University of Liverpool second year student Nick Hobbs has started a petition to have a permanent Speakers’ Corner on campus. If the idea is approved, it would be the first in any UK University.
A Speakers’ Corner is an area in a public place – usually open-air – where the public can speak, discuss and debate. At a Speakers’ Corner usually any topic can be tolerated, however, it is understandable that the Guild may impose limitations on topics to ensure compliance with their constitution.
The most famous Speakers’ Corner in the UK is the North West corner of Hyde Park in London. It has hosted many notable speakers, including Karl Marx, George Orwell and Vladimir Lenin.
Liverpool, so often cited as a ‘city of firsts’ could potentially add to the list ‘the first University to have a permanent and established Speakers’ Corner’ as Hobbs’ preliminary research suggests that no other UK University has one.
The two proposed locations are Abercromby Square and University Square, both of which attract high amounts of footfall and may pique the interest of passing students.
According to Hobbs, who is studying International Politics and Policy, at least 250 signatures are needed for the University and the Guild to give the proposal serious consideration. Some academic staff in the Politics Department have also given their full support to the idea. As of the time of writing, just over 90 students have signed the petition.
Speaking on the proposed design of the corner, Hobbs believes that “in order for the Speakers’ Corner to stand out we feel it should be visible, so we propose a platform which people can see and stand out” (See image below)
Hobbs has suggested that if the dais design is implemented then it could be further used for open days, charity and family events, keep fit classes and even outdoor bingo. Whilst societies such as the Comedy Society or BandSoc may find it useful as a ‘mini stage’.
If you fancy having a Speakers’ Corner of our very own you can sign the petition here, where you need only your student number and an email address to hand.