Public lectures: spring 2014

Previous public lectures this term

How purple photosynthetic bacteria harvest solar energy

Wednesday 30 April 2014

This lecture will describe the structure and the function of the light harvesting pigment protein complexes from purple photosynthetic bacteria.

Geometry: A secret weapon in the fight against viruses

Thursday 20 March 2014

Merchant Adventurers' Science Discovery lecture

Dark Matter

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Archbishop Holgate's Annual Science lecture

Does dark matter really exist?

Monday 17 March 2014

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about dark matter. We can’t see it, yet we’re convinced there’s five times more of it than normal, visible matter. But if it’s not visible, just what is the evidence that it’s there - and should we trust it? Why have laboratory experiments here on Earth failed to find anything? And, even if it does exist, why does dark matter… matter?

Ozone Layer Depletion and the Montreal Protocol: Can this protocol be pushed further?

Monday 17 March 2014

This lecture will be part of the official launch of the University's Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories

Holding half the sky

Friday 14 March 2014

A tri-fold event with the Lord Mayor of York, International Service and the Centre for Applied Human Rights. We will be looking at women’s empowerment at home and abroad as well as the thorny issue of domestic abuse.

Diverse evil persons: Dialogues with the past through biographies and the textures of space

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Presented by the Institute for Public Understanding of the Past

Against a tide of evil: The epidemiology of human cruelty

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Are we getting more cruel as a human race? Why do mass atrocities happen again and again? And why do we fail again and again to prevent and protect?

Richard III: Reputation and reality

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Professor Tony Pollard gives a lecture on the reputation and reality of Richard III

Ground control: Fear and happiness in cities today

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Centre for Urban Research lecture

Colour at the National Gallery

Monday 10 March 2014

In this research seminar, Caroline Campbell will study the translation of abstract concepts into physical reality, albeit the ephemeral one of a temporary exhibition.

The Leeds Trolley Bus

Thursday 6 March 2014

The Project Director for the New Generation Transport (NGT) project will be providing an overview of the planned new £250m trolleybus system that is currently being developed to run on a 15km route in Leeds.

A journey through the pages: Special Collections at the University of York

Thursday 6 March 2014

Sarah Griffin from the University Library presents a talk for World Book Day

Sharing collections in the 21st Century: What can museums do to offer access to their collections beyond the museum site?

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Join staff from the National Railway Museum as they discuss access to museum collections

Pasteurian medicine as Imperial heroism

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Centre for Global Health Histories present a lecture by Dr John Strachan

Ancient Egyptian illusions

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Please note that this lecture has been cancelled.

Art, history, and re-enactment: Michael Baxandall and the historical explanation of pictures

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Note: this lecture replaces the lecture 'Ancient Egyptian Illusions'.

Border Trouble: Scottish Balladry, Mediality and World Literature

Wednesday 5 March 2014

What is a ballad? What is a song? What is romanticism? What is world literature? And what does the case of Scottish balladry have to say to any of these questions?

Impacts of climate change on wildlife: Trends, complexities and surprises

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Part of the York Biology lectures

In praise of pigeons

Tuesday 4 March 2014

The Maths Society present...

York and the Pilgrimage of Grace

Tuesday 4 March 2014

This ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ was one of the largest rebellions of the Tudor regime with between 20-40,000 gentry and yeomen mustering against the crown and marching to Doncaster.

The texture of perception: The dark art of poetry and the Medieval Sensorium

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Join Professor Vincent Gillespie as he discusses the dark art of poetry

Catalytic clothing

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Helen Storey will share how the process of co-creation came about and the moments when the project itself began to challenge the underlying nature of the science and the business model it will take to deliver it to scale.

Wittgenstein, Veronese, and Ginger Rogers: What does ‘red’ mean?

Monday 3 March 2014

This lecture explores Wittgenstein’s arguments about how colour words may not mean what they do because they refer to qualia or exhibited chromatic properties, and how (instead) they mean different things inside different ‘language-games’.

