Talks & Lectures

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Image of Thinking on Sunday - 'Nothing to be frightened of'

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday - 'Nothing to be frightened of'

Sun 21 Sept 2014, 11.00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

'Nothing to be frightened of' 

Chris Bratcher

My talk is a sampling of novelist Julian Barnes' touching and very personal memoir of his experiences of death in the family, and the demise of the famous and obscure in literature and life, plus his own fears and ruminations on his own, entitled 'Nothing to be Frightened of', published in 2008 (available in paperback).    

I will give a brief introduction to the book and some snippets from it, with comments to set the ball rolling.  For example, the book begins with what he claims to be his standard response to questions about what he believes: “I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him”; a statement (actually about the cultural and artistic legacy of others’ belief) which Barnes’ philosopher brother considers “soppy”.  Do you agree?

It would nice if attendees were familiar with the book, so that they could give their own take on it and recount bits they liked or otherwise.

Chris Bratcher is a former Chair and Treasurer of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and practised Sunday session talks giver and lecturer on a wide range of topics born of his academic philosophical discipline of Ethics and the Philosophy of Mind, and from his studies in Literature and Fine Arts. 

Manu Bazzano

I will discuss this subject from a Zen perspective. Living-and-dying is one word in Zen (shoji), a river running towards the sea, a river that cannot go back to the source. Our suffering is often caused by wanting to stand by the riverbank. The task of the psychotherapist is often thankless: urging the client back to the river of life thus renewing the promise of death. Even more thankless is the task of the philosopher: remembering the initial commitment to remain attentive of the delicate labour of death. Memento mori – “remember that you will die” --not the shrill overtones of religion but as a tonic of remembrance urging us towards a fuller and more meaningful life. 

Manu Bazzano is an existential psychotherapist and an ordained Zen monk. He lectures in philosophy and psychology and facilitates seminars and workshops worldwide. He is the author and editor of several books including Zen Poems (2002); Haiku for Lovers (2004);  Buddha is Dead (2006); The Speed of Angels (2009); Spectre of the Stranger (2012);  After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation (2014).

www.manubazzano.com

Chair – Prof. Evan Parker

Evan is a new trustee of Conway Hall Ethical Society.  He has worked in industry and in academe. He currently works on nano-technology and also on climate change. He has held leadership roles in several European programmes and has published widely. 

Doors 10.30, £3 Standard, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members.

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of Thinking on Sunday - A new dawn in secondary education

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday - A new dawn in secondary education

Sun 28 Sep 2014, 11.00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

A new dawn in secondary education 

Prof Evan Parker 

Our present education system is a catastrophic failure, not fit for purpose and its ethos is deeply flawed.

I will present a new and radical approach to secondary education, designed to be engaging and fulfilling and to enhance the student's contribution and experience in society. The teacher's role is redefined and their interaction with the students is based on new principles. The school infrastructure, along with its embedded technology is key to remodeling the whole-school experience.

The "syllabus” and the way it is delivered and student assessments are subject to profound revision compared to what is done today, ultimately making them relevant to advancing our society.

These ideas go well beyond any previous proposals/concepts, and discussions on how they might be developed and taken forward are most welcome.

Ever since being a 6th former Evan Parker has had abiding interests in how we might improve society and, in religion (although he is not religious). He has worked in industry and has spun out a company on solar energy. He held the Chair in Semiconductor Physics at the University of Warwick for 24 years and is currently Professorial Research Fellow. He currently works on nano-technology for medical applications and also on climate change. He has held leadership roles in many European programmes and published widely on scientific matters and also written a book on his childhood in a remote Cotswold village.

Chair - Tom Rubens

Tom a semi-retired teacher of English and Philosophy. He has worked as a university and college lecturer, and as a private tutor, and is still active in the latter field.

He has been a member of Conway Hall Ethical Society since the 1980s, and has been active at Conway Hall in a number of ways: serving a brief period as editor of the Ethical Record: delivering a large number of Sunday morning lectures; and doing archive work on material in the Society's journals from the 1870s onwards.

