At A Glance...
Open House London 2012
23 Sep 2012, 10.00
For the second year running Conway Hall is opening its doors and joining in Open House London.
Throughout the week-end of 22nd - 23rd September Conway Hall will provide guided tours of our historic and fascinating building.
Starting from 10.00 until 16.00 walk around the building with a guide who will tell you which Prime Minister played in his youth on stage at Conway Hall and visit our Humanist Library and Archives to see first hand who built this unique and wonderful building.
Built in 1929, for £28,485 at the time, this beautiful Art Deco building has many treats to discover, so come along and find out about Conway Hall - the building!
Sunday Lecture - The Menace of Science Without Wisdom
23 Sep 2012, 11.00
Nicholas Maxwell believes we are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Almost all our current global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to act wisely.
For Maxwell then, we urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. The revolution we require would put problems of living at the heart of the academic enterprise, the pursuit of knowledge emerging out of, and feeding back into, the fundamental intellectual activity of proposing and critically assessing possible actions, policies, political programmes, from the standpoint of their capacity to help solve problems of living.
Nicholas Maxwell is emeritus reader in philosophy of science at University College London, and author of From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities
Open to all. No need to book in advance.
School of Life Sunday Sermon: Will Alsop on Boredom
23 Sep 2012, 11.00
Will Alsop the most playful of contemporary architects shows us the potential of creative boredom.
'Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.’ – Walter Benjamin
There’s a boring bit in the process of painting a picture where you’re left watching the paint dry. If you keep painting over wet gloss before it sets, you make a mess. The reward of waiting is that when you’re forced just to sit and look, new possibilities start to appear.
This, argues Will Alsop, is a luxurious, dreaming kind of boredom. It’s vital to creating something fresh. It’s the irreplaceable pause where we have the space to reflect from inside the process.
But these days we fear empty time. So we don’t allow ourselves to indulge in just looking at the thing we’re creating. Instead managers rush ahead with fixed procedure rather than trust the wisdom of intuition or experience. And parents leap to fill the holiday void with excitement and entertainment rather than letting the child fall back on imagination.
Without the kind of boredom that gives space for creativity and reflection, we risk the dullness of an uncreative life. The paint never dries and we make a muddy mire of things.
Fortunately the most playful of contemporary architects is here to show us how we can indulge in the glorious potential of creative boredom.
Will Alsop OBE is the most exuberant visionary architect working in Britain today. He is has brought fresh vigour to the field by abandoning ‘acceptable’ style and emphasizing the joyful in everything he does. He is best known internationally for his designs for Peckham Library in London, Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers, New York, and the Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. He is a Professor at the University of Technology in Vienna.
25 September - 30 October 2012
If you have ever said ‘I love music, but I’m not musical’ – this is for you!
MusicUpClose is a new series of performing events based at Conway Hall. Professional musicians and postgraduate students from Trinity Laban will be helping to illuminate not only specific pieces of classical music, but also the way in which they think about music and performing.
This series is designed for those who have an interest or even a passion for music – but feel they don’t know how it works. If you have ever said ‘I love music, but I’m not musical’ – this is for you!
The interactive series 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 the performers will be – as the title suggests – up close.
Our first series will take place over six weeks and will use Beethoven as a starting point for our exploration of numerous topics. In the final event, a large chamber orchestra will perform Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No.5.
Tickets for each session are priced at £10, or £55 for all six sessions.
They can be purchased in advance for each event, any remaining spaces will be sold on the door that evening.
Session One: Tone Deaf?
Tuesday 25 September 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
Session Two: I Got Rhythm!
Tuesday 2 October 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
Session Three: An Unanswered Question: how do composers ‘compose’?
Tuesday 9 October 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
Session Four: Variations on a theme…
Tuesday 16 October 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
Session Five: Conductors – What’s the Point?
Tuesday 23 October 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
Session Six: Inside the Music!
Tuesday 30 October 2012, 19.00 – 20.30
MusicUpClose - Session 1
25 Sep 2012, 19.00
Beethoven composed some of the world’s best-known music when he couldn’t hear – or could he? Can we disprove the condition of being ‘tone deaf’? What difference does it make if a piece of music is in F major, C minor, Ab Major…? A live experiment will be conducted using a cello, soprano, piano and a mobile phone!
19.00 – 20.30 (followed by drinks)
The Big London Night Walk
28 Sep 2012
The Big Issue Foundation presents: The Big London Nightwalk - Friday 28th September 2012
See London in a whole new light
Walk along side vendors, get to know them and hear their stories
1 amazing night, 20km, over 600 people, walking past London's iconic landmarks and raising funds for homeless people!
