Audience at public lecture

Lancaster University Public Lecture Series

Experience the cutting edge of teaching and research with talk by experts

Experience the cutting edge of teaching and research with talks by experts from Lancaster University and around the world.

An international diplomat, a panel of Black British authors, an immersive and musical dramatic reading, and captivating talks from our own academics – just some recent examples of events that formed part of this year’s Public Lecture Series

Our Public Lectures, which are free and open for all members of the public, staff and students to attend, are just one of the ways the University engages with communities, sharing research and its relevance to everyday lives. Lectures feature experts from Lancaster University and beyond to present and discuss various topics, all with the ultimate aim of being accessible, fun, thought-provoking and educational. All lectures include the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and share your thoughts during a Question & Answer session.

Upcoming Public Lectures

Our free public lecture series for 2023/2024 runs from October to June. We have lots of exciting and varied lectures in the pipeline.

Watch this space for more or, to hear about upcoming lectures first, sign up to our Connect Newsletter. Signing-up means you’ll be the first to hear about the series and register for tickets before they’re released more widely. Our 2022/23 talks all sold out so if you don’t want to miss out make sure you sign up now!

We hope to see you at a lecture soon!

Watch the videos of our past lectures

If you’re unable to attend a lecture, don’t worry, the majority are recorded and available to view after the event here on our public lectures webpage.

We are delighted to make these videos and presentations available for later viewings or for your own use. If you use these in your work or research, we would be grateful if you would credit the University and/or the speakers. Thank you.

From Womb to Wisdom: What we learn before we are born

We now know that the womb is not the pitch-black environment we once imagined and it is rich in sounds from the external world. The prenatal period is a time of intense and rapid development and our brain and sensory systems develop to surprisingly sophisticated levels. As a newborn baby, we already prefer to look at faces (and things that look like faces), listen to infant-directed speech, and can tell the difference between small sets of numbers and different emotional sounds. We have a wealth of knowledge of how these abilities are then shaped by our environment throughout childhood into our adult abilities to see, for example, faces in cars and cloud formations, and to count to infinite number sets. But, how are the things that we hear, see, taste, and feel before birth already influencing our abilities and preferences for what we like to see and listen to after birth?

This talk discusses the importance of asking these questions and introduce the ways in which our research has overcome barriers to investigating the psychological development of the fetus in the womb. For example, we have shown that the preference for faces exists before birth using 4D ultrasound imaging. Following this work listed as one of the “Top 100 Discoveries of 2017” by Discover Magazine, this talk provides an account of what we have since learned from the use of ultrasound to measure fetal response to different emotions, types of speech, and shapes of light.

Watch the public lecture here.

About the speaker

Dr Kirsty Dunn is a lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Lancaster University. She specialises in the investigation of perceptual, cognitive, and social development in utero and throughout the first year of life. Using light and 4D ultrasound, Kirsty and her global team have pioneered a new window into discovering how those remarkable abilities that we already have at birth develop before we are born.

Degrees of Separation: universities then, now and tomorrow

In this lecture Professor Joe Moran discusses the university as an ideal, and as a real place. What should a university stand for, who should be allowed to study there, and what should a degree lead to? Does the university still have value as a physical space in an age of online learning?

As part of the lecture, Joe draws on the experience of his parents as two of the first students at Lancaster University in 1964. They were first-generation students from working-class backgrounds with non-standard qualifications, and Lancaster was the only university to accept them. How has the experience of being at university changed since they were students nearly sixty years ago?

Watch the public lecture here.

About the speaker

Professor Joe Moran is a lecturer in English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a literary and cultural historian focusing on Britain in the very recent past, with a particular interest in the everyday. He writes for The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Financial Times, BBC History Magazine, Times Higher Education and other publications, and has written a number of books including:

• 'Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime', a cultural history of daily habits in Britain in the postwar years, inspired by the work of Mass Observation;

• 'On Roads: A Hidden History', a circuitous journey around the British motorway system; and

• 'Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV', the story of watching television from Baird's first demonstration in Selfridge's in 1925 to the switching off of the analogue signal in 2012.

Joe Moran stands in front of a screen showing an image of a refectory.
Professor Joe Moran

Understanding Diplomacy in Today's World

Baroness Catherine Ashton served as the European Union’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from 2009 to 2014. Ashton faced the challenge of representing the views and values of 28 nations during one of the most turbulent periods in living memory, leading historic negotiations such as the Serbia-Kosovo Accord of 2013 and the Iran nuclear negotiations. She encountered dictators and war criminals, and witnessed the aftermath of natural disasters, military action and political instability.

In conversation, with Professor Andy Schofield and the Rt Hon Alastair Burt, she takes us behind the scenes to show us what worked and what didn’t, and how it felt to play a part in tackling some of the major international crises of our times. The event ends with an audience question and answer session.

Watch the public lecture here

About the speaker

Baroness Catherine Ashton served as the European Union’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from 2009 to 2014, and the first female EU Commissioner for Trade. She is a life peer and former Leader of the House of Lords, and served as a UK government minister in the Education and Justice departments. She is a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC and a consultant to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Baroness Catherine Ashton
Baroness Catherine Ashton

Decoding the Northern Lights

What is plasma?

How does it create the glowing light display in the sky we know as the Northern Lights?

How do we record the Northern Lights, and what can this tell us?

Join Lancaster University’s own Dr Maria Walach, a Senior Research Associate in the Physics department who is researching the Northern Lights, as she explains how the Aurora Borealis is generated, how we measure and study it, and how it can affect our lives.

Watch Dr Maria Walach's lecture on Decoding the Northern Lights

About the speaker

Dr Maria Walach is a researcher in space plasma physics & planetary science based in the Lancaster University Physics department.

