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February 2019

Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lectures: Religion, atheism, and the varieties of the good life – John Gray

[  19 FEBRUARY  ]

Tuesday 19 February, 7.30pm, Sheffield Cathedral Church Street, S1 1HA

No booking required.

John GrayIt is often claimed that atheists can be as moral as practitioners of traditional religions, and this may well be true. However, John Gray suggests that atheists have been promoting a wide variety of conceptions of the good life. Examining the history of atheism, he will argue that atheism has not been a single intellectual movement, but rather a diversity of contending sects adhering to divergent – often even conflicting – values and advancing different ways of life. The question is therefore not whether atheists can be moral, but: which morality should atheists follow?

This talk is part of the God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics lecture series.

About our speaker

John Gray studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford. In 1998, after having held – among other things – a visiting professorship at Harvard and a professorship in politics at Oxford, he became Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, where he is now Emeritus Professor. Among his recent publications are Seven Types of Atheism (2018), The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom (2015), The Silence of Animals: Thoughts on Progress and other Modern Myths (2013), and Gray’s Anatomy: Selected Writings (2009).

He contributes regularly to The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, and the New Statesman, where he is the lead book reviewer. John Gray is a regular guest on radio and television and was one of the main contributors to the ARTE documentary Marx Reloaded, alongside Jacques Rancière, Peter Sloterdijk, and Slavoj Žižek.

The Silent Guides - Insights into how the mind develops and functions, by Professor Steve Peters (author of "The Chimp Parodox")

[  22 FEBRUARY  ]

Friday 22 February, 6.30pm, Octagon Centre, Clarkson Street, S10 2TQ, Tickets: £22  Booking  (Bookings are being handled by 'Gigantic'.  Any queries should be direct to them via the booking link)

Steve PetersProfessor Steve Peters is a Consultant Psychiatrist who specialises in the functioning of the human mind. He currently works across a range of areas including business, health and wellbeing, education, elite sport as well as members of the public. He is also the author of the bestselling book, The Chimp Paradox, which has now sold over a million copies and the CEO of Chimp Management Ltd.

Professor Peters will be presenting content from his latest books The Silent Guides and My Hidden Chimp. He will discuss insights into how the mind develops and functions, give practical applications to guide and support the developing mind and also talk through ways of adjusting the functioning of the adult mind.

On the Potential of Phonetic Analysis to Distinguish Between People with Epilepsy and Non-epileptic Seizures


Thursday 28t February, 1pm, Elmfield Building, Lecture Theatre 1, No booking required, Enquiries E:

Speakers: Dr Gareth Walker, School of English, University of Sheffield and Dr Traci Walker, Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield

A body of research has shown that there are linguistic differences in the way people with epilepsy talk about their seizures when compared to those with non-epileptic seizures. In this short report we extend this line of research by presenting the results of a linguistic-phonetic analysis comparing speech samples from people with a confirmed diagnosis of epilepsy (7 patients), to those with a confirmed diagnosis of non-epileptic seizures (8 patients). Variables considered include features of pitch, intensity, duration and pausing in their responses to questions from a neurologist during medical history-taking. We find only limited evidence of differences between the two diagnostic groups (epilepsy vs. non-epileptic seizures). We discuss possible reasons for this lack of evidence.

March 2019

Rethinking our Thinking: 21st Century Justice

by Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

[  5 MARCH ]

Lord Burnett

Tuesday 5 March, 6.15pm, Lecture Theatre 4, The Arts Tower, Western Bank, S10 2TN

Following the lecture, a drinks reception will take place for all attendees.


Enquiries, Email:, Tel: 0114 222 1032



The judiciary is helping to shape the most ambitious courts and tribunals modernisation programme in over 100 years. In this short address, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales will outline the importance of this work and how it will improve access to justice and the way in which the courts work.

The Lord Chief Justice, who is bringing the Court of Appeal to Sheffield for two days, will also touch on the widening diversity of the judiciary. After hearing from the Lord Chief Justice, Professor Richard Percival from the School of Law and Gul Nawaz Hussain QC, Bank House Chambers, will share their thoughts. A Q&A session will then follow chaired by Louise Glover, Director of Civic Engagement, School of Law.

Things are Going Downhill Fast: understanding massive landslides. 

Part of the forthcoming British Science Week 2019

by Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation

[  6 MARCH  ]

Professor Dave PetleyWednesday 6 March, 6pm,  The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road, S3 7RD

Enquiries, E:, Tel: 0114 222 1030 

A drinks reception will follow the lecture, to which all attendees are invited.

Book a place

If Tweeting about this event please use #LandslideImpact

As part of the forthcoming British Science Week 2019, #BSW19, Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor Dave Petley, will be delivering a public lecture on his research area.

