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University College

Durham Castle Lecture Series 2014/15

The Durham Castle Lecture Series is devoted to bringing high-profile speakers to Durham who can contribute to academic and public discussion on issues of global significance. The presenters have made an outstanding contribution to their fields and we are delighted to host them at University College.

This is your chance to see, hear, and learn from incredible speakers: to ask questions and think about answers.

The lectures take place in the stunning setting of Durham Castle's Great Hall. With a maximum capacity of 250, the Great Hall provides a unique, historic location.

The Durham Castle Lecture series has been made possible thanks to a generous gift from Santander Universities

All of the lectures in the series are free and open to all.

Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets or reservations are required.

Doors open from 7.30pm. Lectures begin at 8pm, with questions for the speaker at 9pm.

Watch our previous lectures.

2014/15 Programme

22 October 2014 - Professor Lord Anthony Giddens

Former Director of the London School of Economics, and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics

"Between Immortality and Armageddon: Living in a High Opportunity, High Risk Society"

The world we live in is one of extraordinary promise and risk at the same time. Globalisation has made the world both more connected and more fragile. Connected because countries are intertwined in complex webs of trade, finance, production, communication, and environmental forces. Fragile because this interconnectedness often escapes the boundaries of nation-states and therefore of our capacities to manage the high risk elements of living in a high opportunity society. Advances in medicine and genetics, for example, create the possibility of ever longer lives. This sits quite paradoxically alongside, for example, the emergence of new forms of violence and climate change, which could alter the very basis of human life as we know it. Immortality or Armageddon – which will it be?

Biography

Lord Giddens is a British sociologist who is know for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be on the the most prominent modern sociologists. He is the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29 languates, issuing on average more than one book every year. In 2007, Giddens was listed as the fifth most-referenced author of books in the humanities. His 2012 lecture, 'The Politics of Climate Change' was the inagural Durham Castle lecture.

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Between Immortality and Armageddon: Living in a High Opportunity, High Risk Society
Between Immortality and Armageddon: Living in a High Opportunity, High Risk Society
Views: 538

Professor Lord Anthony Giddens, Former Director of the London School of Economics, and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics, delivered the first lecture in this year's Durham Castle Lecture Series on 22 October 2014.

5 November 2014 - Dr Navanethem 'Navi' Pillay

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Former Judge of ICC, and Former Judge President of ICTR

"The Work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Advancing the Protection of Human Rights"

Abstract

In recent times there has been great awareness of human rights all over the world, as well as a clamour for rights, both civil and political; and economic, social and cultural. In light of raging conflicts, massive crimes and displacement of populations, some question the relevance of human rights to finding solutions. How can the United Nations, its human rights mechanisms, and all of us as individuals, help to advance the realization of human rights?

Biography

The appointment of Navanethem Pillay (Navi) as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was approved by the General Assembly on 28 July 2008 and she assumed her functions on 1st September 2008. On 24 May 2012, the United Nations General Assembly extended her mandate for a further two years which ended in 2014.

She also worked as a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and later was appointed Vice-President of the Council of the University of Durban Westville. In 1995, after the end of apartheid, Ms. Pillay was appointed as acting judge on the South African High Court. In 2003, she was elected as a judge on the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where she remained until August 2008.

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‘The Work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' by Dr Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay
‘The Work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' by Dr Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay
Views: 148

‘The Work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Advancing the Protection of Human Rights’ by Dr Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay. Navi is a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Lecture given on 5 November 2014 as part of the Durham Castle Lecture Series.

3 December 2014 - Professor Simon Critchley

Hans Jonas Professor, New School of Social Research, New York

"Suicide - A Defence" 

Abstract

I have a very simple idea: to write a philosophical defense of the right to suicide in the attempt to get us all to think more clearly, more soberly and less hypocritically about the perennial question: should I live or die? The legal frameworks that define suicide are still hostage to a Christian metaphysics that declares that life is a gift of God and therefore to take your own life is a sin. In killing oneself, it is claimed that one is assuming a power over one’s existence that only God should have. In the contemporary world, the state has taken the place of God and suicide is either deemed illegal or regarded as a kind of moral embarrassment. We think it is wrong without knowing why.

