Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Fleas on fleas

And fleas on fleas on fleas

Catching up on recent issues of the newsletter Research Fortnight I spotted the following news item:
‘Third sector’ centre opens

The University of Birmingham has opened a £10-million centre to study the impact of charities and other not-for-profit organisations, known as the ‘third sector’. The centre, which is a joint venture with the University of Southampton, opened its doors on 23 October. It has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Government Office of the Third Sector and the Barrow Cadbury Trust...

No comment, other than to ask who says that there is a shortage of funds to spend on the voluntary (charitable ) sector?

You can see more of what this centre will do, and for whom, on its website. As suggested by the involvement of the Orwellian-sounding ’Government Office of the Third Sector’, you might suspect the familiar mechanisms of encroaching government control, clumsily emphasised rather than obscured by all the managerialist jargon.

For an interesting and very recent snippet on CE fundraising at the close of 2008, just perhaps a straw in the wind, scroll a little way down this page to Rony Schenker’s frank Comment to the last posting but one on Conductive World, on ‘BISH’.

The University of Birmingham: an historical aside

Only about twenty minutes’ walk from the National Institute of Conductive Education, across one corner of ‘leafy Edgbaston' but a million miles away in every other way, stands the Main Campus of my alma mater, the University of Birmingham.

When universities in the United Kingdom had considerable discretion over how they spent their money and managed their premises, Birmingham University played an essential role in the mid-1980s in the early collaboration with Mária Hári to establish Conductive Education outside Hungary. The story of this, like much else of that turbulent and formative period, has yet to be told.

The leading figure in the University’s involvement was the then Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Hamlin, an engineer, that is a bloke who knew that problems are not 'challenges' but things that you do something about. In June 2006 I was pleased to present him with the Founder’s Award of the Foundation for Conductive Education, in small token of the important contribution that he had made to breaking Conductive Education out of Hungary.

Universities nowadays are rather different animals.

Notes and references

--- (2008) ‘Third sector centre opens‘, Research Fortnight, 5 November, p. 3

Third Sector Research Centre
http://www.socsci.bham.ac.uk/research/Third_Sector_Research_Centre/index.shtml

Schenker, R. (2008) Comment on posting on BISH, Conductive World, 26 November http://www.conductive-world.info/2008/11/bish-strange-bedfellows.html#comments

University of Birmingham, Main Campus
http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://img-fan.theonering.net/writing/reviews/images/spain_image2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://fan.theonering.net/writing/reviews/files/spain_trail3.html&usg=__0Z1tFVwmwztHsjTth4LaLLD5Ir0=&h=603&w=866&sz=37&hl=en&start=10&tbnid=7pdDJsTGN2ZfEM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=145&prev=/images%3Fq%3DUniversity%2Bof%2BBirmingham%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG
Other than a bit of misguided in-fill in the nineteen-sixties, the main building has hardly changed over a hundred years.. The original grand plan of a century or so ago was never finished: the money was no longer there. Earlier this year the University announced its ambitious intention of finally completing the long-discontinued building, realising the original design and completing the semicircle. That was earlier this year.

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