York Talks Session One

9.10am, Berrick Saul building

9.10am - Welcome and Introduction
Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor

9.15am - Launching the University of York Research Strategy
Professor Deborah Smith, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research


Realising Florence Nightingale’s visionHealth economist Andrew Street shows how Florence Nightingale championed the collection of data about what happened to people treated in hospitals, but her efforts toward transparency were frustrated by vested medical interests. Andrew shows how it has taken more than 150 years for her vision to be realised, with patients now being asked how much their care improves their health. This information should be integral to understanding how well the NHS is performing and how care can be improved.

The avant garde and the everyday –  Art historian Michael White turns his research telescope the other way round to reveal a very different perspective that shows how one of the most influential modern art movements in Europe helped shape the lives of very ordinary people, from the design of social housing and the first ‘streets in the sky’ to the first fitted kitchen. Michael has advised Tate Modern on its Mondrian Exhibition in Liverpool and was the leading academic consultant on Europe’s most prestigious exhibition on the work of the Stijl Group. 

Uncovering the London underworldhistorian turned detective, Mark Roodhouse tells how he stumbled on a file of handwritten documents from a Catalan bookkeeper recruited by the police to spy on London’s criminal fraternity while researching a book on Black Market Britain at the Imperial War Museum. Here he recounts some of his discoveries and how one of Scotland Yard’s inner circle of elite policemen was a ‘bent copper’ in the pockets of the villains.

The enemy between us: how inequality harms us all  – York researchers Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson have changed the language of political debate on health and wealth – their work on The Spirit Level won the Political Studies Association Book of the Year award, the Solidar Silver Rose Award, the Charles Cully Medal and the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize. It has now sold over 112,000 copies in the UK alone, has been translated into 23 different foreign languages and quoted by leading political figures, including the Prime Minister and the Labour leader. Here Kate brings us bang up to date with her findings and what has been done as result.

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