Shaping the future through public debate - the Academy of Ideas with Claire Fox

Welcome from me, Claire Fox. I’m a free speech and democracy campaigner, and member of the House of Lords (yes - I know!).

At the turn of the millennium, I set up the Academy of Ideas because I was worried that it was becoming increasingly difficult to discuss, contest and debate ideas - and to speak openly about the challenges facing society. Back then, many people thought this was an odd thing to do. But today, people right across society are worried about cancel culture, attacks on free speech, negative views of democracy and the toxic and stifling atmosphere of the culture wars.

At the Academy of Ideas, we are dedicated to challenging these pernicious trends. We believe that free speech and a robust commitment to democracy are essential parts of a free society. And with your support, we will succeed in demonstrating that democratic virtues are not dead and buried, but live on. That’s why we’re here on Substack.

This will be a place where you can stay up to date with and support everything we do to defend free speech, extend the public square and democracy, and beat the culture war.

As a subscriber, you’ll be first to get reaction and comment from myself and my colleagues at Academy of Ideas as we try to make sense of, and shape, the big political and cultural news. You’ll stay up to date with and find out how to join all our events. And I’ll also be taking you behind-the-scenes in the heart of Westminster, where I try to shine a light on a neglected part of how laws are made.

Because of our commitment to the public square, most of our work is, and will remain, free. But some of you will want to join our growing group of supporters and become a paid subscriber to our Substack.

What you’ll get as a paid subscriber

First of all, by subscribing you are supporting our work and keeping the Academy of Ideas alive and firing on all cylinders. As a small organisation, we couldn’t have the impact we do without the support of people from all sections of society - so, thank you.

But for those who subscribe, there will be more direct communication from me - you’ll have exclusive access to our chat, where I and my colleagues will ask you questions and field discussions on whatever has grabbed us in the news. You’ll become a member of our community of Academy of Ideas supporters, with quarterly invite-only events in person and online and have exclusive access to guest essays, lectures and interviews from some of our top Battle speakers - the great list of thinkers who have joined us over the years.

What’s more, our Substack subscribers will get discounted tickets to our paid events such as the Battle of Ideas festival, and we’ll even throw in copies of our series Letters on Liberty to all of you based in the UK (if you live further afield, send us an email and we’ll work out postage with you).

If you want access to all this, and above all to support my work and the work of the Academy of Ideas, please hit subscribe below!

Help us defend free speech, extend the public square and democracy, and beat the culture war

Even if you can’t subscribe right now, you can make a huge impact by sharing this newsletter with everyone you know, spreading the word, and taking our work to more people.


What else do we do, and how else can you stay in touch?

First off, you can follow us on Twitter/X. But in addition, you can come to our events, where we really get a chance to demonstrate what a vibrant public sphere committed to free speech looks and feels like. Our annual Battle of Ideas festival is a public festival of debate and discussion that says FREE SPEECH ALLOWED!. We also have regular events, forums and salons where we examine all aspects of contemporary society, from the economy to the arts. You can also check out Letters on Liberty - our punchy pamphlets designed to start good arguments.

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Free speech and democracy campaigner, member of the House of Lords, and founder of the Academy of Ideas, where we seek to shape the future through public debate. Check out our Battle of Ideas festival #BattleFest
science and technology director, Academy of Ideas; convenor, AoI Economy Forum
national coordinator, Debating Matters and co-founder of Newcastle Politics in Pubs
I am director of membership and events at the Academy of Ideas, and also the Academy’s resident expert in all sporting matters.
journalist and commentator; co-convenor, Battle of Ideas festival; commissioning editor, Letters on Liberty; author, What Women Want
Co-convenor, Battle of Ideas festival: convenor, Living Freedom
Academy of Ideas associate fellow; interests in foreign affairs, the culture war, and literature On twitter @jacobreynolds