YorkTalks Session One

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

9.20am, National Science Learning Centre

Royal chapel to Commons chamber –Historian John Cooper and art historian Tim Ayers join forces to trace the medieval roots of the modern House of Commons. Part detective story, part high-tech digital thriller, the two men chart how the splendid royal chapel of St Stephen was converted to become the House of Commons, and how this hot, cramped and crowded space shaped the nature of political debate for centuries to come. 

Faithful citizens: Dissent and the making of democracy in the age of revolution – British Academy Fellowship holder, Emma Major, paints a vivid portrait of the poet, teacher and pamphleteer, Anna Barbauld. Emma explores how this member of an influential Dissenting community helped shape modern ideas of democracy, citizenship and human rights during the turbulent years of the French Revolution. Barbauld’s ideas and arguments – she predicted the rise of America and decline of the British Empire – are shown to be as powerful and relevant today as they were more than 200 years ago when she campaigned for the abolition of slavery, condemned an unjust war, and argued for full citizenship rights for Dissenters.

Every building tells a storywhen archaeologist and medieval Guildhall specialist Kate Giles was asked to do a historical stock take by William Shakespeare’s old school at Stratford-upon-Avon, it marked the start of a remarkable journey. An interdisciplinary and collaborative project, the research combines cutting edge building surveys, scientific dating and historical research with the latest digital 3D modeling. The work has inspired a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded project opening up access to the Guildhall complex, and enabling a distinctive part of Shakespeare’s cultural legacy to be better understood, interpreted and conserved for future generations. 

The bespoke composera musical collaboration between composer Ambrose Field and a team of acoustic engineers is turning the conventional approach to musical composition on its head. The result is music that is bespoke to the space in which it will be performed. Ambrose shows how this novel method has evolved and how he creates music that is both distinctive and in harmony with its environment. Through contemporary music and acoustic science, his piece 'Architexture II' re-creates the sounds of a space lost to history. 


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