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Developing politics knowledge beyond the classroom. Part one: online lectures

Mike McCartney

10th November 2020

Equally this could be entitled 'Strengthening a UCAS application'. Part one: online lectures

I’ve just signed up for this event, one that I think Politics students might be interested in: an interview with David Lammy MP (for Tottenham, in North London, since 2000).

Why do it? With covid restrictions, attending live lectures isn't currently possible. Of course. So why would you want to attend a live lecture? I suppose, for me, you do get the very latest thoughts and ideas from an expert/author. Also, the ideas resonate in a way that might not otherwise occur by reading a book, or reading a newspaper article. And, ok, if you want to be purely utilitarian about it, it shows an interest and awareness in a subject beyond the reactive and supine, and one that moves beyond the narrow confines of an A Level syllabus. So beefing up your personal statement for UCAS purposes.

It does have an arts and culture perspective, so very much goes beyond what we would normally expect to cover in class in preparation for exams. This is what the event website says:

“David Lammy MP will be joined by writer and curator Ekow Eshun to explore the colonial organisation of society and why it needs to change.

In 2020, at the intersection of a global pandemic, and an international resurgent Black Lives Matter movement, critical questions are being asked about how our societies are organised. From our white-washed understanding of history, to the dangerous colonial narratives that underpin the representation of people in public art and images, there is an urgent need to revise the myths that maintain the status quo.

In a meeting of politics and culture, Lammy and Eshun will discuss the issues that surround aspects of storytelling, and how they are often influenced by unearned privilege and power. Exploring the recent toppling of statues to a focus on photographers shifting the powers to their subjects, how do we continue to reconcile with these elements of British history? How do we tell stories that truly reflect the subjective experience of people from all parts of society around the world? The discussion will be chaired by Lanre Bakare, the Guardian's arts and culture correspondent.”

Before that there is another event Politics students might be interested in, featuring world-renowned economist, academic and politician Yanis Varoufakis discussing about his book, Another Now.

So says the website: “In Another Now Varoufakis imagines a post-capitalist democracy. Set in 2025, through three contrasting characters - a banker, a feminist and a technologist - he paints a radical and thought-provoking blueprint of how democratic socialism could work today, in a world without billionaires, stock markets or tech giants.

Can we truly critique capitalism without genuinely considering the alternative? Can freedom be balanced with fairness? How do we generate wealth while protecting the planet? Join Varoufakis in conversation with Guardian columnist Zoe Williams. You will also have the chance to ask your own questions during this livestreamed event.

As the co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement, the former finance minister of Greece, and the current Professor of Economics at the University of Athens, Varoufakis has long been critical of Brexit, austerity and the failings of capitalism. He has written several bestselling books, including Adults in the Room and The Global Minotaur, and in 2018 he launched the Progressive International movement with Bernie Sanders.”

There are other events via this same service. For example Naom Chomsky is scheduled for later this month - click here for details.

And why this Guardian based service? Other online lecture events are available, but for now I would hope that is a pointer in the right direction.

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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