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Talks

The Festival of Ideas presents a wide array of talks from experts in various fields. Including talks on the Spying and Surveillance; astrophysics; forensics; Waterloo, and Alice in Wonderland, the diverse and eclectic mix of talks and lectures is sure to entice and inform.

Upcoming talks

Previous talks

Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat

Sunday 21 June 2015

Paul Halpern tells the little-known story of how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collaborators and then as competitors, for a theory of everything that transcended probabilistic quantum mechanics.

Let Me Play The Lion Too

Sunday 21 June 2015

Join actor Michael Pennington as he is interviewed by Michael Cordner on how to be an actor.

Waterloo: The battle

Sunday 21 June 2015

It’s 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo. This talk will give an overview of the battle and the strategy involved.

Crime and Terrorism

Saturday 20 June 2015

A panel of experts will debate the issues around religion, crime and terrorism.

'The Woman With No Number'

Saturday 20 June 2015

Auschwitz survivor, Iby Knill, tells the story of her family as the threat from the Nazis closed around them in occupied Europe.

Green Reactions Presents: Think green! (or not...)

Saturday 20 June 2015

How do you make decisions about how you interact the environment? Researchers will discuss the impact these decisions have on the environment, and the underlying ideas which may have propelled people to make these decisions.

Intelligence Gathering and the Media: Who to trust

Saturday 20 June 2015

A panel of experts will discuss intelligence gathering and the media.

Intelligence’s Role in Defending Europe

Saturday 20 June 2015

NATO’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and Intelligence will discuss the role of intelligence in defending Europe.

In Bed with the Queen

Saturday 20 June 2015

Learn about the politics of intimacy, sexual slander, conspiracy and suspicion which centred on the Queen Elizabeth I’s body and her bedchamber.

Surveillance, Snowden and Security

Saturday 20 June 2015

A panel of experts will debate the issues around surveillance and security with particular reference to the Edward Snowden case.

In the Family Way

Saturday 20 June 2015

Learn about the experience of illegitimacy from the Great War to the Swinging Sixties, a story not only about shame and appalling prejudice, but about discoveries, triumphs, and the every-day strength of the human spirit.

Eating and Drinking in Anglo-Saxon England

Saturday 20 June 2015

Dr Debby Banham explores what we can find out about Anglo-Saxon food and drink, and how. There will also be an opportunity to try some bread and Eoforwic Ale, both made to Anglo-Saxon recipes.

Lost in the Garden of Forking Paths

Saturday 20 June 2015

Find out how physics can help us see literature in a new light!

Stories of The First World War

Saturday 20 June 2015

Children’s author, Hilary Robinson, will read and explain the background to her two picture books Where The Poppies Now Grow and The Christmas Truce which were published to commemorate the centenary of The First World War.

Darwin: A life in poems

Saturday 20 June 2015

The poet Ruth Padel reads from her poetry collection Darwin: A Life in Poems, on the life, thought, and marriage of her great great grandfather Charles Darwin.

The Future of Cyber Security

Saturday 20 June 2015

A panel of experts, chaired by BBC News Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, will discuss the importance and future of cyber security.

Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A strange romance

Saturday 20 June 2015

In an age where first ladies are under ever-increasing pressure to perform and conform, Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance offers a portrait of one who refused to do either, in a society which demanded she do both.

Cracking the code

Saturday 20 June 2015

Renaissance historian, Professor Bill Sherman, and a panel of experts will discuss coding and decoding through the ages.

The 2015 Richard Hall Symposium

Saturday 20 June 2015

In 2014 the JORVIK Viking Centre marked three decades of welcoming visitors to the site of the Coppergate dig, an undertaking that revolutionised approaches to Viking-era England. But where do we stand in 2015? This conference will bring together heritage professionals and researchers in to explore a range of current themes in early medieval research, as well as the impacts of this research in the public sphere.

Was Waterloo a German victory?

Friday 19 June 2015

Brendan Simms describes how the battle of Waterloo was decided by the Second Light Battalion, King’s German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. He argues that their actions decided the most influential battle in European history

Perfect Parents and Perfect Husbands

Friday 19 June 2015

Join Zoe Williams and Tim Dowling as they explore the perils of modern marriage and parenting.

