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Past lectures

2017

Professor Lucile Desblache

Professor Lucile Desblache

Professor of Translation & Transcultural Studies
Department of Media, Culture and Language

Translating beyond the verbal: new bridges of communication

 

Monday 9 October 2017

In the last few decades, the digital age has forged new perspectives on knowledge. Knowledge is no longer primarily a quantitative sum of data to be acquired and transmitted universally. It needs to be discovered, understood and explored across technologies, shifting disciplinary boundaries, and cultures. It also needs to be transferred from and into different forms of languages, from verbal to visual, from conceptual to emotional. Forging passages between domains and establishing communication not only between humans but all living beings, is key to a meaningful purpose of knowledge. These epistemological ideas have been explored by philosophers of science such as Bruno Latour. Translation Studies scholars, on the whole, have struggled to reconcile abstract, metaphorical concepts of translation with the notion of translation as understood in the commercial world of communication, that of a product to be obtained through quick, efficient and cost-cutting processes of transfer across verbal languages. Yet both ideas of translation imply exchanges of perspective between domains, cultures and senses and are inspiring conceptually, artistically and socially. Even, and perhaps above all, the sleekest and most proficient commercial models require the constant transformation and reinvention of both objects and subjectivities in production and consumption. Bonds between metaphorical and practical ideas of translation are essential today. Translation is crucial as both instrument of equivalence between things and ideas, and as agent revealing differences between them. In this lecture, I will consider two areas of my research which straddle both ideas of translation: the translation of texts involving music, and those focused on the non-human natural world. Through examples taken from these, I will highlight the essential role of translation as instrument of empowerment for 21st century humans and as agent of social and intellectual cohesion in a fragmented world which has to be interpreted in multiple ways to be meaningful. As Michel Serres (2008) pointed out, the ‘soft bridges’ of translation are the best keys to understanding and sharing knowledge and ways of life in the 21st century.

Professor Mohammed Rafiq

Professor Mohammed Rafiq

Professor of Marketing
Business School

Can Firms Explore and Exploit at the Same Time? - The Role of Ambidextrous Market Learning in Successful New Product Innovation

 

Monday 19 June 2017

This lecture explores the role of ‘ambidextrous market learning’, that is, a firm’ ability to engage in both exploratory and exploitative market learning simultaneously in order to develop highly innovative products. Exploitative market learning builds on a firm’s existing market knowledge base, which in turn provides a foundation for a firm to acquire new market knowledge through exploratory market learning, and to assimilate it with the existing knowledge, and use it for innovation. Exploratory market learning, on the other hand, generates new market information and knowledge that can help renew and update a firm’s current knowledge base developed through exploitative market learning. Therefore, it is argued that ambidextrous market learning taps into the complementary effect of exploratory and exploitative market learning and has fundamental implications for a firm’s product-market strategies to ensure successful product innovation.

Professor Steven Groarke

Professor Steven Groarke

Professor of Social Thought
Department of Social Sciences

Why Difficulty Matters

 

Monday 22 May 2017

Steven Groarke, Professor of Social Thought from the Department of Social Sciences, will address the question of difficulty and its value in the contemporary context of the humanities and the social sciences. He will explore the proposal that difficulty constitutes an indispensable source of value, and as such provides an opportunity for the amplification of ourselves. He will support this proposal with reference to poetry as a particular form of difficulty.

Professor Peter Jaeger

Professor Peter Jaeger

Professor of Poetics
Department of English and Creative Writing

Carrion Poetics

 

Monday 27 March 2017

We are at present confronted with a wide range of poetry that has been informed by citation, intertextuality, and appropriation. Several critics have noted that the intrusion of found material in contemporary poetics serves to break up the purified realm of the poem, and it is precisely this type of intervention against purity which Jaeger's term 'carrion poetics' seeks to address. This lecture/reading will begin by noting some pioneering and contemporary examples of carrion poetics, and then consider in more detail several instances of the practice drawn from Jaeger's writing.

Professor Lorella Terzi

Professor Lorella Terzi

Professor of Philosophy of Education
School of Education

Educational Justice: Equality, Capability, and Inclusion

 

Monday 27 February 2017

What constitutes a just provision for students with disability and special educational needs is among the most contentious and challenging questions for philosophers and educators alike.