Shakespeare's Sonnets Workshop

Friday 28 February 2014

A free day workshop on Shakespeare's sonnets

Poverty, parasites and philanthropy

Thursday 27 February 2014

Professor Fenwick will discuss some of the biology and epidemiology of tropical diseases, and then explore why the treatment has been described as the 'best buy in public health', and why it may help improve school attendance and significantly increase a child's future income.

Remembering Charlemagne in 2014

Thursday 27 February 2014

Dame Janet Nelson talks about Charlemagne

Just Entertainment? Popular Culture and Political Engagement

Thursday 27 February 2014

Where once popular culture was dismissed as ‘mere entertainment’, it is now regarded as having important consequences for political thought and action.

Living in the past: Re-enactment in heritage interpretation?

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Part of the Public History: Made in York lecture series

This House believes immigration must be curbed

Tuesday 25 February 2014

York Union debates the topic of immigration

Money, modern football and Manchester City

Monday 24 February 2014

Another in the York Union lecture series

Understanding Eating Disorders

Monday 24 February 2014

Part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014

Peacekeeping in Liberia: Ten Years On

Monday 24 February 2014

Karin Landgren, UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Liberia, talks about peacekeeping

Debt and Antidepressants: Are today's students too scared to succeed?

Friday 21 February 2014

Professor Tanya Byron – chartered clinical psychologist, author, broadcaster and York alumnus – will talk on the increasing pressure to succeed on today’s students.

Lavish dramas, thoughtful documentaries and idiots smeared in poo: Why making historical television is harder than you think

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Join Greg Jenner from 'Horrible Histories' as he talks about his role in making the programme

Underserved and Overdosed? Muslims and the Pulse Polio Initiative in rural north India

Wednesday 19 February 2014

This lecture focuses on villagers' responses to the repeated immunisation rounds that were entailed in the ‘Pulse Polio Initiative’.

4G LTE Mobile Broadband

Wednesday 19 February 2014

IET lecture

What's the point of social science?

Tuesday 18 February 2014

The Queen's Anniversary Prize Lecture 2014

Richard III and the Middleham Jewel

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Dr Kate Giles talks about Richard III and the Middleham Jewel

The others are coming

Thursday 13 February 2014

What do media representations tell us about the ‘others’ in our world and how we do or should relate to them? What moral scripts are on offer in the contemporary media space about distant others and the relations between ‘us’ and ‘them’?

Manipulative political speech, implicit communication and the perlocutionary

Wednesday 12 February 2014

The annual Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture

The eighth-century Northern Renaissance: Cultural triumphs in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria

Tuesday 11 February 2014

TV presenter and art historian, Dr Janina Ramirez, joins us to talk about Anglo-Saxon Northumbria

Chauvet Cave Workshop

Friday 7 February 2014

The AHRC-funded project "Cognitive and Aesthetic Values in Cultural Artefacts", led by Greg Currie and Peter Lamarque (Philosophy, York) examines the relations between cognitive and aesthetic values, and their place in our cultural practices.

Jon Snow: Iran, the US and current affairs

Friday 7 February 2014

Jon Snow (ITN) talks about Iran, the US and current affairs

The CrossRail Project in London

Thursday 6 February 2014

York Society of Engineers Open Lecture

Shakespeare, theatre and democracy: Towards a playful future

Thursday 6 February 2014

In this lecture Professor Neelands proposes that Shakespeare offers us a lens for exploring the vital political relationship between theatre and democracy, in which theatre becomes part of our social conversation and the circulation of social energy in a society.

Challenges for Human Rights journalism in West Africa and Somalia

Thursday 6 February 2014

Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, visiting fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights talks about Human Rights journalism

The digital past: Accessing old knowledge or creating new understanding?

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Alexandra Eveleigh from the National Archives talks about our digital past

Antibiotic resistance - What does it mean to you and why should you care?

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Professor Laura Piddock will discuss why we should care about antibiotic resistance

City of God, city of gold: The symbolic significance of ecclesiastical ornament in the early Church

Tuesday 4 February 2014

This lecture explores the analogous practice of symbolic materials being used to adorn the Church in order to articulate the space of the heavenly Jerusalem within the architectural confines of earthly buildings.

