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Public Lectures at the University of York

A lecture audience (c) John Houlihan

Every term, the University organises free public lectures on a wide variety of topics and aimed at a general audience.  Some require tickets (available from individual event pages) but most do not. Where tickets are needed, this is also indicated in the publicity.

We distribute information on upcoming lectures to interested members of the public at the start of each academic term (October, January and April). If you would like to receive a free copy of this leaflet either by email or by post, please join our mailing list.  Updated lecture details are also available here on our web pages. As they are updated frequently, they may publicise lectures which we were unable to include in the leaflet.

If you have an accessibility need, please contact us at publiclectures@york.ac.uk or 01904 324466, and we will make every effort to accommodate you.

The majority of lectures are held on the University campus. There is a regular bus service and the campus is easily accessible by bicycle. Car parking is available in the Pay & Display car parks, which are free after 6pm. Please note however space in the Field Lane car park on Campus East is limited. More information on reaching the University together with maps and additional parking information can be found on our Information for Visitors webpages.

Download our current leaflet.

See all of our current and previous lectures this term

Have a question about public lectures? See our FAQs, or email us. 

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Upcoming events

Tue
4
Oct

Fusion Energy – promises, progress and prospects

An insight into the physics of fusion power from the Professor Kieran Gibson

Wed
5
Oct

Critical Emotional Reflexivity in Social Activism

Examining how (rather than why) everyday people become social activists provides insights into the emotionality of not only the personal process, but of bringing about social change

Wed
5
Oct

Defending Human Rights Defenders: Shrinking space for human rights and civil society

The Centre for Applied Human Rights present a talk on human rights defenders

Thu
6
Oct

Paintings and photographs

Gregory Currie discusses the differences between paintings and photographs and how an audience might be affected differently by each type of media

Thu
6
Oct

The criminal brain: Implications for prevention, protection and punishment

Adrian Raine discusses the thorny ethical questions that society can no longer ignore as science increasingly dissects the biological roots of crime

Thu
6
Oct

The application of evolutionary computation to the diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson's disease

Dr Stephen Smith presents the York Society of Engineers Open Lecture

Tue
11
Oct

Moral illusions: What are they and why should we care?

In this lecture, Rafe will discuss the curious phenomenon of moral illusions and explain what they tell us about moral thinking

Wed
12
Oct

Antibiotics and resistance and you

The first of this term's York Biology Lectures

Wed
12
Oct

Universities, Democracy and Public Sociology; The Challenge of the Neo-Liberal Knowledge Regime

This talk will set out the key elements of the neo-liberal knowledge regime that is being brought to completion by the Government’s recent Higher Education and Research Bill

Wed
12
Oct

Conversion and convergence: The Goddess Mazu and the Virgin Mary in global maritime history

This lecture will explore perils at sea, and how and why seafarers prayed to two female figures who represented saviours in the oceans of the early modern world

Thu
13
Oct

Story-telling in the Great Mongol Shahnama

The launch event, Storytelling in the Great Mongol Shahnama, will see Professor Robert Hillenbrand, author of ten books on Islamic architecture and painting, speak on the Shahnama – the national epic of Iran

Thu
13
Oct

Challenging stereotypes of ‘science’ and ‘belief’: STEM as cultural identity in a pluralist world?

Fern Elsdon-Baker looks at the public perceptions of the relationship between science and faith

Thu
13
Oct

The beauty of ruins

This talk will offer some informal reflections on the aesthetic interest of ruins

Sat
15
Oct

GeekFest 2016 - Free Saturday talks

GeekFest, York's best pop-culture & comic convention, is back! And it's going to be bigger and better! Open to everyone, and held at the University of York, it's going to be a great weekend with Artists, Dealers, Special Guests and more

Sun
16
Oct

GeekFest 2016 - Free Sunday talks

GeekFest, York's best pop-culture & comic convention, is back! And it's going to be bigger and better! Open to everyone, and held at the University, it's going to be a great weekend with Artists, Dealers, Special Guests and more.