Doors 10.30, £3, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of Stop the First World War

Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 30 Sept 2014, 19:00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

Until the very day before the British government declared war on Germany, the Liberal foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was claiming that despite the Ententes with Republican France and Tsarist Russia, Britain had no binding commitments to join them in the threatened war against Germany. And many, including a substantial number of  M.P.s in the ruling Liberal Party, believed Britain not only could, but would remain neutral; as it had done in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878-1879 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

There is no doubt that when war was declared on August 4th 1914, there was a great wave of patriotic feeling, but the now conventional myth that the First World War was supported patriotically throughout by the overwhelming majority of all classes and political groupings in Britain and the British Empire, is merely that, a myth.

With the long prepared “Defence of the Realm Act” (DORA) passed within days of the declaration of war "No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty's forces or among the civilian population”  allowing for the imprisonment of anti-war dissidents, there was from the start serious opposition to the war

Week 1: Norman Angell - liberal, radical, socialist, pacifist or patriot?

Prof Martin Ceadel

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933, Norman Angell, journalist, peace pundit was a founding member of the “neutralist” Union for Democratic Control, Initially a Liberal from 1929-1931, he was Labour M.P. for Bradford 

The best-seller of 1910 that made Norman Angell’s name as a peace pundit, The Great Illusion, combined pacifist and pro-defence arguments in a fashion which later caused him much intellectual grief.  And the neutralist campaign in response to the First World War that identified him as a rising star of the British left was based on a mix of often contradictory ideas.  

Martin Ceadel is a Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College where he has taught since 1979. His research has concentrated on the politics of war prevention with special reference to Britain’s peace movement. The most recent of his five single-authored books is Living the Great Illusion: Sir Norman Angell, 1872-1967 (2009).

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)


Image of New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

Special Events

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

Wed 1 Oct 2014, 18:30

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

with: 
Friederike Otto, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Alice Bows-Larkin, Reader, University of Manchester

One of the irritating things about climate change is that its effects are often unpredictable and invisible. These factors only increase controversy. But scientists are working to expose its impacts: to understand whether the extreme weather events we're seeing are linked to increased carbon in the atmosphere and to identify what we need to do to starve off the dangerous consequences of climate change.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


Image of Thinking on Sunday - Debate: Is UKIP Ethical?

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday - Debate: Is UKIP Ethical?

Sun 5 Oct 2014, 11.00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Is UKIP Ethical?

Tom Rubens & Anne Marie Waters

Tom Rubens is a semi-retired teacher of English and Philosophy. He has worked as a university and college lecturer, and as a private tutor, and is still active in the latter field.

Linked to his teaching work is his writing activity: he has produced eight books on philosophy (seven published so far) and has also published poetry. A novel is due to appear later this year.

He has been a member of Conway Hall Ethical Society since the 1980s, and has been active at Conway Hall in a number of ways: serving a brief period as editor of the Ethical Record: delivering a large number of Sunday morning lectures; and doing archive work on material in the Society's journals from the 1870s onwards.

Anne Marie Waters is one of the country's leading secularists and has been a spokesperson for the National Secular Society and the One Law for All campaign and has campaigned for free speech and women's rights. She is standing as the UKIP candidate for Basildon and Billericay at the next election. 

Chair - Norman Bacrac

Norman was first elected a Trustee of the Ethical Society several decades ago. He is also Editor of the Society's monthly journal, Ethical Record. As a former physics teacher, he is particularly interested in the hard problem of how the physics of the brain generates conscious experiences, the role it might play in determining the choices we make - and the implications of all this for humanist philosophy.

Doors 10.30, £3 Standard, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of London Thinks: Shouting Back

Special Events

London Thinks: Shouting Back

Thu 9 Oct 2014, 19:30

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

London Thinks - Shouting Back

With Laura Bates, Caroline Criado-Perez. Chaired by Samira Ahmed.

Two of the UK's finest feminist firebrands will discuss the evolution of 21st Century feminist campaigning and how to solve the problem of institutionalised sexism in society.

Caroline Criado-Perez is a freelance journalist and feminist campaigner. She is co-founder of The Women's Room, an organisation and database that campaigns for more women experts in the media, and she led the campaign to keep women on banknotes, for which she received a barrage of rape and death threats. She has a degree in English Language & Literature from Keble College, Oxford, is completing an MSc in Gender at LSE, and is currently writing a book about inspiring women around the world, called Do It Like A Woman: The New Pioneers, which will be published by Granta in 2015. Caroline was the recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2013.

