Freedom Week is an annual, one-week seminar which teaches students about classical liberal, free market, neoliberal and liberal perspectives on economics, politics, history and society. It is open to over-18s who are currently attending or about to start university. The week is entirely free to attend: there is no charge whatsoever for accommodation, food, tuition or materials. Freedom Week 2019 was held from Monday 12th to Saturday 17th August.


Spend a week in one of Britain's most beautiful towns, go punting, see the architecture and the mechanical clock, eat at the market, and visit its traditional pubs.


best and brightest

Meet dozens of like-minded students also interested in liberal perspectives on economics, political science, history and society.


top thinkers

Receive lectures and instruction from the crème de la crème of classical liberal academia as well as staff of the two leading free market think tanks in Westminster.

About Freedom Week



Freedom Week is aimed at students who have an interest in—yet are relatively new to—classical liberal ideas. 

Successful applicants will spend the week immersed in talks from some of Britain's leading thinkers. Seminars will cover the foundations, history and underlying economic principles of classical liberalism, as well as discuss cutting-edge research and contemporary debate from within the movement.

Freedom Week offers a unique chance to network with like-minded peers, academics and think tank representatives — all in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of free time and nightly social acitivities. 

By the end of the week attendees will have the knowledge, confidence and network to go out and make the case for freedom.

Freedom Week 2019 was held from 12 - 17 August.




Who attends Freedom Week?
Freedom Week is attended by thirty students every year, most of whom are undergraduates. Several lecturers will also stay the entire week, making it easy to have discussions or ask questions in a social context.

How much does Freedom Week cost?
Freedom Week is entirely free for the students. Lunch, dinner, and single-occupancy accommodation in the College are provided free of charge to all participants.

Are travel/visa grants available?
No. Students are responsible for making their own way to and from Cambridge. You must have the legal right to be in the UK and arrange this yourself.

How competitive is the application process?
The application process for Freedom Week is very competitive, and unfortunately many applicants have to be turned away. But if you are talented and enthusiastic, please don’t let that stop you from applying. It is to your advantage to apply early, as participants are selected as and when applications come in.

How many hours of lectures are there on each day?
Last year there were roughly 6 hours of lectures most days, and 3 hours of lectures on Wednesday.  

Is Freedom Week party political?
No – Freedom Week has no ties to any political party, and does not exist to serve any party political agenda. It is more concerned with ideas, principles and theories than it is with politicians and current affairs.

What is expected of Freedom Week participants?
Freedom Week participants are required to remain in Cambridge for the duration of the seminar. No exceptions will be made. While in Cambridge, participants must attend all lectures and evening meals.

Do I need to have studied economics or politics?
No. There are no particular academic requirements for Freedom Week participants. We only ask that people be enthusiastic to learn about classical liberalism and free market economics.

Should I do any reading / preparation?
There is no reading list you must complete before attending Freedom Week. However, should you wish to familiarize yourself with some of the ideas and concepts that will be discussed at Freedom Week, the Adam Smith Institute’s A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty is available for free download here. You may also benefit from reading Classical Liberalism: A Primer and Foundations of a Free Society, both published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Who organises Freedom Week? 


Freedom Week is a joint project of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute. It aims to promote liberal thinking amongst young people who show great potential as future influencers and opinion formers. 

The IEA was founded in 1945 by Sir Anthony Fisher, after a discussion with the legendary economist Friedrich Hayek. The IEA is, in the words of Andrew Marr, "undoubtedly the most influential think tank in modern British history". 

The ASI is Britain's leading neoliberal think tank. It was founded by Madsen Pirie and Eamonn Butler in 1977. It is one of the world's leading think tanks, ranked 2nd in the world among Domestic Economic Policy think tanks by the University of Pennsylvania.


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Hundreds of young thinkers have been on (and been thrilled by) Freedom Week. If you are unsure about applying, here is what they have to say about the experience:



"Freedom Week was one of the most fun and intellectually stimulating experiences of my life. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about liberal ideas and develop one’s views to a greater depth. Days were filled with interesting lectures on a broad range of economic, political and social topics, from the gender pay gap, immigration, civil society to liberalising prostitution! By the end of the week, I became much more confident in discussing my beliefs and passionate about learning more.

