Job opening: Senior research fellow at the Jubilee Centre (psychologist, educationist, philosopher)

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We’re pleased to share this jobs posting from our scholar Kristján Kristjánsson, Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics, and Deputy Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.

 

Senior research fellow (psychologist, educationist, philosopher) at the level of associate professor to join the Management Team at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham. Applications from outside of the UK are welcome.

Job Summary

A fixed term appointment (24 months initially; this post may also provide the opportunity for a 12 month secondment) to create and contribute to the creation of knowledge by undertaking a specified range of activities within a new multidisciplinary research and developmental programme exploring the psychological, educational, and ethical dimensions of character. The Senior Research Fellow will work across the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues research and development portfolio of projects and contribute to the management of projects and individual staff.

Specifically the post holder will play an important role in planning and developing the research, helping to define the approach, methodology, review the literature, and collect the data. This new phase of work seeks to build on the existing work of the Jubilee Centre in the areas of character, virtues, and human flourishing. The post holder will be expected to be proactive in completing research duties, and to prioritise their own work schedule to accommodate the overall priorities of individuals, project teams and the Centre as a whole. It is expected that the post holder will use their own initiative and judgement to solve problems as they arise, but should report to the Jubilee Centre Director and Deputy Director, as well as other senior colleagues for advice and guidance when necessary. It is expected that this post holder will provide advice and guidance to junior researchers in the Centre on research, publications, and career development.

This post would suit someone who is keen to further a career as a senior researcher in a practiceorientated and policy development environment, and who has substantive experience in higher education management or research management activities. The post holder will be expected to provide academic leadership and to support the management activity of the Centre, and contribute to the delivery of research strategy.

It is important that the post holder has a strong belief in the vision, aims and goals of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. http://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk

Closing date: March 2, 2018

Full job description

APPLICATION LINK

Abstracts from “Virtues in the Public Sphere”

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Several of our scholars gave talks at the sixth annual conference of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, “Virtues in the Public Sphere,” held at Oriel College, Oxford UK January 4-6, 2018. We’re delighted to share their abstracts with you.

 

Talbot Brewer, Keynote Speaker: Liberal Education and the Common Good

Defenders of liberal education often stake their case on its contribution to reasoned public debate. There is considerable force to this argument. Yet if we set out to design a program of higher education optimally suited to enhance political deliberation, much of what we know and value under the heading of liberal education would be omitted as irrelevant.  This is because the telos of the liberal arts is not the full development of citizens; it is the full development of human beings. The virtues of the university are those qualities and practices that conduce to this comprehensive human good.  Does this mean that liberal education has no claim to public subsidy?  No. The sort of thought that forms and deepens human beings is a public good, one that withers without public investment. Investment in such thought is especially important today, when the social order has become deeply hostile to it.

 

 

John Haldane, Keynote Speaker: Responding to Discord: Why Public Reason is Not Enough

Difference and disagreement, contest and dispute are common features of human interactions and relationships. Insofar as they are confined to the private sphere the inability to resolve them may be a matter for regret, but there are strategies for containing, coping with or evading them. Matters are not so easy when these occur in the public sphere since they generally concern matters of broad public interest and bear on public values and policies, and they tend to ramify and lead to further divisions and sectionalisation. The evidence of this is everywhere to be seen in disputes about beginning and ending of life issues, education, sexual identity and practice, political and cultural identity, even human nature itself. Since these are all closely connected with questions of public values and policy, the scope for containment, coping or evasion is severely limited, and such strategies are themselves contested as instances of resistance to due change. Against this background, we must think more and better about the nature of the private-public contrast, and about the nature of the resources available in the making of arguments about ethical, existential, social and cultural issues. The intention and value of recently advocated norms of ‘public reason’ are themselves matters of contest and we need to think more deeply about what is and what is not reasonable. Beyond that we need in private and public life to identify relevant intellectual and practical virtues and give priority to the advocacy and inculcation of these.

 

 

David Carr, Moral Character and Public Virtue in Public, Professional, and Political Life

There is a strong case for the virtuous professional practitioner especially in relation to occupations where the professional role involves being an example to others of how to be of good character. Perhaps the most conspicuous examples of such occupations are those of teaching and religious ministry. While such exemplification cannot be guaranteed to have the desired modelling effect on others, it increases the likelihood that such modelling may occur and is the only course consistent with the overall aims of teaching and ministry.

In this context, this paper will focus on politics, arguing that there is a compelling case for virtue and character exemplification by professional politicians and that bad political examples can have a deleterious effect on the general moral tone of the societies that politicians of bad character are elected to lead or represent.

 

Nancy Snow, Hope as a Democratic Civic Virtue

I argue for a conception of hope as a civic virtue that is most valuable when democracy faces significant challenges.  In Part I, I sketch an initial conception of hope as a democratic civic virtue.  In II, the stage is set for further theorizing of this conception in the present American context.  In III, I flesh out what hope as a democratic civic virtue could look like in the U.S. today.  Part IV concludes with comments about theorizing civic hope in the context of a modified pragmatism.