In answering this question, the lecture will present a conception of educational equality as capability equality, based on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach. It will highlight how such a conception adds important insights to current debates on inclusion in education.

Watch Professor Terzi's lecture on YouTube.

Professor Bryony Hoskins

Professor Bryony Hoskins

Professor of Comparative Social Science
Department of Social Sciences

Brexit, Trump and populism: a failure in education for political engagement?

 

Monday 30 January 2017

The votes for Brexit, Trump and the swing towards populist parties across Europe have brought about instability, and question marks have been raised about many of our fundamental ideas of social justice, human rights and cosmopolitan values. We even have to face anger and aggression when we defend these beliefs. The current context raises the following questions: How did we get here? Where did it come from? What should we do?

These questions clearly need to be asked beyond the sphere of education, but education systems play a role and need to take responsibility for the societies that we form. This presentation will identify how young people learn to be politically engaged, and how disadvantaged students face barriers to learning political engagement throughout the education system. It will conclude by exploring how the current education system needs to be rethought so as to enable all young people to learn Global and European citizenship knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.

Watch Professor Hoskins's lecture on YouTube.

2016

Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry

Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry

Professor of Neuroscience,
Department of Life Sciences

The logic of the brain, or how the brain manages itself

 

Monday 21 November 2016

The brain is the most complex biological system known to man. It is the control centre which directs action, feeling and thought. The brain has a fascinating innate ability to adapt, adjust and protect itself while managing its own resources; this is the logic of the brain.

This lecture will argue that when the brain’s operational logic is violated by internal (gene-related) issues or external factors such as chronic stress or drug abuse, its adaptive plasticity fails and maladaptive plasticity often takes over. Abnormal form and function follow, often to the detriment of the body. The lecture will illustrate how basic brain research can enhance our knowledge of brain disorders and prompt new investigations in applied clinical research. Basic brain research also provides evidence which can be used to direct society towards adopting healthier life styles.

Professor Mike Edwards

Professor Mike Edwards

Professor of Classics,
Department of Humanities

Speaking Classically. Some Thoughts on Greek and Roman Rhetorical Theory and Practice

 

Monday 17 October 2016

The Greeks had a word for it – rhetoric. The art of public speaking was central to life in the classical world, and rhetorical theory was developed over many centuries by the likes of Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian according to five main parts, or ‘canons’: invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery. In this lecture I shall consider these canons in turn, illustrating them with examples drawn from both Greek and Latin sources.

Watch Professor Edwards's lecture on YouTube.

Professor Wilson Ng

Professor Wilson Ng

Professor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship,
Roehampton Business School

When Water is Thicker than Blood: Treachery, Devotion, and Prosperity among Ethnic Chinese Enterprises in Post-colonial Malaysia and Singapore

 

Monday 13 June 2016

In an environment of widespread deprivation following the Second World War a number of ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs in Malaya seized opportunities in rebuilding their economy by providing goods and services that had previously been supplied by British firms who did not return with the severely weakened colonial administration. The professorial lecture explores the development of a number of those ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs and the nature of their enterprises that continue to play a significant economic and social role in Malaysia and Singapore. That development is presented as one of often emotionally charged interaction among entrepreneurs and their supporters pretty much from the founding of their enterprise but also of prescience and foresight in which a number of stakeholders in multi-generational enterprises were able to systematically plan and prioritize their social and commercial role over rival interests led occasionally by powerful family members with a different, family-centered agenda.

Across generations of close control by a number of founding groups, the persistent confluence- as opposed to any separation- of the interests of founding groups with wider social and commercial interests in several ethnic Chinese enterprises has in fact turned out very advantageously for those enterprises as well as the economies of Malaysia and Singapore. The continuing importance of those enterprises in their respective economies suggests a number of structural and strategic lessons for entrepreneurial ventures, principally in how they may systematically select and serve core market needs from the outset of the enterprise and how key stakeholders of ventures may also stimulate the growth of other enterprises and the local economy by playing a prominent social- and occasionally political- role in the communities that their ventures serve.

Accordingly, the fortunes of certain social and commercial role-playing enterprises in Malaysia and Singapore led by ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs have become closely bound with the wider fortunes of their national economy in a way that recalls a historically similar level of importance of closely-controlled automobile and consumer manufacturers and retailers in the USA and other western economies. A core difference in Malaysia and Singapore seems to be the depth and breadth of economic and commercial influence that a few ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs and their enterprises appear to continue to exert in and beyond their national economies.