Music: A child’s hidden language

Friday 19 June 2015

How does a child who cannot speak express her innermost feelings? Musician and Jessie’s Fund founder Lesley Schatzberger explains how music, in opening gateways to communication, can be so much more than an art form.

Vanishing for the Vote - Yorkshire and beyond

Friday 19 June 2015

The Liberal government, which still denied women the vote, ordered every household to comply with its census requirement on Sunday 2 April 1911. So suffragette organisations urged women to boycott this census. Jill Liddington explores the boycott in York and across the three Ridings.

The Economy of the Future and the Future of Economics

Friday 19 June 2015

A panel debate on the economy of the future, and the future of economics.

Growth, Innovation and Inequality

Friday 19 June 2015

A panel debate on the topic of growth, innovation and inequality.

How the Tories took Britain to the brink

Friday 19 June 2015

Award-winning Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and former director of public reporting at the Audit Commission David Walker on Cameron's Coup

Rethinking the Coinage of Roman Britain

Friday 19 June 2015

We can discover a great deal about the past from coins, but within archaeology they are often marginalised and misunderstood. This engaging talk will tackle the broader aspects of Roman Britain, coinage, and Romanisation, before presenting Barry’s ideas, data, and discoveries.

The Future of Cities

Friday 19 June 2015

A panel debate on the future of cities.

Financial Austerity: Winners and losers

Friday 19 June 2015

A panel debate on the winners and losers of financial austerity.

Lost in the Library

Thursday 18 June 2015

Discover the data which books can reveal and consider the secrets lost to history through the destruction of library collections.

Prostitution in Victorian York

Thursday 18 June 2015

What do we know about nineteenth-century prostitution in York? Frances Finnegan discusses her research in this area, revealing what the records of the time can tell us, and examining the history of York’s attempt at reform.

Mad Men and Bad Men

Thursday 18 June 2015

Sam Delaney will be talking about his dark, revealing and frequently hilarious new book Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened When British Politics Met Advertising. This is a hugely entertaining behind-the-scenes tour of the election campaigns of the last four decades which examines how a bunch of unelected, unaccountable admen ended up running British politics.

Finds from Fishergate

Thursday 18 June 2015

Excavated in Fishergate and stored for many years in the basement of Mecca Bingo, the Fishergate archive sheds new light on Anglian York. This exciting archive is available for the very first time for the public to see and handle.

The Life and Legacy of George Bradshaw

Thursday 18 June 2015

Dr David Turner explores the life and legacy of George Bradshaw, who wrote Bradshaw’s Railway Companion, and reveals that behind the ‘Bradshaw’ branding is a surprising story.

The Abuse of Hot Liquors

Thursday 18 June 2015

BBC food historian Annie Gray will talk about three influential foodstuffs from 17th century Britain, from their medicinal beginnings, to the myths that surrounded them, to their adoption as core parts of our diet. By the end, you’ll never look at a steaming mug of your chosen pick-me-up in quite the same way again.

Exploring Learning Global Cultures

Thursday 18 June 2015

This event is for those involved in International Education of any sort, whether school, Further Education or Higher Education to bring their research and ideas to an Unconference to discuss the differences and similarities between Global learning cultures.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Wednesday 17 June 2015

One hundred and fifty years after the extraordinary, imaginative feat of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of The Earth, David Whitehouse embarks on a voyage of scientific discovery into the heart of our world.

The Author’s Effects

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Join Nicola Watson of the Open University as she explores the ways that celebrated authors’ lives have been imagined in the writer’s house museum, looking at a series of extraordinary literary objects – from Shakespeare’s quill to Burns’s bed.

Freedom Regained: The possibility of free will

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Do we have free will? This is a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries, and has only become more complex with recent advances in neuroscience and genetics as Julian Baggini explores.

The Weather Experiment

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Robert FitzRoy is one of the forgotten heroes of 19th -century science. In his time he was known for founding a controversial governmental office, the Meteorological Department, which issued weather predictions or ‘forecasts’. This talk revisits FitzRoy’s weather experiment, one of the most notorious scientific experiments of the Victorian age.

Medicine’s Painful Past

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this lecture has been cancelled. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.

The US and the Rest of Us

Wednesday 17 June 2015

A review of America’s influence in the world since 1945. Did the US change from a saviour to an imperial bully, then dwindle into a mere entertainer, an exporter of kitsch? And are we all Americans now?

Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century

Wednesday 17 June 2015

In this fascinating and entertaining talk, Hugh Aldersey-Williams reveals what we can learn about our lives now by re-examining how Sir Thomas Browne understood the times in which he lived. How we might apply Browne’s questioning curiosity to our contemporary beliefs and how surprising the results could be.

Unveiling Secrets of the Museum

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Join the writers, directors and curators of the production In Fog and Falling Snow and discover how they explored the last 200 years of railways in York.

Drone Society

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Discover all about wearable drones and drone artists, and explore why if 2014 was the year of the ‘selfie’, 2015 is the year of the ‘Dronie’.

What’s New with the Vikings?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Come and find out the most recent research on the Vikings including Viking camps, war cemeteries, commerce, and migration.

Is Anybody Out There?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

For more than 50 years, giant radio telescopes have looked for signals from extra- terrestrial civilisations. We’ve discovered some amazing astronomical phenomena but so far nothing that looks like a message from space. Tim O’Brien from Jodrell Bank will discuss what the future might hold for our attempts to answer the question: “Are we alone in the Universe?” The talk will begin at 7pm with a presentation for the Schools’ Physicist of the Year Awards.

A Journey through James Joyce and Irish Song

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Gerry Smyth and Matthew Campbell take you on a short trip through the history of Irish music, guided by that most musical of authors, James Joyce.

All Aboard the Cloud Lab: Crossing America in an airship

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Join Dr Jim McQuaid to discover how bacteria are great at making clouds, how pollution can affect hurricane strength, and how the Cloud Lab managed to weigh a cloud!

Blue Note: 75 Years of the Finest in Jazz

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Writer and jazz producer Richard Havers discusses Blue Note Records, the iconic jazz label. An illustrated talk featuring music that tells the story of the label.

The Map of Russia, 15th–19th Centuries

Tuesday 16 June 2015

The lecture will follow the geographical evolution of the Russian state between the 16th and the 19th centuries, taking in the 14th and the 15th centuries as crucial for the formation of the geographical nucleus of Russia.

Women in Early Buddhist Inscriptions (South Asia, 300 BCE – 300 CE)

Tuesday 16 June 2015

In this talk, Alice Collett will survey some early South Asian inscriptions made by Buddhist women, and discuss what they reveal to us about the lives of Buddhist women living in South Asia some 2,000 years ago. The talk will focus on inscription sites in North and Central India and Sri Lanka, and will include images of ancient Buddhist monuments and cave sites.

Medieval City: A canvas for contemporary art

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Join York Curiouser’s Co-Artistic Directors Hazel Colquhoun and Lara Goodband with a panel of curators, artists and academics who will discuss and present ideas about the Medieval city as a canvas for contemporary art.

William Smith: The father of English geology

Tuesday 16 June 2015

The work of geologist, William Smith, showed the way to read the history of the earth by making a connection between fossils and the layers of rocks they were in. Find out more about Smith and his ground-breaking 1815 geological map.

Introduction to Geological Maps

Tuesday 16 June 2015

In this hands-on session discover about how geological maps can help you explore the secrets beneath your feet.

Agincourt 1415: Truth and myth

Monday 15 June 2015

Professor Anne Curry, the world’s leading expert on the battle of Agincourt, reveals the fruits of her researches into the most famous English victory of the middle ages, which celebrates its 600th anniversary this year on 25 October.

The Mysteries of Mother Shipton

Monday 15 June 2015

Who really was Mother Shipton? Did she really foretell Wolsey’s downfall and the siege of York, not to mention the internet, air travel and, famously, the end of the world? Find out more about this legendary wisewoman and what her foresight might mean for us today.

Mini magnetospheres

Monday 15 June 2015

One of the biggest dangers while travelling in space is exposure to potentially lethal bursts of radiation from the sun. Ruth Bamford, from RAL Space, will discuss how to protect astronauts with Star Trek-style deflector shields, and the importance of these shields on future manned missions to Mars. The talk will begin at 7pm with an awards presentation for the winners of the Astrocampus Astrophotography competition.

Let’s Talk About Meat

Monday 15 June 2015

A panel of experts, chaired by Kevin Brennan from Quorn Foods, will debate behaviour change in relation to food, and, specifically, meat-eating.

