The Limits of Free Speech: Offence, Hate Speech and No Platforming


This day school explores the many complicated and sometimes emotive issues surrounding free speech. Almost everyone believes that there should be some restrictions on free speech. But where exactly should we draw the line?

There is increasing pressure across social media to silence certain voices. Is this unjustified censorship, or reasonable restrictions to protect vulnerable groups and individuals? Are universities and other institutions justified in ‘no-platforming’ certain speakers, and if so, when? Does causing deep offence to religious people justify placing legal limits on what can be said about their beliefs? Are accusations of, for example, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and transphobia being weaponised in order to shut down important debates? If someone feels that they are a victim of prejudice, does that guarantee that they are? Under what circumstances is someone guilty of ‘hate speech’, and what legal or other restrictions should be placed on such speech?

We will be unpacking and examining the philosophical and political arguments on either side.

Programme details


Free Speech
Kenan Malik


Hate Speech
Doug Bamford


Who should (and shouldn’t) get a platform?
Doug Bamford


Who has the right to speak? For a community, about a community?
Kenan Malik

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £75.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Doug Bamford


Doug Bamford teaches courses in philosophy and political economy at OUDCE. His main interest is in political philosophy and its application to public policy. He received his PhD in Political Philosophy at the University of Warwick in 2013. He is author of Rethinking Taxation (Searching Finance, 2014) and several papers (including articles in the Journal of Applied Philosophy and Moral Philosophy and Politics). He blogs at Doug Bamford's Tax Appeal.

Mr Kenan Malik


Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a columnist for the Observer. His main academic interests are in the history of ideas, moral and political philosophy, and the history and sociology of race and immigration. His books include The Search for a Moral Compass, From Fatwa to Jihad, shortlisted for the Orwell Book Prize, and Strange Fruit, nominated for the Royal Society Science Book Prize. His next book Not So Black and White, a history of race from white supremacy to identity politics, will be published in January.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.