Laura Bates is the founder of the award-winning Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 70,000 women's experiences of gender imbalance. The project has expanded into 18 countries worldwide and become internationally renowned, featuring in media from the New York Times to French Glamour, CNN to Grazia South Africa, Cosmopolitan to the Times of India.

Laura writes regularly for the Guardian and the Independent and her work has appeared in the Financial Times, Grazia, Red Magazine and the New Statesman among others. She works closely with MPs, police forces, schools, universities and businesses to use the data collected by Everyday Sexism to create concrete real-world change.

Laura is Contributor for Women Under Siege, a New York-based organisation working against the use of rape as a tool of war in conflict zones worldwide.

Laura was named one of the Huffington Post's 'Most inspirational women of 2012' and a Woman of the Year 2013 by Cosmopolitan and the Sunday Times. The Guardian named her as a 'Rising Star' to watch in 2014. She was named one of the 50 most influential Left-Wingers in the UK by the Telegraph and one of the 50 top tweeters to follow by the Times. She won the 'Smart Woman' award at the Red Magazine women of the year awards in 2014.

Laura is also Patron of Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, SARSAS (formerly Bristol Rape Crisis).

Laura’s first book, 'Everyday Sexism', was published by Simon and Schuster in 2014.

The event will be chaired by Samira Ahmed.

Samira has worked as a News Correspondent and a reporter on the Today programme and Newsnight, where she was one of the first broadcast journalists to investigate the rise of Islamic radicalism on British university campuses in the early 1990s.

She covered the OJ Simpson case as BBC Los Angeles Correspondent and was a presenter and reporter at Channel 4 News from 2000 to 2011.

Samira won the Stonewall Broadcast of the Year Award in 2009 for her film on so-called "corrective" rape in South Africa, and made the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary series Islam Unveiled. Samira has also worked as a news anchor for BBC World and for Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin, and writes regularly for newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Independent and The Big Issue.

Tickets: £15 Standard Advance. £5 Conway Hall Ethical Society Members/Concessions. Please book your tickets using the Eventbrite booking link below.

Doors & Reception: 18:30. Start: 19:30. Ends: 21:30

Complementary wine and nibbles are available from 6.30pm.

London Thinks is Conway Hall Ethical Society's monthly discourse on the big issues and problems of society in our age. 


Image of Thinking on Sunday - The origin of World War One – hidden history and lessons for today

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday - The origin of World War One – hidden history and lessons for today

Sun 12 Oct 2014, 11.00

The origin of World War One – hidden history and lessons for today

Ken MacIntyre

The causes of the First World War are usually ascribed to a terrible accident of alliances colliding with Balkan intrigues and ancient hatreds or German ambitions that got out of hand. A recent controversial book, Hidden History: the secret origins of the First World War (Mainstream Publishing) by researchers Gerry Docherty and Jim McGregor published in 2013, makes the startling claim that the war was planned by a clandestine elite group of powerful men in London who successfully deceived Parliament and the country. The authors draw the history of the group founded by Cecil Rhodes by American historian Carroll Quigley.  The talk will discuss this in the context of how ruling elites have used deception to advance their interests over the centuries including today. Conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact? Judge for yourselves.

Ken MacIntyre has previously presented a talk at Conway Hall on the financial crisis and the nature of money in March 2013 and researches financial and other matters in the context of elite politics. He has Masters degrees from both Edinburgh and London Universities and is a qualified pensions professional.

Chair - Deborah Lavin 

Deborah Lavin is an active member of the Socialist History Society. She has written one of its occasional papers Bradlaugh Contra Marx, Radicalism vs Socialism in the First International. She is currently in the final stages of a Life and Times of Dr Edward Aveling, which covers the same 19th century radicalism vs socialism theme.

Originally an actress, Deborah has also written several plays  including The Body Trade, a brutal comedy about the illegal traffic in human organs, produced in Berlin (Stukke Theatre) and Aachen (Grenzlandtheatre) in Germany and Happy Families produced twice in Tokyo. (Studio-Life Theatre and Atelier Theatre).

