Ian MacQuillin explains how Rogare’s new lecture series, which aims to showcase new critical ideas and thinking, was inspired by the annual Spirit of Cricket lecture.
Mike Brearley is England’s greatest ever cricket captain He’s also a polymath. He studied classical and moral sciences at Cambridge, and following his retirement from professional sport, he became a psychoanalyst and served as president of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 2008-10.
As one of cricket’s leading thinkers – you could call him a philosopher of cricket – Brearley delivered the annual Spirit of Cricket Lecture in 2019 (it’s here – the bit on Mankading is very insightful, if you take an interest in cricket ethics).
This lecture is one person talking, sometimes reading from notes, for 45 minutes. There are no slides, no video clips, no images…and no ‘performance’. It goes against the grain of what we expect from presentations. Other lecture series take a similar approach – the BBC’s Reith lectures, for example, or the Royal Academy talks and lectures.
In all these lecture series, it is the ideas that have centre stage. When the ideas are good, you don’t need a ‘performance’ to deliver them; the ideas present themselves. In fact, there is no bells and whistles style presentation to distract from the ideas: in the absence of visual effects, you are forced to concentrate on what the speaker is actually saying.
It has been an aspiration of mine to instigate a similar lecture series for fundraising that would showcase new thinking, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the conference circuit by carving a space out of our busy agendas that is devoted to contemplating new ideas and thinking way the Spirit of Cricket lecture is.
In May 2022, Rogare co-hosted an event with Kingston University Business School at their campus in south-west London, the first time we had got people in a room since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seemed the perfect opportunity to kick off the Critical Fundraising Lecture series.
Bluefrog Fundraising is Rogare’s longest standing Associate Member, having been with us 2014. So I asked Mark Phillips if he would deliver the inaugural Critical Fundraising Lecture to close the Kingston University event. I asked Mark if he would talk about an issue that I knew he was passionate about – the wisdom and appropriateness of some charity rebrands – and I suggested the deliberately-provocative title: Why you should stop f***ing about with your logo and stick to fundraising instead. You can watch Mark’s lecture here on Rogare’s website (where you can also download the full text of the lecture) or here on Mark’s blog, and read a summary of the main argument here.
I would like to make this at least an annual event and will be exploring with Rogare’s network ways we can stage this lecture series regularly and what topics we could include. Keep tuned to Rogare social media for news about our next Critical Fundraising Lecture.