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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

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Our 2020 Topical Talks series has now come to an end. We will be offering a new series of monthly Topical Talks in 2021. Please keep an eye on our website for further details.


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2020 Topical Talks Series:

20 May 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Back to our roots: contemporary extramural education amidst a pandemic with Dr James Gazzard

Higher education, in all of its forms, has, arguably, changed more in the last 20 years than the 1,000 years that preceded it. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic will now again, over a matter of just a few months, profoundly transform university-level learning for all stakeholders. This talk will aspire to make sense of the possible changes, particularly referencing the needs of adult students seeking to engage in learning for professional or personal development - and how continuing education will return to its roots to address its new ‘post-Covid’ context and the emerging circumstances of mid-life and mid-career students.


27 May 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Creativity in business with Dr Alex Carter

Increasingly, business leaders are hearing and saying a lot about creativity. These discussions are driven, in large part, by the immediate challenges posed by the Corona Virus; as well as an ongoing move towards automation. Consequently, increasing attention is being paid to developing employees' "soft skills" such as collaboration, communication and creativity. This in turn raises questions about the role educational institutions ought to play in up-skilling today's workforce. In this session, we will consider some of the ways in which creativity can be developed - and some of the ways in which it can't.


3 June 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Creative Writing: writing in Isolation and what you should be reading with Sophie Hannah​

Anyone who is interested in writing knows how much words matter. At the moment, we are all hearing certain words a lot: lockdown, quarantine, isolation, social distancing. In this webinar, Sophie Hannah, Course Director of ICE's new Crime and Thriller Writing Masters Degree, talks about the ways in which our thoughts about this current period of our lives will affect our writing challenges and aspirations, and explains how writers can always make even the most difficult circumstances work in their favour.


10 June 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Biological annihilation: Infectious diseases as a threat to humanity with Dr Tom Monie

We are continuously exposed to infectious diseases. Most of the time our immune system deals with these and we remain completely unaware of them. The current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 reminds us of the risk posed by new diseases that can cross over from animals. This webinar will look at some of the major infectious threats to humans, including Sars-CoV-2, and consider how concerned we should be.


17 June 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Understanding educational inequality with Dr Nigel Kettley

What is educational inequality, how is it measured and why is it so important for your life? In this session, we will examine socio-economic inequalities in exam results at school and participation in higher education. We will also reflect on the adequacy of explanations of educational inequality and consider how educational inequality might be remedied.


24 June 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Coronavirus laid bare with Dr Chris Smith

The Naked Scientist, consultant virologist and ICE public understanding of science fellow Dr Chris Smith will reveal all about the origins, spread, disease and control of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus behind the Covid pandemic. The session will include an overview of the outbreak and what we have learned about this new virus, followed by an opportunity to ask questions individually.


1 July 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Big data: seeing the world through the sensors with Dr Oliver Hadeler

The use of sensors has become widespread, from smart phones to smart homes and cities to driverless cars. Modern healthcare is unthinkable without sensors, from large MRI scanners to small portable continuous diabetes monitors. Furthermore, for hundreds of years sensors and measurement have underpinned scientific discovery.


8 July 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

What do we need to know? with Dr Jane Gregory

What does it mean to be knowledgeable these days? Are there things everyone should know, or do we rely on different people knowing different things? How do we update our minds when knowledge evolves? Is there any point in learning anything, when we can search online for it? Using science as the central example, Dr Jane Gregory explores the debates about what we need to know. 


15 July 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Creativity and Resilience with Abigail Docherty

What is transformational resilience? How do resilience mindsets help us cope with the challenges of Covid and allow us to maximise our capacities for rebuilding our economy? We will be looking at Csikzentmihalyi's theory of flow state, as well as Taleb's theory of antifragility, and we will find practical ways of applying them to our everyday lives. A fun and engaging look at how to innovate, personally and professionally, during difficult times.


22 July 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

The Georgian Child Support Agency: success or failure? with Dr Sam Williams

This talk considers maintenance payments for illegitimate children and the extent to which costs were recovered from putative fathers. Was the Georgian 'child support agency' more or less successful than its modern-day counterpart?


29 July 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Politics of the Painted Hall with Dr Lydia Hamlett

The interior of the Painted Hall at Greenwich is covered in wall and ceiling paintings by the artist James Thornhill. In February 2020 it was chosen as the setting for a speech on post-Brexit trade by the Prime Minister. Why might this have been thought appropriate, and what may have been unintended associations? This talk will explore mural painting in general, and the Painted Hall in particular, in the context of politics, then and now.


5 August 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Don't be scared of the novel: some suggestions to get you started with Rupert Wallis

A talk aimed at making the idea of approaching a novel less daunting by giving some emotional and practical advice as well as thinking briefly about structure.

12 August 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Understanding undergraduate learning in 2020-21 with Dr Corinne Boz

This session will consider different modes of academic delivery and how these relate to the undergraduate learning experience at ICE. Focus will be placed upon the ways in which different aspects of the student experience are supported via different delivery modes including study support and academic skills development, engagement with peer networks, and academic community and belonging.


19 August 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

The Novel, Now and Then with Dr Jenny Bavidge

The final part of Ali Smith's extraordinary Seasonal Quartet will be published in early August. The Quartet has been published to an unusual timetable so that the books appear as close to their writing as possible so that they are being written in 'real time'. Since 2016, they have covered Brexit, the events of Donald Trump's presidency and the rise of nationalism as well as reaching back into recent history to trace the development of our 'now' from that 'then'. As well as racing to keep up with Smith's new novel, this talk will think about how literature registers and responds to crisis, from the Great Plague to the Climate Emergency.


26 August 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Genome Editing – A new dawn or a false hope? with Tom Monie

The idea of genome editing is no longer science fiction, it is now part of the mainstream news. This topical talk will introduce the CRISPR/Cas9 technology that has revolutionised how scientists and the wider public consider the opportunities and challenges of genetic editing. It will cover the biological role of CRISPR/Cas9 in bacteria, its application in biological and medical settings and the practical and ethical considerations that need to be considered.


2 September 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Holocaust Heritage with Dr Gilly Carr

Holocaust heritage can be found across Europe today, and comprises the original sites of concentration and labour camps, ghettos, mass graves, killing sites and the routes of forced marches. And yet, in the 21st century, such sites are at risk of being forgotten. What has happened to these places? What can we still see? And what are the threats that they face? What can we do to help safeguard them? Dr Gilly Carr, ICE’s academic director in Archaeology, presents her current project, ‘Safeguarding Sites’, funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, in this fascinating webinar.


9 September 2020 (14:00 - 14:45 BST)

Are we living in a post-satire era? with Dr Alex Carter

In the talk, we will consider the question of whether modern politics has embraced absurdity in order to become immune to satire. What, if anything, can satirists do in response? 

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