She studies the ionosphere, the most upper part of the atmosphere, which links us to space. She is interested in seeing how the ionosphere moves and on what time-scales it responds to events within the magnetosphere and in space. She does this primarily by using data from the ground-based SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) radars.

Maria Walach standing in front of an audience presenting her lecture.
Dr Maria Walach

Dan Snow: History in the Digital World

As part of Lancaster University’s Public Lecture Series, BAFTA winning historian Dan Snow presented a talk exploring all the tools available to those who want to talk about, teach and enjoy history online.

A Lancaster Honorary Graduate, Dan has livestreamed on TikTok while searching for Shackleton's ship Endurance, posted on Instagram from WW1 biplanes and recorded podcasts from inside the Arctic and Antarctic circles. When he started working there were no podcasts, no YouTube, no Facebook, no Netflix, no 3G mobile network and no iPhone. So during the course of two decades Dan has responded to huge technological changes, taking advantage of huge new audiences… and sometimes embarrassing himself along the way! Dan explores some of the strengths and weaknesses about making history accessible online, along with the opportunities and dangers of this revolution in broadcasting.

Watch Dan Snow: History in the Digital World

About the Lecture

In this lecture, Dan Snow explores all the tools available to those who want to talk about, teach and enjoy history online. He has livestreamed on TikTok while searching for Shackleton's ship Endurance, posted on Instagram from WW1 biplanes and recorded podcasts from inside the Arctic and Antarctic circles.

When Dan Snow started working there were no podcasts, no YouTube, no Facebook, no Netflix, no 3G mobile network and no iPhone. So during the course of two decades Dan has responded to huge technological changes, taking advantage of huge new audiences… and sometimes embarrassing himself along the way!

Dan explores some of the strengths and weaknesses about making history accessible online, along with the opportunities and dangers of this revolution in broadcasting.

About the speaker

Dan Snow MBE, is a Bafta winning history broadcaster and best-selling author.

He founded History Hit, a digital history channel, which has twice been nominated as the UK's best Specialist Channel. His History Hit podcast is listened to over one million times a week.

In early 2022, he was part of the Endurance22 expedition that found Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's lost vessel, 107 years after it sank in the Weddell Sea.

Dan lives in Britain's ancient 'New Forest' surrounded by centuries of history.

Dan Snow standing in front of a screen with his name on.
Dan Snow

Time, Einstein, and the coolest stuff in the universe

Nobel Prize Laureate and American physicist Professor William D. Phillips, presents a captivating lecture featuring visually fascinating experiments and down-to-earth explanations on the topic of ‘Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe’.

Professor William D. Phillips conducts some of the coolest explosive demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, whilst explaining how the use of ultracold atoms impacts on our everyday lives and allows us to test some of Einstein’s strangest predictions.

Watch 'Time, Einstein, and the coolest stuff in the universe' on YouTube

About the lecture

World-renowned physicist, Professor Phillips explores how the measurement of time is being revolutionised through the use of atomic clocks in our everyday lives – a development compared to how Einstein changed the way we think about time at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Now, early in the 21st Century, atomic clocks - the best timekeepers ever made - are one of the scientific and technological wonders of modern life. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science and at the heart of GPS (Global Positioning Systems) which guides cars, aeroplanes and hikers to their destinations.

Today, the best primary atomic clocks use ultracold atoms which achieve accuracies of about one second in 300 million years, and are getting better all the time. A new generation of atomic clocks is also leading us to re-define what we mean by time. Super-cold atoms, with temperatures that can be below a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, use, and allow tests of, some of Einstein’s strangest predictions.

About the speaker

In 1997, Professor Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for ‘development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light’. He joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States in 1978 and is a member of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group of NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory. Professor Phillips is also a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland.

Professor William Phillips, wearing safety glasses, conducting a dramatic experiment
Professor William Phillips

Morecambe: The Eden of the North

The proposal to establish Eden Project North has gripped the imaginations of Morecambe, Lancashire and many of its surrounding areas. In this lecture, Sir Tim Smit KBE (Co-founder of the Eden Project) takes us on a layman's journey to understand more about the beautiful efficiencies of the natural world in the spectacular surroundings of the Morecambe Winter Gardens before discussing the Eden North Project with the Chair of The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, Professor Vanessa Toulmin.

Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

About the Lecture

This event will begin with a talk by Sir Tim on how ‘the Green Enlightenment’ starts now:

Over the past twenty years, nature has revealed to us the beautiful, complex worlds of bacteria within the human form, and the vital relationships between green plants and fungi. Sir Tim will take us on a layman's journey to understand more about the beautiful efficiencies of the natural world, that will revolutionise the ways in which we imagine our futures as part of an interdependent natural world.

This talk is followed by Sir Tim in conversation with Professor Vanessa Toulmin (Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, and Chair of the Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust), discussing the attraction of Morecambe as a site for Eden Project North and much more.

About the speakers

Sir Tim Smit KBE

Tim is a Trustee, Patron and Board Member of a number of statutory and voluntary bodies both locally and nationally. He has received a variety of national awards including The Royal Society of Arts Albert Medal (2003). In June 2012 Tim was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Tim has taken part in many television and radio programmes and has been the subject of ‘This is Your Life’ and a guest on ‘Desert Island Discs’. He is a regular speaker at conferences, dinners, Awards Ceremonies and other events. Tim is the author of books about The Lost Gardens of Heligan (voted 'Book of the Year' in 1997 by the Sunday Times) and the Eden Project and he has contributed to publications on a wide variety of subjects. Tim is also Executive Chairman for Eden Project International which aims to have an Eden Project on every habited continent by 2025.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin

Vanessa is the Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, a historian and international expert of Film & Popular Entertainment, and the Chair of The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust. Vanessa was born into a fairground family which operated the Winter Gardens fairground, some of her fondest memories were watching her aunt perform on stage at the Winter Gardens Theatre as a contortionist. Vanessa is the author of 14 books on the history of Fairgrounds, Circus and Early Film and Popular Entertainment.