Landslides are an under-appreciated natural hazard, killing an average of about 10,000 people per year. Even in the UK they can represent a significant threat – for example, the 1966 Aberfan landslide in South Wales killed 144 people, most of them children, whilst Network Rail suffers an average of about 75 earthworks failures per year. Landslides are a natural phenomenon, usually triggered by heavy rainfall or by earthquakes, but there is strong evidence that human activities such as road building in marginally-stable mountainous areas, is increasing their impacts. This talk will use examples from the UK, China, Pakistan and elsewhere to explain how and why landslides occur, and to explore the human and social costs that they incur. The talk will examine the disastrous impacts from the 2008 earthquake in China, and of a single enormous landslide in the mountains of Pakistan in 2010, showing the ways that these events affected the local population for years after the failure. Finally the talk will look at future prospects for landslides in light of climate change and increasing populations.

Professor Steven McIntosh Inaugural Lecture - The 'Other 50%' : Participation and Outcomes in Vocational and Technical Education

[  6 MARCH  ]

Steven McIntoshWednesday 6 March, 5.30pm, Drinks Reception 6.30-7.30pm, Lecture Theatre 6, The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road, S3 7RD

Drinks Reception 6.30-7.30pm in ICOSS, 219 Portobello, S1 4DP

Booking  Enquiries E:

Steven will speak about the demand and supply of skills in the labour market, focusing in particular on intermediate level skills, developed in post-school Further Education. He will look at the background of individuals undertaking such qualifications, the changing demand for them in the labour market as the occupational structure changes, and the resulting payoffs to these qualifications as the result of supply and demand forces.

The 13th Roberts Lecture -

University Teaching in a Post-knowledge Age

by Professor Neil Rackham

[  27 MARCH  ]

Wednesday 27 March, 6pm, Firth Hall, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN



Neil RackhamEnquiries, contact Gail Street in the Events Team, E:, T: 0114 222 8893

Historically, the business of universities has been to create, teach, test and certify knowledge. In an age where the Internet has made knowledge a freely available commodity, what will be the consequences for university teaching? Will knowledge teaching vehicles like lectures disappear and, if so, what should come in their place? If, as has been widely suggested, there will be a shift away from knowledge learning towards the learning of skills, which skills should be at the core of the new university curriculum? And, because skills learning is fundamentally different from knowledge learning, how must we rethink our teaching philosophies and techniques? Existing methods of skill development are disproportionately costly and labour intensive compared to knowledge teaching. Can the experiences of the business world in teaching skills give us some ideas about how universities might scale skills learning and make it an economic reality?

Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) end of project event

[  27 & 28 MARCH  ]

Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 March, 9am-5pm), Weston Park, Weston Park Museum and Ponderosa.  Enquiries, contact

To mark the end of the IWUN project and to celebrate and share outputs and results from the project, we are holding a 2 day event in the city to disseminate results and recommendations arising from the research.  These 2 days will include a number of hands on activities including workshops with artists and facilitators delivering arts based workshops, mindfulness sessions, park tours/walks and an exhibition of materials produced throughout the duration of the project. We will also include some recommendations from the project including facilitation of a pop up café and toilet in the Ponderosa.

Transforming Mobility and Immobility: Brexit and Beyond

[  28 MARCH  ]

Thursday 28 March, 6pm, The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road, S3 7RD, No booking required, Enquiries E:

Migration Research Group invites you to a public panel debate on the topic of ‘Transforming Mobility and Immobility: Brexit and Beyond’, which will take place on the 28th of March and will be followed by a drinks reception. At the very moment the UK plans to exit the EU, we have invited migration experts to come together to discuss how Brexit cannot be understood in isolation, as well as what practical implications Brexit may bring to Northern Ireland, the British economy, the NHS and the labour market. Confirmed speakers include Professor Feargal Cochrane, professor Pawel Kaczmarczyk, professor Peter Scholten professor Anna Triandafyllidou and Catherine Woollard.

Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lectures: The singing Turk: Ottoman power and operatic emotions - Larry Wolff

 [  28 MARCH  ]

Thursday 28 March, from 5pm, Humanities Research Institute, Upper Hanover St, S3 7QY

Booking will open here shortly.

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Leading historian Larry Wolff will deliver the second 2018-19 Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture on the topic: The singing Turk: Ottoman power and operatic emotions.

About the talk

Leading historian Larry Wolff will speak about opera and Turkish subjects in the long eighteenth century, touching also on contemporary issues of Turkey’s relation to Europe and European culture.

About our speaker

Larry Wolff is an intellectual and cultural historian best known for his idea that Eastern Europe was invented, as it were, by eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers and travellers who divided Europe into complementary Eastern and Western “cultural spheres”. On this basis, he has explored Western perspectives on Eastern Europe as manifestations of a kind of “Orientalism” (Edward Said). Larry Wolff’s books include The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016); Paolina’s Innocence (2012); The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (2010); and Child Abuse in Freud’s Vienna (1995). He also wrote the introduction to a new edition of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic 1870 novella Venus in Furs. Larry Wolff teaches history at New York University.

Investigating the Efficacy of Group Language Games as Therapy for Post-Stroke Aphasias by Mrs Louise Lander, Birmingham

[  28 MARCH  ]

Human Communication Sciences

Thursday 28 March, 1pm, Elmfield Building, Lecture Theatre 1

Speaker: Mrs Louise Lander, Birmingham.  Enquiries, E:

High intensity, one-to-one rehabilitation therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of post-stroke aphasia. It can, however, put high levels of strain on public health providers, as well as lead to low patient satisfaction. This study piloted a group-delivered game therapy, designed to provide efficacious word-retrieval rehabilitation, in a cost-effective and motivating environment.

