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Educational History: The Hedge Schools of Ireland

The Hedge Schools came about as a direct result of the suppression of schooling in Ireland. This history speaks of the innate need of humans to share and learn, and how central a part of social fabric it is. This history also speaks of the dark side of dominating powers to withhold knowledge and the means of mutually improvement from whole populations to deliberately undermine people and their chances to live rich full lives. Read more

Graphic Information Design: The Function of Visible Speech

Writing is one of humankind’s greatest inventions. Found in clay tablets from ancient Sumer in Mesopotamia and slightly later tablets from neighboring Iran (ancient Elam) – a partially deciphered script known as proto-Elamite details lists of raw materials and products, such as barley and beer, lists of laborers, and their tasks, lists of fields and their owners, the income and outgoings of temples etc. All calculations concerning production levels, delivery dates, locations, payments and debts. Read more

Lost Horizon or Living Landscape: Place, Time and People in Gaelic Scotland by Virginia Blankenhorn

James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, set in the mountains of Tibet, created the fictional ‘Shangri-La’ – a place of the spirit, seemingly outside time, where people lived long lives in a fastness far removed from a world beset by war. For most visitors and many Scots, the Highlands of Scotland – the Gaidhealtachd – seem to suggest a similar refuge. And today, the Gaidhealtachd – like Shangri-La – is for the most part a safe place. You won’t see anyone remotely like William Wallace and his blue-painted, half-naked clansmen, pursuing vengeance across the mountainsides, as portrayed in films like Braveheart.

This might actually be a relief.

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Podcast: A Memory of Blood; Livestreaming and the Fall of the Mongolian Empire by Donald Carrick

On the 29th October 2015, Donald Carrick gave the third of three talks on the life and legacies of Ghengis Khan.  Donald tells us: Stories are everything. Many stories are influenced by history, but could it be that history itself is shaped by stories, even fictional ones? Can we honestly say only fact matters in any historical narrative? Is the past set in stone or is it a fluid entity like the future? Read more