© Photo by Eden Project International

Motherhood and voluntary childlessness in contemporary Christianity

Lancaster University Alumna Dr Dawn Llewellyn explores how contemporary women negotiate, accept and resist maternal expectations placed on them not only by Christianity but by society as a whole as well. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speaker and to download a PDF copy of the presentation.

Watch the recording of the lecture on Youtube.

About the Lecture

Motherhood is often presented as a woman’s greatest achievement, both in Christianity and contemporary society.

At a time when birth rates in Western Europe are dropping and women have more control over their fertility, Dr Dawn Llewellyn explores how contemporary women negotiate, accept and resist this maternal expectation, and what this means for women in the twenty-first century.

What will you learn during this lecture?

  • How Christian women understand and determine their reproductive choices;
  • How they navigate the expectation to have children at a time when more women are choosing not to become mothers;
  • The taboos, stigma and silences faced by mothers and child-free women.

About the speaker

Dr Dawn Llewellyn is Associate Professor of Religion and Gender in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester, and co-founder of Chester’s Institute of Gender Studies.

An alumna of Lancaster University (PhD in Religious Studies, 2010), Dr Llewellyn’s research into contemporary Christianity draws on themes that are relevant to religious studies, sociology of religion, and gender and women’s studies.

© Photo by Burst on Unsplash

Download a PDF version of the presentation

Motherhood and voluntary childlessness - Dr Dawn Llewellyn

To what extent is the human species slowing down?

From one compelling visualization to the next Professor Danny Dorling explores the growth slow down of our species and what it means for our lives and our future. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on Youtube.

About the Lecture

The year is 2022. We still fly in the 747 aeroplane that was unveiled in 1968 and teleportation still remains a fantasy. School children in the early 1980s used Windows computers of the multi-purposing kind that we still use today.

Other than rising debt and global temperatures, almost everything else in our lives is slowing down, from technological advances to birth rates; and (possibly helped by the pandemic) also the number of aeroplane flights we take each year.

As we head towards what may look very much like stability, there is an urgent need for us all to work, buy, travel and do a little less with each day that passes.

Welcome to the future...

Professor Danny Dorling presents findings from his latest book Slowdown, more data and resources can be found on www.dannydorling.org/books/SLOWDOWN/

About the speaker

Professor Danny Dorling

Professor Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor in Geography at the University of Oxford. His work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education, wealth and poverty. Much of Professor Dorling’s work is available open access (see www.dannydorling.org), and he collaborated on www.worldmapper.org which shows who has most and least in the world. His most recent book, with Sally Tomlinson, was published in 2019: Rule Britannia: Brexit and the end of Empire concerning what the 2016 EU referendum and 2019 ‘exit’ tells us about the British.

© Image by Johannes Plenio

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To what extent is the human species slowing down? Danny Dorling

Leaders for the future: the role of compassion and kindness

A hybrid lecture on compassionate leadership. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

What role should kindness and compassion play in leadership? Many of us are acquainted with the idea of leaders as ‘strong, effective and tough’, but should we be expecting more?

After an exceptionally challenging period where kindness and compassion have made the headlines more than they perhaps ordinarily would, Lancaster University brings to you a two-part hybrid public lecture hosted at the Health Innovation Campus and streamed online. Our two speakers, Professor Mike Thomas (Chair, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust) and Professor Michael West (Professor of Organisational Psychology, Lancaster University and Senior Visiting Fellow, The King's Fund) explore what compassionate leadership involves, how we can become compassionate leaders and how we can overcome challenges that might prevent this culture being embedded in our places of work.

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About the speakers

Professor Mike Thomas, FRSA is Chair of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), and a non-executive Director of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Mike has nearly forty years’ experience in the NHS and the Higher Education sector, having worked in a range of senior clinical and management roles.

Prior to joining UHMBT, Mike held management posts across several UK universities including Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Chester and, most recently, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Organisational Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire. In the NHS, Mike was a Mental Health Clinical Specialist and Psychotherapist specialising in Eating Disorders, Differential Diagnosis, and Trauma work with military veterans.

Mike has co-edited three best-selling textbooks, (two on mental health, one on compassionate leadership) and has published over 70 articles and chapters as well as holding membership of regional and national policy-making bodies. Mike’s most recent book, Kindness in Leadership (co-edited with Gay Haskins and Lalit Johri) was published in 2018 and was one of the first books to explore both the concept and practice of kindness in leadership.

Professor Michael West CBE is Senior Visiting Fellow at The King’s Fund, London and Professor of Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University, Visiting Professor at University College, Dublin, and Emeritus Professor at Aston University, where he was formerly Executive Dean of Aston Business School. He has authored, edited and co-edited 20 books and has published more than 200 articles in scientific and practitioner publications on teamwork, innovation, leadership, and culture, particularly in healthcare.

Michael is supporting Health Education and Improvement Wales to develop the national health and care compassionate leadership strategy in Wales. He led the review for The King’s Fund into the mental health and well-being of nurses and midwives across the UK, The Courage of Compassion: Supporting Nurses and Midwives to Deliver High Quality Care (2020). His latest book (2021) is Compassionate leadership: Sustaining wisdom, humanity and presence in health and social care.

