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Talks & Lectures

Thinking on Sunday - 'Nothing to be frightened of'

Sun 21 Sept 2014, 11.00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

'Nothing to be frightened of' 

Chris Bratcher

My talk is a sampling of novelist Julian Barnes' touching and very personal memoir of his experiences of death in the family, and the demise of the famous and obscure in literature and life, plus his own fears and ruminations on his own, entitled 'Nothing to be Frightened of', published in 2008 (available in paperback).    

I will give a brief introduction to the book and some snippets from it, with comments to set the ball rolling.  For example, the book begins with what he claims to be his standard response to questions about what he believes: “I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him”; a statement (actually about the cultural and artistic legacy of others’ belief) which Barnes’ philosopher brother considers “soppy”.  Do you agree?

It would nice if attendees were familiar with the book, so that they could give their own take on it and recount bits they liked or otherwise.

Chris Bratcher is a former Chair and Treasurer of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and practised Sunday session talks giver and 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. 

Manu Bazzano

I will discuss this subject from a Zen perspective. Living-and-dying is one word in Zen (shoji), a river running towards the sea, a river that cannot go back to the source. Our suffering is often caused by wanting to stand by the riverbank. The task of the psychotherapist is often thankless: urging the client back to the river of life thus renewing the promise of death. Even more thankless is the task of the philosopher: remembering the initial commitment to remain attentive of the delicate labour of death. Memento mori – “remember that you will die” --not the shrill overtones of religion but as a tonic of remembrance urging us towards a fuller and more meaningful life. 

Manu Bazzano is an existential psychotherapist and an ordained Zen monk. He lectures in philosophy and psychology and facilitates seminars and workshops worldwide. He is the author and editor of several books including Zen Poems (2002); Haiku for Lovers (2004);  Buddha is Dead (2006); The Speed of Angels (2009); Spectre of the Stranger (2012);  After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation (2014).

www.manubazzano.com

Chair – Prof. Evan Parker

Evan is a new trustee of Conway Hall Ethical Society.  He has worked in industry and in academe. He currently works on nano-technology and also on climate change. He has held leadership roles in several European programmes and has published widely. 

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

Tea, Coffee & biscuits will be available.


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Sunday Concerts

Maggini Quartet

Sun 28 Sep 2014, 18.30

Photos by Melanie Strover

Julian Leaper violin
David Angel violin
Martin Outram viola
Michal Kaznowski cello

Pre-concert talk at 17.30:
The Maggini Quartet introduces William Mathias's Second String Quartet

Mozart Quartet in B flat K458 'The Hunt'
Mathias Quartet No.2 Op.84
Mendelssohn Quartet in E flat Op.44/3

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

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


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Talks & Lectures

Stop the First World War

Tue 30 Sept 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.

Until the very day before the British government declared war on Germany, the Liberal foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was claiming that despite the Ententes with Republican France and Tsarist Russia, Britain had no binding commitments to join them in the threatened war against Germany. And many, including a substantial number of  M.P.s in the ruling Liberal Party, believed Britain not only could, but would remain neutral; as it had done in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878-1879 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

There is no doubt that when war was declared on August 4th 1914, there was a great wave of patriotic feeling, but the now conventional myth that the First World War was supported patriotically throughout by the overwhelming majority of all classes and political groupings in Britain and the British Empire, is merely that, a myth.

With the long prepared “Defence of the Realm Act” (DORA) passed within days of the declaration of war "No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty's forces or among the civilian population”  allowing for the imprisonment of anti-war dissidents, there was from the start serious opposition to the war

Week 1: Norman Angell - liberal, radical, socialist, pacifist or patriot?

Prof Martin Ceadel

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933, Norman Angell, journalist, peace pundit was a founding member of the “neutralist” Union for Democratic Control, Initially a Liberal from 1929-1931, he was Labour M.P. for Bradford 

The best-seller of 1910 that made Norman Angell’s name as a peace pundit, The Great Illusion, combined pacifist and pro-defence arguments in a fashion which later caused him much intellectual grief.  And the neutralist campaign in response to the First World War that identified him as a rising star of the British left was based on a mix of often contradictory ideas.  

Martin Ceadel is a Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College where he has taught since 1979. His research has concentrated on the politics of war prevention with special reference to Britain’s peace movement. The most recent of his five single-authored books is Living the Great Illusion: Sir Norman Angell, 1872-1967 (2009).

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


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Special Events

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

Wed 1 Oct 2014, 18:30

New Scientist Magazine presents

New Scientist Live - Exposing climate change

with: 
Friederike Otto, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Alice Bows-Larkin, Reader, University of Manchester

One of the irritating things about climate change is that its effects are often unpredictable and invisible. These factors only increase controversy. But scientists are working to expose its impacts: to understand whether the extreme weather events we're seeing are linked to increased carbon in the atmosphere and to identify what we need to do to starve off the dangerous consequences of climate change.

Doors to Conway Hall will open at 6pm, the talk will commence at 6:30pm.

