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Hundreds of School Heads and Deputies, parents, pupils and guests from the community met at Cranleigh yesterday to take part in our firstCulture_Summit_27839 ever education conference. Speakers included historian Bettany Hughes and Baroness Tessa Jowell, who looked at the meaning of culture and how it has shaped our societies. Adventurer Simon Reeve explored the impact of globalism culture and heritage, and Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and former Editor of the Guardian, provided a fascinating look at the way digital culture is changing the world in the same way the printing press changed society. Alan, himself an Old Cranleighan, praised his old school for placing cultural experiences at the heart of education.

“When I was here at school, I learnt about all sorts of culture. I didn’t perform them at a very high standard but it has stayed with me ever since. We need to get young people to really think about this vast revolution we are going through in which culture is going to work in a different way, by the crowd and not by a small number of people from above. Culture will be generated, distributed, shared and created in aCulture_Summit_27844 very different way and I think a lot of people haven’t quite got their heads around that yet,” he said.

In the afternoon sessions, Professor Alfred H. Bloom, Vice-Chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi, explained cultural commonality and the role of education in fostering meaningful cultural exchange across the globe. The sessions, chaired by Headmaster of Cranleigh Preparatory School, Michael Wilson, finished with a look into the future, from learning futurist David Price and Baroness Susan Greenfield, reviewing evidence from neuroscience, on how we live and learn now. The dichotomy between the sheer potential of the online revolution, and the damaging effects of overuse of screen-based learning and leisure activities, made for some lively and stimulating debate that we will look to continue with further forums.

Jody Cooksley
Head of External Relations