© Image by DocuSign (Unsplash)

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Download a PDF version of the presentations

Compassion in health and social care - Professor Michael West

Barriers to compassionate Leadership - Professor Mike Thomas

Lancaster University and the climate emergency

A public panel that opened the COP26@Lancaster University Festival. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, bringing together leaders from almost every country on earth for a summit on how to tackle climate change. Hosted in Glasgow by the UK, the event in November is described as the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control.

This public panel, part of the University’s Public Lecture Series, opens the COP26@Lancaster University Festival with an introduction to the COP26 and what the climate change agenda means for Lancaster University and its local communities. Panellists from across the University, including Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Schofield, consider what it means for the University to have declared a climate emergency and what actions are being taken, initiatives to educate future business leaders to include climate change insight in their knowledge set, and how the University is supporting its student body to engage with these issues.

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About the speakers

Professor Andy Schofield is the Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University and has overall responsibility for its operation and strategic direction. He took up the role on 1st May 2020. Professor Schofield was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering at the University of Birmingham from 2015 until April 2020.

Professor Jess Davies is the Director of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation that seeks to connect researchers with small and medium-sized enterprises in the North West to help them develop new products and services with environmental benefits.

Professor Simon Guyis Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global (Digital, International, Sustainability) and the University lead on sustainability, drawing on his professional background in sustainable design and urbanism. He is responsible for actions that rise from Lancaster University’s declaration of a climate emergency on 31st January 2019.

Jan Bebbington is the Director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business and is supporting the Lancaster University Management School who are a signatory of the Principles of Responsible Management Education.

Darren Axe is the Manager for Green Lancaster, a collaborative initiative run by Lancaster University and Lancaster University Students’ Union to demonstrate and champion sustainability practice across the whole University community.

Millie Prosser is a Lancaster University graduate, activist and current MRes student in the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation working on a framework for embedding carbon across local authority functioning. She is a co-founder of Lancaster Youth For Environment (LYFE) and campaigned for the Council and University climate emergency declarations.

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Download a PDF version of the presentations

What is COP26? - Jess Davies

Sustainability and the Climate Emergency - Simon Guy

Business education for responsibility for COP26 - Jan Bebbington

Green Lancaster - Darren Axe

Lancaster University and the Climate Emergency: A call to action - Millie Prosser

Talking about spaces and places

A panel of experts explore this changing relationship as well as the legacy of Covid-19 on the design, planning and use of social spaces. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

The pandemic has made us re-think our relationship with space, with new home-seekers demonstrating different priorities, including a desire for more garden and working space. But it's not just confined to spaces where we live. Our experts will explore our changing relationship with space, and the legacy of Covid-19 on the design, planning and use of social spaces.

The Spaces of Social Distancing – Spearheading a Generative Signage Pilot Study for Lancaster.

Head of Architecture, Des Fagan, spearheaded a unique, automated social distancing and way-finding model for businesses preparing to re-open safely in the post-pandemic recovery.

The new model, devised with the University’s new School of Architecture, uses algorithms, special design exploration processes, generative software, sympathetic signage, electronically created floorplans and heat tracking and mapping to inspire a safe environment for people. Working with Lancaster City Council, the project, funded through Beyond Imagination, a £13.2m Research England project at the University’s ImaginationLancaster, a design-led research laboratory, has gathered essential data on the way in which people use spaces in the pandemic.

The work will now form part of a further UKRI bid to provide the same methodology for the use of businesses at UK scale.

Filling our spaces with food growing places

Food plays a major role in our lives. It’s essential for health and well-being and brings us together socially and culturally and, during the successive UK lockdowns, more people turned to growing their own food.

How we grow our food is also critical for our environment: 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food and agriculture, and our current ways of farming are a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Whilst food can be a great connector, arguably our society is more disconnected than ever from how food is grown and from the natural processes that support farming. In this talk Professor Jess Davies will consider if urban food growing offers us a solution: can growing more of what we eat nearer to where we live help us lead healthier more sustainable lives, and secure our fresh food supplies?

Space, Place and Behaviour in the Seattle Central Library

In the grips of Covid-19, the use of space has become incredibly important to many of us, as we yearn for familiar, communal spaces such as our local libraries. Professor Ruth Conroy Dalton will present a series of studies on the Seattle Central Library, an enigmatic and simultaneously problematic space.

While winning major accolades and awards, the internet and social media were awash with accounts of people becoming lost in the space, almost succumbing to panic attacks, or posting photographs of the confusing, temporary signs that librarians were forced to improvise shortly after the building opened. How can a building be considered a great architectural space whilst also a deeply problematic place to inhabit? This talk will strive to get to the bottom of this paradox and explore how we can balance architectural innovation with human use.

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About the speakers

Des Fagan is Head of Architecture and member of ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. Des’s field of interest inside engagement between industry, community and academia is on optimisation as an approach to problem-solving.

Professor Jess Davies is a Professor of Sustainability at Lancaster Environment Centre, and the Director of the Centre for Global Eco-innovation. She leads a number of research projects that focus on how we can make better use of our land and ensure soil sustainability.

Professor Ruth Conroy Dalton is a British architect, author and Head of Lancaster’s new School of Architecture. She has authored or contributed to more than 200 publications. She is an expert in space syntax analysis, pedestrian movement and wayfinding and a world-leading authority on the overlap between architecture and spatial cognition (architectural cognition).

