Open Birkbeck, An Invitation

8 Dec

Birkbeck University is now occupied, this is their statement:
‘. . . in this spot hereafter, the charms of literature shall be displayed, and the powers of science shall be unfolded to the most humble inquirers; for to the ‘feast of reason’ . . . the invitation shall be as unbounded as the region of the intellect.’ Dr Birkbeck, 1824

Open Birkbeck is an event in which students, staff and faculty from Birkbeck College re-claim the Council Room for an intended period of 24 hours to create an open space for discussion and deliberation on how we can participate in a society committed to Higher Education for all.

It is a peaceful event that welcomes discussion, debate, and exchange from all who are concerned with the fate of higher education, particularly in light of the cuts recently proposed by the coalition government. In the spirit of George Birkbeck and others who founded the London Mechanics Institution in 1823 (later to become Birkbeck College), we begin from the position that education should not be reserved for an elite and that as a society we have a duty to provide access to education for any who seek it. In rejection of its marketisation, the duty to provide education is seen to be of value not only as a means for economic development, but as a fundamental way in which we open space to share and exchange ideas and inspiration; as well as to challenge assumptions, values and ideologies. It is a space that should be accessible to all.

Among other activities we intend to complete a statement during the event addressed to both the college and to our Members of Parliament concerning the recent proposed cuts which we consider antithetical to a commitment to education for all. As the name ‘Open Birkbeck’ suggest, this is a process which is inclusive and welcomes anyone who wishes to participate.

We welcome anyone who is interested in the future of Higher Education to participate!

At 12:00 noon, 9 December, we intend to adjourn ‘Open Birkbeck’ until the next event.


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