The stock of the Tavi Institute is 70 and we are celebrating its rich history with a true festive bang!
“The second anniversary of Mahatma Ghandi’s death falls on January 30, 1950. I did not see him die; I did not see the reaction to the murder in any of the big centres of population; but what I did see was the effect of his death on the Hindus, Muslims and Christians of a village in South-west India. As a research student in social anthropology, living there and speaking the vernacular, I was well equipped to interpret in terms of the social structure what I heard and observed.”
Eric J. Miller, 1949
This is a young Eric Miller writing to the Manchester Guardian, two years after the Tavistock Institute was established and a few years before he joined and became one of its key members.
Then like now- the Tavistock Institute finds itself operating alongside critical events in what later we come to understand as future-changing. Born at the same time as the partition of India and Israel took place, indicating the breakages of the British Empire, the Tavistock Institute has had opportunities to comment and reflect on these social changes and through its work impact thought as well as action, at local as well as national and sometimes global levels.
I am excited to launch this four day festival which moves from ‘Now’ to ‘Here’ to ‘There’ and ‘Then’ across five different venues in central London. We are expecting to welcome a few hundred colleagues from all over the world who have been impacted by and interested in the work of the Institute over its 70 years. But like Eric Miller’s article about the impact of the death of Mahatma Ghandi on the people of the remote village in India, the celebration of the Tavistock Institute’s 70th anniversary is also not about a phoenix rising from the ashes; it is not only a celebration of history.
The Tavistock Institute today is as lively, as engaged with its community and as rich in stock as it has been over the decades and we are also celebrating its innovation and creativity in partnership with newer colleagues in different disciplines as we look forward to the next seventy years. The Institute’s work, current as well as historical, will be on display in various forms of arts, available each day of the four days at the exhibition space at the Swiss Church. Live art performances, poetry readingsand film workshops are dotted across the four days, please check these out in the programme. The festival centrepiece is the symposium on Thursday which takes place at the Conway Hall and involves leading figures of the Tavistock Institute engaging with archival material and examining it afresh.
Many events are already fully booked, however, there is still an opportunity to book some events taking place towards the end of the week. All events are free of charge and open to the public – the Tavistock Institute is a social research institute, do come and join us in this fest of knowledge, learning and experience.
CEO, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations
If you are unable to attend the festival but would like to feel connected please visit the festival updates page during the festival. A number of the events will be documented and appear on the festival website in a few weeks time.