Alastair Campbell: Life and Times

Friday 31 January 2014

Alastair Campbell will speak at the Union about times past and times present, going into his life in politics, the media, his writing, and his campaigns.

How nationalism spreads

Thursday 30 January 2014


Can a slime mould compute?

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Some people use billiard balls, beams of light, sticks of wood, chemicals, bacteria, slime moulds, spaghetti, even black holes, as computers (although some of these only in theory!)

Thatcherism must be abandoned to save Britain's economy

Wednesday 29 January 2014

The York Union hosts a debate on the motion ‘This House believes Thatcherism must be abandoned to save Britain’s economy’

Commemorating the First World War in the Yorkshire Country House

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Dr Christopher Ridgway from Castle Howard talks about the First World War

Contemporary Native American art: Artists, practices and issues in the UK

Tuesday 28 January 2014

This lecture discusses the relationship between contemporary Native American artists, their practices and cultures, and current UK institutions. Specific artists, case studies and artworks will be discussed, alongside past, present and future concerns for contemporary indigenous artists.

Defending land and environmental rights in Colombia

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Rommel Durán will be speaking about the serious and continuing risks to human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders, and about the problem of land and environmental rights in Colombia

Violent home truths: The reality of domestic violence in Britain today

Friday 24 January 2014

Baroness Scotland QC comes to the York Union to discuss the realities of domestic violence in Britain today

Housing Policy: Understanding The Bedroom Tax

Thursday 23 January 2014

The University of York Labour Club host a policy discussion event on Bedroom Tax and Housing Policy

Hainault versus England: The York riots of June 1327

Thursday 23 January 2014

Richard Barber explores the background to the great battle in the streets of York between the English archers and the squires from the duchy of Hainault in Edward III's army on his first campaign against Scotland, using an eyewitness account.

Whose story wins? Strategic narratives and digital diplomacy

Thursday 23 January 2014

This lecture explores the theory, practice and ethics of strategic narratives, so that we can make sense of power and communication in the 21st century.

Sexual Rights are Human Rights

Thursday 23 January 2014

Stephen Chukwumah, the Executive Director of the Improved Youth Health Initiative, a not-for profit organization located in Eastern Nigeria, will talk about his work as a youth rights activist.

Making alternative histories in York: From outside and below

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Part of the Public History: Made in York lecture series

New Spirituality, Politics of Self-Empowerment, Democracy and Citizenship in India

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Presented in association with the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and the York Medical Society

Sitting in judgment: The working lives of Judges

Thursday 16 January 2014

Professor Darbyshire’s talk is the culmination of eight years researching the working lives of judges, accompanying them in their daily work, listening to their conversations, observing their handling of cases and the people who come before them, and asking them frank and searching questions about their lives, careers and ambitions.

The first sexual revolution

Thursday 16 January 2014

Part of the Department of History's 50th anniversary alumni lectures

'I'm Not Bothered': Researching Political Disengagement

Thursday 16 January 2014

Some of the findings from qualitative research exploring political disengagement and dissatisfaction amongst members of the white working classes

On the rescue of science and learning

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Dr Goodman will reflect on what is almost a century of Scholar Rescue work at the Institute of International Education

A gateway to history? A new York City Archive for the 21st Century

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Richard Taylor, York's City archivist, talks about the new archive

Reprogramming the Genetic code

Wednesday 15 January 2014

The information for synthesizing the molecules that allow organisms to survive and replicate is encoded in genomic DNA...

Images, pictures, and prehistories

Monday 13 January 2014

Using the example of Aurignacian ‘cave art’, the earliest uncontroversial case of picture-making in the record of human evolution (c. 35,000-25,000 BC), this lecture addresses a central dispute between pictorial iconology and the ‘anthropology of images’.

Engineering aspects of total joint replacements

Thursday 9 January 2014

The York Society of Engineers open lecture

Public history, private past: Discovering the history of York during the First World War

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Alison Bodley from York Museums Trust looks at the history of York during the First World War

York Talks

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Shining a light on inspiring research