Watch Professor Ng's lecture on YouTube.

Professor Clare McManus

Professor Clare McManus

Professor of Early Modern Literature and Theatre,
Department of English and Creative Writing

Women and Gender on the Early Modern Stage: The 'Woman's Part'

 

Monday 18 April 2016

Opening her 1929 polemic, 'Shakespeare’s Sister', about the short, frustrated life of a woman seeking a way into the theatrical world of early modern London, Virginia Woolf writes: 'Let me imagine, since facts are so hard to come by, what would have happened had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith, let us say'. In the years between Woolf's searing indictment of literary and theatrical gender segregation and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616, feminist scholarship has uncovered the facts surrounding women who did indeed write and perform in early modern England and beyond. This lecture will consider the difference these facts make to our understanding of the early modern theatrical canon, the responses of the virtuosic English boy actors to performing Englishwomen and the superstar actresses of continental Europe, and the way that this informs the dramaturgy and structure of the early modern dramatic canon. Focusing on the active contribution of the theatrical Englishwoman to early modern drama, the lecture discusses a history of women and theatre that has been hidden in plain sight.

Watch Professor McManus's lecture on YouTube.

Professor Ted Vallance

Professor Ted Vallance

Professor of early modern British political culture,
Department of Humanities

Cromwell's Trunks: Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in Early Modern England

 

Monday 7 March 2016

This lecture explores how a form of communication often dismissed as 'vapid sycophancy' – the loyal address – contributed to the emergence of public opinion as a political force in early modern England. Beginning with the curious tale of the Lord Protector's trunks, it will demonstrate how the re-telling of this story revealed the development of a critical political public that read and thought about itself. Despite its politically suspect origins in the 'usurpation' of the Cromwellian interregnum, addressing activity not only survived the restoration of monarchy but, in the eighteenth century, came to replace other well-established ways of representing public loyalty. Indeed, it helped fashion a consensus over the boundaries of legitimate popular political activity that continued into the modern era: We may now live in a mass-democracy but it is one in which the language and ritual of loyalty remains critically important.

Watch Professor Vallance's lecture on YouTube.

Professor Mick Cooper

Professor Mick Cooper

Professor of Counselling Psychology,
Department of Psychology

Counselling in UK Secondary Schools: What we know, what we’re doing, and what we need to find out

 

Monday 1 February 2016

2015

Professor Julie Hall

Professor Julie Hall

Deputy Provost Academic Development

Lecturing in the digital age – learning in the twenty first century

 

Monday 16 November 2015

With the TEF and a spending review imminent, UK higher education is characterised by uncertainty, complexity, measurement and risk. Meanwhile student numbers continue to grow and students’ lives are increasingly different from those who teach them. Networked through the digital world, students present themselves in multiple places at once. They sit in the lecture space yet at the same time they are elsewhere and knowledge is no longer solely in the possession of the orator. In these contexts academic life encounters a certain ambiguity and a strangeness. We find ourselves preparing students for a future we can’t really envisage, welcoming them from a school experience that is very different from our own and we teach using methods developed hundreds of years ago. Products like Powerpoint fail to make lectures modern. This lecture, informed by research into the student experience will argue that we are obliged to rethink the kinds of learning that our graduates will require in the 21st century and renew the pedagogies, curricula and learning environments we currently provide.

Rt Revd Professor Richard Cheetham

Rt Revd Professor Richard Cheetham

Whitelands Professorial Fellow in Christian Theology and Contemporary Issues

Whatever happened to the truth?

 

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Reflections on the concept of truth in post post-modernity – via the lenses of inter faith relations, science and religion, and climate change.

Professor Claire Ozanne

Professor Claire Ozanne

Professor of Ecology,
Department of Life Sciences

Life on the edge

 

Monday 19 October 2015

Forest canopies play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity, supporting around 40% of species on earth. Covering more than 45 million hectares of land, they form a dynamic edge between the Earth's terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. As natural forests become fragmented by human activities and new forests are planted, patches of trees and new edges are created. These are often challenging habitats for forest animals and plants. My research has focused on the response of insect populations and communities to habitat fragmentation and to management strategies that generate isolated trees and patches of forest. I will explore how small scale changes to the structure, composition and complexity of communities can have implications at the landscape scale and how our interaction with the environment can profoundly change its ecology.

