusive messages to UK politician Stella Creasey and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez. Suzie Hayman, of Bullying UK, states that: “Bullies hide behind the anonymity of the internet and they should not be able to do so. You can’t be anonymous if you say something hurtful in the office or the schoolyard and people need to learn you can’t be anonymous on the internet either.”

Last year the Guardian newspaper took the unusual step of removing an article by well-known journalist Julie Burchill from its website following an online argument over its perceived offensiveness. Jokes and remarks made online have seen some people lose their jobs and even end up in prison. Some commentators argue that these instances show that social media promotes a superficial view of politics that can have terrible consequences.

Speakers:
Dr Cristina Archetti, Senior Lecturer, politics and media, University of Salford; author of ‘Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media’
Dr Matthew Francis, Senior Research Associate on RCUK Global Uncertainties: Ideology, Decision-making and Uncertainty project
Tom Slater, assistant editor, spiked

Chaired by Dave Bowden, editorial, press and special projects manager, Institute of Ideas

12:15-13:15 Lunch

13:15-14:15 ‘Why is debate important? Plus a short history of free speech in England

presented by Dave Bowden, editorial, press and special projects manager, Institute of Ideas

with responses from:

Paul Thomas of the Leeds Salon
Chris Toole, Debating Coordinator, Beckfoot School

Short Break

14:30-15:50 Debating Matters showcase debate

“Extreme views should not be given a public platform”

FOR: Beckfoot School v AGAINST: Thornton Grammar School

Judged by:
Kim Knott, Professor of Religious and Secular Studies, and Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow, Lancaster University
Ashley Mallet, Solicitor & DM Alumnus
Paul Thomas, Co-organiser, Leeds Salon

15:50-16:05 Closing remarks

Venue:
Beckfoot School
Wagon Lane
BINGLEY
West Yorkshire
BD16 1EE

In partnership with:

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