Eoforwic, Jorvik and the Viking Centre

Monday 15 June 2015

Peter Addyman describes the archaeological search for Eoforwic and Jorvik in 1970s and 1980s York. Massive excavations in Coppergate revealed Anglian and Viking-age structures; find out how this led to the creation of York’s world-famous Jorvik Viking Centre.

The Biography of a Biographer

Monday 15 June 2015

Historian Ruth Scurr delves into the private life of the John Aubrey, one of the pioneers of modern writing, a journalist before the age of journalism, who witnessed the Civil War and the Great Fire of London in the company of some of the influential men and women, high and low, whose lives he would make his legacy.

You Are What You Eat

Monday 15 June 2015

A panel of experts will debate whether you are what you eat.

The Future of Food: The ticking time bomb

Monday 15 June 2015

A panel of experts will discuss the challenges facing the future of food.

The Coinage of Eoforwic

Monday 15 June 2015

Anglian York - Eoforwic - was one of the richest and most important towns in England. Come and discover what York's hidden coins reveal about life, kings and religion in the early medieval town.

Curating Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen

Sunday 14 June 2015

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe. Join Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum to hear more about this exciting exhibition.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Culture and well-being

Sunday 14 June 2015

Join founding Executive Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park as he describes YSP’s activity and its contribution to the well-being of culture, communities and individuals.

Future Cities: How will we live next?

Sunday 14 June 2015

What might your city look like in 2065? In this talk, Professor Nick Dunn from Lancaster University will explore what new technologies and lifestyles may mean for our cities.

A Zoo of Galaxies

Sunday 14 June 2015

Karen will talk about how our knowledge of the different types of galaxies has evolved since we first understood they were objects outside our own Milky Way galaxy.

Turner, Ruskin, and the Pre-Raphaelites on Screen

Sunday 14 June 2015

Join us for a panel debate exploring how artists and artworlds of the 19th century are presented through film.

Let There Be Light!

Sunday 14 June 2015

Why is our sun yellow not blue, how can police sirens tell us about other galaxies, and how did pigeons get in the way of one of the biggest scientific discoveries? Find out with live demonstrations and hands-on activities: from hidden messages and special glasses to lasers and plasma balls!

Europe 1600–1815 in 1000 objects

Sunday 14 June 2015

Join us for a talk by lead curator of the V&A's galleries on the art and design of 17th and 18th century Europe.

Waterloo: Followers of Fashion

Sunday 14 June 2015

Wives used to follow their officer husbands to the battle and at Waterloo, many civilians watched from the sidelines. Find out what an elegant lady of 1815 would be wearing. See real dresses and accessories from the museum’s collection.

In Space, No-One Can Hear You Scream!

Sunday 14 June 2015

How do we get into space? And once we’re there, what happens to our bodies? Why can’t we breathe in space? Just how cold is it up there? And why is it that in space, no one can hear you scream? Find out all this and more with live demonstrations and hands-on activities including boiling blood, exploding marshmallows and a rocket launch!

A New History of the Central Powers at War

Saturday 13 June 2015

Historian Alexander Watson retells the First World War from the perspective of its instigators and losers – Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The Occult Roots of Modern Psychology

Saturday 13 June 2015

This talk provides an overview of historical links between elite science and the marvellous, and reconstructs the involvement of some of the founders of modern psychology in research on telepathy and spiritualism.

Alice in Wonderland 150 Years On: The story of Alice

Saturday 13 June 2015

It is 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, transforming children’s literature, childhood and nonsense. To mark this, Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Oxford), will be talking about his new book The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland with Hugh Haughton, editor of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Dr James Williams.

York Museums Trust Book Club: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Saturday 13 June 2015

Join the York Museums Trust for their book club linked to their collections.

Relics of the Reich

Saturday 13 June 2015

Many of the buildings and sites associated with the Nazis are still there but what has happened to them? Author Colin Philpott explores what these places tell us about Germany now.

John Wedgwood Clarke: Poetry reading

Saturday 13 June 2015

York Curiouser poet John Wedgwood Clarke will read poems about York and the Yorkshire landscape including work from his 2013 collection Ghost Pot described as ‘a masterpiece that rewards continual rereading’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.

Unveiling Secrets of the Museum

Saturday 13 June 2015

Join the writers, directors and curators of the production In Fog and Falling Snow to discover how they explored the last 200 years of railways in York.

