Living our values

Sophie Adelman, Cofounder & CEO · Thu, 9 Jun 2022

“The Garden, in my opinion the best-curated learning community online, are opening up memberships. It's an exciting place, go check it out” -- Dr David Plans

We recently announced that we will soon be opening up membership to our community as we move out of our trial phase and formally announce The Garden to the world.  As nearly 10,000 people have signed up to The Garden during this trial phase, we wanted to share the reasoning behind moving from a free to paid offering with our community

Why are we offering membership subscriptions?

To date, all of the live and on-demand Talks, and access to our community, has been freely available.  Creating our beautiful Garden Talks involves a team of producers, videographers, video editors, guides and of course our wonderful Fellows.  We would love to bring this to you free of charge but we also know that to provide exceptional, curated learning experiences that will spark your interest and curiosity, involves a lot of work and time and this costs money.  That’s why we are moving to a paid membership model so we can continue to bring the joy back into learning and enable anyone, anywhere access to the world’s greatest minds.

Why do you pay your Fellows?

Academics are chronically underpaid, undervalued and under-recognised.  They are constantly asked to do things for free and they often agree because they love to talk about their work.  Public outreach and engagement is becoming an important part of their research funding applications.   Many academics also spend a huge amount of their time teaching and love to engage with the next generation.  But academics are primarily paid and rewarded for the research they do and not for the teaching they give.   There are exceptions to the rule here but generally the skill of being a great teacher isn’t what enables academics to get ahead in their careers.  

Here at The Garden we value experts who can ignite our curiosity and explain complex ideas simply (the sign of a great teacher) and that means we pay our Fellows to prepare and deliver their fascinating Talks.  

Why Academics?

These are the people who dedicate their lives to uncovering knowledge about the world and our history, and discovering new ways to touch the edges of human understanding.  They diligently research for years to discover cures for cancer, decipher ancient texts and create technologies that could lead to humankind’s survival.  From the humanities to the arts to the sciences, much of the value of academic research only comes to the fore in moments of crisis or discovery but to get there is an undervalued journey.  

In a world of misinformation and alternative facts, we have never needed access to true experts more than now.  We wanted to create a place where people from all over the world could come and access these incredible experts and learn from them in an easy, enjoyable way.  If we want to bring the most brilliant minds from all over the world, out of their institutions and into your homes, we need to do it in a way that aligns with our values.  

Valuing academics is good for society and it’s good for our community.

Explore the collection

It’s always good to question what we think we know. The Rethinking Collection is a series of Garden Talks by world experts that reexamine the ideas and events that have shaped and continue to shape our world.

Rethinking Serendipity: How is luck created?

Dr. Christian Busch

Research has proven that there's more to luck than simple chance. How can the right mindset turn uncertainty into serendipity?

On demand
Watch now
Which mathematical challenges will shape the 21st Century?

Prof. Yang-Hui He

The most transformative scientific breakthroughs depend on maths. Which problems are mathematicians working on that will drive scientific change in the coming decades?

On demand
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Why is a computer not a good analogy for the brain?

Prof. Angus Fletcher

Artificial intelligence systems are built to mimic human intelligence. Do they have any chance of replicating all the abilities of a brain?

On demand
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Did Jesus answer fan mail?

Dr. James Corke-Webster

The Abgar Legend tells the story of the King of Osroene, who (it's said) got into a correspondence with Jesus. Are these letters real?

On demand
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Why are our universities getting whiter?

Prof. Kalwant Bhopal

With more scrutiny on it than ever, inclusion in our universities should be the widest it's ever been. So why do so many key metrics tell a different story?

On demand
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How do the stories we tell shape who we are?

Prof. Ann Phoenix

Conversation is a continuous act of curating, connecting and analysing the events in our lives. How do we decide how we want to be seen?

On demand
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Intro to Catherine de Medici: Why do we love to hate a woman in power?

Dr. Leah Redmond Chang

History's leading ladies often come with a bad reputation. What can the Black Queen teach us about the misunderstood women of the past?

On demand
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How do cultures around the world think about property and ownership?

Dr Saskia Vermeylen

The Sharing Economy is challenging the West's traditional view of ownership, but other ways of thinking about property and possession have existed for millennia. What do they look like?

On demand
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The Garden is a community for the curious, a place where inquisitive minds can come together to learn from world experts, and each other, and join in conversations about topics that spark their curiosity.

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