Join the Great Debate

David Dimbleby and Fatboy Slim to take part in the University of Brighton’s Great Debate, to highlight the significance of city-university relations

Thousands of students graduate from the University of Brighton each year and latest research shows 92% are in employment, training or further study within six months. And independent research shows the university contributes and generates £700m annually for the South East economy and supports more than 7,000 jobs.

A recognised world leader in community engagement, the University of Brighton considers its involvement locally and regionally to be proactive, positive and for mutual benefit.

However, the university wants to find out more of what the public thinks about this involvement and also about the roles universities can – and perhaps should – play in their localities.

The Great Debate will be chaired by BBC’s Question Time presenter, David Dimbleby, who was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Brighton in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding national contribution to broadcast journalism and cultural understanding.

He said: ‘As a regular visitor to the city I am looking forward to chairing this debate. I expect it to provide a platform for lively discussion about the city’s future and the role of the university in it. Debates are always unpredictable and I have no doubt this one will be too.’ 

ABOVE: DJ Fatboy Slim, a former Brighton Polytechnic student, believes the event will highlight the ways in which the university and the city can work together

DJ Fatboy Slim, real name Norman Cook, a former Brighton Polytechnic student who received the Alumnus Award 2015 for his major contribution to the music industry and his ongoing support for the university, will be joined on the debating table by alumna Alison Lapper MBE, who was made an honorary Doctor of Arts in 2014 for her major contribution to the arts and as an ambassador for those with disabilities. 

Norman Cook said: ‘The Great Debate is a fantastic way for the University of Brighton to be even more involved in the city. For many cities with universities, there can be divisions and a sense of a transient community that comes to study, spends time in the local pubs and then leaves. For me though, this city became my home and I have been here ever since – I’d like to think I have contributed positively as a local resident in that time! And that is what the Great Debate will highlight – how the university and the city can share the load together, finding solutions to challenges and celebrating successes of all kinds as partners.’ 

Also on the panel will be Professor Julian Crampton CBE DL, the University of Brighton’s Vice-Chancellor. He said: ‘We are very proud of our community and business engagement, as well as the wider contributions we make to the local economy and our local communities, whether here in Brighton or further afield in Eastbourne, Hastings and also across the globe.   

‘But society and our communities are seeing rapid change. We want to debate what some of the most pressing challenges are for our city and what could and should a university like Brighton, with a long history of civic engagement, be doing. It will be especially interesting for us to hear the views of a variety of local individuals as I come to the end of a decade as Vice-Chancellor and the university prepares for its new leader.’ 

The Great Debate will be held at the Sallis Benney Theatre, at the university’s Grand Parade campus in Brighton, on 17 November, starting at 7pm. A number of tickets are left but people can submit questions via:  Askaquestion

For more information, email: thegreatdebate@brighton.ac.uk

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