This will take place from 23.00 at Leadenhall Market, 48-51, City of London, EC3V1LT (everyone must register to take part)
The walk is due to start at 23.30 at Leadenhall Market.
Refreshments / Stop Offs:
The Foundling Museum
All Souls Club House
St Martins in the Fields
The 9th Annual Festival of Life
29 Sep 2012, 10.30
The 9th Annual Festival of Life
A vibrant, jampacked, holistic event.
• Talks & Workshops: from 11am to 8pm
• Stalls: from 10.30am to 6pm
• Conscious Dance Party: 7pm-11.30pm
Full event: £15 /£8 (concs) from 4pm: £10 /£8 under 16's free
NB: Refunds of £5 will be available for those leaving the venue by 7pm.
Sunday Lecture - Thinking Like Einstein
30 Sep 2012, 11.00
Global problems won’t be solved unless we move from nation-centric thinking to genuinely world-centric (or global) thinking. But what, precisely, is wrong with our current, nation-centric mode of thinking? How and why is it inadequate? And what does moving to world-centric thinking really entail? What does world-centric thinking actually look like?
John Bunzl looks at how a revolutionary shift in our mind-sets is needed to tackle global issues and will propose the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) initiative as one example of world-centric thinking in action: a powerful and transformative means for citizens to drive their politicians to cooperate in solving global problems.
John Bunzl is a business man with a simple and yet powerful new vision for global governance: simultaneous international action across multiple issues.
He is a passionate speaker on global simultaneous policy, and its relevance for a wide range of topics: from tax justice and regulation of financial markets; sustainability standards; to global warming. John has spoken at a number of events, including the World Trade Organisation, the World Social Forum and TEDx events.
In 2000 John founded the International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO) and launched the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign; an exciting new way for citizens to actively use their votes to propel their governments to act together to solve global problems.
John has used, and continues to use, the Simpol campaign tirelessly to reach out to citizens, activists, non-governmental organisations, politicians and business people to raise their awareness and understanding of what global simultaneous policies could mean for humanity, prosperity and peace.
Open to all. No need to book in advance.
The World's Most Improbable Event with Marc Abrahams
Sun 30 Sep 2012, 14.00
Conway Hall & Little Atoms present...
The World's Most Improbable Event
with the Father of the IgNobel Prizes, Marc Abrahams
Expect a plethora of scientists, researchers, journalists and communicators explaining research on; why books on ethics are more likely to get stolen, what time of month generates higher tips for Las Vegas lap dancers, stories of how mice were outfitted with parachutes to find a better way to murder tree snakes in Guam, and Other WTF Research.
Confirmed speakers include:
Nick Doody: Stand up Comedian and The Atheist's Guide to Chrismas contributor
Michael Brooks: Science Writer and Author of Free Radicals
Helen Arney:Science Songtress
Chloe Kembery: Natural Historian (NHM)
Timandra Harkness: Mathematician and science communicator
Gemma Arrowsmith: actress and writer
Dr Helen Scales: Marine Biologist
Mo Costandi: Writer of Neurophilosophy for the Guardian
Alom Shaha: Physics teacher and author of The Young Atheist's Handbook
Simon Ings: Novelist and science author
Neil Denny: Radio show producer and Winston Churchill Memorial Travelling Fellow
Alice Bell: Science lecturer and communicator extraordinaire
Steve Colgan: QI contributor and Ex-Met Police constable and 'critical thinking Ninja'
Dr Stuart Clark: Science writer and novelist
Iszi Lawrence: Comedian and writer
Dan Schreiber: Ex-QI Elf and Producer of BBC R4 The Museum of Curiosity
Helen Zaltzman: Writer, speaker, autodidact
Aarathi Prasad: Scientist and author
Helen Keen: Radio presenter and astro-tainer, and more who will probably turn up on the day.
Marc Abrahams is the editor of the parody magazine Annals of Improbable Research and the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, which honour bizarre, questionable, and downright funny scientific research and are presented at an annual ceremony at Harvard University. He has written for the Guardian, the New York Times, New Scientist, Scientific American, and newspapers and TV programmes internationally.
Follow him on twitter @MarcAbrahams
14.00; £10, £7 concs and members
MusicUpClose - Session 2
2 Oct 2012, 19.00
I Got Rhythm!
How important is rhythm in music? Is it as important in classical music as it is in popular music? Is rhythm important to all music? What difference does rhythm make to the feel of the music? Why is the main motif from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (da da da dum…) so iconic?
19.00 - 20.30 (followed by drinks)