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Film & Theatre

Going Solo

Fri 24 Oct 2014, 19:30

Going Solo

The Conway Collective presents

A night of two solo works-in-progress by India Crawford Legg and Sean Bruno

Big C, little c

India Crawford Legg - Swept Up Theatre

India has cancer. As shit as it is, she has decided it is still better than the Tories. And she has a power point presentation to prove it. Join her for an adventure through chemo as she realises that, without a god, she must believe in the beauty and benevolence of the national health service. 

What Ghosts are made of

Sean Bruno

A series of stories, monologues and songs exploring the complexities of love, work, life, death and the distinct possibility that none of really matters because we're probably all part of some computer simulation anyway.

Entry: Pay what you can on the night.

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London Black Atheists' Party

Sat 25 Oct 2014, 18:30

The London Black Atheists invite you to join us for what is probably the first ever black atheist party in London – to celebrate our second anniversary and Black History Month and raise funds for future events to promote atheism, secularism and humanism in London’s black communities in 2015.

Everyone is welcome to join in the fun which will include:

  • African & Caribbean food
  • Music (including atheist rap & songs)
  • Poetry and comedy
  • Our popular ‘atheist? yes or no’ quiz!
  • Black atheist testimonies/videos
  • Book swap (BYO & swap for just 50p per book)
  • Fundraising bar, raffle & prize draw

Tickets: £5 waged / £3 unwaged & students on the door

(Please RSVP by registering on Eventbrite if possible)

Venue: Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square
London. WC1R 4RL 

London Black Atheists is on, Facebook and Twitter @LdnBlkAtheists. Join us, support us! We are open to all-comers.

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Sunday Concerts

Jubilee Quartet

Sun 26 Oct 2014, 18.30

Conway Hall Sunday Concerts present

Jubilee Quartet

The Jubilee Quartet recently won 2nd prize at the prestigious Szymanowski competition and is increasingly in demand across the UK and abroad. Formed in London in 2006 they were also first prize winners of the ‘Val Tidone International Chamber Music Competition’ 2010 and the ‘St Martin’s Chamber Music Competition’ 2013, and third prize winners of the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition 2013.

They held a Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music from 2012-13, and are the current Richard Carne Junior Fellows at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Please join them for an evening of superlative music-making, from the intriguing dissonances of Mozart’s K465 to the dark passion of Brahms’s first string quartet.

Tereza Privratska violin
Alma Olite violin
Stephanie Edmundson viola
Lauren Steel cello 

Mendelssohn Quartet in A minor Op.13
Webern Langsamer Satz
Beethoven Quartet in F Op. 59/1

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.30. Start 18.30

Image of Thinking on Sunday: Humanism in India - Babu Gogineni

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday: Humanism in India - Babu Gogineni

Sun 26 Oct 2014, 11.00

The Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Thinking on Sunday
Humanism in India - The Laughing Buddha's Weeping Moment

The Story of how the Dalai Lama conspired to sacrifice a child for his political ambitions and spiritual beliefs; of what happened as a culmination of nearly three years of campaigning by Humanists; and of how the story unfolded on TV as a soap opera that gripped the imagination of South India.

What is happening in India, and what are the implications of the recent developments in the country for the future of Indian Secularism? A look at the forces at play in the country.

Babu Gogineni

Babu Gogineni was Executive Director of IHEU in London for 9 years before returning to his native India as IHEU’s International Director 8 years ago.

During his long association with IHEU as its Executive Director, Babu Gogineni implemented the IHEU’s move to the UK, turned IHEU into a multi-lingual pro-active campaigning organisation, firmed up IHEU’s lobbying efforts at the International institutions, organised IHEU’s first GA in Africa, and conceptualised and founded the IHEU Centre for Bioethics at the UN in New York. He helped organise IHEU’s Congresses in Mumbai (1999), Amsterdam (2002) and Paris (2005), and its first GA in Africa (2004).

Babu Gogineni has been a laureate of Oratorio a prestigious contest in India. He was part of a winning team at a Cambridge Union Society debate, and was invited by the UN to speak as an expert to its Madrid Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference. He delivered Mexico National University’s Primavera Lecture on Globalisation at the Anthropology Museum of Mexico City.

Doors 10.30, £3, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.