Professor Graham White

Professor Graham White

Professor of Drama and Creative Practice,
Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance

Some Lives and Opinions: on Playwriting, Practice and Research

 

Monday 1 June 2015

Award-winning playwright Graham White’s own writing and adaptation for radio has often pursued questions shared with his academic research. In a reflection on radio drama and the self-projection of protagonists fictional, real and in-between in the work of Laurence Sterne, BS Johnson and Primo Levi he’ll explore the search for answers and insights common to both practice and research.

Professor Laura Peters

Professor Laura Peters

Head of Department,
Department of English and Creative Writing

Dickens and Race

 

Monday 20 April 2015

There are not many places that I find it more agreeable to revisit when I am in an idle mood, than some places to which I have never been. (Charles Dickens, 1860).

Dickens’s enthralment with places of the imagination remains undiminished throughout his life: childhood favourites like Robinson Crusoe and the Tales of the Arabian Nights provide exotic stereotypes of race. Yet a few years prior, in 1853, Charles Dickens pens his most infamous piece, ‘The Noble Savage’, depicting the Zulus comprising George Catlin’s show at St. George’s Gallery, Hyde Park Corner as ignoble ‘howling, whistling, clucking, stamping, jumping, tearing savage[s] which should be ‘civilised off the face of the earth’. Critics have largely read ‘The Noble Savage’ as an inexplicable temporary aberration. I will argue that ‘The Noble Savage’ is a useful referent for its time: it is emblematic of an historical moment which witnesses a shift in the perception of race as a product of social organization to race as a product of biology and genealogy. Through an examination of Dickens’s trip to America, the prevalence of displayed peoples in London, and his own engagement with the development of science, I will argue that Dickens’s approach to race is informed by the twin poles of his imaginary and his engagement with contemporary science.

Professor Stuart Semple

Professor Stuart Semple

Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology,
Department of Life Sciences

'Monkey talk': investigating vocal communication in our primate relatives

 

Monday 2 March 2015

Communication underpins the social behaviour of humans, and of our primate relatives. While language is unique to our own species, the other primates have complex repertoires of calls, which they use to convey diverse messages. My research has explored the form and function of primates’ vocalisations, and the size and structure of their vocal repertoires. Many scientists have studied primates to help understand the evolution of human language; I will argue that the opposite approach – using linguistic approaches to analyse primate vocal communication - can be equally enlightening.

Professor Sabine Benoit

Professor Sabine Benoit (née Moeller)

Professor of Marketing,
University of Roehampton Business School

Consumer behaviour in services: why business research and education needs to change

 

Monday 2 February 2015

Most research and teaching in Business Administration or more specifically in Marketing has focused on consumer goods for mass markets. Many frameworks, theories and models fit those very well, but fail to explain services. This talk will first elaborate the differences of services and products and explain the challenges that arise from those differences. For example, a product can usually be tried before buying and even returned for a certain while after buying, while for services both are not usually feasible. This talk elaborates on a number of research projects that focus on the challenges that services impose on consumers and Marketing, such as services in on-the-go consumption, consumers’ perceptions of sustainability in complex supply chains, new service models in sharing, and what is called collaborative consumption. The talk will conclude with some comments on what needs to be changed in research and teaching within Business Administration.

2014

Professor Fiona Sampson

Professor Fiona Sampson

Professor of Poetry,
Department of English and Creative Writing

What is delight? Poetry, music and their audiences

 

Monday 17 November 2014

Poetry and music share their abstract formal character and many of the formal strategies they each deploy. An examination of those abstract forms returns us to the performative and experiential quality music and poetry share. Underlying what both forms are, in other words, is the relationship they share with their human makers and audience: and what discursive role they fulfill, which this lecture discusses with reference to Wittgenstein, Shelley and the “national” poets Mahmoud Darwish, Yehudi Amichai and Yannis Ritsos.

