Press Office


Interesting Insights: New free public lecture series set to begin


The issue of slavery is back in the headlines thanks to the award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. Richard Blackett, from Vanderbilt University, will throw more light on the subject with his Insights public lecture.

The Andrew Jackson Professor of American History (pictured) will give the  talk  The Underground Railroad and the Struggle against Slavery, on Tuesday, 11 February. He will discuss the ‘underground railroad’ a series of secret routes and the safe houses used by 19th Century black slaves.

The new season of free Insights public lectures begins on Tuesday, 21 January, with a series of Holmes lectures for children, aimed at 10 to 14-years olds. They cover the topics Powering the World, Water – Vital for life and Feeding the World.

Other highlights of the new programme include author Frank Cottrell Boyce delivering the annual Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children’s Literature on Thursday, 27 February. The author of prize-winning children’s books Millions and The Unforgotten Coat, who also wrote the spectacular London Olympics opening ceremony, will ask: “What’s in your head?”

The Miner’s Strike comes under the spotlight on Tuesday, 11 March, when Nicholas Jones, who covered the strike for BBC TV News, looks at what might have happened if Arthur Scargill had negotiated a settlement.

On the back of his widely-read and reviewed definitive history of the bombing war of 1939 to 45, Richard Overy will offer new perspectives on a still-sensitive subject on Thursday, 13 March.

Novelist and biographer Miranda Seymour will consider the relationship between England and Germany, from the seventeenth century to the Second World War, on Tuesday, 18 March.

And the official historian of the Falklands War, and member of the Iraq War Inquiry, Sir Lawrence Freedman, will talk on the subject of ‘strategy and the underdog’, on Tuesday, 4 March.

The Live in the King’s Hall free concert series gets underway on Wednesday, 22 January with the chance to hear our final year music students perform. On Thursday, 6 February, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, will perform their blend of folk, blues, jazz and gospel. The band won the 2013 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and the Prestigious City Music Award.

Pianist Martin Roscoe will perform pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin on Thursday, 20 March.  Soprano Ruth Jenkins-Róbertsson and pianist Will Vann will perform Schumann's Song Cycle Frauenliebe und-leben and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate on Thursday, 13 March.

The traditional music of Northumberland will take centre stage on Friday, 31 January, when Shona Mooney and the Mosse Troopers play. Their performance will feature a new composition for the Northumberland National park.

Pieces composed by our music students will be performed by members of the Royal Northern Sinfonia on Saturday, 15 February.

Dr Martin Farr, chair of Insights public lectures, said: “I’m delighted to announce yet another stellar line-up with impressive speakers discussing a wide range of topics and issues.

“We have Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, discussing how the organisation has adapted to the challenges of the 20th century; while we also have a number of fascinating talks about health. These include Professor Ian Young talking about cholesterol and Professor Baroness Finlay of Llandlaff discussing the challenges of terminal illness. 

“I’d also urge people to head along to hear our final music students perform if they get a chance. They won’t be disappointed.”

All Insights public lectures are free to attend and most take place at 5.30pm in the Curtis Auditorium of the university’s Herschel Building. For the full Insights programme and for more information about the lectures, visit the website.

Concerts take place at 1.10pm every Thursday in the Kings Hall unless otherwise stated. Check the website for more information. 

Photograph of Professor Richard Blackett courtesy of Vanderbilt University.

published on: 17 January 2014