 


The Conference Programme and the Oratory School Schola concert programme are accessible by clicking the links  below:

Conference Programme: http://jubileecentre.ac.uk/userfiles/jubileecentre/pdf/conference-papers/Virtues_in_the_public_sphere/Virtues_in_the_Public_Sphere_Programme.pdf

Concert Programme: http://jubileecentre.ac.uk/userfiles/jubileecentre/pdf/conference-papers/Virtues_in_the_public_sphere/TheLondonOratorySchoolProgramme.pdf

The next Jubilee Centre conference will be “Educating Character Through the Arts,” and will be held at the University of Birmingham Conference Centre, July 19th through July 21st, 2018. The call for abstracts for the conference can be found here:

http://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/1743/conferences/educating-character-through-the-arts

 

 

 

 

Virtues in the Public Sphere, Oriel College, Oxford

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Oriel College Chapel

Our Primary Investigator Candace Vogler recently returned as a delegate to the sixth annual conference of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, “Virtues in the Public Sphere,” held at Oriel College, Oxford UK January 4-6, 2018. Several of our scholars spoke at the conference, including Talbot Brewer, David Carr, John Haldane, and Nancy Snow. Below is a brief summary of the conference and its purpose that appeared on the conference site; in the next few blog post, we will present abstracts of the talks given by our scholars at the event.

In recent years, we have witnessed increased polarisation, not only between, but within societies, and the breakdown of civic friendships, in particular as a result of ‘political earthquakes’ that have hit both sides of the Atlantic. Questions have emerged about the relationship between public and private virtues. Do ‘sinners’ perhaps make better politicians than ‘saints’ – and are certain private vices, such as duplicity, necessary in order for the public sphere to function?

The main aim of this conference was to explore the role of virtues in the public sphere. Is there a virtue of ‘civic friendship’ and how can it be cultivated? Is the language of virtue apt for carving out a discursive path between illiberal radicalism and post-truth relativism? More specifically, does the language of virtue indicate an ethical and political approach that calls into question both extreme illiberal and liberal habits of mind – or does it carry an individualistic and moralistic bias that makes it inapplicable to political disagreements? What are the virtues of a ‘good’ politician or civil servant? Should we care whether a skilled diplomat or surgeon is also a good person? Can virtue be ascribed to collectives and institutions such as universities and schools and, if yes, what would, for example, a ‘virtuous school’ look like? Are character education and civic education comrades or competitors? What is the relationship between an ethos of good character in a school and the ethos of the neighbouring community? How, if at all, does virtue guide civic engagement and a pedagogy towards the public good? How do public virtues inform a social ethos of moral responsibility? And, at the most general level, what does it mean to talk about the ‘politics of virtue’?

The aim of the 2018 Jubilee Centre annual conference was to bring together experts from a range of disciplines to explore those questions and many more.

The London Oratory School Schola Cantorum performed in the Oriel College Chapel on the evening of 4th January.

The Jubilee Centre Conference site can be found here:

http://jubileecentre.ac.uk/1723/conferences/virtues-in-the-public-sphere

The Conference Programme and the Oratory School Schola concert programme are accessible by clicking the links  below:

Conference Programme: http://jubileecentre.ac.uk/userfiles/jubileecentre/pdf/conference-papers/Virtues_in_the_public_sphere/Virtues_in_the_Public_Sphere_Programme.pdf

 

Concert Programme: http://jubileecentre.ac.uk/userfiles/jubileecentre/pdf/conference-papers/Virtues_in_the_public_sphere/TheLondonOratorySchoolProgramme.pdf

 

 

The next Jubilee Centre conference will be “Educating Character Through the Arts,” and will be held at the University of Birmingham Conference Centre, July 19th through July 21st, 2018. The call for abstracts for the conference can be found here:

http://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/1743/conferences/educating-character-through-the-arts

 

 

Congratulations, James Arthur of the Jubilee Centre!

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James Arthur, the Director of our partner organization The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, has had bestowed upon him by the Queen in the 2018 New Year Honours List (page N10), the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services to education.
In accepting the honor, James acknowledged the contribution of the Jubilee Centre team: ‘I am very honored to be recognized in this New Year’s Honours List. To be awarded an OBE for my work in character education is also an acknowledgement of the incredible team in the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham.’
James will attend a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2018 to receive the award from the Queen.
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(from left) Panagiotas Paris, James Arthur, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Candace Vogler,  Kristján Kristjánsson at our Capstone Conference in October 2017.