© Image by Gábor Molnár (Unsplash)

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Download a PDF version of the presentations

Filling our spaces with food growing places - Jess Davies

Space, Place and Behaviour in the Seattle Central Library - Ruth Dalton

The Spaces of Social Distancing - Des Fagan

Talking about the current health and wellbeing of vulnerable citizens

Three experts from Lancaster University's Faculty of Health and Medicine discuss the impact of the pandemic and successive lockdowns on the health and wellbeing of frailer citizens. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

How has Covid-19 affected the most vulnerable citizens in our country? Exploring data collected from care homes and the national charity Parkinson's UK, three experts from Lancaster University's Faculty of Health and Medicine discuss the impact of the pandemic and successive lockdowns on the health and wellbeing of frailer citizens, what lessons have been learned, and how best practice can be adopted in the future.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people affected by Parkinson’s

During the pandemic, those living with chronic health conditions have faced particular challenges, both due to the added risks of Covid-19 itself but also due to the impact of measures taken to reduce the spread, such as lockdown. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative condition which causes problems with slowness of movement, balance and tremor and also a wide range of other difficulties including with sleep, temperature control, pain and fatigue. Psychological difficulties such as anxiety, depression and apathy are also commonly experienced as well as cognitive problems which can sometimes progress to dementia.

In order to highlight the impact of the pandemic period on people with Parkinson’s and their families and consider what support may be needed going forward, Professor Jane Simpson and Dr Fiona Eccles present findings from a survey carried out by national charity Parkinson’s UK of their members (including family carers) in the first lockdown in April-May 2020, and interviews conducted with people with Parkinson’s at several timepoints during the pandemic.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people in Care Homes

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on adult social care. Deaths in care homes in England over the first wave of the pandemic rose to approximately 150% of the same period the previous year. There was large uncertainty over best practice for care homes over this period. How can we optimise care to ensure COVID outbreak risks are minimised, while also ensuring that residents receive the most appropriate care possible?

In this talk Professor Jo Knight discusses findings from data collected from care homes and hospitals supplied by County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, and the resulting most appropriate course of action in such situation, which will then be widely applicable to policy regarding infectious disease outbreaks and transmission, such as Norovirus, in care homes in the future. This work is part of the 12-month UKRI funded, 'Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on care home pathways, outcomes and safety of care' project.

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About the speakers

Professor Jane Simpson is Professor of the Psychology of Neurodegenerative Conditions at Lancaster University. As a clinical and academic psychologist, she conducts research to improve the wellbeing of individuals affected by chronic health conditions, and particular motor neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s. Jane and Fiona have recently received two grants worth over £200,000 from UK funders to continue the work included in the presentation to be shared during this lecture.

Dr Fiona Eccles trained as a clinical psychologist and now works as a Lecturer at Lancaster University with research interests in the psychological wellbeing of people with neurological conditions, particularly Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease and dystonia. Along with Professor Simpson, she has recently edited guidance for the British Psychological Society on psychological interventions for four neurodegenerative conditions including Parkinson’s.

Professor Jo Knight is a Professor Applied Data Science at Lancaster University and the Research Director for Eden North. She uses routinely collected data to improve the health outcomes of the population. Her approaches are analytical and range from understanding triggers for disease to the utilisation of health services. She also undertakes research on the genetic underpinnings of diseases. The work she will discuss during the lecture is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

© Image by Pixabay

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Download a PDF version of the presentations

Impacts of lockdown on wellbeing for people with parkinsons - Fiona Eccles

Analysis of people with Parkinsons experiences during Covid-19 - Jane Simpson

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people in care homes - Jo Knight

Talking about resilience in life and work

Three Lancaster University experts explore the concept of resilience through local initiatives taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact of the crisis on young people in low and middle-income countries. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

In this lecture, Lancaster University experts explore the resilience of young people in low- and middle-income countries and, more locally, discuss how the Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University acted as a catalyst for the region, and how the Lancaster University Management School supported a broad range of Lancashire & Cumbria enterprises through these difficult times.

Innovation through crisis and chaos – Dr Sherry Kothari with Annette Weekes

This talk outlines how Lancaster University's Health Innovation Campus (HIC) has been a catalyst for the region, especially in the last year, bringing together diverse stakeholders to identify and help tackle some of the significant societal and health challenges we face.

The pandemic has starkly highlighted the significant gaps in social and health equity, especially in our region. The HIC will be instrumental in trying to shift the health paradigm from treatment to prevention, with an emphasis on the wider determinants of health. Bringing together different sectors, communities, agencies and disciplines is a first step in solving major problems – encouraging collaboration, co-design and buy-in – and ensuring that solutions are sustainable. The Covid-19 Manufacturing Cluster, established jointly by the HIC and PDS Engineering, during the PPE crisis last year, is a great example of how, in the face of adversity, creativity, agility and a willingness to collaborate can transcend cultural and organisational constraints and catapult a community into action. The challenge now is to make sure we harness this to evolve, diversify, and ‘future-proof’ the region.

Supporting regional small and medium enterprises in the aftermath of Covid-19 - Professor Stefanos Mouzas and Matt Hutchinson

When the initial shock of Covid-19 had subsided, many business leaders were left wondering whether their business was still viable, whether their customers would make it through and how they could possibly overcome the financial, commercial and leadership hurdles ahead of them. Drawing on academic research and industry experts in equal measure, Lancaster University Management School created the Covid-19 Response Programme: Recovery & Resilience for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The team has supported a broad range of Lancashire & Cumbria SMEs through three cohorts to break through the pain barrier and come out stronger, more stable and more resilient. The programme is now in its third iteration and has supported more than 70 businesses across Lancashire and Cumbria to date, with place for another 60 planned before the end of the year.

Young Lives, Interrupted? Resilience of young people in low- and middle-income countries during the Covid-19 pandemic - Dr Catherine Porter

Adolescence is a challenging period of life, but the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the pressure on young people trying to complete their education and enter the labour market. Although medical research shows that the young are generally at lower risk in terms of the direct health effects of the virus, including hospitalization and death, the economic effects are likely to be long-lasting for those at the beginning of their adult life. Many jobs have been lost, and the young have been hardest hit. The worldwide closure of schools and higher learning institutions has no historical precedent, online learning is only accessible to some and typically excludes those with limited infrastructure or no access to the internet. In addition, vaccine rollout is likely to be much slower in lower-income countries.

