The McWhirter Conferences 2019

Following 40 years of staging a highly regarded annual sixth form conference at Oxford University (formerly known as the Dicey Conference), the McWhirter Foundation held additional annual conferences at Cambridge in 2016 and 2017.  The mix of sixth formers, predominantly from state schools, reflects a typical Oxbridge intake. Both events aim to increase the self-confidence of students and encourage them to think about their future role in society. The Oxford conference traditionally explores the balance between the responsibilities of the individual and the state, whilst the Cambridge conferences have focused on how developments in 'science and technology' impact on society. 

This year we held a conference at Trinity College, Oxford entitled ‘Who Should Set the Limits of Free Speech?’. We also held our first overseas conference in Melbourne on 11th and 12th July, with the same title as the Oxford Conference, and we plan to return to Cambridge in the near future.

The McWhirter Foundation has no political agenda and invites speakers with a range of contrasting views. The Foundation issues invitations to schools and academies for two student delegates to attend. We are happy to receive requests from schools to be added to our list of those invited to send delegates. We are often oversubscribed so cannot guarantee that all those wanting to attend can be accommodated. There is no cost to those attending, other than travel.


The McWhirter Oxford Conference 2019 took place at Trinity College on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th March 2019. The subject this year is ‘Who Should Set the Limits of Free Speech?’


The inaugural Australian 2019 McWhirter conference took place at the University of Melbourne on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th July. Inspiring young people to debate topical issues and to think about their future role in society.