Institute of Ideas Academy Scholarship Programme

Does the idea of grappling with the great existential questions of free will and determinism through the works of Homer and Sophocles, Thomas Paine and Herbert Spencer, Jane Austen and Dostoevsky, Martin Luther and Jean-Paul Sartre, appeal to you? Do you have a passion for the greatest works in the historical, philosophical, classical, and literary cannons? Would you like to spend a long summer weekend in a stimulating and open environment, with interesting, like minded people from all walks of life? If so, then the The Institute of Ideas Academy, organised by the Institute of Ideas is definitely for you. The full price may be a challenge for students, so this year we have launched a new Academy Scholarship Programme for students between the ages of 18-26.

The Institute of Ideas Academy is a three day residential retreat from Friday 20th July to Monday 23rd July, in which we aim to get away from the overly prescriptive nature of debate in society at large, and be unashamedly esoteric and intellectual for a weekend, in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This year, there are three separate lecture series on Classics, Literature and History as well as a plenary series on Free will and Determinism. They will explore texts as diverse as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Homers Illiad, right through to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Sartre’s Nausea, in the hope that together we may come to better understand the great question of whether we are truly free, or whether we are determined by human nature, circumstances or indeed God.

As well as this, the Academy Scholars will also have three additional lectures organised for them on Liberty, the role of The Public Intellectual, and the Western Canon on Friday 20th July, prior to the main programme which will begin on the morning of Saturday 21st July.

Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply to the Scholarship Programme, and you will be joining Institute of Ideas members from every possible walk of life; from Professors and academics, to other students, Barristers, film makers and writers. The one thing that they all share is a passion for knowledge. And as such, the environment is one of free thinking, in which everybody will have the opportunity to cultivate themselves in beautiful surroundings, with good books, good food and drink, and amongst good company.

The scholarship programme offers a limited number of students the chance to attend for the heavily subsidised price of £60 for three nights’ accommodation and full board at the luxury Wyboston Lakes complex in Bedfordshire.

To apply for an Academy Scholarship, please submit a 500-word (max) essay on the question: “What is the value of the humanities today?” Please also submit a 300-word (max) motivation on why you in particular deserve to attend The Academy.

Submit applications online by 11am May 15 2012. When we have successfully received your application you will be sent the reading list so you can start preparing while we evaluate the applications.

All successful candidates will be notified on June 1st 2012

For more information on the Scholarship Programme, please email

To learn more about the Academy itself, and to see full details of the lectures and schedule, please visit:



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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