This talk presents research findings from a phone survey of just under 10,000 young people in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam and discusses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis on young people's employment, education and mental health, and what can be done to support them.

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About the speakers

Dr Sherry Kothari

Dr Sherry Kothari is the Director of the Health Innovation Campus, providing leadership to bring together businesses, communities, health care providers and researchers, to help address significant challenges in the North West, including health and social inequalities. Sherry and her colleagues are part of the Covid-19 Manufacturing Cluster for Lancashire and South Cumbria to support the NHS throughout the pandemic.

Annette Weekes

Annette is the Managing Director of PDS CNC Engineering in Nelson. She is the Chair of COVID19 Manufacturing Cluster for Lancashire & South Cumbria, a group she founded with a number of partners, including Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and CUBE Thinking to respond to the overwhelming demand from the NHS in the battle against coronavirus.

Professor Stefanos Mouzas

Stefanos Mouzas is Professor of Marketing and Strategy in the Department of Marketing at Lancaster University Management School. His work includes collaborative research projects with manufacturers, retailers, financial institutions, service providers and technology companies. During the Covid-19 pandemic Professor Mouzas worked with the LUMS Recovery Programme to deliver a bespoke programme on Enhancing Business Resilience for SMEs which run between July 2020-September 2020.

Matt Hutchinson

Matt is Senior Business Project Manager within Lancaster University Management School (LUMS). He oversees the delivery of a portfolio of knowledge exchange and business engagement activity, covering business growth, innovation and leadership themes. Matt led on the development of LUMS’ SME focussed response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Catherine Porter

Catherine is a development economist and Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University Management School, she is also Senior Quantitative Advisor to the Young Lives at Work project since September 2019. Her research interests are in applied microeconomics, more particularly in how risk affects the lives of poor people, the impact of unexpected events on various outcomes such as nutrition, schooling and parental investments.

© Photo by Possessed Photography

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Innovation through crisis and chaos – Sherry Kothari and Annette Weekes

Supporting regional SMEs - Stefanos Mouzas Matt Hutchinson

Young People Resilience - Catherine Porter

Talking about children and education

Three experts from Lancaster University discuss the impact of the pandemic on education and the lives of children. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

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About the Lecture

In this Public Lecture, three experts from Lancaster University discuss the impact of the pandemic on education and the lives of children. They explore how this situation has led many to revisit the role and purpose of schools, and revealed the challenges but also the opportunities of online learning, and discuss what measures or policies could be put into place to limit the loss of education and learning opportunities.

Searching questions about schooling

We know that Covid has acted as a magnifying glass on existing educational inequalities. What else has it revealed? It has laid bare some of our unquestioned assumptions about what school is for. It has done this by showing us what is lost for children, parents and others when our young people experience a continuing absence from their schools and nurseries. A Covid-weary teenager will tell you that schools are for keeping friends. A Covid-weary parent may tell you that schools are for giving them respite from their children. A Covid-weary teacher might tell you that they’ve completely lost sight of what schools are supposed to be there for – they just need to get through tomorrow. In this talk, Professor Jo Warin discusses how the pandemic has brought about the possibility of re-imagining the purposes of schooling.

Learning from home: the barriers and opportunities

The Connecting Kids project brought together local businesses and education providers from across Lancaster and Morecambe, with Lancaster City Council and Eden Project International to respond to the emergent needs of the region's children and young people throughout the pandemic. Global Engagement Manager and Connecting Kids Project Manager Joe Bourne will touch upon what the project team has learned about the digital divide; how non-digital provision and support is just as, if not more important than ever, and how the project took a co-designed approach to include children in the design of their learning throughout the pandemic.

What could the road from Covid-19 look like?

The current generation that is experiencing Covid is not in a position to pay these costs themselves; they are simply too much, so many of these costs have to be shifted to future generations to pay. Are we saving ourselves at young people’s expense? We have seen that younger people recover from Covid more quickly, and less than 5% experience Long Covid. These are the people going to school, college, university or work. One response to the crisis could be to apply greater restrictions to more elderly people, freeing up younger people to study and work. In his talk, Professor Ian Walker explores how such age-related policies and other measures could help to reduce the economic and opportunity costs of Covid, particularly for the country's young people.

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About the speakers

Professor Ian Walker

Ian Walker is Professor of Economics in the Lancaster University Management School. His major research interests are in education economics, consumer behaviour, labour market behaviour, and the connections between these areas.

Professor Jo Warin

Jo Warin is Professor in Gender and Social Relationships in Education at Lancaster University and member of the Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education. Among her many research interests are the social and emotional development of children and young people in school.

Joe Bourne is Global Engagement Manager at Lancaster University, and Project Manager for the Connecting Kids project. This project worked to provide the region's children with internet access and digital devices in addition to tailored tuition from c. 300 Lancaster University student mentors.

Professor Robert Barratt, the Eden Chair for Education and Engagement (Educational Research, Lancaster University) was also be present to answer questions during the Q&A session at the end of the lecture

© Photo by Aaron Burden

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Searching questions about schooling - Jo Warin

Learning from home: the barriers and opportunities - Joe Bourne

What could the road from Covid-19 look like? - Ian Walker

Talking about new perspectives on the NHS

Lancaster University experts explore how the pandemic has affected the oncology workforce and their wellbeing, the hidden impact on child health, and how the NHS has emerged as a ‘quasi-religion’. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

Invisible children: the hidden impacts of the pandemic on child health - Professor Rachel Isba

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on all of us. Whilst the disease itself generally has a less serious course in children and young people, the pandemic has had a considerable indirect impact on their health and wellbeing. Social distancing measures and repeated lockdowns mean that children – particularly those living in difficult circumstances – have reduced access to the safety net of regular contact with education, health, and social care professionals, effectively making them invisible.

