The Arts and Humanities are becoming increasingly sidelined in mainstream education, where they are usually presented in ways which dilute, decode and deaden the very essence of what they seek to awaken. While conventional education seems to think spoon-feeding is the way to learning, we should remember the words of William Butler Yeats who said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”, words which recall both Plato and Plutarch..

Under the umbrella of this theme, we aim to ignite hearts and minds in the true spirit of the humanities. Through enquiry into ancient, Renaissance and modern art history, philosophical texts, music, poetry and literature, we seek to move beyond a purely analytical or critical approach and situate the humanities in a broader context.   Why are the arts and humanities important today in our technologically driven world? Quite simply they help us to see and know in broader, deeper ways that are usually obscured from our every day view, a view that we are in danger of losing. They help us experience and navigate our way between the human and some ‘other’ dimension of the world, enrich us with meaning which can be expressed in no other way than through a work of art or a glowing piece of literature or music. Imbued with a creative force they sit on the interface between the human, nature and cosmos. Through metaphor, the arts and humanities open other doorways into understanding which move both learner and object into greater depths of being and relationship which might become transformative for both. Dr Carl Jung said that a lack of knowledge of one’s past, not just in terms of one’s personal story, but in terms of places, images, writings and history that has gone before you, is a mutilation of the human being.  We as humans need the arts and humanities as much as they need us, as they enable us to re-member, that is re-attach who we are and might become.

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