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About the Jubilee Centre

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is part of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham.

The Jubilee Centre is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing. The Centre promotes a moral concept of character in order to explore the importance of virtue for public and professional life. The Centre is a leading informant on policy and practice in this area and through its extensive range of projects contributes to a renewal of character virtues in both individuals and societies. The above film and brochure (right) illustrate the impact and influence that the Jubilee Centre has achieved with politicians, policymakers, educationalists and other key stakeholders during its first phase of work (2012-2015). This influence and impact continued to grow during the second phase of work (2015-2017), and into the third phase (2017-2020).

Click here for an overview of the Jubilee Centre's reach and impact

Our Goals

Strengthening character virtues in Britain

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues will address critical questions about character in Britain. The Centre will promote, build and strengthen character virtues in the contexts of the family, school, community, university, professions, voluntary organisations and the wider workplace. We believe that character is constituted by the virtues, such as courage, justice, honesty, compassion, self-discipline, gratitude, generosity and humility.  These virtues: 

  1. are critical to individual excellence;
  2. contribute to societal flourishing; 
  3. can be exercised within all human contexts;
  4. are educable.

We believe that the virtues that characterise a distinctly human form of life influence how we think and act in the particular situations that confront us.

The Big Questions

The big questions that the Centre aims to address in its current phase of work revolve around the transformative power of character in shaping the future together with the virtues of personal life and public service.

  • How can character education, as developed by the Jubilee Centre and practised in the UK, be designed such as to bridge the gap between virtue literacy and virtuous conduct, and what is the role of novel interventions and measurements in facilitating that process?
  • How can character education programmes be extended to target groups (such as parents, and teacher educators) that often lie outside the compass of such efforts in the UK?
  • How can a virtue ethical lens help to develop the moral compass of professional practices?

The research reports published by the Centre during its first phase of work (2012-2015) and details of our current projects (2015-2017) are available via the below links. Further resources and materials are available across the website. All are free to download and use; please cite the Centre when using them. Please contact us to give us feedback.

The Centre commissioned The Moment (formerly OneTwoFour) to make the documentary A Question of Character? in 2014-2015. The film, presented by Katie Derham, explores the place of character and virtues in the education of young people today, and in society at large. Below is a trailer to the full documentary. Further films produced and commissioned by the Centre are available on our YouTube channel.


"Societies around the globe are rediscovering ancient wisdom: Character matters. In the century ahead, there is no more important human quest than the one the Jubilee Center is undertaking—to generate useful knowledge about how to foster good character in every area of our personal and public lives."

Tom Lickona, Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility), State University of New York at Cortland