The knowledge

Today, Truth!

Today, we hold our annual upper sixth (year 13) conference, something we run jointly with St Helen & St Katharine. (For those outside the UK, upper sixth = secondary school leavers/18 year-olds.)

I've enjoyed my involvement with these conferences, brief though it's been, and recall the others with pleasure:

  • 2004: 'at the school I teach at, we are preparing for a sixth form conference on 'IT and the challenge of change'. Speakers include Cory Doctorow and Jyri Engeström. Cory will be talking about DRM and, in the run-up to this event, I have begun chatting with Colin Greenwood (Radiohead), getting the views of an artist, someone without whom there would be no music to share in the first place.'

Colin, Jyri and Cory gave memorable talks, and there was a great "panel" session with Cory sitting alongside Colin, fielding questions from some very engaged students. Jyri's talk, much admired on the day, is online here.

  • 2005: 'Today, we hold our annual conference for our school leavers and this year the theme is 'Making a Difference: changing the world'. I am delighted that we will be welcoming to speak Sir Thomas Shebbeare, James Mawdsley and Julian Filochowski: respectively, they will be addressing — How to Make a Difference, Global Democracy and Justice, Global Poverty Issues.' (More about each speaker on my original blog post.)

James Mawdsley and Julian Filochowski made a great impact, comparable only to that of Clive Stafford Smith (Wikipedia) when he spoke here last November.

And today? Truth …

  • Truth in Politics: Ann Widdecombe, MP — Wikipedia, own website
  • Truth and Satire: Craig Brown, satirist — Wikipedia
  • Truth, Diplomacy and The War on Terror: Craig Murray, formerly our Ambassador to Uzbekistan — Wikipedia, own website
  • Truth and Activism: Laurie Pycroft & Tom Holder of Pro-Test

My colleague, Jim Summerly, a historian, will talk about 'Truth and History' (official histories and propaganda vs what's really going on — from Stalinist Russia to contemporary, democratic regimes). Now, if all that doesn't get the hall a-buzzing …

I particularly enjoyed establishing that Laurie could join us: he had to get out of school for the day. That's humbling. What were we each doing, aged 16?