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 2017 will be held from Monday the 3rd to Friday the 8th July.


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.

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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 2017 will be held from 3-8 July.




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. Meals and single-occupancy accommodation in the College are provided free of charge to all participants.

Are travel grants available?
No. Students are responsible for making their own way to and from Cambridge.

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?
The timetable for 2017 has not yet been finalized, but 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 to arrive at St Catharine's College by Midday on Monday 3 July, and to remain in Cambridge for the duration of the seminar.  No exceptions will be made. While in Cambridge, participants must attend all lectures and meals. It will finish on the afternoon of the 8 July.

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. The writings of Milton Friedman and FA Hayek may also be useful.

Who organises Freedom Week? 


Freedom Week is a joint project of the Insitute 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 3rd 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

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anna Carruthers

"I decided to apply for Freedom Week in my final year of school, and given that I was only just old enough to apply and had never labelled myself a libertarian, I was surprised to be selected for such a prestigious course.

I arrived expecting to feel out of my depth - but I needn’t have worried. The lectures were great, touching on a wide range of areas, and everyone was really friendly, quickly forming a tight knit group. Coming from an economics background, I relished the chance to explore some of the philosophical and political implications of libertarian ideas; and as everyone on the Week came from different backgrounds and areas of study, the discussion groups were filled with many interesting (and often different!) opinions.

Between these experiences, and the numerous social events and nights out that filled the week; I had an amazing time, coming away with a group of really great friends and a wider perspective on many issues I previously hadn’t thought about – I would recommend this experience to anyone."

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Oliver riley

"I applied to Freedom Week not expecting to get in. So when I did I was overjoyed! I was nervous at first, not knowing anyone else on the Week, but the people were all so friendly and good fun. Having the lectures in beautiful Cambridge was amazing, and we played just as hard as we worked, (if not harder) going out almost every night. Friends and memories were made that will remain with me for life. I would do it again in a trice." 

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Razzaq ahmed

"The lectures were incredibly broad in nature and were never limited to a single academic discipline - so regardless of one's background, everybody could contribute their views at some point during the course of the week. At no point did I feel a question or debate over the course of the week had not been addressed adequately or in enough depth by an attendee or a member of staff and thus the week was a fantastic example of collaborate discovery.

I have met and made some great friends as a result of freedom week - the sort you can have an informed and polarising debate with and still have a fantastic time with for hours at a riverside pub (which we did). The social events cannot be praised enough.

Dare I say this is a sought after, respected academic programme for anyone willing to learn and question their own knowledge base and the chance to make a number of great friends."

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 — 'Winning Liberty's Battles'

18.30 – 19.00 Free Time

19.00 - 19.30 Drinks Reception in the Quad

19.30 – Late: Formal Dinner. Speaker: Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch.



08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast

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

10.30 – 11.00 Break

11.00 – 12.30 Session 2: Mark Pennington – Spontaneous Order.

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 14.00 Free Time.

14.00 – 15.30 Session 3: Craig Smith – Classical Liberalism Against Politics.

15.30 – 16.00 Afternoon Tea

16.00 – 17.30 Session 4: Mark Pennington – Public Choice.

17.30 – 18.30 Free Time

18.30 – Late: BBQ on Jesus Green 



08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast

09.00 – 10.30 Session 5: Adam Martin — Economics of Development

10.30 – 11.00 Break

11.00 – 12.30 Session 6: Bleeding-heart Libertarianism, Poverty & Inequality

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 18.30 Free Time (Punting)

18.30 – 19.30 Dinner

19.30 – Evening Activity & Speech from Mark Littlewood



08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast

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

10.30 – 11.00 Break

11.00 – 12.30 Session 8: Craig Smith – Against Paternalism

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 14.00 Free Time.

14.00 – 15.30 Session 9: Anthony Evans – Free Market Monetary Theory.

15.30 – 16.00 Afternoon Tea

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

17.30 – 18.30 Free Time

18.30 – 19.30 Drinks Reception

19.30 – Cava Party at Madsen's Party



08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast

09.00 – 10.30 Session 11: Anthony Evans – 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: Chris Snowdon – Sin Taxes & Punishing the Poor

15.30 – 16.00 Afternoon Tea

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

17.30 – 18.00 Free Time

18.30 – 19.30 Drinks Reception in Fountain Court

19.30 – Late: Formal Dinner- Speaker: Martin Durkin



08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast