The Public Intellectual.

The public intellectual? Always existed? Part of the impact agenda?

No stranger to broadcasting himself, Christopher Bigsby considers the rise of the public intellectual – halfway up a mountain, on a motorbike, quoting Aeschylus, coming to a telly near you

There is a plaque in Norwich Cathedral I have always liked. It praises a clergyman for delivering sermons “entirely without enthusiasm”. I have sat through many a lecture dedicated to the same principle. Once, at the University of Cambridge, I passed through the back of a room in which a man wearing a gown was lecturing, I have to say entirely without enthusiasm, to a single student. Now there’s a staff-student ratio to be envied.

On another occasion, I attended a lecture by an art historian (not at my institution) who made the mistake of lowering the lights in order to show slides, only to be confronted by an empty lecture theatre when the lights went on again. Today though, slides, all too often engagingly projected back to front, upside down and out of order, smack of the spinning jenny: not without their utility in their day but a touch out of date. Now showbiz has entered academe. Human communication, it seems, has to involve electronic mediation. Blackboards are now virtual, while chalk, pens and paper are doubtless in containers ready to be shipped to needy countries alongside stolen cars and Henry Moores melted down for scrap.

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By admin

Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst  (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.

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