Past events

Information about the past few years' lectures are listed below.

If you have a query about a lecture given earlier than 2013, please contact the office and they can consult the Society's archives.

2022

Looking Inside Volcanoes

Professor Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

Volcanoes are big, hot, loud, and scary. Because of this, we know little of their internal structure or underlying 'plumbing system', despite them representing a global natural hazard. In this talk, Professor Jackson will lift the lid on their secrets...

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Tagore and his Works

Professor Bashabi Fraser CBE

In this lecture, Professor Bashabi Fraser will consider Tagore as writer, artist, composer, activist and pragmatist.   His life and work traversed two centuries - the Victorian and the modern.  He not only reflected his times, but reflected on them and as a true modern, he evolved...

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Who do we think we were? Slavery, Abolition and the Manchester Lit & Phil

Prof. Alan Rice; Dr Andrea Sillis; Drahoslava Máchová

The Manchester Lit and Phil was founded in 1781, when the city’s rapidly mechanising textile industry placed it at the centre of global trade networks...

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Faced with accelerating global impacts of Climate Change, Sir David will discuss how our planet and human civilisation can still win back the chance of surviving and thriving.

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From samples of Great Barrier Reef corals, to South African ostrich eggshell and Antarctic ice cores, amino acids have helped us unravel the complexities of our past, whilst also providing insights into how organisms build their skeletons and respond to climate change...

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Dr John Roberts' talk will explore whether contemporary issues that impact on free speech - such as no-platforming at universities and so-called 'cancel culture' on social media - mean that we are losing the ability to engage in free speech debates.

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The Creative Space

Michael Williams

How do words become the lyrics of an opera?  How does a writer create the imagined universe of a novel?

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We're very excited to launch the details of the 2022 Percival Lecture, our member's only event in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University...

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Reading your DNA: What can it tell us?

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian

How have new technologies to sequence human DNA impacted life sciences, medicine and society, and what does the future hold?

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The Future of the High Street

Sir John Timpson CBE

Since 2003, the Timpson business has grown from 230 shops to over 2,000; profits have increased tenfold, and the shops have created a reputation for great service without spending a penny on advertising...

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We Can Choose Our Future

Professor Alice Larkin

Anthropogenic climate change is the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced.  Yet the fact that we know humans created this challenge can be empowering – it means that we have some control over how much future climate change we will all need to adapt to...

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How does the way we speak relate to who we are?  Are there really significant differences between the accents and dialects of people across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester?

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Fairfield Moravian Settlement is a unique place with its Georgian Architecture, wide streets and cobbles...

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Artificial Intelligence is arguably one of the hottest technologies on the planet right now.  The very idea touches to the core of our existence as human beings – what role is there for us, if all our abilities can be replaced or upgraded by machines?..

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"I danced here on other peoples' dreams"

Professor Gary Younge FAcSS, FRSL

We are delighted that award-winning author, journalist, broadcaster and academic, Professor Gary Younge, will be giving the second of our young people’s talks this Spring...

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Legacy of Empire - How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

Sathnam Sanghera in conversation with Dr Michael Taylor

We are privileged to have award-winning Journalist and Author Sathnam Sanghera discuss his best-selling book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain...

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Social Media Addiction

Dr Daria Kuss

In this lecture Dr Kuss will introduce the concept of being ‘always on’ as a demarcating sign of today’s technophilic society...

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In this era of ‘fake news’, what is the role of the press and journalism in helping to form a society where evidence is valued above opinion? 

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When Parliament outlawed the British slave trade in 1807, it did nothing to set free more than 700,000 enslaved people in the British West Indies...

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Looking Inside Volcanoes *POSTPONED*

Professor Christopher Jackson

Volcanoes are big, hot, loud, and scary.  Because of this, we know little of their internal structure or underlying 'plumbing system', despite them representing a global natural hazard...

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