By Clare Jarmy, Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge, Academic Scholars & PRE
The Utopia Project is the longest-established part of the Bedales Assessed Course in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) and, as PRE is one of the oldest BACs, it is therefore one of the best established BAC modules. These have been new, different times in which to think about society and utopia, and I am sure that these events will colour how we see the project in the future.
On Wednesday afternoon, Block 5 presented their Utopias to their teachers, and to each other, in an Expo in the Library. Every year, I am impressed with the sophistication of students’ work. The project, for most students, fosters independence in a wholly new way. The Utopia Project is effectively a blank sheet of paper for students to formulate a vision for a perfect world. It is structured for them, and they have to refer to five key texts, but their Utopias can end up being utterly different.
This year, communists debated with libertarians. Some students created new leisure through use of AI, whilst others abandoned technology entirely and went back to the land. Some focussed on creating God-like qualities in citizens, whilst others banned all religion. Some focussed on progress and development, whilst others placed emphasis on simplistic living and getting back to nature. We really look forward to reading the completed projects, which are being submitted at the end of next week.