Seeing Beyond – an Educational Symposium

Has education in the UK finally been reduced to the commercialisation of the acquisition of knowledge and skills? In a climate of focus on achievement and grades do we give time for the development of wider values? Is a values driven curricula and pedagogy a realistic and sustainable alternative?

Chaplaincy at the University of Portsmouth seeks to make a contribution to this debate in a One Day Educational Symposium on the 28 June 2018. We suggest there is always value in education, if we are prepared to ‘See Beyond’.

If we see beyond our limited perspectives, we can discover mutual wisdom which may offer us clearer discernment and deeper fulfilment in our lives and work. Such values can give education greater purpose; enable us to become more fully human; and encourage us to make a more positive ethical impact in our world and society.

Through reflection upon philosophy, the performing arts, the contemplative life, and theology we will explore how education in the 21 st century can still be seen as having truly ‘higher’ value and purpose.

Our keynote speakers for the day will be:

  • Mr David Carpenter (Senior Lecturer in Moral and Political Philosophy, University of Portsmouth)
  • Khayaal Theatre Company (Award winning Islamic theatre company)
  • Rev Dr Jeremy Law DPhil (Reader in Theology, Canterbury Christ Church University)
  • Sister Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ PhD (Senior Lecturer in Pastoral and Social Studies and Theology, Heythrop College London)

In addition to the keynote addresses there will be a series of interactive workshops to encourage all attendees to explore some of the issues at greater depth and in a more personal way. We hope to stimulate conversation, mutual learning, and, above all, enable participants to discover useful outcomes for their educational context and practice.

Book on to the event.

The speakers

Mr David Carpenter: “Education as a ‘value-able’ end in itself: A philosophical defence.”

David is a lecturer in moral and political philosophy at the University of Portsmouth.  His main interest is research ethics and he has published widely on the subject, adopting a communitarian stance from Aristotelian roots.  David chairs an NHS ethics committee and actively engages locally in the field of clinical ethics.  David is a critic of neo-liberal marketisation and its domination in higher education and most areas of political and social life.

Khayaal Theatre Company: ““Narrative: an enduring source of knowledge.”

Khayaal are an award winning theatre company dedicated to the dramatic exploration of Muslim literature and the experience of Muslims in the modern world for the stage, film, radio and education.

Jeremy Law: “Discovering the transcendent in the University.”

Jeremy is currently Dean of Chapel at Canterbury Christ Church University and argues that education is not meant to be the delivery of pre-packaged learning, served up in attractive but unrelated slices. Education takes us beyond safe boundaries and invites us to transcend, to go beyond, what we already know. Genuine education is a gift that opens onto wonder: it leads us to look over the edge of what feels safe and experience a dizzying, but ultimately creative, disorientation.   Education, inescapably, has to do with God.

Gemma Simmonds: ““The importance of contemplation and discernment in educational praxis.”

Gemma is director of the Religious Life Institute at Heythrop College and a past president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.  A religious sister of the Congregation of Jesus, she has worked as chaplain in the Universities of Cambridge and London, with women and street children in Brazil and as a chaplaincy volunteer in Holloway Prison. She is a regular broadcaster on religious programmes for BBC radio and has worked extensively within the fields of Catholic education and religious life in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

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