The Big Society and the AHRC

There’s been a lot of publicity for the campaign to get the AHRC to remove references to the Big Society from its delivery plan, and even David Willetts has recently remarked on the “hazard” of including political campaign slogans in research council delivery plans. But the AHRC is bizarrely unyielding. Thom Brooks suggests the following:

Please write to the AHRC and voice your continued support for our campaign. The AHRC appears to believe our opposition is fading: in fact, it is growing and recent publicity in the Guardian confirms this. Contact information includes the AHRC CEO Professor Rick Rylance ( and AHRC Chairman Professor Sir Alan Wilson (

Please write to David Willetts and voice your support. You might use the following template:

Dear Rt Hon Willetts,

I want to share my support for the campaign to remove the “Big Society” from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Delivery Plan. This is a position of principle, not politics: political campaign slogans should have no place in research council delivery plans. This position is endorsed by over 4,000 academics and 30+ learned societies as well as the UCU. Petitions (see have drawn support from across disciplines and political divides. Please communicate to the AHRC the importance of taking action and removing this campaign slogan immediately.

Yours sincerely,


Reader query: returning after a career break

I’ve had a query from a reader seeking advice about returning to philosophy after a career break. In her case, it was several years off with small children after getting her PhD and before getting a job. She knows it will be tough, but she really does want to return to philosophy.

Have any of you had similar experiences? Any advice to offer?

CFP: Philosophy and African-American Experience

First Call for Papers
The Ida B. Wells Philosophical Association invites submission of
papers for the annual Ida B. Wells Philosophical Conference (IBWPC)
October 28 -29, 2011. We welcome submissions in all areas of
philosophy and particularly papers that illuminate African-American
experiences. The IBWPC is dedicated to furthering discussion of
philosophical issues that arise from the African-American experience,
as well as provide a context in which undergraduates and graduates can
be encouraged in their philosophical aspirations.

Keynote speakers: Yolonda Wilson, Ph.D., Duke University
Kris Sealey, Ph.D., Fairfield University

Paper submission deadline: Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eligibility for submission: Senior year undergraduates and Masters
students in the 2011-2012 academic year are eligible. Preference will
be given respectively to students intending to enroll in a Masters or
Doctorate program in philosophy the following academic year.

Submission Instructions: Papers should not exceed 3000 words and are
to be submitted electronically (PDF or Word) as an email attachment to
the contact person below. Please provide an abstract of your
submission and curriculum vitae. We will confirm receipt of submission
by email. We will also notify you (by the email address you provide)
if you have been chosen as a presenter.

Contact: William Allen
Email: wsallen AT