University Professor to lead two debates at Battle of Ideas Festival

14 October 2015

Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education at the University of Derby, is leading two debates at the Battle of Ideas Festival this weekend (October 17-18) which is being held at the Barbican in London.

The Battle of Ideas is a weekend of high-level, thought-provoking public debate, which was initiated 11 years ago by the Institute of Ideas with a wide range of partners, to encourage free thinking and open-ended public discussion.

As part of a strand called Therapeutic Times, Dennis will speak in a debate titled: ‘Empty Minds for an Empty Society?’

The debate will explore mindfulness which is a form of meditation frequently used as a coping mechanism for stress in the modern world.

Dennis will also chair a discussion between distinguished scholars and philosophers Julian Baggini, Ruth Cigman, Anthony O’Hear and Stuart Walton who will explore the question ‘Is today the Age of Emotion?’.

Professor Hayes is co-author of the controversial book The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education and a forthcoming book It’s Teaching NOT Therapy

Commenting on the debates, Dennis said: “The question I want to ask is whether saying what you feel is now more important than saying what you think even at university.

“The Battle of Ideas is a unique place to raise the question and get some stimulating and original, not only from the panel but from some of the two thousand people – writers, artists, scientists, journalists, academics, students and public intellectuals who attend to debate under the strap line ‘Free Speech Allowed!”

Dennis also leads the Changing Higher Education Research Cluster (CHER) and he is the founder and director of the campaign group Academics For Academic Freedom (AFAF).

Speakers at this year’s conference include: Frank Furedi, Christina Hoff Sommers, Roxana Silbert, David Chandler, Lesley Curwen, Clare Gerada, Cathy Young, Julie Bindel and Jan Zalasiewicz