Art Theft and Looting through History

Saturday 13 June 2015

Looting has often been a little-examined motivation for some of the major conflicts throughout history. In his talk, art dealer Ivan Lindsay, explores looting from the Romans to the Nazis.

From Stone Age to Phone Age

Saturday 13 June 2015

In this talk, historian and historical consultant to CBBC’s multi-award winning Horrible Histories, Greg Jenner, guides us through the story of how our basic rituals and routines have evolved since the Stone Age.

Scepticism and Tolerance in pre-modern Islam

Friday 12 June 2015

There is a long tradition of both skepticism and tolerance in pre-modern societies of the Islamic world, present in their classical literatures – worth exploring in times of extremes.

Scandal, Sex, and Sedition

Friday 12 June 2015

To his admirers Charles Pigott was a ‘bold and free-spoken man’; to those who knew him from Newmarket Whig gambling circles, he was someone rather less reputable...

Secrets, Discoveries & Medicine

Friday 12 June 2015

This roundtable will debate pharmaceutical innovation in relation to clinical trial openness, patents and Intellectual Property from an inter-disciplinary perspective.

Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor

Friday 12 June 2015

Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of how Augustus rose from an obscure teenager to become Rome's first and greatest emperor, and the most powerful man in the world.

Andrew Davies in Conversation

Friday 12 June 2015

Celebrated screenwriter and adapter of many literary works for the screen, Andrew Davies, will be joining us to discuss some of his many high-profile projects for the screen.

Baghdad: City of peace, city of blood

Friday 12 June 2015

Join Justin Marozzi to discover the compelling story of Baghdad, a city that for 500 years was the centre of world civilisation.

The Mysteries of Identical Twinning and how they can help in Education

Friday 12 June 2015

Identical twins share all of their genes and are usually brought up in the same home and attend the same schools. In spite of their shared biology and experience they are often strikingly different from each other in their abilities, behaviour and choices. Kathryn Asbury will share stories from the 16-year-old twins who took part in her latest study and will draw implications from this research for schools and teachers.

The Three Minute Thesis Competition

Friday 12 June 2015

Three Minute Thesis is York’s research communication competition. PhD students from across the disciplines have three minutes to communicate the impact of their research to an audience made up of school pupils, teachers, members of the general public and industry.

Astrobiology: Hunt for alien life

Friday 12 June 2015

Join Dr Lewis Dartnell on a tour of the other planets and moons in our solar system which may harbour life, and even further afield to alien worlds we've discovered orbiting distant stars, to explore one of the greatest questions ever asked: are we alone...?

Back to the Beer-Hall: More Anglo-Saxon poetry

Thursday 11 June 2015

Following the great success of last year’s ‘Beer and Beowulf’ event, we invite you back to the beor-sele or beer-hall of the Duke of York pub for another evening of Anglo-Saxon poetry and Anglo-Saxon ale.

Secrets of the Dead: The science of who you are

Thursday 11 June 2015

Our identity is very personal to us but it is something that we willingly share every single day of our lives. But what happens when we are no longer alive to verify our identity? How can we still communicate our identity from beyond the grave?

Anglo Saxon Astronomy

Thursday 11 June 2015

If astronomy books are to be believed nothing much astronomically happened during the Anglo-Saxon period. This lecture will attempt to show if that belief is true!

Plants: The real silent witnesses

Thursday 11 June 2015

Find out how plants contribute to the investigation of series crime.

Melodrama and Medical Horror Stories

Thursday 11 June 2015

This talk discusses how the US Public Health Service sponsored a medical research study in Guatemala that involved infecting thousands of vulnerable people with sexually transmitted diseases between 1946 and 1948, and how the US government came to apologise for it in 2010.

Art and Work in Conversation

Thursday 11 June 2015

A discussion evening, led in part by researcher and writer Luke Layzelle. The event will aim to initiate a conversation on the differences and affinities between the work involved in arts based practice and wage labour.

Rowntree York Revealed

Thursday 11 June 2015

The ‘York Remembers Rowntree’ project has uncovered hundreds of stories from former Rowntree employees – come along and find out more about what Rowntree means to the people in York.

