Wednesday 20 February 2013

The Legatum Institute’s The Promise of Freedom Lecture Series

“The Promise of Freedom” consists of a series of events marking the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty the Queen, that will focus on the relationship between British and American culture from 1953-2013. How did the creative arts in the UK impact on the American cultural scene, and vice-versa? And what was the nature of the contribution made by poets, visual artists, musicians and playwrights to the wider political, social and economic life of these two countries?  The themes to be explored therefore reflect the Legatum Institute's characteristic emphasis on a comprehensive understanding of social progress.

The Legatum Institute is based in London and is an independent non-partisan public policy organisation whose research, publications, and programmes advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies around the world.

Lecture Series 2013

February 26th - Grey Gowrie, Poet, former Cabinet Minister with responsibility for the Arts under Margaret Thatcher and company Chairman, will deliver the inaugural lecture in the series.  He has published several acclaimed collections of verse, and he will be concentrating on how British and American poetry influenced each other. Grey Gowrie will be discussing the work of T.S. Eliot- a poet who moved from the U.S. to live and work in Britain as well as W.H. Auden who travelled in the other direction.

March 14th  - Sandy Nairne, Director of the National  Portrait Gallery, will be discussing the changing face of royal portraiture and how the iconography of the Queen as portrayed in the immense variety of portraits that have been painted of her since 1953 has reflected the changing relationship between the Sovereign and her subjects.

April 21st -  Sir John Tavener will premier three choral works he has composed and which have been commissioned by the Legatum Institute. The concert will be held in Washington DC, at the National Cathedral. Tavener's choice of three works by  the early 17th century poet George Herbert as the words to be set to music, take us back to an earlier chapter in the transatlantic story- the time when religious and political radicals fled the Church and State establishment of England in order to embrace the freedom promised in the new American colonies.

May 23rd - Dame Harriet Walter will be delivering a talk on changing attitudes towards women, and the  evolution in the understanding of women's theatrical roles in the recent history of drama in Britain and America.

June 20th - Lieutenant-General Simon Mayall, Senior Adviser Middle East, Ministry of Defence  will be discussing 'The Arts of Peace and War 1953-2013'- analysing the differing perspectives of British and American commanders during that period. This concluding lecture in the series may serve as a reminder that no aspect of the life of a society can be studied in isolation: the arts and the humanities flourished during this period first under the shadow of the cold war, and at the turn of the millennium the conflicts in the middle east became an inescapable part of the public and cultural debate in the two great countries.

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