Freedom series 2017-18 logo, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park

Our 2017-18 series explores ‘Freedom’ and its place in peaceful, open and inclusive societies, through a diverse programme of interdisciplinary conferences, seminars, study retreats and public events.

What causes people to exploit, discriminate against and curtail the freedom of others? How can we safeguard the rights of people everywhere to express who they are and what they believe?

How is extremism threatening our fundamental freedoms? And how much of our freedom are we willing to surrender for the sake of greater security? 

Founding vision

‘...Nor did they understand how they had been made to feel they could surrender everything and that in so doing they had acquired a great sense of freedom.’ - Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by Amy Buller (1943, republished 2017, p.182)

Since our founding in 1947 we have specialised in facilitating constructive dialogue and creative thinking on pressing social and ethical matters that have the potential to divide us.

‘Freedom’ has been a recurrent theme throughout our institutional history and it is fitting that we have launched our ‘Freedom’ series during our 70th anniversary year, 2017. Our founding warden, Amy Buller, sought to protect the freedom of individuals to express and share their views in safety, after her experiences of engaging with people in Germany during the 1930s about the impacts of Nazism on their lives.

In 2016/2017 we worked on a number of key themes relating to freedom, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, the scourge of modern slavery, and the threat of contemporary extremism.

Each of these themes is further explored in 2017/18, along with pressing issues such as freedom from hate crime, LGBTQI+ rights and freedom of expression.

Freedom events

Eliminating Slavery: Enhancing the Police ResponseLondon Seminar30 October 2017Find out more here

A Generation without HateCumberland Conference (with follow-up London Seminar at a later date)2-3 November 2017Find out more here

The Importance of Freedom of Religion or Belief Study retreat15-17 December  2017

Commonwealth & International Student Christmas Residential conference18-20 December 2017Find out more here

Freedom of Religion or Belief in Conflict Study retreat2-4 February 2018

Sexuality & Freedom Cumberland Conference (with follow-up London Seminar at a later date)26-27 February 2018

Freedom in CaptivityReflective retreat, led by Terry Waite23-25 March 2018

Freedom of Religion or Belief in ActionStudy retreat 6-8 April

Freedom Restrained? Public Protection, Fear and PolicingCumberland Conference (with follow-up London Seminar at a later date)20-22 April 2018

St Catharine's SessionsSeminars on the ethical dimensions of free speechFind out more here