Tue
18
Oct

Integrity, hypocrisy and the corruption of the 'ideal standard'

One of the difficulties one comes up against when considering the concept of integrity, is the unliveability of the lives of moral exemplars. If we don’t want to give up all our worldly belongings, leave our families, eschew pleasure and comfort, or go and fight in the resistance, does that leave us compromised and corrupted?

Tue
18
Oct

The Black Prince of Florence: A Medici Mystery

Catherine Fletcher presents York's Black History Month lecture

Wed
19
Oct

Urban Inequalities: Social Distance and Spatial Division

What are the social and spatial implications of deepening economic inequality in cities? Why does economic disparity matter for the social life and spatial form of cities, and what is distinctive about contemporary patterns of urban inequality?

Thu
20
Oct

Haeckel’s embryos: Images, evolution and fraud

Dr Nick Hopwood discusses Ernst Haeckel's embryo drawings - are they fraud?

Mon
24
Oct

Howling at the moon: Werewolves in western culture

This lecture examines the folklore origins of werewolves and their role in legend

Tue
25
Oct

Life after encephalitis

The personal and often devastating experiences of living with an acquired brain injury will be brought vividly to life by Dr Ava Easton, the author of Life after Encephalitis

Wed
26
Oct

Couple Relationship, Family Management and the Workplace

In her research Dr Gerlinde Mauerer has analysed the work-life-balance of fathers on parental leave and their female partners, as well as the insights of personal managers on paternal leave practices and career opportunities of part-time employees in Austria

Thu
27
Oct

Organometallic anticancer drugs with novel modes of action

Many types of cancer are now treated quite effectively by drugs that are increasingly designed and made on the basis of sound knowledge of their mode of action. Nonetheless, there are very many different types of cancer and despite these advances, there are some tumours that remain difficult to treat.

Thu
27
Oct

Experiencing art

Rev Dr David Efird will talk about art

Fri
28
Oct

Rosenberg's war: "Iron, honey, gold"

In her lecture, Jean Liddiard will draw out the relationship between Rosenberg's poems and his comments on them in his letters. She will refer to Leavis's experiences during the First World War and discuss his admiration for Rosenberg and that of his student and later colleague on the board of Scrutiny, DW Harding, one of Rosenberg’s early editors.

Tue
1
Nov

Stillness: Thinking through critical migration studies and challenging citizenship

In the second of this term's Social and Political Sciences seminars Dr Heather Johnson will talk about the responses to migration in Kos

Thu
3
Nov

Are there standards in art criticism?

Mr Andrew Wards talks about standards in art criticism

Mon
7
Nov

The forming of gesture: Notes on Luca Signorelli and Frans van Mieris

The aim of this lecture is to trace the points of intersection and separation between these two conceptions of gestures within the context created by two paintings: Luca Signorelli Comunione degli Apostoli and Frans van Mieris The Letter Writer.

Mon
7
Nov

Indian classical music: A way of life

Indian classical musician, Amjad Ali Khan, will talk about his life and music

Tue
8
Nov

Protecting ocean life in an era of rapid global change

How do we protect marine species when we don’t know where they are or even that they exist? How do we protect life in a realm that is hostile to most of the conservation methods used on land? In this talk, drawing on thirty years’ experience studying the sea and its protection, and working with governments and international bodies, Callum Roberts will try to answer these questions.

Tue
8
Nov

Blizzards of steel: Viking poetry and the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge

This lecture will commemorate two local battles and introduce and explore the unfamiliar genre of Old Norse court poetry – a form of literature that enables us to get closer than any other to the cultural world of Viking Age kings and their followers

Wed
9
Nov

"Architecture Cures Cancer", But can it Cure Crime? The Architecture of Incarceration and the Architecture of Hope

Is the concept of a ‘healthy prison’ an oxymoron, or even a desirable goal?

