The remains of Richard III were discovered in a Leicester car park in 2012 and recently reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Forensic tests identified the body as Richard’s ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Join award-winning pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman to learn more about how this conclusion was reached and discover what a modern-day post mortem examination might have uncovered. With the help of a live model, Dr Lishman will explore what Richard’s body might tell us about how he lived and died.
Barbara Brown Taylor says that in dark places and times it can be possible to begin to see the world and sense God’s presence around us in new ways – guiding us through things seen and unseen, teaching us to find our footing in times of uncertainty and doubt, and giving us strength and hope to face life’s challenges. Could it be that, like seeds buried in the ground, darkness is as essential to our growth and flourishing as light?
Barbara Brown Taylor is an American Episcopal priest, professor, author and theologian and is one of the United States’ best known preachers. She spent 15 years as a parish priest before becoming Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, Georgia and is the author of best-selling guides to the spiritual life including An Altar on the World and Leaving Church. Her new book is Learning to Walk in the Dark (Canterbury Press 2014).
Have you ever considered the stories that we don’t get to hear? Join us for a stimulating provocation and debate with writer Kerry Hudson (Thirst), Alexandra Pringle, Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury, writer Nikesh Shulka (Meatspace), editor and Booker Judge, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey and from the floor, expert witness Danuta Kean, (author of the Spread the Word report ‘Writing the Future’); a wide-ranging discussion about diversity in literature that is bound to get you thinking.
Publishing is still largely a white middle-class industry, accessed through unpaid internships that many young people simply can’t afford to work. Publishers’ tastes and the books they choose to publish shape our culture, yet still do not fully reflect it. What effect is all of this having on the stories that are getting through? What can we do about the voices and stories that are not being heard?
The National Conversation
Featuring a full provocation, panel discussion and audience Q&A, this wide-ranging debate is part of a National Conversation taking place around the country, led by Writers’ Centre Norwich. We have been discussing pertinent literary issues with Ali Smith, Will Self, Michael Rosen, Philip Gwyn Jones, Meg Rosoff, a host of national partners and now you. Have your say at the event or online here. @writerscentre #NatConv
Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, was published in 2014 by Chatto & Windus and was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. Her books are also available in the US (Penguin), France (Editions Phillipe Rey) and Italy (Minimum Fax). Kerry founded The WoMentoring Project and has written for Grazia, Guardian Review and YOU Magazine. She has led writing workshops for the National Academy of Writing, Arvon Foundation and Writers’ Centre Norwich.
Alexandra Pringle is Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury. She began her career in publishing as Editorial Assistant on the art magazine Art Monthly. She joined Virago Press in 1978 where she edited the Virago Modern Classics series. In 1984 she was made Editorial Director, later becoming part of the management team to steer Virago through their management buy-out from Cape, Chatto & Bodley Head. In 1990 she joined Hamish Hamilton as Editorial Director and four years later left publishing to become a literary agent. She joined Bloomsbury in 1999. Her list of authors includes Margaret Atwood, William Boyd, Richard Ford, Esther Freud, Elizabeth Gilbert, Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colum McCann, Sheila Hancock, Ann Patchett, George Saunders, Lynn Barber, Patti Smith and Barbara Trapido. She is a Patron of Index on Censorship and has been awarded Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters from Anglia Ruskin University and Warwick University.
Nikesh Shukla is a writer of fiction and for television.His new novel is Meatspace, the Guardian saying of the book that ‘like Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, this novel captures a cultural moment.’ His debut, Coconut Unlimited was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. Nikesh’s short stories have been featured in: Best British Short Stories 2013, Five Dials, The Moth Magazine, Pen Pusher, The Sunday Times, Book Slam, BBC Radio 4, First City Magazine and Teller Magazine. He has written essays (‘Generation Vexed: What the Riots Don’t Tell Us About Our Nation’s Youth’), a novella (The Time Machine, 2013), and for TV, including ‘Two Dosas’ with Himesh Patel, and his Channel 4 Comedy Lab ‘Kabadasses’. Shulka has written for the Guardian, Esquire and BBC 2 and hosts the The Subaltern podcast, the anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is an independent critic, broadcaster and editor. She is the editor ofAfrica39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury, 2014). The former Deputy Editor of Granta magazine, she sits on the boards of the English PEN and the Writers’ Centre Norwich as well as serving as Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her journalism has appeared in the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Observer and she is a regular contributor to the book pages of NPR. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Allfrey was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry.