Tickets £14/£12

Tickets will only be available in advance through Eventbrite (subject to availability).


Courses & Workshops

MusicUpClose - On the Brink of War

Wed 1 Oct 2014, 19:00

The Conway Hall Ethical Society, sound collective and Trinty Laban presents

MusicUpClose V: Music under Fire – Music in London and Paris during World War One

Curated by Professor Barbara L. Kelly, with sound collective and musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire/Royal College of Music

Curated by Professor Barbara L. Kelly

Session One: On the Brink of War
Wednesday 1 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Ravel Trio, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge etc.

Our first session explores music written and performed on the eve of the First World War.   It was a period of considerable experimentation, freedom and artistic confidence.  European composers were challenging traditional rules of melody, harmony and form.  They were also playing with size of musical forces from the huge orchestra of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to small chamber works for just a few instruments and often voice.  It is easy to forget that there was considerable musical interaction between composers from very different national traditions.  The English composer, Vaughan Williams came to Paris to work with Ravel; Ravel spent time with the Russian composer, Stravinsky, and both wrote works inspired by the Austrian Schoenberg.  We will hear works by a number of these composers tonight, including Ravel’s colourful Trio and Vaughan William’s lyrical On Wenlock Edge.  Come and join us in an evening of live music and discussion with Barbara Kelly and musicians from sound collective and Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Tickets for each session are priced at £10 adv. online (£12 on the door). There's a special discount for teachers and their students (14+ years old) at £35 per group for one single session.

Advance for all six sessions is £50 in advance. (which can be bought here)


Courses & Workshops

MusicUpClose: Music under Fire – Music in London and Paris during World War One

1 October - 11 November 2014

MusicUpClose V: Music under Fire – Music in London and Paris during World War One
A project devised by sound collective, Simon Callaghan and Conway Hall (London), in collaboration with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Greenwich.

MusicUpClose is an innovative series of performing events based at London's Conway Hall. Professional musicians and postgraduate students from Trinity Laban help to illuminate not only specific pieces of classical music, but also the way in which they think about music and performing.

This series will provide illumination for anyone passionate about music, whether or not you have any previous knowledge! The interactive sessions will be presented in a non-patronising fashion, excluding unnecessary technical terms, and will allow the audience to ask questions and explore what goes on in the minds of players during rehearsals and performances. The locations will be intimate and audience and performers will be – as the title suggests – UpClose. In addition, each session will feature eminent musicians as our guest presenters.

Online tickets for each session are £10 (inc. fees) or £12 at the Box Office. Full season registration is £50 and we have a special dicounted rate for schools at £35 for a teacher and up to 5 students. They can be booked from the Conway Hall website here, and the dates are below.

MusicUpClose V: Music under Fire – Music in London and Paris during World War One

Curated by Professor Barbara L. Kelly

Session One: On the Brink of War
Wednesday 1 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Ravel Trio, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge etc.

Session Two: Musical Responses to War
Wednesday 8 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Debussy Cello Sonata etc.

Session Three: Jane Bathori – A Voice in the War
Wednesday 22 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Featuring: Choral group, VERISMO
Works to be performed: Ravel Histoire Naturelles, Satie Trois Mélodies, Debussy Chansons Charles D’Orléans, Ravel: Trois Chansons pour choeur mixte, Satie Parade etc.

Session Four: Britain at War: the lads that will never be home 
Wednesday 29 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Songs for Baritone & Piano by Butterworth, Bridge, Vaughan Williams, Quilter, Scott etc.

Session Five: In Memoriam - bells and sounds of War
Wednesday 5 November, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Poulenc Sonata for Two Clarinets, Stravinsky Three Pieces for Clarinet etc.

Session Six: Music Under Fire in Paris and London
Tuesday 11 November, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Featuring: Badke Quartet, Sadie Fields violin, Daniel Broncano clarinet, Olivia Ray mezzo soprano, Tom Hammond conductor
Works to be performed: Ravel Mallarmé Songs, Elgar Piano Quintet, Stravinsky A Soldier’s Tale (trio version), Ethel Smyth Songs

Below are just some of the fantastic quotes that we have had for MusicUpClose from our audience members:


"This is an innovative series which develops interest and understanding of music and can be enjoyed by people of all musical knowledge and ability, from the beginner to the advanced"

"The series was very interesting and illuminating. I particularly enjoyed and appreciated having real musicians talking, singing, playing and conducting every week...UpClose!"

"It was a real privilege to be able to sit amongst the orchestra and follow the music and the conductor with the 1st and 2nd Violins - never to be forgotten! It was also good to have the chance to chat to the musicians individually."

"Inside the Music was an original evening - very informative and most memorable. Some more please! Many thanks to all involved - organisers, presenters and of course the orchestra, you did a great job!"

"Sitting among the woodwind in the Beethoven performance was (I think) the closest I am going to get to heaven!"