Wed
9
Nov

No place like home: Irish writing in a changing world

Fintan O'Toole discusses Irish writing

Wed
9
Nov

Nurse, midwife, civil servant: A personal perspective

In this lecture David Foster will reflect on his career as a nurse, midwife and most recently a civil servant

Fri
11
Nov

Milner-White and all that: The restoration of York Minster's windows c.1750-c.1950 and its implications for the modern conservator

York Minster preserves the largest and most diverse collection of stained glass in Britain. It is a collection that has survived religious Reformation and iconoclasm, Civil War and two major fires. It also bears the marks of centuries of restoration and repair, some of it skillful and caring, some of it ignorant and careless

Fri
11
Nov

An evening with Keir Starmer QC MP

Keir Starmer QC MP, British politician and barrister, will be giving the inaugural North Yorkshire Police lecture.

Mon
14
Nov

Miners Shot Down

Film-screening of Miners Shot Down and Q and A with the film's director, Rehad Desai.

Tue
15
Nov

Unmaking citizens: Racial exclusions and the privilege of a passport

Nisha Kapoor is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. She currently leads an ESRC funded research project titled ‘Deport Deprive Extradite’ which explores race, citizenship and the state in the context of the War on Terror

Tue
15
Nov

Understanding the Global Citizen, c.1200-c.1600

This lecture aims to contribute to answering the puzzling question of how decentralised societies were able to lay the groundwork for globalisation of European history and the European globalisation of the world

Wed
16
Nov

Only connect: From green spaces to green infrastructure

Writer and public policy analyst Ken Worpole talks about 'green infrastructure'

Wed
16
Nov

Ecological aesthetics

In this lecture Alistair Hudson will argue for a rethinking of aesthetics as a universal system of transformation, which permeates and shapes all aspects of our daily lives; in politics, economics, culture and society

Wed
16
Nov

On hip hop, race and politics: The way we talk about things

In this talk, US socio-political pundit Jay Smooth, popular vlogger behind "The Ill Doctrine," discusses everything from present day politics and social justice to music, media, and culture

Thu
17
Nov

Peacebuilding in a turbulent world

Due to unforeseen circumstances this lecture is now cancelled. Apologies for any disappointment caused.

Thu
17
Nov

Exploration, Orientalism and revival: The European discovery of Egypt’s Islamic heritage

The second lecture in the series from the York Islamic Art Circle

Tue
22
Nov

The Planet and the public: Communicating geo-environmental science to non-technical audiences

This talk will draw from a decade of putting Earth science 'on the box' to explore a number of questions. How can we best use the entertainment industry to convey 'sound science'? What are the communication barriers that need to be overcome? And also, given the emerging research 'impact' agenda, what are the costs and benefits of early career geo-environmental scientists 'going public'?

Wed
23
Nov

Classed lifeworlds of young graduates

Professor Harriet Bradley will talk about class relations and how they might affect young adults' career paths

Wed
23
Nov

Conversion Hysteria 4: Believe It Or Not

Adam Phillips is a psychoanalyst and has been Visiting Professor in the Department of English and Related Literature since 2006. He is the General Editor of the Penguin Freud, and author of more than 16 books of essays and studies from On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored (1993) to Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst (2014)

Fri
25
Nov

Medieval mysticism and the universe in a hazelnut

Janina Ramirez, Oxford Art Historian, BBC Broadcaster and Honorary Fellow at the Department for History of Art at York, will explore a world of Medieval English Christian mysticism

Tue
29
Nov

Conservatism and liberalism

In this lecture Andy Hamilton will argue that liberalism and Burkean conservatism lie on a continuum, and that they are analogous in having rationalist and pragmatic forms, the latter represented by Mill

Tue
29
Nov

Sustainability dilemmas: Short-term political expediency versus long-term planetary exigency

What can be done to encourage politicians, business people and civil society leaders to develop longer-term policy and institutional responses to climate change?

Wed
30
Nov

Surviving the Anthropocene: A story of biological gains as well as losses

Professor Chris Thomas presents a York Biology Lecture

Thu
1
Dec

POSTPONED What on earth does the past of Eastern Africa tell us about future sustainability?

This talk has been postponed and will now be held in Spring term.

Thu
1
Dec

William Holman Hunt: Pre-Raphaelite and Orientalist

This talk will explore how Hunt’s commitment to visual truth led him to become the most important and original British artistic interpreter of Palestine during the age of Imperialism