Date: Thursday 9th July
Time: Drinks at 6pm and talk at 6.30pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
Tickets: £8 and £6 for students, including wine
Book tickets at www.bloomsburyinstitute.com
(Direct link: http://pages.bloomsbury.com/bloomsburyinstitute/nationalconversation )
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek joins us at The School of Life to demonstrate how our ideas about beauty and art are deeply intertwined with our scientific understanding of the cosmos.
Wilczek illustrates how the discovery of celestial forces, such as gravity and the earth’s orbit, gave birth to new dynamism in visual art; that the aesthetic satisfaction we get from understanding the symmetry of mathematics and matter is the same as the satisfaction we get from understanding art.
Using examples from from Pythagoras and Plato, Galileo and Newton, Maxwell and Einstein, he will demonstrate how this quest has guided the work of all scientific pursuit in the western world and shows that beauty is both quantifiable and subjective.
When most of us hear the word “genome” we think of human DNA, the material that was long seen as the blueprint of human health and disease. Today, we know that there are many more factors than our DNA that make us who we are, including our lifestyles, our emotions, our environments.
But there is another element that, as recent science shows, has a huge impact on us: micro-organisms. Trillions of microbes, bacteria and fungi inhabit our bodies, help to digest our food, keep us healthy, or make us sick. In fact only 10 percent of the cells in our bodies and one percent of our genes are human! This event will explore how recent advances in the science of microbes change our understanding of health and disease, and give a revolutionary approach to losing weight and staying slim.
Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and Director of the TwinsUK Registry, which is one of the world’s richest data collections on 11,000 twins. He trained as a physician with a career in research, which since 1992 has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common diseases, worked on epigenetics and more recently the gut microbiome. He is the author of The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat (2015).
Barbara Prainsack is Professor of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London. Barbara’s work explores the societal, regulatory and ethical implications of biomedical innovation for our society.
Chair: Sue Nelson is an award-winning science journalist and broadcaster, editor of The Biologist and a producer/presenter of the Space Boffins and Planet Earth podcasts. A former BBC science and environment correspondent, Sue continues to present science programmes for Radio 4 and BBC World Service.
An expert panel discusses the relationship between London and the rest of the UK.
The relationship between London and the rest of the UK, so often the subject of divisive debate, is perhaps more topical – and more contentious – than ever. Yet the questions raised by this debate are both key to Britain’s identity and vital to its future. With Zoe Williams, Danny Dorling, Tony Travers, Ben Rogers (Centre for London Think Tank), Iran Qureshi (expert on British Asian women) and Owen Jones.
This one-day conference is organised in conjunction with the Raphael History Centre.
As well as being the Chief Executive Officer of Conway Hall Ethical Society, speaker Jim Walsh has continued thinking about ethical issues since completing his PhD in 2007. Most recently, his thoughts have taken shape in the form of a blog – An Ethical Thirst – that looks at philosophers such as Hans-Georg Gadamer and Emmanuel Levinas and seeks to provide illustration of their thoughts by drawing parallels from literature, art, music and film. By combining cultural references with philosophical ideas, Jim is hopeful that a new understanding of personal ethics might arise which is accessible to those with little previous knowledge of philosophy.
Disturbed by the dehumanisation of those fleeing for their lives as a daily media and political event, Jim Walsh will advocate a new understanding of personal ethics that aims to bring migrants in from the cold of being abstract entities and give them warmth such as every human deserves. By focusing upon some of the ideas contained with Hans-Georg Gadamer’s magnum opus, Truth and Method, Jim will illustrate, with reference to A Scandal in Bohemia and the works of Rene Magritte, how we can start to re-evaluate ourselves when we regard other people.
Entry £3, £2 concs./free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members. Tickets available at the door.
Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.
Twitter or Facebook, Instagram or Periscope? Social media is no longer just a procrastination tool, it’s a sophisticated marketing and audience generation tool. So to figure out how to use it we got in touch with the best digital+art specialist – Bhavani Esapathi!