I had never expected that I would have had so much fun during my week in Cambridge, going out for food and drinks every night, and discussing politics till early morning hours. Despite my initial nervousness, the atmosphere turned out to be so friendly and laid back. Freedom Week excelled all of my expectations and I am so grateful that I was able to experience it and meet so many wonderful people that I am now lucky to call my friends. I cannot recommend anyone enough to apply for it.”


Matteo Baccaglini

"Freedom Week was the most enjoyable experience of my summer. It was a real privilege to hear from such well-read academics; and to have close contact with them to discuss and ask questions about their work and findings. The talks were all eye-opening and, importantly, made me think about how I think and what I believe. I really enjoyed discussing and debating some of the most pressing issues of our times with like-minded peers: one of the real treasures of the programme was that we all came from a variety of backgrounds, some of us with some very extraordinary stories.

It was so easy to make very good friends with whom I'm still in close contact now. From punting to clubbing, the socials were amazing and we all had a great time. I have nothing but good memories of Freedom Week.”


Rebecca Johanna Jacobi

“I heard of Freedom Week through a friend of mine, who recommended applying for it and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life so far. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet incredibly talented speakers and discuss new ideas, but also to connect with like-minded people from all over Europe.

In-between lectures and social activities in Cambridge I learned a lot about practical applications of liberalism in different countries and foreign politics, as well as expanded my knowledge of the theoretical and historical background of recent global developments. I left Freedom Week enlightened, filled with new ideas, and having established deep new friendships.”

Sample Timetable

A typical Freedom Week might look something very similar to this...


14.00 – 17.00: Arrival of Delegates and Registration.

17.00 – 17.30: Introduction and administrative arrangements

17.30 – 18.30: Dr. Madsen Pirie on 'Winning Liberty's Battles'

18.30 – 19.00: Free Time

19.00 – Late: Drinks reception



09.00 – 10.30: Session 1 – Dr Steve Davies on "The History of Classic Liberalism"

10.30 – 11.00: Break

11.00 – 12.30: Session 2 – Professor Len Shackleton on "Robocalypse”

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 14.00: Free Time.

14.00 – 15.30: Session 3 – Kate Andrews on "The Gender Pay Gap"

15.30 – 16.00: Afternoon Tea

16.00 – 17.30: Session 4 – Professor Mark Pennington on "Public Choice"

17.30 – 18.30: Free Time

18.30 – Late: Pub quiz and pizza



09.00 – 10.30: Session 5 – Dr Craig Smith on "The Importance of Adam Smith"

10.30 – 11.00: Break

11.00 – 12.30: Session 6 – Sam Bowman on "The Economics of Immigration"

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 18.30: Free Time (Punting)

18.30 – Late: BBQ on Jesus Green



09.00 – 10.30: Session 7 – Professor Emily Skarbek on "Civil Society and the Samaritan's Dilemma"

10.30 – 11.00: Break

11.00 – 12.30: Session 8 – Tom Clougherty on "The Tax Debate"

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 14.00: Free Time

14.00 – 15.30: Session 9 – Professor Anthony Evans on "Free Market Monetary Theory"

15.30 – 16.00: Afternoon Tea

16.00 – 17.30: Session 10 – Professor David Skarbek on “Mass Incarceration, Prison Gangs, and Implications for Prison Policy"

17.30 – 18.30: Free Time

18.30 – 20.00: Pub and dinner

20:00 – Late: Board Game Night



09.00 – 10.30: Session 11 – Professor Anthony Evans on "Competition and the Market Process"

10.30 – 11.00: Break

11.00 – 12.30: Session 12 – Faculty Round Table on The Big Questions

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 14.00: Free Time.

14.00 – 15.30: Session 13 – Christopher Snowdon on "Sin Taxes & Punishing the Poor"

15.30 – 16.00: Afternoon Tea

16.00 – 17.30: Session 14 – Dr Steve Davies on "Prospects for Liberty in the Twenty-First Century"

17.30 – 18.00: Free Time

18.30 – 20.00: Dinner at Pizza Express

20.00 – Late: Clubbing



10.00: Departure.