Biography

Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little…Almost Nothing, Infinitely Demanding, The Book of Dead Philosophers, The Faith of the Faithless, The Mattering of Matter. Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society (with Tom McCarthy) and Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (with Jamieson Webter). An experimental new work, Memory Theatre, and a book called Bowie were published in September 2014.He is moderator of ‘The Stone’, a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor.

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Suicide - A Defence

Suicide - A Defence

Views: 1393

Professor Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, New School of Social Research, New York, delivered this lecture as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series 2014/15, on Wednesday 3 December 2014, in the Great Hall of Durham Castle.

21 January 2015 - Owen Jones

Commentator, Columnist for The Guardian and Author of 'Chavs' and 'The Establishment: and how they get away with it'. 

"The Establishment: and how they get away with it"

Biography

In 2011, Jones published his first book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, which discusses stereotypes of sections of the British working class and use of the pejorative term 'chav'. The book received attention in domestic and international media, including selection by The New York Times as one of its top 10 non-fiction books of 2011 and being long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. The Independent on Sunday newspaper named Jones as one of their top 50 Britons of 2011, for the manner in which the book raised the profile of class-based issues. Jones has written a second book, The Establishment and How They Get Away With It, which was published in September 2014.

More Information All tickets for this lecture how now been reserved. A video will be available after the lecture.


The Establishment and how they get away with it
The Establishment and how they get away with it
Views: 2567

Owen Jones, Commentator, Columnist for The Guardian and Author of 'Chavs', delivered this lecture as part of the Durham Castle Lecture series on 21 January 2015.

4 February 2015 - Dr Ha Joon Chang

Reader at Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge

Economics and Public Life: Why everyone needs to learn (some) economics

Abstract

In this lecture, drawing on his latest best-selling book, Economics: The User's Guide, Chang will argue how economics is not a science, as many economists claim it to be. He will emphasise how economics is an inherently political subject, as its early name, political economy, suggest. This implies, he will argue, that there is a need - or even a duty - on the part of any responsible citizen to learn some economics and engage with debates on economic issues.

Biography

Ha-Joon Chang teaches economics at the University of Cambridge. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, he has published 15 authored books (four co-authored) and 10 edited books. His main books include The Political Economy of Industrial Policy, Kicking Away the Ladder, Bad Samaritans, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, and Economics: The User’s Guide. By the end of 2014, his writings will have been translated and published in 36 languages and 39 countries. Worldwide, his books have sold around 1.5 million copies. He is the winner of the 2003 Gunnar Myrdal Prize and the 2005 Wassily Leontief Prize. He was ranked no. 9 in the Prospect magazine’s World Thinkers 2014 poll.

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Economics and Public Life: Why everyone needs to learn (some) economics

Economics and Public Life: Why everyone needs to learn (some) economics

Views: 337

Dr. Ha Joon Chang, Reader at Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, delivers a lecture for Durham Castle Lecture Series on 4 February 2015 In this lecture, drawing on his latest best-selling book, Economics: The User's Guide, Chang argues how economics is not a science, as many economists claim it to be. He emphasises how economics is an inherently political subject, as its early name, political economy, suggests. This implies, he argues, that there is a need - or even a duty - on the part of any responsible citizen to learn some economics and engage with debates on economic issues.

18 February 2015 - Dr Rowan Williams

Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and Former Archbishop of Canterbury

"The Tree of Knowledge: Bodies, Minds and Thoughts"

Abstract

The lecture will look at what we mean when we claim to ‘know’ the world, and suggests that we have narrowed down what knowledge means and need to recover a fuller perspective.’

Biography

Dr Williams is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he held from December 2002 to December 2012. Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, making him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times not to be appointed from within the Church of England. He spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively. Apart from Welsh, he speaks or reads nine other languages.


Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012 and became Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University in January 2013. Later in 2013 he became Chancellor of the University of South Wales. Justin Welby (who spoke at our 2012-2013 series) was appointed as his successor as Archbishop of Canterbury on 9 November 2012 and was enthroned in March 2013.

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The Tree of Knowledge: Bodies, Minds and Thoughts.

The Tree of Knowledge: Bodies, Minds and Thoughts.

Views: 705

Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdelene College, College Cambridge and Former Archbishop of Canterbury delivered this lecture as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series on 18 February 2015, In the Great Hall of Durham Castle.

4 March 2015 - Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell 

Visiting Professor, Astrophysics, University of Oxford

"The Universe and Us"

Abstract

I will look at how our understanding of the universe has changed/grown, our relationship to the universe and what the future might hold.

Biography

Professor Bell- Burnell is a Northern Irish astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars while studying and advised by her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was excluded, despite having observed the pulsars. Bell Burnell was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011. She was succeeded in October 2011 by Sir Peter Knight. The paper announcing the discovery of pulsars had five authors. Hewish's name was listed first, Bell's second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with Martin Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient. Many prominent astronomers expressed outrage at this omission, including Sir Fred Hoyle. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in their press release announcing the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, cited Ryle and Hewish for their pioneering work in radio-astrophysics, with particular mention of Ryle's work on aperture-synthesis technique, and Hewish's decisive role in the discovery of pulsars. Dr. Iosif Shklovsky, recipient of the 1972 Bruce Medal, had sought out Bell at the 1970 International Astronomical Union's General Assembly, to tell her: "Miss Bell, you have made the greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century."

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22 April 2015 - Professor Stephen Whittle

Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University.

"Gender: What Future does it have?"

Abstract

In September 2014, Time Magazine featured on its cover, and in the inside, the story of a "proud, African-American transgender woman" Laverne Cox; star of Orange is the new Black, Netflix’s prison drama. Cox says "There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience….Facebook just gave us 56 custom genders. People are like, ‘I’m confused!’ And it’s like, ‘Calm down…. Who is this individual right in front of you? …."  The newspapers increasingly headline children attending school in their preferred (non-natal) gender role, still more young adults play with gender performativity, parental leave takes over from maternity leave, and the trans community increasingly recognises that "two genders are not enough."

So, what exactly does all that say about the outlook for the gender binary, and its power and role in our social, legal and cultural futures?

Biography

Professor Whittle OBE is Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. Aged 19, Stephen helped set up the UK’s first local transgender support group in 1975, the same year he transitioned to living as a man. Throughout the 70s and 80s having lost numerous jobs because of being trans, he decided things would only change if trans people became lawyers. He qualified in law in 1990. In 1989. In 1992, Stephen was a co-founder of Press For Change (PFC), the UK's transgender lobbying group. PFC successfully fought cases at the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice and the UK’s House of Lords, for trans people to gain anti-discrimination protection, health care access, and later legal recognition through the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In 2010, PFC also achieved full equality protection for trans people under the UK’s Equality Laws.

Stephen has been an advisor to the UK, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Hong Kong and South African governments & the European Union, the Council of Europe & the European Commission. He advises lawyers and regularly writes court briefs, or is frequently an expert witness in courts across the world.

In 2005 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE, 2005) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his work on transgender rights.

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29 April 2015 - Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate, playwright and Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University

Poetry Reading by the Poet Laureate

Carol Ann will be accompanied by musician John Sampson With Carol Ann Duffy and her daughter Ella, John has helped to create shows such as The Princess' Blankets, which has been described as "A magical blend of poetry, music and fairytale".

Biography

Carol Ann Duffy is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009. She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position.
Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence, in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools.

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6 May 2015 - Professor Thomas Weiss

Director Emeritus of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, Presidential Professor of Political Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY (The City University of New York), and Research Professor at SOAS, University of London.

"Humanitarian Intervention and Business: A Tale of Ethical Quandaries"

Abstract

Understanding the ongoing transformations in contemporary humanitarian action in war zones requires examining the nature and evolution of humanitarian culture -its values, language, behavior. The move is away from an agreed culture of cooperation to a contested one of competition as a result of militarization, politicization, and marketization. What is necessary is a "learning culture" of responsible reflection rather than rapid reaction.

Biography

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY Graduate Center and Director Emeritus (2001-14) of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies; he is also research professor at SOAS, University of London. Past president of the International Studies Association (2009-10), Chair of the Academic Council on the UN System (2006-9), editor of Global Governance (2000-5), and Research Director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, he has written extensively about multilateral approaches to international peace and security, humanitarian action, and sustainable development. His latest authored volumes include: Governing the World? Addressing "Problems without Passports" (2014); The United Nations and Changing World Politics (2014); Global Governance: Why? What? Whither? (2013); Humanitarian Business (2013); What’s Wrong with the United Nations and How to Fix It (2012); Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas in Action (2012); Thinking about Global Governance: People and Ideas Matter (2011); Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread (2011); Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey (2010); and UN Ideas That Changed the World (2009).

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