Saturday, July 03, 2010

Galway- City of Ideas

I've always believed that one of the areas in which many universities could improve is in greater recognition of the fact that they are essentially cities of ideas. What I mean is that the phrase 'scholarly community' is rarely realised in practice other than within individual academic disciplines. How many staff and students are aware of the interests and work of their colleagues in different disciplines? How many attend seminars and colloquia in different colleges or faculties? That's why I was pleased to attempt a small contribution towards this using the TEDx format recently. Sure, the audience at the event was limited and there were perhaps more people external to the university (also a good thing) than from around the schools and colleges, but the talks have been recorded and are gradually appearing on the TEDx youtube site. As each is viewed and links are passed on the idea is spreading and more and more people are talking to me about events of this nature, the focus on sharing and accessibility of ideas (rather than the traditional long lecture format) and (and this is what I think is important) the sense of celebration of passion and of enjoyment.

See what I mean, perhaps, in these first three to go online:

Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, in partnership with Ronan Browne and Naisrin Elsafty.

Lionel Pilkington, Head of the School of Humanities, on 'Performance, Performing and Ireland'

Abhay Pandit, biomedical engineer/scientist on 'Biomimicry' and biomaterials.

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