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Talks, Debates & Lectures taking place at Conway Hall

November 2020

Did you learn in school that the Greeks invented civilization? Do you believe that aliens built the pyramids? Stacy Hackner discusses a few ways in which a common conception of the past doesn’t add up, why we’ve come to think of history in this biased way, and how we can continue to question and correct these misunderstandings.

Marina Sitrin discusses what she found whilst writing her book Pandemic Solidarity, which collects first-hand experiences from around the world of people creating their own narratives of solidarity and mutual aid during the global crisis of COVID-19.

Video games are primed for change: roughly half of all players identify as female. Games themselves need a creative platform-expanding, metaphysical explosion; feminism can make games better.

George Zarkadakis envisions a future liberal democracy in which intelligent machines facilitate citizen assemblies, helping to extend citizen rights, and blockchains and cryp-to-economics enable new forms of democratic governance and business collaboration.

December 2020

Professor of Technology Sarah Williams outlines how to use data as a tool for empowerment rather than oppression.

In a time of intensified global white supremacist and patriarchal violence, anti-racist feminist movements and analyses have never been more vital. Women of colour are at the forefront of such struggles worldwide – but are white feminists really by their side?

January 2021

What does it mean to be human? Amanda Rees and Charlotte Sleigh showing how, by understanding humanity, we can go some way to resolving our, and the world’s, biggest problems.

We are increasingly putting our lives in the hands of machine learning. From the AI program which cheats at computer games to the sexist algorithm behind Google Translate, Brian Christian explains how, as AI develops, we rapidly approach a collision between artificial intelligence and ethics.

Maybe it’s time to live. Philosopher John Sellars walks us through the history of Epicureanism, showing us how it can help us think anew about joy, friendship, nature and being alive in the world.

February 2021

Love-locks is are new custom, demonstrating love and devotion with a padlock attached to a public space, often a bridge or other landmark. They are everywhere: Paris and Taiwan; New York and Seoul; Melbourne and Moscow; London and Westcliff on Sea. Ceri Houlbrook explores the worldwide popu-larity of the love-lock as a ritual token of love and commitment by considering its history, symbolism, and heritage.

Graham Hutchings offers a vivid, gripping account of 1949: the year in which China abruptly changed course and pulled the rest of world history along with it. The overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek’s government by Mao Zedong reverberated across the world, resulting in long-lasting consequences that are still being felt today.

In 2020 we saw clearer than ever that Black people are still fighting for the right to not the colour of their skin. In the words of Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, “there is no freedom without rights and no rights with-out the freedom to exercise those rights.”

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