The Art of Stone in Anglian York

Thursday 11 June 2015

Jane Hawkes will explore the innovative nature of the public art of stone sculpture produced in and around York in the seventh through ninth centuries, considering the impacts of its originally coloured appearance, varied sculptural forms and distinct iconographies.

Fifty Active Years After Fifty®

Thursday 11 June 2015

Join John Fisher to discover how medical engineering is encouraging the body to regenerate itself making fifty active years after fifty a realistic expectation for many people.

Simon Pope on Walking as Art

Thursday 11 June 2015

Artist Simon Pope will talk about how we can form new types of community through engaging with material aspects of the city.

Egyptian Mummies: Secrets and discoveries

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Professor Joann Fletcher of the University of York’s Department of Archaeology reveals some of the new discoveries and hidden secrets uncovered during her work as part of the University’s ‘Mummy Research Group’.

What are the Demands of Democracy?

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Nobel prize-winning economist, Amartya Sen, joins the Festival to deliver a talk on The Demands of Democracy.

Mapping Anglian York

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Evidence for Anglian York is buried deep beneath the city. The Anglian period covers almost four and half centuries and charts York’s decline in the post-Roman period to its rise as a centre for Christianity and international commerce. But what did it look like?

Hidden Meanings in Foreign Language Learning

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Come and be inspired to start, continue, or reflect on, your own language learning, or to consider the role of language teaching in the UK today.

Healing at a Distance

Wednesday 10 June 2015

What can the history of old technologies like the telephone and the television teach us about the future of telemedicine? This lecture reframes current debates over the promise and perils of telemedicine by examining the successive ethical challenges posed from the late 19th century to the present.

Ancient Sparta: How odd?

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Apart from Athens, no other ancient Greek city plays so prominent a role in the long development of the Classical tradition than Ancient Sparta. But how different, or odd, was Sparta, really?

The Yellow Peril: The rise of Chinaphobia

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Christopher Frayling will uncover the origins of popular prejudices about China through films, plays, pantomimes, music-hall, popular fiction, and especially the characters of Dr Fu Manchu who first appeared in 1912.

The New ‘Alpha Territory’

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Richard Webber looks at the lifestyles of London’s super-rich, examining the impact of their wealth on neighbourhoods which were previously the preserve of traditional elites.

York’s Finest: The Ormside Bowl

Wednesday 10 June 2015

A very special chance to discover the story of one of the Yorkshire Museum’s most celebrated treasures, the Ormside Bowl, and an opportunity to handle Anglian and Viking artefacts from the collections.

Dictators for Dinner

Wednesday 10 June 2015

What do dictators eat? Join authors Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott as they discuss their book Dictators’ Dinners: The Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants, an investigation into what some of the world’s most notorious 20th-century despots have enjoyed most at their dinner table, and with whom. Here we learn of their foibles, their eccentricities and their frequent terror of being poisoned.

Discovering the Secret Lives of Killer Whales

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Learn about killer whale social behaviour, with a focus on the evolution of menopause (yes – they have menopause) and the role of whale grannies.

Secrets from Journalism, Politics and Prison

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Well-known British author and former politician, Jonathan Aitken, reveals secrets from a life in journalism.

The Quantum Universe

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Quantum physics describes a very strange and counter-intuitive world, where tiny particles act as if they are in several places at the same time. Jeff Forshaw will present the crazy rules that control the behaviour of a quantum particle and show how they impact upon questions about the world around us.

Introducing the Ancient Greeks

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Who were the ancient Greeks? They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. But what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? Expertly researched and elegantly told, this indispensable introduction unveils a civilisation of incomparable richness and a people of astounding complexity.

The Secret History of Biological Warfare

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Professor Brian Balmer, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London

Universities and social and solidarity economy

Tuesday 9 June 2015

An opportunity to find out more about York St John University’s project into the ‘social and solidarity economy’ (economy where society profits) including a discussion of the values driving this people-centred economy and the ethos and role of the university in its teaching, research and practice.

Truth, Trust and Trysts

Tuesday 9 June 2015

How do we best accommodate the vital need for truth, and what are the occasions when it does more harm than good? What are the uses, the necessities, and the limits of trust?

The Art of Measure: Virus form and function

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Find out about recent advances in our understanding virus structure.

Artistic Censorship in Repressive Regimes

Saturday 6 June 2015

Following the screening of Sisters, join us for a panel debate on artistic censorship in repressive regimes.