Public lecture

Beacons of Cultural Diplomacy or the Back Door into Britain? The English-Language School Industry...

IAS Visiting Fellow Dr Caroline Ritter delivers a seminar on their research, fully titled "Beacons of Cultural Diplomacy or the Back Door into Britain? The English-Language School Industry in the United Kingdom" - 

After the Second World War, commercial schools to teach English to visitors proliferated around the United Kingdom as part of Britain’s effort to sustain influence with foreign elites and as part of an overall cultural diplomacy campaign. Within the burgeoning sector of further education, their appearance also served to bolster the British economy as foreign students came to Britain and spent significant sums of money while being trained. Over time, however, British officials and members of the public became increasingly concerned that lax regulation of these institutions carried negative consequences. Initially, this involved general worry that the commercial language schools could undermine the quality of the British cultural “brand.” By the 1990s, however, this was joined with a more pointed alarm that such institutions represented a threat to national security by creating a pathway for foreign nationals to enter the country. 

This paper will trace the growth of English language schools in Britain between the 1950s and the early 2000s to show how a post-imperial nation confronted the political tradeoffs of globalization. Whether speaking to the tensions of government-business relations, the pressures of migration, the priorities of national security, or the evolution of modern globalized education, the politics that surround the English-language school industry in Britain are pertinent around the world today.

Arrivals from 11:45 am for a 12:00 noon start. For those joining in-person, lunch will be served after the seminar from 1:00pm.

This event is hybrid format, please use the required booking button at the bottom of the page to choose either in-person or online attendance.
(Please note that in-person spaces are limited and booking is required, so we can manage numbers for catering and also the space inside International House)

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