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Public lectures to provide Insights into the Islamic State, Everyday Sexism and more


The creation of the ‘Islamic State’ and ongoing destabilisation of large parts of the Middle East will be the focus of the first in the spring programme of Insights public lectures. 

The talk will be given by the one of the most respected foreign correspondents in the British media, Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent at The Independent, on Tuesday 3 February. Having reported from the Middle East for over 30 years, Patrick will ask ‘What is the Islamic State and what can be done about it?’

On Thursday 30 April, Laura Bates (pictured) will discuss ‘Everyday Sexism’ – from lad culture to workplace discrimination and sexual abuse. As founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Laura will also highlight ongoing work with schools, universities, police forces and politicians to combat sexism and prejudice.

In this General Election year, Sir Stephen Wall, Official Government Historian of UK relations with Europe and former Ambassador to the EU will discuss the UK’s relationship with Europe, on Tuesday 10 March. And on Thursday 14 May, a week after the election, Prof John Curtice, from the University of Strathclyde and fresh from the BBC election night TV studio, will consider the outcome of the most unpredictable election in a century.

Other highlights of the new programme include ‘Rediscovering the elixir of life: there is more to ageing than managing ill health’ to be given on Tuesday 10 February by Prof Aidan Halligan, Director of Well North. 

Dr Martin Farr, chair of Insights public lectures, said: “I am delighted to present another strong line-up of presenters covering diverse issues and topics ranging from how solar storms affect us, to language and thought in children.

“We will also have the ‘Bard of Barnsley’, Ian McMillan, who will reflect on his life and times, and award-winning biographer Fiona MacCarthy, who’ll give a fascinating talk looking at the legacy of William Morris, recognised as a key contributor to the Arts and Crafts and Garden Cities movements.

“I am especially pleased that our programme again features presentations from some of our young researchers, and I’d urge people to get along to hear about how our students are helping shape the medical treatments of tomorrow.”

A new Live in the King’s Hall lunchtime concert series also gets underway from February and will feature a varied range of music. On Thursday 5 February, the Graeme Wilson Quartet will play contemporary jazz, while bubbling dance music, ballads, and comic songs will take centre stage on Thursday 12 February, when Cran will perform their blend of traditional Irish music.

Other highlights will be a performance on Thursday 5 March from internationally-acclaimed soprano Mhairi Lawson, who will be performing works by Haydn, Schubert, Mozart and Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, accompanied by Jan Waterfield. And a range of songs with shades of British folk, bluegrass, Eastern European and Indian classical music will feature in Dan Walsh’s unusual take on clawhammer-style banjo on Thursday 16 April.

There are also weekly performances by music students from 4pm on Thursdays, also free and open to the public.

All Insights public lectures are free and open to all and most take place at 5.30pm in the Curtis Auditorium of the university’s Herschel Building, opposite Haymarket Metro. Concerts take place at 1.10pm every Thursday in the Kings Hall unless otherwise stated.

For the full Insights programme and for information about Live in the Kings Hall concerts and other music events taking place in the Kings Hall, click here.  


published on: 26 January 2015