Image of LONDON 2014 Interactive Humanitarian Conference

Community

LONDON 2014 Interactive Humanitarian Conference

Sat 4 Oct 2014, 10:00

One People, One World presents 

LONDON 2014 Interactive Humanitarian Conference

This Interactive Conference will showcase for the very first time, humanitarian individuals, groups and organisations adopting a 'unified approach' to address the urgent global humanitarian challenges that we face today.

In the face of a 'series of global humanitarian crises' (Climate Change, Food Production Concerns, War, Poverty, Rapidly Increasing Population, Ongoing Global Economic Problems, Increasing Lifestyle Costs and Stresses, Job losses due to Technology Improvements,...) - how should we as a people respond?

If we are serious about wanting to see truly 'positive change in the world', then we need to join forces and adopt a 'unified approach' to address these major global concerns.

This will be a full participation conference with 'Interactive Sessions' (on the Main Floor and Online) where your ideas and positive engagement will be encouraged and most welcome. 

PLEASE NOTE: We will be FILMING the event for future campaigns and a possible documentary. During the day, you will also have the opportunity to participate in some one-to-one video interviews if you wish. Thank You.

Seat Reservations:

FREE and Donation.

10AM – 4.30PM


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Sunday Concerts

Allegri Quartet

Sun 5 Oct 2014, 18.30

Ofer Falk violin
Rafael Todes violin
Dorothea Vogel viola
Vanessa Lucas-Smith cello 

Pre-concert talk at 17.30:
By composer, Alec Roth

Haydn Quartet in D Op.1/3
Alec Roth Quartet No.3
Brahms Quartet in C minor Op.51/1

£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 18.30.


Image of Stop the First World War

Special Events

Stop the First World War

Tue 7 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.

From Ivory Tower to Activist:

Persistent Dissent: Bertrand Russell's response to the War and Conscription.

Chris Bratcher

At the onset of WWI, Bertrand Russell was aged 42, an eminent don at Trinity College, Cambridge, regarded in awe for his ten years' labour on Principia. Culturally and by birth, he was a leading member of the liberal intelligentsia. His anticipation of the cataclysm started his lifelong reasoned and passionate dissent from the conventional varieties of Establishment England. The talk first covers his reasoned objections to the war and his analysis of the failures of diplomacy (and its meretricious course under Sir Edward Grey, the Liberal Foreign Secretary).

In his opposition to the war, Russell discovered new bedfellows: socialists and pacifists; and a world of censorship. His defiant championing of the No Conscription Fellowship in 1916, and his condemnation of the treatment of Conscientious Objectors, resulted in his imprisonment and the loss of his academic fellowship.

Chris Bratcher is a former Chair of Conway Hall Ethical Society, and has given talks, largely on ethical issues at Conway Hall over many years.  He has developed a special interest in Bertrand Russell arising from his academic discipline of philosophy, and from a lifelong involvement in Peace and the CND movements.

Ramsay MacDonald and World War One

John Grigg

Ramsay MacDonald resigned his leadership of the Labour Party over his opposition to the First World War allowing Arthur Henderson to take over the leadership.

The Labour Party was a federation Trades Unions, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the Fabians. The ILP backed MacDonald, while the TUs supported the war. The ILP did not exactly suit MacDonald, Many were pacifists which MacDonald was not and some were Marxists or near-Marxists for whom war was the inevitable product of Capitalism. MacDonald believed the matter was more complex.

John Grigg, Treasurer of Labour Heritage and a researcher into local Labour History in West London and one time Labour Leader of Hounslow Council.

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


Courses & Workshops

MusicUpClose - Musical Responses to War

Wed 8 Oct 2014, 19:00

MusicUpClose V: Music under Fire – Music in London and Paris during World War One

Curated by Professor Barbara L. Kelly, with sound collective and musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire/Royal College of Music

Curated by Professor Barbara L. Kelly

Session Two: Musical Responses to War
Wednesday 8 October, 19.00
Presenter: Dr Barbara Kelly
Works to be performed: Debussy Cello Sonata etc.

In this second session, we look at how composers responded to war.  War was often evident in the music they wrote as well as in their private letters and public pronouncements.  Those unable to take part in the fighting often used their art to support the war effort.  Elgar and Debussy are good examples.  Prevented by age and illness to defend their country, they wrote musical tributes for the King Albert book.  It was a political and artistic tribute by politicians and artistic figures in response to the German invasion of Belgian in 1914.  We will hear Elgar’s Carillon and an extract of Debussy’s Berceuse Heroique.  Debussy liked to hide musical clues in his music.  If you listen closely, you can hear the Belgian national anthem in the Berceuse and a musical contest between Germany and France in En Blanc et noir.  The highlight of the evening is a performance of Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano.  Here private and public lives merge as we puzzle over the significance of this majestic work by a dying musician and national figurehead.

Tickets for each session are priced at £10 adv. online (£12 on the door). There's a special discount for teachers and their students (14+ years old) at £35 per group for one single session.

Advance for all six sessions is £50 in advance. (which can be bought here)


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