Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal,
NECTER / RCE North East and The Great Debate
Decline and Fool:
Changing Ideas in the Twenty Teens
Saturday 9th November 2013
Bamburgh and Alnwick Rooms, Kings' Road Centre, Newcastle University
In loving memory of Donald Curtis on his birthday
Decline and Fool is a day of active debate and
Participants will be invited to take a critical look at the declining
influence of ideas that have dominated politics, philosophy
and the arts for decades.
Beginning in the 1970s two movements emerged which
came to define thought at the turn of the millennium.
Environmentalism began as an expression of fears over pollution and limited
resources and was in its early years associated with counter-culture and
a critique of the status quo. By the turn of the century it had changed
its form, having become incorporated into mainstream politics and taking
on climate change as its central concern.
Over the same period a number of thinkers, artists and social scientists,
sometimes described by the umbrella term 'postmodernists',
came to dominate the humanities and culture - including influential
writers such as Michel Foucault and Umberto Eco, film makers such as
Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott and musicians and bands from
Talking Heads to Lady Gaga. One key element of postmodern thought, which
influenced a generation,
was its critique of the 'grand narratives' of the sciences and politics,
claiming that all attempts to understand or shape the world are doomed to
failure. These parallel developments had profound effects on
politics and the social sciences, on how we understand the world, and
how we view humanity. Yet the tide is turning and these ideas seem
less popular now than they have in decades. Is this a welcome
development? What has changed? Are environmentalism and postmodernism
being replaced by anything new? This one day event will explore these
questions through conversations between two expert panels and our
The day will include a film-making
training workshop for young people, who will be encouraged to video their thoughts,
and have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of working behind and in
front of the camera. Videos from the day will be published on this site.
An introductory film workshop for young people will introduced interview formats
and techniques, capture participants’ initial thoughts on the topics and brief
them on event-filming.
Two panel debates open to a wider audience of all ages will follow,
each introduced by a panel of experts.
Participants will be given plenty of opportunities to ask
questions and make points from the floor:
Environmental retreat [10:30am] will examine how environmental thought has
become less central in the popular imagination since the economic
downturn and will ask whether or not this is a positive development.
Simin Davoudi, Newcastle University;
founder member of the Green Party;
associate editor, spiked
After the fall? [12:50pm] will look at postmodernism, asking what people
think it is and whether it has any relevance to the general population.
It will explore the questions: Has its influence declined in the last
few years? If so, is anything new replacing it?
What developments would we like to see in its place?
Raksha Pande, Durham University;
John Pickering, Warwick University;
Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Newcastle University.
Come along, hear the arguments and have your say!
Chair: Caspar Hewett
THIS EVENT IS FREE BUT BOOKING IS REQUIRED
Click here to book
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