In her talk, Professor Rachel Isba discusses several research projects that showed that attendances to Children’s Emergency Departments (A&E) plummeted during the first wave, but that those children and young people who did go to hospital were more likely to get admitted; that specialist referrals for children with brain tumours were also negatively impacted during the first wave of the pandemic; and that the wider determinants of health for children have been particularly badly affected.

The COVID-NOW Project - Oncology Workforce Wellbeing and Work During COVID - Dr Claire Hardy

Since the lockdown across the UK in March 2020, the delivery of cancer care has been severely impacted. Delays to cancer screening, surgery, treatment, and routine diagnostic work have raised grave concern for those needing these services but also for the staff trying to deliver cancer care. In her presentation, Dr Hardy shares some of the insights gained from a collaborative research project between Lancaster University and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust exploring the experiences, perceptions and wellbeing of NHS staff involved in the delivery of cancer care across the UK. It is the largest piece of work specifically examining this part of the NHS workforce during COVID. The project aims to produce recommendations for cancer care staff, hospitals and policymakers to help the NHS and the patients in need of their care.

The NHS as a Sacred Value - Professor Linda Woodhead

Throughout the pandemic, it has been clear that the NHS is more than a ‘mere’ health service. We have seen the ‘clap for carers’ initiative, and language such as ‘heroes’ and ‘angels’ used to describe healthcare workers, as well as long-established pressures on the NHS come under rightful scrutiny. The NHS has become a symbolic focus of much that is important, even sacred, to British people, what they unite around, how they deal with suffering, reaffirm hope, and maintain cohesion – echoing the role that religion used to play. In her presentation, Professor Linda Woodhead will explore the origins and significance of the NHS as sacred focus or ‘quasi-religion’, and consider what it means for healthcare and social futures.

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About the speakers

Professor Rachel Isba

Rachel is a Professor of Medicine within Lancaster Medical School and Associate Dean for Engagement for the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University. She is also a medical doctor working in Paediatric Emergency Medicine and Public Health in Manchester. Rachel has recently been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Professor Linda Woodhead MBE

Linda Woodhead MBE is a Distinguished Professor of Religion and Society at Lancaster University and a Director of the Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on religion, belief and values in modern societies, and more specifically on the decline of Christianity and the rise of new spiritualities, values and nonreligious commitments. In addition to her academic work, Professor Woodhead is co-founder of the Westminster Faith Debates and also a regular commentator on religious and cultural issues on radio and television.

Dr Claire Hardy

Claire is a mixed methods researcher specialising in the area of work psychology. She is passionate about solving real-world problems at work and uses a variety of methods and approaches to help achieve that. Claire's main research areas of interest lie in the fields of international working and expatriate assignments, women's health at work (in particular, reproductive health topics including menopause and premenstrual experiences), and also employee psychological resilience. Claire also enjoys intervention development and evaluation, and developing new measures or scales.

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Invisible children - Rachel Isba

The COVID-NOW Project - Claire Hardy

The NHS as a Sacred Value - Linda Woodhead

Talking about crime in the 'new world'

This lecture presents two case studies that demonstrate quick, innovative action to two very different issues posed by the covid-19 pandemic within Criminal Justice and the Security sector. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture, the speakers and to download a PDF copy of the speakers' presentations.

Watch the recording of the lecture on YouTube.

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About the Lecture

During early 2020 all our lives were drastically altered as England and Wales followed many other countries around the world and embarked on a national lockdown in order to slow the Covid-19 infection rate. As most of the society struggled to adjust to lockdown life, others found it easier to adapt and respond to the new challenges faced within Criminal Justice and the Security sector. In this lecture, Dr Nicola Harding, lecturer in Criminology - Lancaster University; Tony Sales, Head of Strategic Development - We Fight Fraud; Adam Boome, Communications Director - We Fight Fraud, and Jodie Beck, Co-founder - Our Empty Chair present two case studies that demonstrate quick, innovative action to two very different issues posed by the covid-19 pandemic.

We Fight Fraud produced a pivotal online webinar just three weeks into lockdown with key warnings and preventative measures about the ‘criminal opportunity’ for fraud & financial crime offered by the pandemic. Acting so quickly, they helped key financial institutions prevent financial crime and the significant harm faced by its victims.

Our Empty Chair is a campaign group formed to draw attention to the risks faced by prisoners during the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of the family members left behind at home. As the government failed to honour their pledge to release a significant number of prisoners who did not need to be in prison, Our Empty Chair gave prisoner families a campaigning voice to show that their family members would be safer at home during this pandemic.

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About the speakers

Dr Nicola Harding is a lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University, she researches women and social control, critical approaches to community punishment, understanding lived experiences of the criminal justice system, alongside creative forms of qualitative research.

Tony Sales is the Head of Strategic Development and Co-founder of We Fight Fraud (www.wefightfraud.org), he is one of very few people to have ever worked at the summits of both organised crime and fraud and loss prevention. He provides advice to some of the world’s leading brands on their fraud and loss prevention strategies.

Adam Boome is the Communications Director of We Fight Fraud, he has produced, directed and edited or developed primetime factual programmes for BBC1, 2 and 3, ITV, Channel 4 and 5, Discovery, National Geographic, TF1 amongst others. He spent 5 years at BBC in-house productions, producing, directing and series producing often legally complex, controversial programmes in the specialist and current affairs departments.

