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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


Plenary lecture series: information for members of the University

The University of Cambridge has held International Summer Programmes since 1923. Organised and run by the International Programmes Division of the Institute of Continuing Education, the offering now embraces 12 programmes and 196 courses. Over 1100 visitors from 63 countries will come to the University for periods of study lasting from one to six weeks – a total in excess of 1150 enrolments has already been reached. At the core of each Summer Programme are the small, special study classes, largely taught by members of the University. Each programme also offers plenary lectures for all participants in that Summer Programme, and experts from within the University and beyond are invited to contribute to these series.

These lectures have been very well received in the past, and the organisers of the Summer Programmes would like, where possible, to make them more widely accessible to those with research and teaching interests in the subject concerned. The lectures are not open to the public, but where space in the lecture hall permits, we are willing to make places available for members of the University to attend the plenary lectures which interest them most. 

Please note: for security reasons, all members of the University will be asked to confirm their status to one of the Institute’s staff in attendance at the lecture hall. We would be grateful if those wishing to attend any of these lectures would notify us in advance. Contact details are given at the end of this list. Any unavoidable changes to the list of venues or speakers will be posted in the main Summer Programmes Office (Foyer, Lady Mitchell Hall): we suggest you arrive a few minutes in advance in order to allow time to check the location.

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Terms I, II and III

The three teaching terms of the Institute of Continuing Education’s Interdisciplinary Summer Programme run from Monday 9 July to Friday 20 July, from Monday 23 July to Friday 3 August, and from Monday 6 August to Friday 17 August, 2018. The talks in each Term’s plenary series of lectures follow the theme: Impact. The topic has been chosen to stimulate interest amongst a group of students from a broad range of disciplines. Lectures take place in Lady Mitchell Hall. The morning lectures begin promptly at 10.30am, and finish at 11.30am. The series is arranged for the c.100 participants in each Term of the Interdisciplinary Summer Programme, but members of the University are cordially invited to attend. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Term I:

9 July 10.30am               Professor Sir Colin Humphreys: Artificial intelligence, Big Data and predicting earthquakes

10 July 10.30am             Professor Malcolm Longair: Einstein

11 July 10.30am             Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong: The porous prison: exploring the impact of 'Learning Together'

12 July 10.30am             Dr Ed Turner: Human impacts on the environment and conservation action

13 July 10.30am             Dr Shima Barakat: Understanding sustainability and creating global impact

16 July 10.30am             Max Beber: Globalisation and governance: virtuous or vicious circle?

17 July 10.30am             Professor Clive Oppenheimer: Impacts of volcanic eruptions on the medieval world

18 July 10.30am             Dr Graham McCann: The impact of insults: the use of abuse in British politics

19 July 10.30am             Dr Karen Ottewell: The impact of other languages on the development of English

20 July 10.30am             Dr Nigel Spivey: The impact of a krater

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Term II:

23 July 10.30am             Professor Sir Colin Humphreys: LED lighting - improving health and examination results?

24 July 10.30am             Dr Christine van Ruymbeke: Persia in pre-modern France? La Fontaine's Fables and Galland's 1001 Nights

25 July 10.30am             Reverend Professor Alasdair Coles: The impact of the immune system on the brain, and vice versa

26 July 10.30am             Professor Steve Evans: Plastics: reducing their global impact

27 July 10.30am             Dr Sarah Nouwen: Peacemaking: what’s law go to do with it?

30 July 10.30am             Dr Hester Vaizey: The fall of the Berlin Wall: everyday life in the aftermath

31 July 10.30am             Dr Raoul-Gabriel Urma: De-mystifying data science - and assessing its impact

1 August 10.30am          Dr John Lennard: More than one kind of magic: the surprising effects of J K Rowling

2 August 10.30am          Dr Fenella Cannell: Five ways 'religion' impacts on social life

3 August 10.30am          Professor Simon Conway Morris: Evolution's hidden impact

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Term III:

