Innovation That Matters

Free lecture series replaces inane bar conversations with stimulating talks

Publishing & Media

New York's Raising The Bar is an event placing 50 lectures in 50 bars across the city, offering thought-provoking ideas.

The web has made higher education-level learning more accessible, and even free, through programs such as MIT and Harvard’s EdX and the nonprofit Khan Academy, but it’s actually inspiring adults to want to learn new skills and knowledge that can be difficult. New York’s Raising The Bar is an event placing 50 lectures in 50 bars across the city, replacing drunken conversation with stimulating talks.

Created by students at NYU and Columbia University, the program will take over Manhattan bars for one night on 29 April, offering a range of free lectures by top university professors. The talks will take in topics from smartphone technology to spirituality and modern economics to Greek tragedy, and use a TED-style format to engage guests. Entrance to each event is free, but requires a reserved ticket. The event has proven popular enough that every event is currently sold out, although there may be some made available at a later date.

Raising The Bar hopes to change the typical atmosphere of New York bars by providing thoughtful ideas that aim to inspire adults to continue learning, or at least spark an interesting conversation with their friends. Are there other unusual locations where otherwise idle moments could be turned into opportunities for learning?



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