Category: Forthcoming Events

Je Suis Charlie… Moi non plus: After Charlie Hebdo, does anyone still believe in free speech?

The march of world leaders in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, Paris, January 2015. Cameron, Junker, Hollande, Merkel et al. With friends like these, does free speech need enemies?

The march of world leaders in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo in Paris, January 2015. Cameron, Juncker, Sarkozy, Hollande, Merkel et al. With friends like these, does European free speech need enemies?

Wednesday 18th March 2015 at the Exhibition Space, Jessop West, University of Sheffield, 1 Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield S3 7RA
(opp. the University of Sheffield tram stop and the Henderson’s Relish building, map here).

£5 / £2 (concessions), all welcome. 7pm to 9pm. Doors open 6.30pm.

The Charlie Hebdo massacre and the recent terrorist attack on a public debate in Copenhagen have put the issue of freedom of expression high on the agenda. However, despite the veneer of unity behind the slogan ‘Je Suis Charlie’, many in this loose coalition of ‘free speech’ advocates increasingly call for limits on its practical application within Europe.

Some feel satirical cartoonists threaten public safety because they insist on exercising the right to be provocative. Others are concerned to protect oppressed peoples from being further undermined by the ‘violence’ of words. A recent survey by the online magazine Spiked! showed that 80% of Universities restrict free expression in some way. Indeed the Home Office are currently seeking to extend this innovative academic practice with a new anti-terror bill which would legally require academic suppression of ‘extremist’ speech.

So does this mean that free expression is an ideal which cannot be realised in practice? Or do we live in an era when free speech is considered the enemy of moral and progressive politics? Where do the borders between freedom and offence lie in the 21st century – and who should police them? After Copenhagen, what does the slogan ‘Je Suis Charlie’ mean anyway, if anything?

Join us on Weds 18th March at 7pm for an evening of provocative and engaging public debate and discussion with speakers actively involved the study and practical application of free speech.

Our speakers include:
Adam Kissel
Former Vice President of Programs at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), USA
Dr Stefanie Pukallus
Researcher at the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the University of Sheffield
Don Milligan
Don Milligan is a communist and veteran of the Gay Liberation Front. He blogs at: and twitters @donmilligan2020.
Daisy Collingwood
Sheffield editor of The Tab, the UK’s largest independent online student magazine. The Tab regularly questions the growing censoriousness and conformity of campus life.
Dennis Hayes
Professor of Education University of Derby, Co-ordinator of Academics for Academic Freedom and The Free Speech University Rankings

Watch this space for further announcements.

Watch this space!

We are currently in the process of planning events that will take place throughout 2015. Watch this space by subscribing to our RSS feed or subscribe to our mailing list using the form on the right of this page. If you are interested in getting involved in the Salon we be glad to hear from you!