|Cathedral closed until further notice|
Seminars explore St Paul’s connection to public discourse and direct democracy
05 October 2012
Full videos from two recent events organised by the St Paul's Institute, are now available to view online.
The seminars, hosted in conjunction with the charity Our Democratic Heritage, explored the history of St Paul’s Cross as a place of public discourse and its relationship to our modern conceptions of direct democracy.
The afternoon session, St Paul’s Cross: Preachers, People and Power, hosted a panel of eminent
academics including Dr Mary Morrissey (who has quite literally written the book on the subject); Dr David Colclough who spoke on freedom of
speech in the early modern period; and Dr Peter McCullough, Lay Canon (History) of St Paul’s Cathedral. Including extensive references to
historical documents of the time, the session was an illuminating look at an often misunderstood part of both the history of St Paul’s
Cathedral and London.
Following this session was an evening seminar, Models for Social Change: New Debate and Democracy, that highlighted the renewed drive for democratic participation and explored a number of models that are currently attempting to do so including the Occupy movement and Citizens UK. Speakers included Ludovica Rogers, facilitator of Occupy London general assemblies; Neil Jameson, CEO of Citizens UK; Dr Sara Hagemann, lecturer in EU politics at the LSE; and Dr Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (SOAS) and Chair of Our Democratic Heritage.
Discussion at both events was lively and there was plenty of debate and challenges put towards the speakers, all of whom did an excellent job at bringing together what were often disparate viewpoints.
Dan Plesch said: "St Paul’s Institute’s co-operation with Our Democratic Heritage, on the history and future of the political and religious life in and around the cathedral, lays the foundation for a vital cultural renaissance. Our Democratic Heritage is deeply indebted to the Institute for its generous co-operation.”
"These seminars, and similar events, are a way for us to help ensure that we continue to ask difficult questions of ourselves and one another in the hope that we can move more cohesively towards a view of the common good and, importantly, an understanding of how to practise it."