Professor Andrew Stables

Professor Andrew Stables

Professor of Education & Philosophy,
School of Education

From Believing In to Believing By:
a beginner's guide to edusemiotics

 

Monday 13 October 2014

Education and semiotics (the science of signs) are both about making sense of the world, so it is surprising how little semiotics has been used hitherto to answer fundamental questions about education. In this lecture, Andrew Stables will give an introduction to philosophical semiotics and attempt to show how strong semiotic perspectives can alter the way we look at the world by challenging our most basic assumptions about who we are, what we know, how we learn and how we should act. All this has significant implications for how we understand teaching and learning. It can also offer new perspectives in educational research, and Andrew will conclude his talk by discussing an ongoing project looking at the effect of school architecture on the experience of students and teachers.

Professor Mathias Urban

Professor Mathias Urban

Professor of Early Childhood,
School of Education

How preschool saves the world

(or how we came to believe it does and what we should do about it)

 

Monday 14 July 2014

In recent years, early childhood education and care has moved to the centre stage of an increasingly global policy environment where it is seen as key tool for addressing a wide array of societal problems. But to determine what – and who – early childhood policies and practices are for is not as straightforward as it might appear. It crucially depends on our understandings of, and our hopes and aspirations for society present and future. Pedagogy and politics, the private and the public, are inextricably intertwined and what is seen as 'good' and appropriate practice in relation to and with young children, their families and communities is highly contested. In this lecture I undertake a critical exploration of the early childhood landscape: How did we get to where we are, where should we be going, and, not least, who should have a say in determining the latter? Exploring these questions, I argue, opens a space for radical re-conceptualisation of early childhood practice and research.

Respondent: Peter Moss, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Education, Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU).

Professor Theresa Buckland

Professor of Dance History & Ethnography,
Department of Dance

Dancing Englishness: Issues of Identity, History and the Popular

 

Monday 2 June 2014

The character of a nation is embodied in its people’s dances; so professed the promoters of English dances at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. What was embraced was surprisingly diverse: examples include hornpipe, maypole, country, morris, pavane, minuet and, by the 1920s, modern ballroom dancing. As the sun dimmed on the British Empire, performances of Englishness in the mother country appear to have multiplied. What role did dance play during this period in contributing to the cultural identity of Englishness? Whose values were espoused as those of the English people? And what legacies of dancing Englishness, if any, remain today?

Professor Glyn Parry

Professor Glyn Parry

Professor of Early Modern History,
Department of Humanities

The View From The Past: A Sixteenth-century Historian’s Perspective

 

Monday 7 April 2014

The Tudors have become increasingly prominent in contemporary British culture, whether in print, on television, or in films. However, very often these depictions reflect contemporary politics and culture, not the historical reality of the sixteenth century. This lecture explores the ways in which Tudor England was politically and culturally very different from our own times, yet also shows many parallels with our current experience. It argues that those parallels are important because the Tudor period laid the foundations for many of the features of contemporary Britain. Therefore we can appreciate twenty-first-century Britain more clearly if we view it from the perspective of the sixteenth century, and especially from the viewpoint of Roehampton.

Professor Molly Scott-Cato

Professor Molly Scott-Cato

Professor of Strategy and Sustainability,
Business School

There is No Wealth But Life: Rethinking Economics, Enterprise and Regeneration

 

Monday 3 February 2014

It is 150 years since John Ruskin penned what might be the mantra for a green economist, 'There is no wealth but life', as part of his contribution to political economy published as 'Unto this Last'. Interestingly, this book was cited by the first Labour MPs as having had the most significant impact on their approach to politics. While British socialists have responded to Ruskin's call for social justice, they have ignored his deeper insights into and need for a closer relationship with nature and a respect for beauty and culture. It is this focus on material quality at the expense of spiritual quality that has led us to the paradoxical situation of living in an economy where excess and dissatisfaction coexist. As evidence mounts that human society is in the midst of both ecological and spiritual crises, I explore the limitations of the globalised capitalist economy in providing sustainable prosperity and explore what the green approach to political economy has to offer.

Forthcoming lectures

15 January 2018
Professor Caroline Bainbridge
Media, Culture and Language

26 February 2018
Professor Debbie Epstein
Education

19 March 2018
Professor Anita Biressi
Media, Culture and Language

14 May 2018
Professor Michael Witt
Media, Culture and Language

18 June 2018
Professor Stephen Drinkwater
Business School