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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


ICE Topical Talks is a free weekly webinar series delivered by ICE tutors from a range of subject areas. These lectures are delivered as webinars and everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of previous educational experience. The lectures are a chance to connect with the ICE community and learn something new.

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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.

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