The Institute for Cultural Research

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The Institute for Cultural Research
The Institute for Cultural Research Logo.jpg
Official logo
Formation 1965
Extinction 2013
Type NGO, educational charity, publisher
Purpose Thought, behaviour and culture
Headquarters London, UK
Director of Studies
Originally Idries Shah
Website Official website

The Institute for Cultural Research (ICR) was a London-based, UK-registered educational charity,[1][2][3] events organizer and publisher which aimed to stimulate study, debate, education and research into all aspects of human thought, behaviour and culture.[4] It brought together many distinguished speakers, writers and Fellows over the years.

A statement issued in 2013 by the institute on its official web site read: "As of summer 2013, the Institute has suspended its activities following the formation of a new charity, The Idries Shah Foundation."[4]


The institute was founded in 1965 by the well-known writer, thinker and Sufi teacher Idries Shah[5][6][7] to facilitate the dissemination of ideas, information and understanding between cultures.[2][8] Its Objects and Regulations were officially first adopted on 21 January 1966.[9] For some time based at Tunbridge Wells in Kent, it was later based in London.[10] Shah acted as the Institute's Director of Studies whilst still alive.[10][11][12][13] Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing, who was influenced by Idries Shah,[14] has also contributed to the Institute.[15][16]

Aims and remit[edit]

The Institute's stated aim was "to stimulate study, debate, education and research into all aspects of human thought, behaviour and culture" and to make the results of its members' academic work accessible to society and also to academics working in different fields.[2][8]

The body, which had a number of distinguished Fellows, published several dozen academic monographs and some books over the years[2][8] and held regular events.[2][17] These events usually included a series of six lectures by specialists per year, and a two-day seminar which is usually held in the Autumn. The aim of these was "to connect ideas across disciplines, across cultures, and even through history" and to bring about a broader, more holistic understanding by looking at issues from several different perspectives, with particular interest in human thought and behaviour and issues neglected by contemporary culture.[17][18]

In addition, the Institute supported projects in areas where freedom of access to facts was threatened,[2] for example in the case of Afghanistan where assistance had been given to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)'s female educational projects.[8]

All the Institute for Cultural Research's activities were open to the general public.[2]

Notable contributors[edit]

The institute published so many monographs and hosted so many lectures and seminars that only a small sample of notable contributors are listed here.[19]

Lecturers included:

Monograph writers included:

Books published by the ICR included Cultural Research[30][31] edited by the writer Tahir Shah, and Cultural Encounters: Essays on the interactions of diverse cultures now and in the past,[32][33] edited by Robert Cecil and David Wade.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Institute for Cultural Research's UK registered charity number is 313295.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Details of charitable status and activities at Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  3. ^ 313295 - THE INSTITUTE FOR CULTURAL RESEARCH - Official details of charitable status and activities at the Charity Commission Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  4. ^ a b Staff (2014). "The Institute for Cultural Research". The Institute for Cultural Research. Archived from the original on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  5. ^ Justin Wintle (ed), Makers of Modern Culture, Volume I, p474, Routledge, 2001, ISBN 0-415-26583-5. Retrieved from Google book search here on 2008-11-14.
  6. ^ Biographical detail about Idries Shah at Amazon Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  7. ^ Doris Lessing's tribute to Idries Shah in The Times, May 5, 1994 Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  8. ^ a b c d About the Institute for Cultural Research Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  9. ^ Details of the ICR's organisation at Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  10. ^ a b The World of Learning 1978–79. Europa Publications. p. 1367. ISBN 0-905118-25-1.  Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  11. ^ Obituary at official Idries Shah web site Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  12. ^ Staff. "Idries Shah – Grand Sheikh of the Sufis whose inspirational books enlightened the West about the moderate face of Islam (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2000-05-25. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  13. ^ Biographical detail on Idries Shah at the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (USA) where he co-led a seminar with Robert E. Ornstein Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  14. ^ Müge Galin, Between East and West: Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing, State University of New York Press, 1997, Albany, NY, ISBN 0-312-10293-3.
  15. ^ a b List of Institute for Cultural Research monographs Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  16. ^ Doris Lessing at the 1998 ICR seminar., speaking on problems, myths and stories. Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  17. ^ a b ICR's statement of public benefit at, made in light of the new Charities Act. Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  18. ^ Events held by the Institute for Cultural Research Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  19. ^ Google Scholar search results for ICR publications (pdf files) Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  20. ^ Philip Ball, Collective Behaviour and the Physics of Society, ICR Monograph Series No. 52, Institute for Cultural Research, 2007, ISBN 978-0-904674-44-6.
  21. ^ Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups, Institute for Cultural Research, 1988, ISSN 0306-1906, ISBN 0-904674-13-4.
  22. ^ Christopher C. French, Paranormal Perception? A Critical Evaluation, Institute for Cultural Research, 2001, ISBN 978-0-904674-34-7.
  23. ^ Alexander King, Science, Technology and the Quality of Life, The Institute for Cultural Research, 1972, ISSN 0306-1906, ISBN 0-9500029-8-4.
  24. ^ Dr. Alexander King et al., An Eye to the Future, Institute for Cultural Research, ISBN 978-0-9500029-1-0.
  25. ^ SourceWatch article on Alexander King Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  26. ^ Doris Lessing, Problems, myths and stories, The Institute for Cultural Research, 1999, ISSN 0306-1906, ISBN 0-904674-28-2.
  27. ^ Steven Mithen, Monograph Series No. 33, Problem-solving and the Evolution of Human Culture, The Institute for Cultural Research, 1999, ISSN 0306-1906, ISBN 0-904674-25-8.
  28. ^ Robert E. Ornstein and Robert Evan, Physiological studies of consciousness, ICR Monograph Series No. 11, Institute for Cultural Research, 1973, ISBN 0-904674-00-2.
  29. ^ Rupert Sheldrake, Fields of the Mind, ICR Monograph Series No. 55, Institute for Cultural Research, 2009, ISBN 978-0-904674-47-7.
  30. ^ Tahir Shah (ed), Cultural Research: Papers on Regional Cultures and Culture-Mixing, by and for the Institute for Cultural Research, Institute for Cultural Research, 1993, ISBN 978-0-86304-064-1.
  31. ^ Tahir Shah's Cultural Research at Amazon Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  32. ^ Robert Cecil and David Wade (eds), Cultural Encounters: Essays on the interactions of diverse cultures now and in the past, Institute for Cultural Research, 1990, ISBN 978-0-86304-050-4.
  33. ^ Cultural Encounters at Amazon Retrieved on 2008-11-14.

External links[edit]