Public Intellectuals and Education in a Changing Society

The 2020 Colloquium took place on 23-24 September 2021 at Oriel College, Oxford

Is there a crisis of public intellectuals?  In the twenty-first century, under the growing influence of globalisation, neoliberalism and social media, what is the place of public intellectuals?  What is the role of schools, the curriculum and higher education in providing a critical space for public intellectuals?  Who can we regard as examples of public intellectuals in the past and present, and in different societies? 

The 4th annual colloquium of the Society for Educational Studies, held at Oriel College Oxford on 23-24 September 2021, explored these questions. A special issue of the British Journal of Educational Studies will be published in 2022 based on the Colloquium theme and peer review of papers submitted to the Journal.

The Colloquium Programme is available to view here.

The Colloquium featured Keynote lectures from:

  • Professor Stefan Collini, University of Cambridge – ‘”Who Says?”  Universities and the question of intellectual authority’;
  • Professor Michael A. Peters, Beijing Normal University, PR China – ‘Public Intellectuals, Viral Media and Technologies of Post-Truth’;
  • Professor Ivor Goodson, University of Tallinn, Estonia – ‘Brief Encounters: Educational Studies and the Public Intellectual’;
  • Professor Helen Small, University of Oxford – ‘Intellectual Authority in the COVID Pandemic’.

The Keynote lectures from the Colloquium are available to view below:

Please contact Aidan Thompson with any queries.


Oriel College

University of Oxford



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