CFA: Educating Character Through the Arts

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Educating Character Through the Arts

University of Birmingham Conference Centre, 19th-21st July, 2018

 Open Call for Abstracts

From antiquity to the present, the virtues – construed in terms of such excellences of character as honesty, fairness, compassion and courage – have been widely regarded as integral to human moral life. But how might human agents – particularly the young – come to understand, or acquire, virtuous character? While many might nowadays look to empirical psychology or neuroscience for pathways to understanding and cultivating virtuous character, the arts might seem to offer a more time-honoured source of insight into good and bad human character, its relationship to human flourishing, and the development of the virtues. That said, some might doubt – in an age of science – the potential of works of art to serve as credible sources of knowledge. There are, for instance, both ancient arguments for the view that poetry and other arts are more conducive to moral corruption than improvement, and modern claims to the effect that the aesthetic purposes of the arts have little to do with moral value or concern.

While, perhaps in light of these more sceptical considerations, moral education through the arts in contemporary schooling seems to have been somewhat neglected, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues has lately sought to uphold and promote such an approach in various projects. Still, there is clearly a need for further clarifying the role of the arts in character education, by considering a variety of questions: Can imaginative art be said to have any moral significance or purpose? In what sense might different art forms contribute to knowledge? How might one distinguish morally insightful from morally dubious art? Can there be character educational value in non-narrative art (such as music)? How might the arts be taught in a moral educational way? And so on.

This Jubilee Centre conference on the arts and character education – scheduled to take place between the 19th-21st July 2018, at the University of Birmingham – will seek to address all of these, and more, questions, with the help of such distinguished keynote speakers as Karen Bohlin, Noel Carroll, Matthew Kieran, and James O. Young (NB. full list of keynote speakers TBC).

To this end, proposals for 30-minute paper presentations or symposia are warmly invited from all interested parties for participation in this important and timely event. We ask interested parties to send an abstract of about 500 words to jubileecentrepapers@contacts.bham.ac.uk (marked ARTS PROPOSAL in the subject line) before 10th February, 2018. We will send out notifications of acceptance by the 5th March, 2018. Details about conference fees, student and/or early-career subsidies, and payment methods will be provided in due course.

This conference is made possible through the generous support of the British Society of Aesthetics and the Mind Association.

Honors for Candace Vogler!

vhml-candace-vogler-photo-by-marc-monaghan20150918_0001_1We’re thrilled to announce two honors for our co-principal investigator Candace Vogler.

She has been named the Virtue Theory Chair for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, and now holds an appointment to the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

The Royal Institute of Philosophy is a charity dedicated to the advancement of philosophy in all its branches through the organisation and promotion of teaching, discussion and research of all things philosophical. The Institute is not committed to any particular philosophical school or method or, of course, any ideology.

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The Royal Institute of Philosophy

The Institute’s 1925 ‘Memorandum of Association’ states the objects of the Institute: ‘to organise and promote by teaching, discussion and research the advancement of Philosophical Studies’ and in particular ‘to provide for all classes and denominations, without any distinction whatsoever, opportunities and encouragement’. Throughout its history, the Institute has kept these objects in view.

The Jubilee Centre is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing. The Centre promotes a moral concept of character in order to explore the importance of virtue for public and professional life. The Centre is a leading informant on policy and practice in this area and through its extensive range of projects contributes to a renewal of character virtues in both individuals and societies.

Jubilee Centre’s Deputy Director, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, said he is delighted to welcome Candace on board. “Knowing Candace as a person and as an academic, I am certain she is going to make a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary research on character and virtues conducted in the Centre.”

Read more about the Jubilee Centre here. Read more about the Royal Institute of Philosophy here.

 

Interview with Candace Vogler: “You don’t have a beautiful soul if it’s useless to everyone around you.”

AdobeStock_103214271.jpegOur Co-Principal Investigator Candace Vogler spoke with journalist Richard McComb  when she was a keynote speaker at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues’ annual conference at Oriel College, Oxford. For the full article, click here.

Excerpt:

At a time of socio-political upheaval and uncertainty, both in Europe and the United States, it is perhaps not surprising that public interest has focused on the project’s pursuit of happiness.

Prof Vogler is wonderfully candid in her responses when asked about the secret of happiness.

“Stage one is, ‘Get over yourself!’” she says. “Don’t worry so much about self-actualisation, self-expression, self-development, self-this, self-that.

“See if you can break the fascination of your own ego for a little bit. See if you can turn your attention to something that is genuinely self-transcendent, that connects you to a world bigger than your intimate circle – and engage there. That is likely to be where you will develop in virtue and character. Your character develops when you get opportunities that are expressive and productive of goods bigger than you are.

“Do you engage at the soup kitchen a couple of times a week because you know you are supposed to be charitable? No, you volunteer at the soup kitchen by opening yourself up to the possibility that you could be drawn out of yourself rather than affirmed in a sense of your own goodness. The self-transcendence provides the context in which virtue is at home.”

Prof Vogler has little time for self-righteous navel-gazing, adding: “You don’t have a beautiful soul if it’s useless to everyone around you. You don’t have a beautiful soul if you can’t be bothered to think about how to engage more effectively in the world that you find yourself in, not just for the sake of your own success but for the sake of contributing to what is good in that world and helping it struggle against what is bad.”

 

For the full article, click here.