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Special Events

Stop the First World War

Tue 28 Oct 2014, 19.00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

The Pankhursts at War

Katherine Connelly

The outbreak of the First World War fiercely divided the militant suffragette movement in Britain and its campaigning family: the Pankhursts. The followers of Emmeline Pankhurst suspended their campaign for the vote and called on women to support the war effort, hoping that their patriotism would be rewarded with votes for women. Meanwhile her rebellious daughter Sylvia Pankhurst and her organisation of working-class suffragettes campaigned against the war they saw pursued by Europe’s powerful elites at the expense of ordinary people, and threw their support behind the Russian Revolution. Katherine Connelly will examine why the war divided the suffragettes and how it impacted on the struggle for democracy and women’s liberation

Katherine Connelly is a historian, political activist and campaigner who has written and spoken widely about the militant Suffragettes and on women’s history more generally. She is the author of the book ‘Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire’ which appeared in the Revolutionary Lives series published by Pluto Press, 2013. Last year she co-ordinated the Emily Wilding Davison Memorial Campaign. Katherine is currently finishing off her doctoral thesis in history at Queen Mary, University of London.

Isabella Ford; a socialist and feminist peace campaigner in World War One

Professor June Hannam

Isabella Ford's peace activism centred on the Women's International League (WIL) at both a national and at a local level- in Leeds where she a established a WIL branch, while helping to build the peace movement from the grassroots, Isabella also made links between the WIL and the Union of Democratic Control, the Women's Peace Crusade, the socialist Independent Labour Party and other groups working for peace. Through this focus on one woman's peace activism the complex interrelationship and tensions between socialist and feminist peace campaigning (both in theory and practice (are explored).

June Hannam, Professor (Emerita) of Modern British History, University of the West of England. June has published widely on socialist and feminist politics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Publications include Isabella Ford, 1855-1924 (1989); Feminism (2010); with Karen Hunt, Socialist Women . Britain 1880s-1920s (2002); June is chair of the West of England and South Wales Women's History Network and is convenor of the National WHN Book Prize. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Women's History Review, Labour History Review and LLafur.

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)

Sunday Concerts

Werther Ensemble

Sun 2 Nov 2014, 18.30

Conway Hall Sunday Concerts present

Werther Ensemble

The Werther Ensemble gave their first performance as a piano quartet in February 2013, when they played Brahms’ op 60 -’the Werther’ - from which they take their name.  In May 2013 they made an enormous impact at the inaugural Whittington International Chamber Music Festival, of which James Barralet is the Artistic Director, and were again resident ensemble in 2014.

Their schedule for 2014/15 includes a series of concerts at St John’s Smith Square exploring European piano quartets, a return to the Whittington International Festival playing Mendelssohn several performances of rare English works for the genre.

Tonight’s programme consists of works written while their composers were at the earliest stages of their careers, from Beethoven’s youthful C major quartet, through Mendelssohn virtuosic showpiece and culminating in Walton’s colourful and exciting early masterpiece.

Photo by Oliver Markham

Jamie Campbell violin
Hannah Strijbos viola
James Barralet cello
Simon Callaghan piano 

Pre-concert talk at 17.30:
Roderick Swanston.  Exploring Walton's Piano Quartet: Context and Analysis

Beethoven Piano Quartet in C WoO36
Mendelssohn Piano Quartet in F minor Op.2
Walton Piano Quartet

The London-based Werther Ensemble consists of four distinguished musicians - Jamie Campbell (violin), Hannah Strijbos (viola), James Barralet (‘cello) and Simon Callaghan (piano), who are all leading soloists and chamber musicians in their own right with interesting and varied careers.

The individual members have won many major prizes and performed at most of the major UK venues, including Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, Symphony Hall and Bridgewater Hall and throughout Europe. For several years the Werthers have played together in different formations, both in the UK and abroad. They gave their first performance as a piano quartet in February 2013, when they played Brahms’ op 60 -’the Werther’ - from which they take their name. In May 2013 they made an enormous impact at the inaugural Whittington International Chamber Music Festival, of which James Barralet is the Artistic Director.

£9 tickets, £4 for full-time students (free entry for under-16s)

Doors open at 17.00. Pre-concert talk at 17.30. Main Concert Start 18.30

Image of Thinking on Sunday: Scotland - what next?

Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday: Scotland - what next?

Sun 2 Nov 2014, 11:00

The Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Thinking on Sunday "Scotland - what next?"

A round table discussion with

Norman Bacrac, Chris Bratcher & Ken MacIntyre

After the trauma of the referendum we are going to consider and discuss how Scotland can best move forward. Should the Scottish make the best of the “devo-max” that was so successfully screwed out of Westminster? After all the financials of an independent Scotland never stacked up? Or should a longer view be taken now that the SNP are such a force (thanks to the outstanding Alex Salmond) and continue the fight for independence?

Or has it precipitated a long overdue restructuring of our constitution?

Should Scotland continue to play host to our weapon of mass destruction?

Come along and voice your opinion along with our three speakers, on this very important milestone for the UK.

