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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 13 programmes and 208 courses. Visitors from 75 countries will come to the University for periods of study lasting from one to six weeks – a total in excess of 1235 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 8 July to Friday 19 July, from Monday 22 July to Friday 2 August, and from Monday 5 August to Friday 16 August, 2019. The talks in each Term’s plenary series of lectures follow one or both of the twin themes: Intelligence. The topics have 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:

8 July 10.30am               Dr Amy Milton: ‘Forgetting pills': an intelligent way to treat mental illness?

9 July 10.30am               Jane Corbett: Collective intelligence: the human version

10 July 10.30am             Professor Alison Smith: ‘Intelligence’-gathering by plants and algae: chemical signalling and

11 July 10.30am             Dr Paul Elliott: Comparative animal 'intelligence'

12 July 10.30am             Max Beber: Too clever for our own good? Science, production, policy, and humankind in the 21st century

15 July 10.30am             Professor Simon Redfern: Applications of AI to the study of environmental risk

16 July 10.30am             Dr Leo Mellor: Seedy, clever, bleak: spies in British 20th-century literature

17 July 10.30am             Dr Graham McCann: Intelligence and democracy: information, wisdom and the real lesson of Brexit

18 July 10.30am             Richard Ellis: Intelligent criminals and criminal intelligence

19 July 10.30am             Dr Ed Turner: Intelligent agriculture

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Term II:

22 July 10.30am             Tim Milner: Honorary Degrees: celebrating the fruits of intelligence

23 July 10.30am             Professor Simon Conway Morris: Why the evolution of intelligence is inevitable

24 July 10.30am             Dr Kanta Dihal: The history of imagining intelligent machines

25 July 10.30am             Speaker to be announced: You can be an intelligence analyst, too

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

29 July 10.30am             Dr Karen Ottewell: English’s impact on other languages

30 July 10.30am             Dr Alex Carter: Intelligence and creativity: practical advice for creative thinkers

31 July 10.30am             Janice Steed: Emotional intelligence

1 August 10.30am          Dr Adrian Weller: Where AI meets ethics

2 August 10.30am          Professor Catherine Barnard: An intelligent Brexit?

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme Term III:

5 August 10.30am          Dr Graham McCann: Henry Sidgwick and the ideal of political wisdom

6 August 10.30am          Dr Ben Falcon: Defending the brain: understanding the molecular basis of dementia

7 August 10.30am          Richard Ellis: Intelligent criminals and criminal intelligence

8 August 10.30am          Carla Zoe Cremer: Paths and obstacles to Artificial Intelligence

9 August 10.30am          Dr James Grime: Secrets of a digital world

12 August 10.30am        Dr Paul Elliott: Comparative animal 'intelligence'

13 August 10.30am        Dr John Lawson: Dark intelligence: charting the less appealing aspects of human capability

14 August 10.30am        Janice Steed: Emotional intelligence

15 August 10.30am        Dr Amy Ludlow and Dr Ruth Armstrong: Intelligent criminal justice: exploring the impact of
                                       Learning Together

16 August 10.30am        Inky Gibbens: Combatting worldwide cultural and language loss: an intelligent approach

Science Summer Programme, Terms I and II

Teaching for the two Terms of the Science Summer Programme takes place from Monday 8 July to Friday 2 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Problems and Solutions. These lectures are given in Lecture Block, Room 3 on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks section below.)

Science Term I:

8 July 9.15am               Dr Tom Monie: Biological annihilation: should we be worried?

9 July 9.15am               Dr Nick Bampos: Hydrogen: Nature's best Friend

10 July 9.15am             Professor David Coomes: Forests in a rapidly changing world

11 July 9.15am             Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright: Are physicists really superheroes? Have you got what it takes to solve a problem?

12 July 9.15am             Professor Rachel Oliver: Secrets and Lights: How quantum technologies create both problems and
                                     solutions for secure communication

15 July 9.15am             Professor Ian Hutchings: Five centuries of Tribology: from Leonardo da Vinci to the present day

16 July 9.15am             Dr Hugh Hunt: Refreezing the Arctic

17 July 9.15am             Dr Harry Cliff: The Future of Particle Physics

18 July 9.15am             Dr Ewan St John Smith: The naked mole-rat: blind and naked but oh so cool

19 July 9.15am             Dr Oliver Hadeler: The pervasive use of sensors - a problem or solution?

Science Term II:

22 July 9.15am             Charlotte Connelly: Climate and the Poles: a long view

23 July 9.15am             Jane Corbett: Collective intelligence: the human version

24 July 9.15am             Dr Alex Archibald: More than hot air: the challenges of clear air in a changing climate

25 July 9.15am             Dr Silvia Vignolini: Photonic structures in nature and Bio-mimetic Material

26 July 9.15am             Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald: New horizons for early detection of cancer: lessons from the oesophagus

29 July 9.15am             Dr Ewan St John Smith: Physiology of pain

30 July 9.15am             Professor Beverley Glover: Predicting the preferences of the pollinators

31 July 9.15am             Professor Nigel Slater: From curiosity to exploitation

1 August 9.15am          Dr John Orr: Extraordinary possibilities for concrete structures

2 August 9.15am          Professor James Elliott: Digital design of materials

Ancient and Classical Worlds Summer Programme

Teaching for the Ancient and Classical Worlds Summer Programme takes place from Monday 8 July to Friday 19 July, 2019. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Culture and Commerce. Morning lectures take place in the Little Hall, on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

8 July 9.15am               Dr Jan Parker: Odysseus the negotiator

9 July 9.15am               Professor David Jacques: Stonehenge: a landscape through time

10 July 9.15am             Dr Beatriz Marin-Aguilera: The Carthaginian Empire: beyond Rome

11 July 9.15am             Dr Anastasia Christofilopoulou: Society, culture and commerce during the Hellenistic and Roman times
                                     in the Eastern Mediterranean

12 July 9.15am             Dr Matt Symonds: Why all roads lead to Rome: on the trail of a commercial and communications revolution

15 July 9.15am             Dr Matt Symonds: Prosperity or penury? Counting the true cost of Hadrian's Wall

16 July 9.15am             Dr Nigel Strudwick: Twisted culture and commerce: some social and economic implications of tomb robbery
                                     in ancient Egypt

17 July 9.15am             Dr John MacGinnis: Culture and commerce in the cradle of civilisation: the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire

18 July 9.15am             Dr Cameron Petrie: The Indus Civilisation: old questions and new insights

19 July 9.15am             Professor Roel Sterckx: Philosophers on ethics and riches in the age of Confucius

Literature Summer Programme, Terms I and II

Teaching for the two terms of the Literature Summer Programme takes place from Monday 8 July and to Friday 2 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Relationships. Morning lectures are held in the Little Hall, on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

Literature Term I:

8 July 11.15am               Dr Kate Kennedy-Allum: The spaces between: Wilfred Owen, Benjamin Britten and the War Requiem

9  July 11.15am              Dr Jenny Mander: The commercialisation of storytelling. What happens to human relationships when
                                       stories become books?

10 July 11.15am             Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas: Five weddings and a funeral in The Canterbury Tales

11 July 11.15am             Dr Andy Wimbush: Odd couples and double acts in stage drama from Shakespeare to Beckett and beyond

12 July 11.15am             Dr Ross Wilson: Criticism and dialogue from the 18th century to today

15 July 11.15am             Dr Raphael Lyne: Shakespeare's depiction of marriage

16 July 11.15am             Dr Louise Joy: 18th-century women's writing: a conversation

17 July 11.15am             Dr John Lennard: Answering in print: novel/ists in dialogue

18 July 11.15am             Dr Elizabeth Moore: Fatal attraction: romantic love and suicide in 19th century literature

19 July 11.15am             Dr Fred Parker: Alexander Pope and Mary Leapor

Literature Term II:

22 July 11.15am             Dr Hero Chalmers: Shakespeare: space and performance

23 July 11.15am             Professor Helen Cooper: Aeneas and his women

24 July 11.15am             Dr Corinna Russell: Mother-child relations in Romantic-period women's poetry

25 July 11.15am             Dr Jon Phelan: The virtue in literature

26 July 11.15am             Dr Ian Burrows: "Those parts that men delight to see": translation and titillation
                                      in the works of Christopher Marlowe

29 July 11.15am             Dr Jenny Bavidge:  Ship shopping: narrative desire and readerly response 

30 July 11.15am             Dr Claire Nicholson: Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield: "A public of two"

31 July 11.15am             Dr Claire Wilkinson: Writing friendship in poetic form: Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Henry Hallam

1 August 11.15am          Dr Philip Connell: Talking down: literature and class relations in the 1790s

2 August 11.15am          Clive Wilmer: The relation of syntax to metre in certain English poems

History Summer Programme

Teaching for the Summer Programme in History takes place between Monday 22 July and Friday 2 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Reputations. Morning lectures take place in the Law Faculty, room LG18 on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

22 July 9.15am               Dr Niamh Gallagher: The changing reputation of the First World War in Irish historical memory

23 July 9.15am               Dr Caroline Shenton: Mr Barry's War: rebuilding the Houses of Parliament after the great fire of 1834

24 July 9.15am               Professor John Morrill: Charles I: tyrant and martyr

25 July 9.15am               Dr Matthew Neal: The reputation of Sir Robert Walpole                                   

26 July 9.15am               Dr Jonathan Davis: Saviour or blundering surgeon? How should we remember Mikhail Gorbachev?

29 July 9.15am               Dr Harriet Lyon: Lady Margaret Beaufort: representations and misrepresentations

30 July 9.15am               Dr Sarah Pearsall: Defence of polygamy by a Lady

31 July 9.15am               Dr Colin Shindler: The reputation of Harold Wilson

1 August 9.15am            Allen Packwood: Churchill and his legacy

2 August 9.15am            Dr David Smith: "A brave, bad man": the historical reputation of Oliver Cromwell

Art and Visual Culture Summer Programme

Teaching for the Summer Programme in Art and Visual Culture takes place between Monday 22 July and Friday 2 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s plenary lecture series is Patrons and Collections. Morning lectures take place in The Institute of Criminology, room B3 on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

22 July 9.00am               Dr Susanna Avery-Quash: Collecting Old Master paintings in Britain from the Tudors to today

22 July 10.45am             Catharine MacLeod: Saving van Dyck

23 July 2.00pm               Mark Purcell: The country house library

24 July 9.00am               Henrietta McBurney Ryan: A 17th-century visual encyclopaedia: the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo

24 July 10.45am             Dr Seb Falk: The art of science? Objects of scientific history from the Whipple Museum                      

26 July 9.00am               Christina Faraday: Patronage and collecting in Elizabethan England

26 July 10.45am             Siân Griffiths: “All Art is Theft” I: Provenance and Appropriation in the Parthenon Sculptures

29 July 9.00am               Jeremy Musson: A neo-Palladian patron in the 1980s: Sebastian de Ferranti and Henbury Hall Cheshire

29 July 10.45am             Dr Spike Bucklow: Westminster Abbey and its Retable

30 July 9.00am               Dr Susanne Turner: Copy and Paste? Probing replication and authenticity in a cast collection

30 July 2.00pm               Joanne Rhymer: Collecting the Modern: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection

31 July 9.00am               Charlotte Connelly: Arctic art

31 July 10.45am             Dr Elizabeth Fisher: H S Ede: a collector in hindsight

1 August 9.00am            Professor Frances Spalding: Helen Sutherland, Patron and friend of Ben Nicholson, David Jones
                                      and the poet Kathleen Raine, among others

1 August 2.00pm            Siân Griffiths: “All Art is Theft” II: The Artist as Collector, Monet to Matisse

2 August 9.00am            Dr Jane Eade: Ham House: ‘inferior to few of the best Villas in Italy itself; the House furnished like
                                       a great Prince’s’ John Evelyn, 1678

2 August 10.45am          David Adshead: Wimpole Hall: 300 years of design patronage and collecting

Medieval Studies Summer Programme

Teaching for the Medieval Studies Summer Programme takes place between Monday 5 August and Friday 16 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s morning plenary lecture series is Ambition and Aspiration. Morning lectures take place in the Faculty of Divinity, Runcie Room on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

5 August 9.15am           Dr Rowena E Archer: Made by marriage: the best way to get on in medieval England

6 August 9.15am           Dr Ted Powell: ‘Let’s kill all the lawyers’: Ambition, reaction and the legal profession, 1300-1500

7 August 9.15am           Dr Philip Morgan: Was Christ a gentleman? Policing social mobility in the later Middle Ages

8 August 9.15am           Dr Sam Lane: Climbing through the Church: the Church and social mobility in Later Medieval England

9 August 9.15am           Professor Nigel Saul: Images of mobility: climbers and fallers on English medieval tomb monuments

12 August 9.15am         Richard Partington: Martial ambition: social mobility among fighting men

13 August 9.15am         Dr James Ross: Falling from grace: the English nobility in the later Middle Ages

14 August 9.15am         Richard Partington: Elite ambition: to what did kings and lords aspire?

15 August 9.15am         Professor Caroline Barron: Women in medieval London: rising by marriage - and widowhood

16 August 9.15am         Dr Francis Woodman: Building castles in the air - reconstructing one's descent

Shakespeare Summer Programme

Teaching for the Shakespeare Summer Programme runs from Monday 5 August to Friday 16 August, 2019. The theme for this year’s morning plenary lecture series is Transformation. Morning lectures take place in the Little Hall, on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