Two cohorts of six participants took part, with each cohort split into two teams. Participants played picture-naming games in which members of the same team tried to name the picture displayed on a chosen card. Therapist facilitation was varied in three different cueing conditions: phonemic, gesture+phonemic and semantic+phonemic.

Picture-naming of trained words increased by an average of 25% following game therapy, with word-retrieval of trained words in connected speech also improving by 18%. These improvements were mostly maintained at both 2-3 weeks and 4-months post-therapy, however no generalisation to untrained words, or general discourse was found, nor any significant differences between cueing conditions. Post-therapy participant feedback showed high levels of satisfaction with the game therapy paradigm.

This study found that group-delivered, high intensity therapy, delivered as a game, can result in significant word-retrieval improvements, both in picture-naming and in connected speech tasks. Generalisation to discourse was not apparent, however word-retrieval gains were well maintained. High levels of participant satisfaction also support this paradigm as a cost-effective, agreeable rehabilitation paradigm.

May 2019

Evaluating early language interventions: going from practice to research and back by

[  2 MAY  ]

Thursday 2 May, 1pm,  Lecture Theatre 1, Elmfield Building, S10 2TU. No booking required.  Enquiries E:

Speaker: Dr Dea Nielsen, University of York

Early language skills are foundational to children’s later language, social, and educational success. While there are large individual differences in the trajectory of children’s early language development, there is also a consistent trend for children from low SES backgrounds to have weak early language skills. Better Start Bradford (BSB) is a large public health initiative funded by the Big Lottery which aims to implement early life interventions in low SES areas in Bradford, including interventions for children’s early language. BSB also includes the Innovation Hub, a group of multidisciplinary academics who work to monitor and evaluate these interventions. This talk will discuss the ongoing evaluations of several language interventions within the BSB programme, including a feasibility RCT of a home-based parent intervention for children with identified language weaknesses. An approach to embedding academic evaluation into existing community services will be discussed, along with lessons learned on creating a reciprocal relationship between research and practice. In conclusion, this work considers the feasibility and value of this approach for identifying best practice in early life interventions for children.

SPERI Annual Lecture by Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England  [  7 MAY  ]

Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) Annual Lecture 2019

Tuesday 7 May, Further details and how to book will follow shortly.   Find out more and sign up to the newsletter.

Andrew HaldaneAndrew Haldane is the Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. In November 2018 Andrew was appointed Chair of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy Council. Andrew is also the founder of ‘Pro Bono Economics’, a charity which connects economists to charitable projects, and a trustee of the charity National Numeracy.

Andrew has written and spoken extensively about the importance of opening up and improving understanding of the economy, as well as the need for creativity in economic thought, and the recognition of ambiguity and alternatives. Education and engagement are key elements of Andy’s portfolio and he has sought to create dialogue between the Bank of England and members of the public around the country.

Andrew has a strong connection to SPERI and to the University of Sheffield. An Economics graduate of the University, he was awarded an Honorary Degree in 2018. Andrew was an ‘In Conversation’ guest at SPERI in 2014 and in 2017 he hosted and gave a keynote speech at SPERI’s 5th anniversary celebration event at the Bank of England.

Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lectures: Audrey Niffenegger

[ 9 MAY  ]

Thurday 9 May, Lecture Theatre 6, The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road, S3 7RD

About our speaker

Audrey Niffenegger is the world-famous author of The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003), which in 2009 was made into a Hollywood film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. Her second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, came out in 2009. A visual artist by training, Audrey Niffenegger has also published several graphic novels. She is currently working on a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife, provisionally entitled The Other Husband.

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Pint of Science Sheffield

[  20-22 MAY  ]

Pint of Science logoMonday 20 - Wednesday 22 May. Various venues.  £4 per event.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield will be talking about their research and answering your questions, in a pub near you.  The talks will be accompanied by hands-on activities, demonstrations and a chance to win prizes. 

Come along, have a drink, learn about science and have some fun!

See the full Sheffield programme and get tickets

June 2019

Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lectures: Seeking the welfare of the city: what the church can contribute to the common good – Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield

[  26 JUNE  ]

Wednesday 26 June 2019, 7.30pm, Sheffield Cathedral, Church Street, S1 1HA

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About the talk

Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield, will explore how, in pursuit of the common good, the Church has something to offer to policy-making, as well as project-delivery, in what one might call a prophetic – and not merely pastoral – role.

This lecture is part of the God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics lecture series.

About our speaker

The Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox has been ordained for over 30 years and has been Bishop of Sheffield since the summer of 2017, having been the Dean of Liverpool for the previous five years. He trained for the ordained ministry at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, after completing a degree in modern history at Durham.

Theological education and ministerial formation remain key interests for him, along with Bible teaching and expository preaching. He is the author of three books which attempt to make Bible commentary accessible: Living the Dream: Joseph for Today (2007), Walking the Walk: The Rise of King David for Today (2009) and Talking the Talk: The Fall of King David for Today (2011).

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