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           The Free University of Seething

Long before the ‘Open University’ the people of Seething founded the Free University of Seething. Indeed it is considered by many to be oldest true university in the world. Built upon the foundations of Lefi’s Law that ‘all people good and true’ should ‘enjoy and prosper through knowledge freely given through love of learning of Seething’.

From ‘all people’ we get ‘Universal’ and from ‘love of learning of Seething’ we get ‘learnseething’ which became ‘universalearnseething’ which in its shortened form was spoken as ‘universeethee’ – the origination of the modern pronunciation of university

However, as with so many Seething innovations and institutions, the Free University has almost been expunged from common history which now holds to following. The word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning “community of teachers and scholars”. The term was coined by the Italian University of Bologna, which, with a traditional founding date of 1088, is considered the first university.

No other European institution has spread over the entire world in the way in which the traditional form of the European university has done. The degrees awarded by European universities – the bachelor’s degree, the licentiate, the master’s degree, and the doctorate – have been adopted in the most diverse societies throughout the world.

In the UK Oxford is now claimed to be the oldest university in the world, there is no clear date of foundation of Oxford University, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167. It is however clear that the Free University of Seething predates both Oxford and Bologna.

The Free University of Seething was closed as an institution in 1902 as a result of its then contentious work on global warming and the effects of over use of the earth’s resources. Subsequently much of this work has proved to be sadly correct although unfortunately the hypothesis that within 100 years ‘man would have found a way to overcome greed and resolved a world where resource was shared according to need’ (IWLWHW) still defeats us

However the Free University of Seething has fresh life again thanks to the efforts of Dr Helen Wickstead who has relaunched the institution and is currently organising a series of public lectures - ‘all people good and true’ shall ‘enjoy and prosper through knowledge freely given through love of learning of Seething’.

The inaugural lecture of the Themnes Term took place in March. Students were treated to three presentations that reflected on the importance of the Seething Festival and the developing sense of place.

Dr Helen Wickstead talked on the history of suburbia . Her presentation opened and ended with a reflection on the understanding of heritage. In the middle section she discussed the presentation of suburbia in modern culture with a particular emphasis on Surbiton. She then focused on the role of festivals locally and there importance with particular reference to the Seething Festival.

David Jeevendrampillai, an anthropologist, talked on the mapping of place and challenged us to consider that one should study ‘places’ rather than ‘spaces’. It was a compelling presentation helping to unpick the sense of the individual in defining their relationship with the area in which they live. The importance of time, reflection, understanding and engagement were linked with the Seething Festival and the role it plays in building a stronger sense of place.

Professor Robin Hutchinson rambled on a bit

The second lecture took place on in later March where students were invited to capture “Expeditions in Remotest Seething”. These were captured by the use of moving picture technology and were so successful that further expeditions are planned

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