6 August 10.30am          Dr Michael Clark: The mutual impact of international and Middle East politics

7 August 10.30am          Professor John Robb: An act of God? The Black Death and its impact

8 August 10.30am          Dr Beth Singler: Can, and should, robots feel pain?

9 August 10.30am          Dr Ella McPherson: Digital fakery and its consequences

10 August 10.30am        Professor Malcolm Longair: Maxwell

13 August 10.30am        Professor Richard Hunter: What is a classic? The impact of antiquity

14 August 10.30am        Dr Alex Carter: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s impact on contemporary thought

15 August 10.30am        Dr Chris Coleridge: Does Entrepreneurship change anything?

16 August 10.30am        Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa: The racialised body: the impact of race and beauty in everyday life

17 August 10.30am        Caroline Holmes: The impact of mistranslating Englishness in buildings abroad

Science Summer Programme, Terms I and II

Teaching for the two Terms of the Science Summer Programme takes place from Monday 9 July to Friday 3 August, 2018. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Impact and Responsibility. Term I lectures are given in Room LG17, in the Law Faculty, and Term II lectures are given in the Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity, both on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks section below.)

Science Term I:

9 July 9.00am               Dr Martin Welch: Genes, genomes and you

10 July 9.00am             Dr Ed Turner: Insect conservation: conserving the little things that run the world

11 July 9.00am             Dr John Orr: Extraordinary possibilities for concrete structures

12 July 9.00am             Professor Tim Minshall: How innovation will help us manufacture a better world

13 July 9.00am             Professor Lloyd Peck: Antarctica: the impacts of humans in a pristine environment

16 July 9.00am             Francis Wells: Cardiac surgery in the 21st century

17 July 9.00am             Dr Nick Bampos: Chemistry and life

18 July 9.00am             Dr Ewan St John Smith: Physiology of pain

19 July 9.00am             Dr Elizabeth Murchison: Transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils

20 July 9.00am             Dr John Maclennan: Predicting volcanic eruptions

Science Term II:

23 July 9.00am             Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald: New horizons for early detection of cancer: lessons from the oesophagus

24 July 9.00am             Dr Hugh Hunt: Refreezing the Arctic

25 July 9.00am             Professor Steve Evans: Plastics: reducing their global impact

26 July 9.00am             Professor Simon Conway Morris: Is evolution predictable and if so, then what?

27 July 9.00am             Dr Uta Paszkowski: Hidden partners: the impact of symbioses on the success of plants on land

30 July 9.00am             Dr Lewis Owen: Engines to atoms

31 July 9.00am             Dr Richard Jennings: The ethical limits of science

1 August 9.00am          Dr Ewan St John Smith: The naked mole-rat: blind and naked, but oh so cool

2 August 9.00am          Dr Jane Gregory: Why do we communicate science?

3 August 9.00am          Professor Malcolm Longair: General Relativity and Gravitational Waves

Ancient and Classical Worlds Summer Programme

Teaching for the Ancient and Classical Worlds Summer Programme takes place from Monday 9 July to Friday 20 July, 2018. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Ideas and Influence. Morning lectures take place in the Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

9 July 9.15am               Dr Jan Parker: Inventing the metaphysical 'idea': From Heraclitus to Plato

10 July 9.15am             Dr Nathan MacDonald: Made in the image of God': understanding an Israelite idea in its Ancient context

11 July 9.15am             Professor Liba Taub: Writing science in Greco-Roman Antiquity

12 July 9.15am             Dr Margarita Gleba: Nomads of the Eurasian steppes: the golden legacy of the Scythians

13 July 9.15am             Dr Matthew Symonds: Roman Britons or Celtic barbarians?

16 July 9.15am             Dr Matthew Symonds: Rome’s frontiers: the end of an empire without end

17 July 9.15am             Professor Paul Cartledge: Spartan mirages

18 July 9.15am             Dr Beatriz Marin-Aguilera: Masters of the sea: history and influence of the Phoenicians

19 July 9.15am             Dr Nigel Strudwick: The influence of Thebes on the culture of Egypt over the millennia

20 July 9.15am             Dr John MacGinnis: The Assyrian Empire

Literature Summer Programme, Terms I and II

Teaching for the two terms of the Literature Summer Programme takes place from Monday 9 July and to Friday 3 August, 2018. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Influences. Morning lectures in week I (9-13 July) are held in G19 in the Classics Faculty and afterwards, in Little Hall (16 July-3 August). (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

