Sat 17th and Sun 18th August, 2024 , categories: Civilisation, Meetings

Can anyone stand up for the legacy of Western civilisation today? Early bird ticket offer ends 10th June.

Barbarism and terror abroad seem to have reared their head at the same time that civilisation seems to face fundamental challenges at home. Activists and academics question the very essence of Western civilisation, and politicians seem clueless to respond beyond empty invocations of “extremism”.

Programme Outline

From Decolonisation to Islamism: Civilisation under siege?

Professor Frank Furedi, executive director, MCC Brussels

The Clash of Civilisations Revisited

Tim Black, books and essays editor, Spiked

What is Western Civilisation – and how should we defend it?

Bruno Waterfield, Brussels Correspondent, The Times

Civilising mankind: The distinction between human and animal

Ann Furedi, PhD candidate in Philosophy, VUB; author, The Moral Case for Abortion

The Rise and Fall of Industrial Civilisation

Dr Ashley Frawley, columnist, Compact Magazine; sociologist, University of Kent;

and Dr Nikos Sotirakopoulos, visiting fellow, Ayn Rand Institute

About the event

The problems of the current moment are frequently described as ‘civilisational’ in their importance. Some say the culture wars pose a threat to the building blocks of civilisation: family life, privacy, or civility. Others would argue the real threat to civilisation is from ‘global challenges’ like climate change or AI. In the wars in Gaza or Ukraine, some repose arguments about the ‘clash of civilisations’. But in many quarters, especially in academia, the very idea of civilisation is dismissed or treated as a dirty word. Wherever we look, there is a sense that civilisation itself is under siege from hostile forces.

But what is civilisation? How does it emerge? At the origin of the Western tradition, the distinction between civilised and barbarian formed a crucial part of our self-understanding. For the Greeks or Romans, certain customs and ways of life marked them off from their “barbarian” neighbours. Throughout the West, the idea of civilisation formed a key part of the motor of history, from the Renaissance through to the Enlightenment and beyond. But now such distinctions are viewed with suspicion – just one more piece of baggage associated with colonialism.

As ever, The Academy will bring together people from all walks of life who are committed to rethinking some of the basic building blocks of political life. Next year, we will look at what civilisation is, whether it is under threat, why it might be worth defending.

More information here.


Ticket Information

You can choose to buy day tickets without accommodation, or tickets that include accommodation at Wyboston Lakes Resort. Day tickets only include lunch

Tickets with accommodation include:

  • Brilliant food: a quality breakfast (including continental and cooked options), an extensive lunch, and a three-course dinner
  • Excellent facilities: access to the Wyboston Lakes gym, swimming pool and other amenities during your stay
  • Social opportunities: staying the night means you’ll experience the full, collegiate atmosphere of the event and get the chance to carry on discussions over dinner and in the bar.

Have a friend who is also interested? You can save over £50 each by doubling up with a friend. Select ‘double occupancy’ and let us know you’d like a twin room.

All tickets can be bought via Eventbrite.


Weekend Tickets with Accommodation

  • One night, single occupancy £230
  • One night, double occupancy £390
  • Two nights, single occupancy £320
  • Two nights, double occupancy £525

Day rate (charge per day, no accommodation)

  • Saturday and Sunday £125
  • Saturday only £65
  • Sunday only £65

If you would like to pay a concession rate (for full time students, senior citizens and unwaged), or pay in instalments, please email for further details.


The Civilizing Process, Norbert Elias
Clash of Civilisations, Samuel Huntington
Inventing Western Civilization, Thomas C. Patterson
Civilisation and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud
Gibbon: Making History, Roy Porter
Suggested supplement:
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Vol. 1), Edward Gibbon
Civilisation, Kenneth Clark – watch the whole series via YouTube


Why is the BBC censuring Kenneth Clark’s ‘Civilisation’?, William Atkinson, Spectator, 24/04/24
How the World Made the West by Josephine Quinn review – rethinking ‘civilisation’, Steven Poole, Guardian, 28/02/24
What the world gets wrong about ‘civilisation’, Josephine Quinn, Financial Times, 03/02/24
The unholy alliance between wokeism and barbarism, Brendan O’Neill, spiked, 29/11/23
It’s time to take a stand for civilisation, Allison Pearson, The Telegraph, 22/10/23