The trustees are pleased to announce that two grants have been awarded for 2020. The first is to Jamie Blackett. Jamie will research and write an essay on the subject of ‘Wilding’, a concept that is starting to influence environmental policy, but one which has hitherto been only loosely defined or scrutinised. As a farmer and conservationist, and author of Red Rag to a Bull, the trustees believe he is well qualified to conduct this research.
The second is to Tycho Johnson, his subject will be ‘An investigation of censorship and its potential long-term effects on academia in the United Kingdom’. Tycho studied creative writing and English literature at Essex University. He has been a contributor to Standpoint magazine. He currently writes for The Article.com and teaches in a London secondary school.
Jacob Willer studied Fine Art at Oxford and continues to paint, while working as an art critic. He has written for Standpoint and The Spectator and has taught and lectured on Art and Art History.
The traditional skills of drawing and painting, which for hundreds of years formed the substance and the purpose of all serious artistic training, have been downgraded to such an extent that few students are enabled to acquire them.
In his Preface, Sir Noel Malcolm writes: ‘To react against a negative change is not to be a ‘reactionary’. As readers of Willer’s work will see, he is not asking us to turn back the clock and make everyone paint in the style of some previous epoch. His argument is subtler and deeper than that; and indeed, some of his strongest criticism is reserved for those private drawing schools which do teach a kind of frozen-in-time pastiche classicism. Willer’s view is that in learning the essential methods of representing the world around us on a two-dimensional plane, we acquire skills and habits of the hand, the eye and the brain, from which any style that we go on to develop can only benefit.’
What Happened to the Art Schools? is published by Politeia
Gabriel Heller Sahlgren challenges conventional wisdom regarding the reasons for Finland’s remarkable education success. Finnish education scores were at the top of the international PISA league tables in the early and mid-2000s. Yet they have now begun to slip.
Sahlgren explains: ‘..new evidence indicates that Finland’s success to a large extent was due to historical, economic, and cultural factors that have little to do with the country’s education system. It is also clear that the country’s hierarchical educational culture, including traditional teaching methods, partly explain its achievements.’
His report emphasises that overall, the strongest policy lesson to take from Finland’s performance is the danger of throwing out authority in schools, and especially getting rid of knowledge-based, teacher dominated instruction. This presents a grave warning to many countries aspiring to emulate Finland’s success – including England where pupil-led methods and a less authoritative schooling culture have been on the rise for decades, reflecting everything from teacher education to Ofsted orthodoxy.
Real Finnish Lessons: The true story of an education superpower is published by the Centre for Policy Studies
Julia Pettengill is the author of “A Guilt Beyond Crime: The Future of Genocide Prevention in the Anglo-American Sphere”, published by the Henry Jackson Society in 2009. She holds an MA in Modern History from the University of St Andrews, and worked as a writer and researcher before joining the HJS as a Research Fellow in May 2011 and becoming an independent researcher and writer in 2013.
‘Paradoxically, the expansion of human rights has contributed to the undermining of those same rights on a universal level, by inculcating a trend towards division at the behest of political or group interests. In the aftermath of the polarisations wrought first by the Cold War, later by the war against terrorism, the conflict in Iraq and the ambivalent consequences of the “Arab Spring”, there is a sense of intellectual and moral confusion about human rights.’
Julia Pettengill’s essay was published in The Times, May 20 2013.
Douglas Murray founded the Centre for Social Cohesion in 2007, which became part of the Henry Jackson Society, where he was Associate Director from 2011 to 2018. He is also an associate editor of the The Spectator.
‘This country has fought for many centuries to base law on reason. The adoption of Sharia presents us with a counter to an Enlightenment that we have so long taken for granted that we have forgotten how to defend it.’
An edited version of Douglas Murray’s essay was published in The Times, December 30 2009.