Literature Term I:

9 July 11.15am               Dr Edward Allen: The influence of allusion: from Shakespeare to Trump

10 July 11.15am             Dr Isobel Maddison: Worms of the same family?: Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth von Arnim

11 July 11.15am             Dr Jenny Mander: Cultural influence, soft power and international relations

12 July 11.15am             Dr Thomas Karshan: Style, parody, and play

13 July 11.15am             Dr Andy Wimbush: Literary influences that shaped Beckett's early development as a novelist

16 July 11.15am             Dr Sophie Read: The "true history" of Paradise Lost in Frankenstein: how Shelley rewrote Milton

17 July 11.15am             Dr Leo Mellor: The influence of the aerial view on 1930s culture: Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen,
                                       Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh

18 July 11.15am             Dr John Lennard: England, Ireland, Jamaica: the curious case of the country house poem

19 July 11.15am             Professor Clare Pettitt: Electrical influences: telegraphic connections in writing and revolution

20 July 11.15am             Dr Fred Parker: Byron and the 'twice-told tale'

Literature Term II:

23 July 11.15am             Oliver Soden: The music of The Waste Land

24 July 11.15am             Professor Helen Cooper: Three Tigers

25 July 11.15am             Vanessa Ackerman: Shakespeare and feminism today: interpreting Ophelia

26 July 11.15am             Dr Scott Annett: Chaucer's readings of Dante, "the grete poete of Ytaille"

27 July 11.15am             Dr Ruth Abbott: Charles Dickens and the Telegraph

30 July 11.15am             Dr Josie O'Donoghue: ‘Yeats as an Example?’? Seamus Heaney's poetic influences

31 July 11.15am             Dr Stacey McDowell: Wordsworth’s formative reading

1 August 11.15am          Clive Wilmer: Thom Gunn, his sources and influences

2 August 11.15am          Dr Ewan Jones: Good vibrations? Sympathy and science in the 19th-century novel

3 August 11.15am          Dr Jenny Bavidge: ‘tl;dr': the influence of digital culture and social media on contemporary literature

History Summer Programme

Teaching for the Summer Programme in History takes place between Monday 23 July and Friday 3 August, 2018. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Turning-points. Morning lectures take place in Room LG18 in the Law Faculty on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

23 July 9.15am               Dr Caroline Shenton: The day parliament burned down

24 July 9.15am               Professor Mark Goldie: 1688: the English Revolution

25 July 9.15am               Dr Elizabeth Drayson: 1492: how seven centuries of Muslim rule in Spain came to an end

26 July 9.15am               Dr Jonathan Davis: 1968: the year that changed the Cold War                                    

27 July 9.15am               Dr Colin Shindler: The Profumo Affair

30 July 9.15am               Dr Richard Serjeantson: The Sciences vs. the Humanities in the Scientific Revolution?

31 July 9.15am               Professor John Morrill: 23 October 1641: Britain's Irish problem defined

1 August 9.15am            Dr Jennifer Keating: Long live the revolution! Exploring watersheds in history

2 August 9.15am            Allen Packwood: Turning-points for Churchill in World War Two

3 August 9.15am            Dr David Smith: Turning-points in 17th-century England

Art and Visual Culture Summer Programme

Teaching for the Art and Visual Culture Summer Programme takes place between Monday 23 July and Friday 3 August, 2018. Core Lectures for the Programme will be held in Room LG17, in the Faculty of Law on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

23 July 9.00am               Dr Lydia Hamlett: Murals and movement in the British Baroque

23 July 11.00am             Dr Donal Cooper: Titian in the Frari: Sacred Art and the Moving Viewer in Renaissance Venice

23 July 2.00pm               Siân Griffiths: Artistic value: a moving target

24 July 9.00am               Malavika Anderson: Why is this here? Objects on the move

24 July 11.00am             Dr Stella Panayotova: Illumination: movement and emotions in Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts

25 July 9.00am               Dr Lydia Hamlett: The slippery sublime                                    

26 July 9.00am               Dr Jenny Powell: Art and Dance in pre-war London: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and contemporaries

26 July 11.00am             Dr Jeff Barda: From the ‘movement image’ to the ‘time-image’

27 July 9.00am               Dr Victoria Avery: Moving sculpture in Renaissance Italy

27 July 11.00am             Dr Jenny Powell: Painting through ACTION? Abstract Expressionism in post-war New York

27 July 2.00pm               Siân Griffiths: Moving bodies: Orlan and Abramović

30 July 9.00am               Dr Victoria Avery: Moving images: a curator’s tale

30 July 11.00am             Dr Nicola Kozicharow: The moving image and migration: visual culture of the Russian emigration

30 July 2.00pm               Issam Kourbaj: Another day lost, movement and Syrian refugees

31 July 9.00am               Dr Victoria Avery: Modelling movement: Degas’ sculptures of horses and dancer

31 July 11.00am             Calvin Winner: Elisabeth Frink and movement by sculptural means: flying, falling and spinning in space

1 August 9.00am            Dr Deniz Türker: Prefabs, chalets, and home making in 19th-century Istanbul

2 August 9.00am            Dr Jenny Powell: Antony Gormley: the body and space in sculpture

2 August 2.00pm            Alex Taylor: Film and television culture in the age of the algorithm

3 August 9.00am            Dr Amy Tobin: Heresies and the reproduction of art and feminist politics

3 August 11.00am          Richard Humphreys: Arrested Movement: Vorticism and the London Avant-Garde 1910-1915

3 August 2.00pm            Richard Wright: Talk by artist Richard Wright

Medieval Studies Summer Programme

Teaching for the Medieval Studies Summer Programme takes place between Monday 6 August and Friday 17 August, 2018. The theme for this year’s morning plenary lecture series is Chivalry. Morning lectures take place in the Runcie Room in the Faculty of Divinity, on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

6 August 9.15am           Dr Rowena E Archer: War and chivalry: John Mowbray and preparations for Agincourt, 1415

7 August 9.15am           Dr Hugh Doherty: The emergence of the tournament, c.1070-1150

8 August 9.15am           Dr Philip Morgan: Sir Robert Grosvenor at the Court of Chivalry

9 August 9.15am           Julian Munby: From Tintagel to the tiltyard: the chivalric fantasy

10 August 9.15am         Dr Michael K Jones: The Black Prince – chivalrous hero or villain?

13 August 9.15am         Richard Barber: Knowledge of arms: how did heralds relate to heraldry?

14 August 9.15am         Richard Partington: Paladin as author: chivalry in the lives and writings of Henry of Grosmont and Geoffrey
                                      de Charny

15 August 9.15am         Dr Ted Powell: Ransom, robbery and rapine: the business side of chivalry

16 August 9.15am         Dr David Rundle: International diplomacy: gift-giving and membership of secular orders

17 August 9.15am         Professor Michelle P Brown: The maiden's view from the Chastel d'Amour: medieval women's experiences

Shakespeare Summer Programme

Teaching for the Shakespeare Summer Programme runs from Monday 6 August to Friday 17 August, 2018. The theme for this year’s morning plenary lecture series is Transitions. Morning lectures take place in Little Hall, on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

6 August 11.30am        Patrick Spottiswoode: “You might have rhymed”: Shakespeare’s transitions between rhyme and rhyming

7 August 11.30am        Dr John Lennard: If you go down to the woods today: the Shakespearean forest, and what happens there

8 August 11.30am        Dr Catherine Alexander: Romeo and Juliet: transitions from page(s) to stage(s)

9 August 11.30am        Dr Lucy Allen: Into memory: temporal transitions

10 August 11.30am      Professor Stuart Sillars: Transformation and variation in Shakespeare's tragedic canon

13 August 11.30am      Professor Catherine Belsey: Realism: an emerging genre

14 August 11.30am      Clive Wilmer: Transitional scenes

15 August 11.30am      Dr James Harriman-Smith: ‘The transitions of Lear are beautiful’: Shakespearean passion in the 18th