If you have any questions that you want answered tweet them at @bhaesa or with the hashtag #AskB
SCHEDULE OF EVENT
6-6:15pm – meet and greet.
6:15-7pm – talk + Q&A.
7-7:15pm – elevator pitch – everyone attending are invited to share what they are doing, or any help that they need from the community.
7:15-8pm – networking and drinks.
ABOUT BHAVANI ESAPATHI
Bhavani lives and breathes everything digital and have been working in digital cultural management & communications for the past 4 years. From speaking at conferences such as The Association of Art Historians to FutureEverything, her curiosity pushes the boundaries of digital publics, e-learning, social engagement & cultural production using technology.Twitter or Facebook, Instagram or Periscope? Social media is no longer just a procrastination tool, it’s a sophisticated marketing and audience generation tool. So to figure out how to use it we got in touch with the best digital+art specialist – Bhavani Esapathi!
Using examples from his book Trees: Their Natural History, Peter Thomas looks at the way in which woods and forests were vital elements in everyday life for our ancestors providing food, fuel and timber and making everything from beds to bows and arrows. He will also discuss how trees cope in a diverse range of environments and the problem of being large and long-lived.
Peter Thomas – is a senior lecturer and researcher in environmental science at University of Keele, Staffordshire.
We are all familiar with holograms: Two-dimensional optical structures which – when suitably lit – create the “illusion” of a three-dimensional object. In fact the light waves emerging from holograms are identical to the ones one would perceive from the three-dimensional object – a static observer could not distinguish the two. Recent research in fundamental physics has revealed that the gravitational force of nature might in fact be a holographic illusion in this sense. It is replaceable by a lower dimensional structure, known as gauge field theory. The latter is the theoretical framework to describe the non-gravitational forces in nature. Our lecture will begin with reviewing the basic concepts of gravitation, quantum mechanics and quantum fields. Then the holographic concept and its relation to superstrings will be presented. Finally, current insights on how to exploit this duality to answer questions in gauge field theory, which had not been accessible so far, will be presented.
Biography: Professor Jan Plefka works in mathematical physics with a focus on quantum field and string theory. After studying in Germany and the US he received his PhD from the University of Hannover in 1995. After postdoctoral positions at City College New York and Nikhef Amsterdam, he became a Junior staff member at the Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsam in 1998. In 2006 he received a Lichtenberg-Professorship at the Humboldt University Berlin supported by the Volkswagen Foundation. Since 2011 he is a full professor there. In 2014 he held a guest professorship at the ETH Zürich. His work focuses on the duality of strings and gauge fields with special emphasis on hidden symmetries in these systems.
Panel discussion questioning how we fight human trafficking in London and beyond?
Amy Jasper, UK Community Network Co-ordinator, STOP THE TRAFFIK
The Revd Marcus Walker, Associate Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome
The Revd Steve Chalke, MBE, Founder of STOP THE TRAFFIK and Oasis UK
Andrew Wallis, CEO of Unseen UK
Chaired by The Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Church, Piccadilly
On the doorstep of every home and business in Britain lurks a dark network which trafficks humans for forced labour and exploitation. This modern slavery is on the rise. As of December 2014, the Home Office estimated there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK alone.
Every person has a responsibility to help combat this global endemic, but where do we start? This panel event will discuss the realities of human trafficking, which is taking place across our neighbourhoods and communities. How can government, business, and faith leaders stop these horrors? What changes can we make personally to end these crimes?
On 16 August 2012, South African police opened fire on a large crowd of men who were on strike from the Marikana platinum mine. The police action resulted in 112 people being shot and 34 killed.
Nearly three years on from the massacre and as the Marikana Commission are due to publish their inquiry into what happened, we will be holding a special two-part event to explore politics, power and platinum in South Africa.
For the first part of the evening, photographer Jason Larkin and writer Jack Shenker will present Platinum. The publication examines the Marikana massacre and the physical and political context of the communities involved in South Africa’s platinum mining industry. Combining large-format posters and a wide-ranging and incisive essay in English and Xhosa, the publication breaks with traditional formats and brings new perspectives to an important and little-understood history.
The second part of the evening will see a panel of experts reflect on the events in Marikana and their consequences in South Africa, as well as what the report reveals about who should be held accountable.