Jodie Beck is the co-founder of Our Empty Chair (@OurEmptyChair), a grassroots collective dedicated to sharing stories about families being kept apart by prisons during the pandemic.

© Photo by Lianhao Qu

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Talking about crime in the new world

Wall covered in rows of cameras. Photo by Lianhao Qu

Talking about public health, choices and inequalities

A panel of experts from Lancaster University presents the impact of the pandemic on volunteer healthcare staff, on palliative care choices and on people with limited access to healthy food. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture and on the speakers.

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About the Lecture

Protecting and prohibiting: Volunteering in the time of Covid? - Professor Catherine Walshe

One of the less recognised impacts of the pandemic has been on the contribution that volunteers make. There are 1.5 volunteers to every paid member of staff across UK hospices, and so their contribution is central to the way that services operate.

In this first part of the lecture, Professor Catherine Walshe (Health Research, Lancaster University) draws on information from the multi-national ‘CovPall’ study to understand the impact of the pandemic on volunteering in palliative care, and how this can be addressed for the future.

How intensive do I want my care to be? - Professor Nancy Preston

If there is a point in the future when you can’t say what kind of care you want to receive, it can be helpful to share some thoughts about your preferences for treatment and care in advance. Often only people facing a life-threatening condition consider this, but during the pandemic, we all face these issues, whether ourselves or someone we care for.

In this second part of the lecture, Professor Nancy Preston (Health Research, Lancaster University) introduces the concept of advance care planning, explores how it works, and discusses new research relating to advance care planning during the pandemic, conducted in care homes and palliative care units.

Food and Health: How a pandemic has uncovered the inequalities and health problems with our current food system - Dr Rachel Marshall and Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith

The number of people accessing support such as food banks and clubs has increased dramatically since the first lockdown. In addition, poor health linked to diet and nutrition has also emerged as risk factors leading to a more serious illness from the virus. Whilst the pandemic has amplified these trends, lack of access to enough, and the right kind of food, has been a fundamental problem with our current food system for many years.

In this last part of the lecture, Dr Rachel Marshall (Lancaster Environment Centre, FoodFutures, Lancaster University) and Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith (Lancaster City Council, FoodFutures and Lancaster District Food Poverty Alliance) discuss the links between food and health, and how our current economics and an industrial food system are driving negative public health trends.

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About the speakers

Professor Catherine Walshe (Health Research) researches palliative and end of life care provided not only to people experiencing life-limiting illness but also in informal and professional caring contexts to provide excellent and appropriate care.

Professor Nancy Preston (Health Research) specialises in research into palliative care, symptom control and how best to support patients. Professor Preston is involved with the local Specialist Palliative Care Network, which is a collaboration between clinicians and academics.

Dr Rachel Marshall (Lancaster Environment Centre) works on food systems and how engagement at local and national levels can support the transition to more sustainable and resilient food systems. Dr Marshall is interested in how knowledge exchange between researchers and the wider community can deliver greater societal impact from research.

Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith is Public Health Project Coordinator at Lancaster City Council, working with local community stakeholders to tackle food poverty, social isolation and health inequalities.

© Photo by Damir Spanic
Eaten apple and piles of silver coins. Photo by Damir Spanic

Talking about lockdown language

A battle, a tsunami or a raging fire... How are metaphors used to talk about Covid-19 and why should they be used sensitively? For our first online Public Lecture, three Lancaster experts focus on the words and phrases used to describe or talk about the Covid-19 pandemic. Click on the "show more" button below for more details on the content of the lecture and on the speakers.

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About the Lecture

During this lecture, Professor Veronika Koller, Professor Elena Semino and William Dance will focus on the linguistics of the pandemic.

I) A battle, a tsunami or a raging fire? Metaphors for Covid-19 and why they matter

Since the beginning of the current pandemic, Covid-19 has been talked about through metaphors, for example as an enemy to be beaten, a marathon to be completed, and a tsunami overwhelming health services. Some of these metaphors have proved controversial, however. For example, war metaphors – such as "the battle against Covid-19" – have been criticised for potentially causing excessive anxiety; and the metaphor of the "second wave" has been described as inaccurate, because, in the words of a representative of the World Health Organization: "We are in the first wave. There is going to be one big wave".

In this first part of this lecture, Professors Veronika Koller and Elena Semino (Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University) discuss how metaphors have been used to communicate about different aspects of the pandemic, and why it matters that metaphors are used sensitively and effectively.

II) Pandemics and Infodemics: The Language of disinformation during Covid-19

The pandemic has created a melting pot of medical, political, social and economic factors that have allowed falsehoods online to spread through all sectors of society. A combination of mistrust, fear and people’s desire for information during a crisis has led some people to embrace conspiracy theories in a search for the “truth”.

In the second part of the lecture, William Dance (Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University) looks at how people online talk about ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ differently in relation to Covid-19, explores how disinformation has adapted to the pandemic and discusses how policymakers, educators and others can develop strategies to stop the spread of falsehoods online.

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About the speakers

Professor Veronika Koller (Linguistics and English Language) specialises in political and business discourse, health communication, and language and sexuality, with particular interests in the discourse of cancer charities and discourses around ‘Brexit’.

Professor Elena Semino (Linguistics and English Language) researches language use in communication about health and illness, medical humanities, and metaphor theory and analysis, in addition to her long-standing research interest in first-person accounts of the experiences of autism and mental illness.

William Dance is a PhD student in Linguistics and English Language, researching the use of corpus linguistics approaches to investigate deception and manipulation in online spaces.

© Photo by Amador Loureiro
Wooden Letters, photo by Amador Loureiro