16 August 11.30am      Tom Littler: A holiday humour': arrivals, transformations and departures in Shakespeare's comedies

17 August 11.30am      Dr Fred Parker: “Thou mettest with things dying, I with things newborn.”

Creative Writing Summer Programme

Teaching for the Creative Writing Summer Programme takes place between Monday 6 August and Friday 17 August, 2018. Morning lectures for the Creative Writing Summer Programme will be held in Room SG1, in the Alison Richard building on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

6 August 11.30am        Professor Jem Poster: Writing and reading

7 August 11.30am        Abigail Docherty: Dialogue and voice: how prose speaks

8 August 11.30am        Dr John Lennard: Special effects: experiments in punctuation

9 August 11.30am        Rupert Wallis: Young Adult fiction: what is it and how do you write it?

10 August 11.30am      Dr Lucy Durneen: Transgenre writing: blurring the boundaries

13 August 11.30am      Dr Sarah Burton: The need to write: writing as therapy

14 August 11.30am      Katherine Stansfield: How I published my first novel (and my second and third)

15 August 11.30am      Elly Griffiths: Writing the perfect murder

16 August 11.30am      Lee Brackstone and Lucy Luck: Editor and agent: complementary roles

17 August 11.30am      Midge Gillies: Title deeds: the importance of naming a book

Evening talks

The evening lectures begin promptly at 8.00pm and finish at 9.00pm. All evening lectures take place in Lady Mitchell Hall on the Sidgwick Site, unless stated otherwise.

10 July 8.00pm             Dr James Grime: Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine

11 July 8.00pm             Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill: Can we save the past? The cases of Pompeii and Herculaneum

12 July 8.00pm             Carina O'Reilly: Where are we on the journey to Brexit?

13 July 8.00pm             Dr Fred Parker: Introduction to Macbeth

16 July 8.00pm             Professor Graham Virgo: The English law of murder: myth and meaning

18 July 8.00pm             Dr Seán Lang: 1918 - the year the cannons stopped

19 July 8.00pm             Dr Hugh Hunt: The science behind the 1943 ‘Dambusters’ bouncing bomb

23 July 8.00pm             Sir Tony Brenton: "Down with Machiavelli!" 'Values' in foreign policy

24 July 8.00pm             Francis Wells: Leonardo da Vinci: who was he?

25 July 8.00pm             Dr Jessica Sharkey: Henry VIII, Hever Castle and the Annes

26 July 8.00pm             Dr Karen Ottewell: The impact of English on other languages

27 July 8.00pm             Dr Hester Lees-Jeffries: Romeo and Juliet: passion and poetry, friends and foes

31 July 8.00pm             Dr Patricia Fara: A lab of one's own: science and suffrage in the First World War

1 August 8.00pm          Professor David Jacques: The origins of Stonehenge: new discoveries and perspectives

6 August 8.00pm          Simon Browne: Poets at Cambridge: a journey through the centuries

7 August 8.00pm          Dr Catherine Alexander: “God for Harry! England, and St George!”: Shakespeare, religion and death

8 August 8.00pm          Dr Francis Woodman: Canterbury Cathedral

9 August 8.00pm          Professor Nigel Saul: Medieval chivalry, and its legacy

10 August 8.00pm        Dr Fred Parker: Introduction to Hamlet

13 August 8.00pm        Richard Partington: Real-world careers of the chivalric élite: noble service in the 14th century

15 August 8.00pm        Andrew Hatcher: The future of currency

Please note

Any unforeseen or last-minute changes to this lecture programme will be posted in the main Summer Programmes Office (Lady Mitchell Hall).

Your response to these lectures is invited

We would be interested to hear your response to any of the plenary lectures you have heard. If you have comments, or wish to know more about teaching on the Summer Programmes, please email Sarah Ormrod, Director of International Programmes, Institute of Continuing Education at