Andrew Feinstein is a South African writer, campaigner and former ANC Member of Parliament. He is author of After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC and The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.
Additional speakers to be announced.
Bodysnatchers are back…with teeth! In the late 18th and early 19th century, a trip to the ‘dentist’ was a basic and painful experience and many mouths were were rotten and empty. However, a beautiful smile was still fashionable and desireable. With tooth transplantation being an experimental science at best, and sets of porcelain false teeth being wildly expensive, what could be the answer to the problem?
Assistant Curator Kirsty Chilton reveals how teeth taken from the mouths of the dead on the battlefields of the Penninsular or the burial grounds of London could be sold to dentists and turned into sets of false teeth, an opportunistic trade which could be worth a small fortune to a wise bodysnatcher…
For decades, we’ve imagine the rise of computer-based life forms, super-intelligences whose intellects could far surpass our own and trigger a new phase in non-human evolution.
Could these visions become real, and why do they have such a grip on our imaginations? How has culture informed AI research? Should we be more worried about sentient machines, or the dumb algorithms and data integration being worked on today? Do we still have privacy under the dead, uncaring gaze of a machine intelligence? What does humanism mean to an artificial intelligence anyway?
Science writer, broadcaster and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford chairs a panel of human intelligences, including leading roboticist Prof Alan Winfield and Dr Kathleen Richardson.
DEBATE: Jonathan Parker v Paul Carroll
Banks and bankers play an essential part in society by protecting, investing and lending money. They play direct and diverse roles at government, company and the individual level. They make absolutely critical decisions in investing in the future success of the UK, including pension, infrastructure and mortgage provision. It is no exaggeration to say that without banks, society as we know it would break down and collapse within 24 hours.
This is a hot and controversial topic, and Jonathan Parker will argue that today’s large banks are a force for good, without them our quality of life would be dramatically diminished. Excessive bonuses are a bone of public contention but these are not a fault of the individual banker but of the embedded culture inherent to the capitalist system, to which mankind owes a huge debt.
The motion will be opposed by Paul Carroll.
Jonathan Parker has worked in the financial services industry for nearly two decades. He has held senior positions in a variety of roles and organisations including banks, insurance companies and asset managers. He graduated from Bristol University with a BA (Hons) in Ancient History.
Paul Carroll is the founding president of 104 London Debaters TM (UK’s first Toastmasters club to specialise in debate) and a member of the Ancient Society of Cogers, (founded 1755) the world’s oldest free-speech forum.
Doors 10.30. Entry £3, £2 concs./free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members. Tickets available on the door.
Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.
Professor Miri Rubin gives a free lecture on the history of the university, introducing medieval universities from their beginnings in England, France and Italy and on to the Renaissance. The lecture will also address questions such as: How is learning to be turned into a job and career? How are poor students to be supported? How are youthful students best transformed into serious scholars? Who should support higher education? What are the criteria for academic freedom?
This talk explores what our students may gain from a particular approach to the internationalisation of the curriculum (IOC). Because I believe a university education is about enabling our students to make their way, professionally and personally, in a globalising world, I propose IOC to be a process relevant to all students in all disciplines. IOC, I suggest, should be a process to enhance learning, to create greater academic equity, and to build the capabilities which all our students will need to lead lives they have reason to value (Sen, 1993, 1999) in the fluid world(s) which await them. How can our formal and our hidden curricula be interrogated, shaped and delivered in ways which will give all our students the confidence and the competence to step outside their communities of similitude and experience and identify themselves as individuals who can, who have, and who will continue to be people who engage with Others?
This illustrated talk offers an introduction to some of the world’s longest-lived trees, from the ancient oaks and limes of northern Europe to the majestic monkey puzzles of Chile and Argentina. It will present botanical and historical information as well as examples of the cultural importance of ancient tree species.
Anna Lewington is an ethnobotanist and author. Ed Parker is a photographer and writer. Together they produced Ancient Trees: Trees that live for a thousand years, one of the first major books to celebrate ancient trees from around the world.
Transnational higher education takes a variety of forms, and has grown significantly in recent years. This lecture by QMUL’s VP (International) Professor David Sadler will explore the reasons for, and implications of, different models of transnational activity. In particular, it will consider the impacts of transnational education in terms of student experience, research and knowledge exchange, and the linkages with national higher education systems.
