Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:13

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Is neuroimaging measuring information in the brain?

Journal article by Dr Lee De-Wit, David Alexander, Vebjørn Ekroll and Johan Wagemans, in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, pp. 1-14.

Published February 2016

DOI: 10.3758/s13423-016-1002-0

Psychology moved beyond the stimulus response mapping of behaviorism by adopting an information processing framework. This shift from behavioral to cognitive science was partly inspired by work demonstrating that the concept of information could be defined and quantified (Shannon, 1948). This transition developed further from cognitive science into cognitive neuroscience, in an attempt to measure information in the brain. In the cognitive neurosciences, however, the term information is often used without a clear definition. This paper will argue that, if the formulation proposed by Shannon is applied to modern neuroimaging, then numerous results would be interpreted differently. More specifically, we argue that much modern cognitive neuroscience implicitly focuses on the question of how we can interpret the activations we record in the brain (experimenter-as-receiver), rather than on the core question of how the rest of the brain can interpret those activations (cortex-as-receiver). A clearer focus on whether activations recorded via neuroimaging can actually act as information in the brain would not only change how findings are interpreted but should also change the direction of empirical research in cognitive neuroscience.

Read the full journal article on the Springer website.


Monday, 08 February 2016 15:08

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Dr Catherine Seville

The Institute of Continuing Education notes with sadness the sudden death of Dr Catherine Seville, Fellow and Former Vice-Principal of Newnham College.

Catherine Seville played a prominent role in the Institute’s long-standing English Legal Methods Summer Programme for many years, and contributed greatly to the continuing success of the programme. She will be greatly missed by all those who share in the running and teaching of that programme.

A tribute to Catherine appears on the Newnham College website.


Friday, 05 February 2016 11:08

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Tell us your views: proposed Certificate course in Psychology

Here at the Institute of Continuing Education we are developing a new one-year, part-time University of Cambridge Certificate course in Psychology. We would very much welcome your views on the proposed course and invite you to complete a short survey to help inform the design process.

Complete the survey »

About the course

This one-year, part-time course will provide an insight into the study of psychology, with a particular focus on how the brain enables us to see, think and remember.

It will explore evidence from the study of patients with brain damage (neuropsychology), the use of neuroimaging, and behavioural experiments. Students will learn about some of the key specialisations in different areas of the brain and how differences in the brain relate to individual differences in behaviour and cognition.

The course will be open-access, meaning that no special qualifications would be needed to apply, beyond an interest in the subject and a willingness to commit to the course. It is likely to be delivered via a blend of face-to-face teaching and self-directed online study.

It will be taught part-time at first-year undergraduate level and will give 60 credits at FHEQ level 4 on successful completion of the course. (For reference, one year of full time undergraduate study would typically be equivalent to 120 credits).

About the survey

The survey consists of nine questions and will only take you a few minutes to complete.

Complete the survey »

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Taster courses

If you are interested in a taster of what the Certificate in Psychology might involve, you might wish to take one of the following day schools in 2016:

An introduction to the human brain (8 May 2016)

From the eye to the brain: how do humans see? (12 June 2016)


Tuesday, 26 January 2016 10:02

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The Queen's Young Leaders searches the Commonwealth for mentors

The opportunity to guide the next generation of leaders is being offered to potential mentors around the Commonwealth – be they in business, technology, health, science, education or NGOs.

The mentors will join the 2016 Queen's Young Leaders Mentor Panel to help winners of the Queen's Young Leaders award develop their work.

Current mentors have described the experience as “fulfilling”, “an absolute privilege” and “filled with hope, aspiration, and love for humanity”. Many have also commented that it has helped them network globally.

Inaugurated by HRH the Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales in July 2014, the Queen’s Young Leaders Award recognises young people from across the Commonwealth who are working to improve their communities.

As part of their prize, winners receive a course in leadership as part of the Leading Change programme. The course and mentoring scheme have been developed, and are managed by, the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge.

Frances Brown, Leading Change Course Director, says:

“Many of our mentoring partnerships have grown into ongoing working and personal relationships with the 2015 Queen’s Young Leaders.  

“This year we are looking to expand our network to cover the Commonwealth countries that were missing last year – particularly those from island nations. We also want to attract more mentors in traditional high-status roles in business and leadership, and those leading in non-traditional, innovative ways.”