Chris Bratcher is a former Chair and Treasurer of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and practised Sunday session and WEA/U3A lecturer on a wide range of topics born of his academic philosophical discipline of Ethics and the Philosophy of Mind, and from his studies in Literature and Fine Arts. 

Ken MacIntyre has previously presented a talk at Conway Hall on the financial crisis and the nature of money in March 2013 and researches financial and other matters in the context of elite politics. He has Masters degrees from both Edinburgh and London Universities and is a qualified pensions professional.

Norman Bacrac was first elected a Trustee of the Ethical Society several decades ago. He is also Editor of the Society's monthly journal, Ethical Record. As a former physics teacher, he is particularly interested in the hard problem of how the physics of the brain generates conscious experiences, the role it might play in determining the choices we make - and the implications of all this for humanist philosophy.

Chair – Giles Enders,

Giles have been acquainted with Conway Hall for nearly fifty years, attending Sunday Lectures and also the Sunday Concerts.  After retirement from a career in marketing he spent nearly a year organizing and cataloguing the Hawkins Music Archive.  He was invited to stand as a trustee of what is now Conway Hall Ethical Society and was duly voted in and immediately elected chair. He initiated the electronic cataloguing of the library and prevented the Sunday Concerts from closing by taking them back in-house. Although standing down as a trustee he will continue to manage the Sunday Concerts. Giles is also a life member of The National Secular Society.

Doors 10.30. Entry £3, £2 concs./Free to Ethical Society members

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.

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Special Events

Mainstreaming Psychedelics

Mon 3 Nov 2014, 18:30

The Psychedelic Society presents

Mainstreaming Psychedelics

Psychedelic drugs have fascinated and delighted humans for thousands of years. Studies indicate that they can leave people calmer, happier, kinder and more open-minded, and they are being investigated as a treatment for a range of psychiatric illnesses. Although the authorities continue to attempt to prevent their use, there are signs that the time may be right to push for their legalisation. At this event, we will investigate the benefits of psychedelics, the arguments for legalisation and ask: how can we mainstream psychedelics? What are our strongest arguments, and the current political opportunities? Can we learn from other liberation movements? What's our vision of a 'psychedelic society'?

Short thoughtpieces from:

Prof David Nutt (Prof of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and Chair of DrugScience) on the latest science of psychedelics.

David Babbs(Executive Director of 38 Degrees) on lessons learned from other liberation campaigns.

Arielle Nylander (Welfare Enough festival support) on the conditions for a thriving psychedelic society.

Followed by audience Q&A

Doors 6.15pm for 6.30pm

Tickets £5

We don't want to exclude anyone on the basis of cost. If you'd like to attend but have difficulty paying, please contact

Image of Stop the First World War

Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 4 Nov 2014, 19.00

Oppositions to the Great War

A series of talks and discussions every Tuesday evening at 7pm from September 30th to November 11th 2014.

Curated by Deborah Lavin, and presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Socialist History Society.

1914 and the Schism in International Anarchism

Pietro Dipaola

The outbreak of the First World War caused an irreparable schism in the international anarchist community. Many of the protagonists in this harsh dispute lived in exile in London, including the chief adversarie: the Russian, (Prince) Petr Kropotkin, who supported the Entente, and the Italian Errico Malatesta who argued that the ‘only acceptable war was the fight of the oppressed against the oppressors’. 

Pietro Dipaola’s talk reconstructs this debate and focuses on some of the activities and the repression of the anarchists including the interment in Alexandra Palace of the German anarchist Rudolf Rocker and the imprisonment of his companion Milly Witcop.

Not our war

Tony Zurbrugg,  publisher at the Merlin Press and editor of the recent book “Not Our War” examines  the opposition to the rising militarism before the start of the First World War and will go on to look again at the different responses of socialists and anarchists to the actual outbreak of war specifically over the years 1914-16.

Entry £5/£3 (Ethical Society and Social History Society members)

Image of 5x15 presents Atul Gawande and Will Self

Talks & Lectures

5x15 presents Atul Gawande and Will Self

Tue 4 Nov 2014, 19:00

5x15 presents

Being Mortal: Atul Gawande and Will Self in conversation

To mark the publication of Atul Gawande’s new book Being Mortal from the Wellcome Collection, join 5x15 for a discussion on the inescapable realities of aging and death. Surgeon and author Gawande is this year’s Reith Lecturer and the best selling author of  The Checklist Manifesto, Better and Complications. He will be in conversation with the brilliantly inventive journalist and author Will Self.

Gawande examines his experiences as a surgeon, as he confronts the realities of aging and dying in his patients and in his family, as well as the limits of what he can do. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows that the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end.

Tickets: £15/ £12

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