Prateek Buch, Sense About Science
After telling us a little about Sense about Science, Prateek will focus on how asking for evidence can increase public pressure on politicians to use evidence effectively and transparently.
This is particularly apt now that the General Election is over. Prateek will draw on topical examples, celebrating where it’s done well (MPs changing their minds, policy trials in areas like education); exposing where evidence is abused (drugs policy, welfare and crime); and sharing insights into the complexity and uncertainty at the heart of how evidence should inform policymaking in the public interest. He will also explore how the public asking for evidence fits with other evidence-related initiatives from Sense About Science’s partner organisations at election time and otherwise – fact checking, improving the supply of evidence and so on.
Prateek Buch is policy director of Evidence Matters, a campaign started by the charity Sense About Science as a collaborative initiative with partner organisations, which builds on their efforts to increase public demand for evidence to be used transparently and effectively throughout public life. Prateek spent 11 years as a research scientist at UCL, developing gene and stem cell therapy for disorders that cause blindness, and is an experienced Westminster policymaker.
You can follow Prateek on @EviMatters or @senseaboutsci
Doors at 6.30 pm for talk at 7.00 pm
Please arrive early to have a glass of wine from our charity wine bar, find your seat and chat with other members.
Donations to the wine bar will go to Prateek’s chosen charity: Sense About Science
All our talks are open to the general public and are free to attend, but we do rely on those who can, to make a donation of what they can afford, to cover the costs of room, equipment hire and help keep our talks free to all. Please give generously so we can continue with this policy.
This lecture by Dr Anouk Lang will introduce attendees to the field of Digital Humanities (DH). Beginning with some background on the field’s intellectual history, interdisciplinary character and major debates, we’ll then move on to an investigation of a few digital projects and tools in the areas of history and literary studies. We will consider what it means to work with data when you are trained in a humanities discipline: where one’s data comes from, how to manage it, how to analyse and manipulate it. We’ll identify resources for keeping up with the field in relation to both research and teaching – Twitter feeds, web resources, discussion forums and recent scholarly collections – and end with a consideration of the kind of technical skills participants might find it useful to begin developing if they are interested in pursuing work of this kind for themselves. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop in order to explore some of the interactive tools and projects as we go along.
The destructive spectre of war and tyranny in the 20th century, with all its attendant complications – whether in terms of collaboration, censorship or even deportation to death camps – is something that has been comprehensively documented on both disc and tape. Radio 3 presenter Rob Cowan illustrates some of the most interesting, and occasionally harrowing, examples of great musicians caught in the midst of serious conflict.
A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture Literature Festival.
A packed weekend of literature and storytelling with some of the finest writers from across the Arab world. Held at the British Library, the programme consists of a rich array of talks, readings and children’s workshops exploring the power of literature and the word. From poetry, fiction and graphic novels to new literary forms and performance, the Shubbak Literature Festival invites you to celebrate the depth and diversity of current Arab writing in the UK, Europe and across the Arab world.
Unconditional hospitality is a central idea in contemporary ethical philosophy and it has important implications for psychology. Its political equivalent is the notion of open borders as a utopian critique of nationality and national identity. We can become good hosts by temporarily interrupting the self and our habitual concerns about ‘me’ and ‘mine’ and also by reframing our notion of identity, including national identity.
Why ‘unconditional’ hospitality? Because conditional hospitality (the only hospitality we know) has not really worked. Born in the Greek polis and the oman forum, developed further via the Judaeo-Christian tradition and Kantian/Hegelian philosophy, this type of hospitality is juridical: it is handled by codes, norms and regulations, and it is inscribed within the metaphysics of violence. We need an unconditional hospitality because ethics without hospitality is no ethics at all.
Manu Bazzano is an author, psychotherapist, and lecturer at Roehampton University. He was ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk in both the Soto and Rinzai traditions. His latest books are Spectre of the Stranger: towards a Phenomenology of Hospitality and After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation.
For more information, visit www.manubazzano.com.
Doors 10.30. Entry £3, £2 concs./free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members. Tickets are available on the door.
Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.