What our mentors say

“As I mentored, it opened me to ideas of improving various skills, particularly in terms of nurturing and patience... This has facilitated access to resources on leadership, and management skills, as well as a community of emerging and accomplished leaders.” (Dr Ishrat Bano, Personal Mentor from Pakistan)

“It has been good talking to the Queen’s Young Leaders. I was happy I could share with them, and also learn from them at the same time…” (Ayuk Anne-Chantal Besong, Personal Mentor from Cameroon)

“[My mentees] are exceptional young women working to make a difference in our world. I admire their resilience to achieve their goals despite challenges they face.” (Unami Moatswi, Advisory Mentor from Botswana)

“It was apparent to me immediately that I would learn as much from her as she would from me. We often say this, pay lip service to it, but it has been entirely true with us.” (Dr Rebecca Calder, Personal Mentor from Canada)


If you're interested in becoming a mentor, or would like to find out more about the programme, please visit


Wednesday, 13 January 2016 10:28

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The hidden heritage of forced and slave labour: examining the commitment to remembering the Channel Islands.

Article by Dr Gilly Carr, in Skrifter [Transactions]
4, the Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. Special Issue: 'Painful Heritage: Studies in the Cultural Landscape of the Second World War.', edited by M. Jasinski and L. Sem.

Published 2015

This paper explores whether the erection of memorials indicates a proper commitment to remembering the victims of Nazi Germany (in this case, forced and slave labourers), or whether it indicates a minimum effort, a mere 'discharge of obligations' or politically expedient response on behalf of politicians or even local people to support this 'token recognition'. I will suggest that it can indicate a false commitment to remembering, enabling people to get on with forgetting without being accused of doing so. Taking a detailed study of the German-occupied Channel Islands as my area of focus, I consider the full range of the legacy of forced and slave labour, examining what has become heritage and what has been neglected and still remains to be revealed as, or turned into, heritage in order to demonstrate a proper commitment to the memory of this often overlooked group. Specifically, this paper will be discussing and comparing the tangible and intangible legacies at bunkers, museums, memorials and sites of labour camps in the three largest Channel Islands. I will conclude by discussing examples of good heritage practice in the Channel Islands, and make recommendations for future work.


Thursday, 10 December 2015 15:23

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The Queen's Young Leaders of 2016 announced

Sixty young people from across the Commonwealth have today been recognised as exceptional leaders in their communities as part of the Queen's Young Leaders Programme.

Each young leader will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty The Queen in 2016.

The Programme celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities. Here at ICE, we are delighted to support the Programme by organising workshops and tailored support to help the Award winners develop their management and leadership skills.

This year’s Award winners, who are aged between 18 and 29 and come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. Over the next three years the Programme, run in partnership with the University of Cambridge, will support thousands of young people to achieve their goals.

Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: "Once again 60 incredible young people from around the Commonwealth have shown strength, leadership, empathy and drive. Some of our winners are just embarking on their leadership journey and others are more established. Either way, we recognise not only what these amazing young people have achieved, but also their potential in changing people’s lives for the better in the countries and communities in which they live."

To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit


Monday, 07 December 2015 00:00

2016 Main

2016 International Summer Programmes

Applications now open

Applications are now open for the University of Cambridge International Summer Programmes which will run in Cambridge from
3 July to 13 August 2016. Our programmes give you the opportunity to meet award-winning lecturers, stay and dine in one of the historic Cambridge Colleges and enjoy a range of weekend excursions and
social activities.

Our programmes

We offer the following specialist programmes:
Ancient and Classical Worlds
Creative Writing
English Legal Methods
Medieval Studies

We also offer an Interdisciplinary Summer Programme where you can select courses from a wide range of topics including philosophy, economics, international politics and relations, literature, history, archaeology, history of art and history of science.

About our programmes

Programmes are delivered at university level and geared towards an adult audience of undergraduate and graduate students, professionals and retired people. All are taught by leading Cambridge scholars and guest subject specialists. Programmes combine classroom sessions, subject-specific morning lectures and general-interest evening talks. 

Find out more

Browse our programmes online
Download a copy of our brochure
Request a copy of our brochure or
Call us on +44 (0) 1223 760850

Virtual Open Day

We'll be hosting our first ever Virtual Open Day on Wednesday 16 December. You'll have the chance to hear from some of our past students and lectures, browse our programmes and accommodation options and contact our team to find our more about what we offer.