5 August 11.30am        Dr Fred Parker: Transformations in late Shakespeare: reversals and surprises

6 August 11.30am        Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson: Fairytale to Classical Epic: transforming genre in Shakespeare’s
                                     A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

7 August 11.30am        Dr Charles Moseley: Shakespeare and love: the Italian Job

8 August 11.30am        Dr Will Tosh: Shakespeare’s gay best friend? Richard Barnfield’s sexy sonnets

9 August 11.30am        Dr John Lennard: Very tragical mirth: transforming tragedies in A Midsummer Night's Dream
and Romeo and Juliet

12 August 11.30am      Christina Faraday: Small wonders: the secrets of Elizabeth I's miniatures cabinet

13 August 11.30am      Sam Dastor: ‘Two loves I have of comfort and despair’

14 August 11.30am      Patrick Spottiswoode: The transformative power of a playhouse

15 August 11.30am      Alexzandra Hildred: The Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s Renaissance ship

16 August 11.30am      Kelly Hunter: Shakespeare and the brain

Creative Writing Summer Programme

Teaching for the Creative Writing Summer Programme takes place between Monday 5 August and Friday 16 August, 2019. Morning lectures for the Creative Writing Summer Programme will be held in SG1, Alison Richard building on the Sidgwick Site. (See also ‘Evening talks’ section below.)

5 August 11.30am        Dr Sarah Burton: Research: a hotline to the past

6 August 11.30am        Dr Francesca Rhydderch: The Rice Paper Diaries: fact into fiction

7 August 11.30am        Abigail Docherty: Children's fiction

8 August 11.30am        Dr John Lennard: Inspired by reading

9 August 11.30am        Professor Jem Poster: Beyond research: the writer’s imagination

12 August 11.30am      Dr Lucy Durneen: Small wonders: the art of the short story

13 August 11.30am      Professor Tiffany Atkinson: Writing the other

14 August 11.30am      Lee Brackstone: The publisher's view

15 August 11.30am      Elizabeth Speller: Selective truths: life writing

16 August 11.30am      Dr Midge Gillies: A shed of one's own: where writers write

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.

9 July 8.00pm               Sir Tony Brenton: Making a better world: the place of 'values' in foreign policy

10 July 8.00pm             Professor Liba Taub: Treasures and surprises: the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at 75

11 July 8.00pm             Professor Lord Colin Renfrew: Early centres of congregation: the sanctuary on Keros

12 July 8.00pm             Dr Fred Parker: Shakespeare's Measure for Measure: why it's hard to balance the accounts

15 July 8.00pm             Mr Francis Wells: Leonardo da Vinci: anatomist or natural philosopher

17 July 8.00pm             Dr Stephen Cave: Immortality in the age of AI

18 July 8.00pm             Dr Hugh Hunt: Understanding boomerangs and other spinning things

22 July 8.00pm             Dr James Grime: Alan Turing and the Enigma machine

23 July 8.00pm             Dr Luke Kemp: The Red Queen: why societies collapse

24 July 8.00pm             Dr Francis Woodman: John Wastell, the life of a Tudor architect and his crowning achievement, Kings' College

25 July 8.00pm             Dr Victoria Avery: Feast and fast: the art of food in Europe, 1500-1800

26 July 8.00pm             Dr Seán Lang: Never let the facts get in the way: history in the movies

30 July 8.00pm             Dr Colin Shindler: The film reputations of John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson and Richard M Nixon

31 July 8.00pm             Allen Packwood: Churchill and D-Day

5 August 8.00pm          Dr Seán Lang: Cambridge eccentrics

6 August 8.00pm          Andrew Hatcher: Eureka moments: where inspiration comes from

7 August 8.00pm          Dr Fred Parker: Shakespeare's Measure for Measure: why it's hard to balance the accounts

8 August 8.00pm          Dr Francis Woodman: Ely cathedral, triumph snatched from the jaws of disaster

9 August 8.00pm          Magnus Sigurdsson: The cut and thrust business of war: fighting your way to the top in medieval England

12 August 8.00pm        Professor Mark Bailey: The rise of the English yeomanry out of the catastrophe of the Black Death,
                                     1350 to 1500

13 August 8.00pm        Sara Collins: A conversation with Sara Collins

14 August 8.00pm        Clive Wilmer: Shakespeare and the avoidance of Tragedy  

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 Summer Programmes and Lifelong Learning, Institute of Continuing Education at