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How Power Corrupts – curating debate around a book

Academic publishing is weird. A few hundred copies of a title are sold to university libraries, short monographs going for around fifty quid each. The author only needs a few fellow academics to rate it in order for it to further their career in research; the publisher has no expectations of massive sales. Surely digital platforms provide better ways to deliver all this and also bring a good text to as wide an audience as it deserves?

When communities surround books the result is often seen as nothing more than promotion of the text itself. We wanted to try something more complex. We picked an academic text on a topic of real importance which sells for £45 per copy to a few hundred academic libraries. Can we build a community of creative readers interested in debating the issues raised here in a more public setting?

Starting with a conversation on hubris between Ricardo Blaug and the eminent statesman Lord David Owen, this series of events (10th – 13th May, Free Word Centre) offers an exploration into the future of academic publishing in the digital age with a ‘curation’ of the academic text How Power Corrupts by Dr Ricardo Blaug, published by Palgrave Macmillan who are suppporting the project.

The curation will be staged both online and off, using Blaug’s relevant and timely book as the spring board for discussion in an attempt to challenge the silo of academic research – asking academe to inform the day to day.

The week will see an ‘occupation’ of the Free Word Centre by a group of ex and current students of Dr Blaug who will stage a series of events which also include a theatre workshop, panel discussions, film screening and two roundtable debates – one on the power of local, one on academic publishing itself – to conclude the week.

Individual events are listed on the Free Word website – all events are FREE unless otherwise specified – so please come along to one, or join us online at

The event is a collaboration between if:book, The Roundhouse Group and Palgrave Macmillan

SPECIAL OFFER for our readers: 2 pairs of free tickets to the launch event with Ricardo Blaug and David Owen for the first to email [email protected] with a sentence on how they think power corrupts.

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