What our students say

“One of the best summers of my life! The courses were intensive, challenging and highly enjoyable!”
Marie Tredaniel, France (Interdisciplinary Programme)

“In the introduction talk you said that your goal was to change lives, and in my case you definitely succeeded. I will hopefully be returning next year, and will definitely be recommending it to others.”
Blanaid Barr, Northern Ireland (Literature)

“Classes are rich and rewarding in their variety and depth; plenary lectures are stimulating and fun; the international, intergenerational student body is a delight… It's no wonder students return year after year.”
Ben Wiley, USA (Interdisciplinary Programme)

“The International Summer Programme is the most wonderful thing I have ever taken part in. I have learned more in the past two weeks than in the past two years! Thank you for this opportunity!”
Barbara Plock, Germany (Medieval Studies)

For more information visit
Follow us on Twitter: @Cambridge_ISP




Wednesday, 02 December 2015 09:57

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Recognising and moving on from a failed paradigm: the case study of agricultural landscapes in Anglo-Saxon England c.400-800 AD

Paper by Dr Susan Oosthuizen in Journal of Archaeological Research.


Published online 28 November 2015 (print edition June 2016)

Understanding how and why material culture changes is a central
pre-occupation for archaeologists. One of the most intractable examples
of this problem can be found between 400 and 800 AD in the enigmatic
transformation of sub Roman into Anglo-Saxon England. That example lies
at the heart of this review, explored through the case of the
agricultural economy. Although the ideas critically examined below
relate specifically to early medieval England, they represent themes of
universal interest: the role of migration in the transformation of
material culture; politics and economy in a post-imperial world; the
significance of “core” and “periphery” in evolving polities;
ethnogenesis as a strategy in kingdom building; property rights as a
lens for investigating cultural change; and the relationship between
hierarchical political structures and collective forms of governance.
The first part of the argument presented below proposes a structured
response to paradigmatic stalemate by identifying and testing each
underlying assumption, premise and interpretative framework. The
recognition of any fallacies, false premises and flawed arguments might
assist with an overall evaluation of the continuing utility of a
discourse – whether it has life in it yet, or should be set aside. In
either case, the recognition of its structure should enable arguments to
be developed that do not lead into a disciplinary cul-de-sac, prevented
by the orthodoxy from exploring new avenues for research.
The second part of the review deliberately adopts a starting point
outside the limits of the current discourse. Freed from the confines of
the conventional consensus, it experiments with an alternative “bottom
up” approach to change in early medieval England that contrasts with
conventional “top down” arguments. It focuses in particular on how
rights over agricultural property – especially collective rights - and
the forms of governance implied by them may assist in illuminating the
roles of tradition and transformation in effecting cultural change.

You can download the whole paper on the Springer website.



Thursday, 26 November 2015 09:52

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"Have you been offended?" Holocaust memory in the Channel Islands at HMD 70

Article by Dr Gilly Carr, in Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history.


Published online October 2015

The Channel Islands have experienced great difficulty in coming to terms with the Holocaust given the implication of the local authorities in the registration of the islands’ Jewish population during the German occupation. While the situation in Jersey began to change in the 1990s due to the actions of the island's leadership, the issue is still taboo in Guernsey today. Taking a historical approach, this article addresses the power of that taboo at the time of Holocaust Memorial Day 2015, proposing the concept of the “incremental memory event” as a way of understanding the differences in memory in both islands.

You can read the full article – on the Taylor and Francis Group website.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:13

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Tell us your views: proposed Certificate course in human evolution

Here at the Institute of Continuing Education we are considering developing a new one-year, part-time University of Cambridge Certificate course focusing on the history of human evolution.

We would very much welcome your views on the proposed course, and invite you to complete a short survey to help inform the design process.

Complete the survey »

About the proposed course

The proposed course would follow the human story from its early hominin origins in prehistory to present day modern humans. It would draw on evidence from several sources, including paleoarchaeology, anthropology and primatology. Students would learn about the key transitions and controversies in human evolution, and how our evolutionary past influences our current behaviour and the nature of family, culture and society.

The Certificate course would be open access, i.e. no special qualifications would be needed to apply beyond an interest in the subject and a willingness to commit to the course.

It would be taught at first-year undergraduate level and would give 60 credits at FHEQ level 4 on successful completion of the course. (For reference, one year of a full-time undergraduate degree is typically equivalent to 120 credits.)

About the survey

The survey consists of nine questions and will only take you a few minutes to complete.

Complete the survey »

Many thanks in advance for your help.


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