Open Birkbeck: An Invitation

‘. . . in this spot hereafter, the charms of literature shall be displayed, and the powers of science shall be unfolded to the most humble inquirers; for to the ‘feast of reason’ . . . the invitation shall be as unbounded as the region of the intellect.’ Lord Birkbeck, 1824

Open Birkbeck is an event in which students, staff and faculty from Birkbeck College re-claim the Council Room for an intended period of 24 hours to create an open space for discussion and deliberation on how we can participate in a society committed to Higher Education for all.

It is a peaceful event that welcomes discussion, debate, and exchange from all who are concerned with the fate of higher education, particularly in light of the cuts recently proposed by the coalition government. In the spirit of George Birkbeck and others who founded the London Mechanics Institution in 1823 (later to become Birkbeck College), we begin from the position that education should not be reserved for an elite and that as a society we have a duty to provide access to education for any who seek it. In rejection of its marketisation, the duty to provide education is seen to be of value not only as a means for economic development, but as a fundamental way in which we open space to share and exchange ideas and inspiration; as well as to challenge assumptions, values and ideologies. It is a space that should be accessible to all.

Among other activities we intend to complete a statement during the event addressed to both the college and to our Members of Parliament concerning the recent proposed cuts which we consider antithetical to a commitment to education for all. As the name ‘Open Birkbeck’ suggest, this is a process which is inclusive and welcomes anyone who wishes to participate.

We welcome anyone who is interested in the future of Higher Education to participate!

At 12:00 noon, December 9th, we intend to adjourn ‘Open Birkbeck’ until the next event.

An event re-claiming the Birkbeck Council Room to create an open space to deliberate on how we can participate in a society committed to Higher Education for all – a commitment threatened by the cuts recently proposed by the coalition government.

12:00 noon, 8th December 2010 to 12:00 noon, 9th December 2010, at which time we will adjourn until the next event

Council Room, Birkbeck College (Main Building), Malet Street

Anyone who is concerned about the future of Birkbeck College and the future of Higher Education!


6 responses to “Open Birkbeck: An Invitation

  1. Thanks for taking this courageous step and for upholding the spirit of free enquiry threatened by the coalition’s plans.

    Mike Berlin UCU

  2. Excellent! Solidarity from Jenny Sutton, Chair London Region UCU (FE)

  3. Hey,

    Congratulations from the Goldsmiths occupation! Please could you add us to your solidarity list and friend us:

    Facebook: Goldsmiths Occupation

    In solidarity,


  4. As a former Birkbeck academic and a revolting/occupying student in Sheffield in the 1980s when Thatcher was trying to homogenise HE/get rid of ‘un-useful’ subjects, I salute you. Birkbeck has always been the home of left field intellect and free minds and Open Birkbeck deserves respect. Maybe you can invite Tessa Blackstone to join you??

  5. Pingback: Open Birkbeck: An Invitation « Harpymarx

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