Deborah now also gives talks mostly on 19th century radicalism and socialism and more recently on the Causes of the First World War.

Deborah has curated and is chairing the autumn seasons of talks at Conway Hall, Stop the First World War. She is also giving a talk The Commune of Paris in Camden on Bradlaugh and Marx’s colossal row over the Commune at the Camden Local history Centre on October 9th 2014.

Doors 10.30, £3 in advance, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of Margaret Nimmo-Smith: Bereavement and Individual Psychology: Overlooked or Ignored?

Community

Margaret Nimmo-Smith: Bereavement and Individual Psychology: Overlooked or Ignored?

Thu 16 Oct 2014, 19:30

The Adlerian Society UK presents

Adlerian Society London Lecture: Bereavement and Individual Psychology: Overlooked or Ignored?

Lecturer: Margaret Nimmo-Smith

Many of our difficulties in day to day life, and in dealing with crises stem from the way we deal with loss and bereavement, learned from past experience.

There are many theories and explanations of the process of bereavement: when it is normal and when it is overwhelming, prolonged or harming the individual. This lecture will endeavour to explore the dearth of Adlerian literature about bereavement and link bereavement theories to Adlerian concepts using some case examples.

Margaret Nimmo-Smith trained in Individual Psychology with Anthe Millar in Cambridge. She works as a counsellor, supervisor and trainer. She is about to resume being a co-tutor on the Bottisham Adlerian Diploma course, having retired 4 years ago. She has also worked for Cambridge Cruse Bereavement Care for the past 20 years and has given bereavement workshops at ICASSI (the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes), Green Park and Clonmel summer schools.

Admission £7 (concessions £4) All welcome. No need to book. CPD certificates are available. Lecture enquiries: evans_patel@hotmail.co.uk


Image of Vampire, Werewolves and Witches

Talks & Lectures

Vampire, Werewolves and Witches

Sat 18th Oct 2014, 10:30

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall Ethical Society present

Vampire, Werewolves and Witches: the myth and the reality regarding some of the most horrific creatures imaginable

The modern vampire is suave debonair and sexy instead of pestilence ridden and undead. What does this drastic modern re-interpretation say about the culture of the twenty-first century audience? 

The werewolf is a common horror motif but what happened when people were accused of “lycanthropy” in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and who was worse - man or beast? 

Why and how are people still accused, abused and murdered in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries as witches?

11.00 Jessica Monteith on Vampires. The Modern Vampire: Suave and Debonair as we've never seen him before. Vampire in film and television have evolved from the undead, pestilence ridden revenants of the medieval and rennaissance eras, into handsome playboy figures. Why has there been such a drastic re-interpretation of the vampire, and what does it say about the twenty-first century audience that this new 'modern' vampire has permeated popular culture?

12.00 Deborah Hyde on Werewolves. The werewolf is a common horror motif, but what did people during the witch-hunt of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe really mean when they accused someone of 'lycanthropy'? A discussion including films, history and analysis, during which we will found out who is worse - man or beast. Deborah writes, lectures internationally and appears on broadcast media to discuss superstition, religion and belief in the supernatural. She is currently writing a book ‘Unnatural Predators’.

1-1.45 lunch

1.45 Owen Davies on Witches. The persecution of witches in Europe and America – after the witch trials. Professor Owen Davies, University of Hertfordshire, has written widely on the social history of witchcraft, magic, ghosts, and popular medicine. In this talk he will explore why and how thousands of people, mostly women, were abused and murdered as witches in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

2.45-3.30 Roundtable.

3.30 END.

Presented by Steven Law

£10 (£5 students, Members of Conway Hall Ethical Society and the British Humanist Association). Free to friends of CFI UK


Image of New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

Special Events

New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

Wed 22 Oct 2014, 18:30

SOLD OUT

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - Closing in on consciousness

with: 
Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex

Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology, Royal Holloway, London University

Every day you sense the world around you and react to it. You think about it, plan ahead and have no doubt where "you" end and everything else begins. Your consciousness is so familiar you take it for granted, yet it is deeply mysterious and has intrigued philospohers and scientists for centuries. Recent research has revealed much about the subtleties of this state and what we still need to uncover.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


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