Talks & Lectures

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Image of Nic Marks - Happiness at Work: A crazy idea, or realistically achievable?

Courses & Workshops

Nic Marks - Happiness at Work: A crazy idea, or realistically achievable?

Wed 8 Apr 2015, 19:00

Now Live Events presents

Nic Marks - Happiness at Work: A crazy idea, or realistically achievable?

A self-development workshop in partnership with Psychologies Magazine (www.psychologies.co.uk)

We typically spend more than 100,000 hours at work in our lifetimes. After sleep, it’s our second biggest daily activity. So, while being happy at work might sound weird - the alternative isn’t attractive.

In this workshop - a mixture of interesting research & hands-on exercises, you will learn:

How happiness at work helps us perform better

How to be happier at work

How to create a happier workplace for you and your colleagues

Nic Marks is a recognised expert in happiness and wellbeing research. His TED talk on the happy Planet index and the Five Ways to Wellbeing has been watched over a million times. Recently he founded Happiness Works - a business with a social purpose - to create happier workplaces.

Tickets: £18

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Image of London Thinks: How to Topple a Dictator

Special Events

London Thinks: How to Topple a Dictator

Wed 8 Apr 2015, 19:30

The Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

London Thinks: How to Topple a Dictator

Tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize and hailed as a world-changer by everyone from the World Economic Forum to Wired magazine, fifteen years ago Srdja Popovic was more interested in punk rock than political protest.

In conversation with Nick Cohen he will explain how he became one of the leaders of Otpor! — the movement which overthrew dictator Slobodan Milosevic — and has since gone on to train the pro-democracy activists behind the Arab Spring, Occupy, and many other movements. Drawing on his new book, Blueprint for Revolution, he will tell the stories of ‘ordinary revolutionaries’ he has been inspired by along the way, many of whom  have created social change by avoiding violence and opting for something far more powerful: a sense of humour. 

Tickets: £15 (£5 concessions and Conway Hall Ethical Society members).

(Image credit: Oliver Mark)


Image of An Introduction to Beekeeping

Talks & Lectures

An Introduction to Beekeeping

Sat 11 Apr 2015, 2.00pm

Urban & Community Beekeeping presents

An Introduction to Beekeeping

Everything you've always wanted to know about beekeeping but were afraid to ask!

The Conway Hall beekeepers are running a half day course for newbie beekeepers.

We'll cover:

  • The practicalities of beekeeping.
  • Build a hive.
  • Put on a bee suit.
  • Light a smoker.
  • Open a hive and see a colony of bees.
  • Taste some honey.

Tickets: £40 (including honey!) 

2.00 - 5.00pm 

Book early to avoid disappointment, as places are limited. 


Image of Santayana as Social and Cultural Philosopher

Talks & Lectures

Santayana as Social and Cultural Philosopher

Sun 12 Apr 2015, 11:00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Tom Rubens

The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) has been an undeservedly neglected figure in British academia for many decades. This neglect is in marked contrast to the considerable attention he received in the first half of the 20th century. Santayana's range as a philosopher is wide, covering ontology, epistemology, ethics, the arts and sciences, religion, political and social issues. Also, his language possesses classic clarity. So, a revival of interest in him is long overdue - as is, indeed, a talk on him to the Conway Hall Ethical Society. His views on the excesses of industrialism and on the perennial need for virtue-politics are among the things which remain highly relevant in today’s society. This talk is designed to help bring a great philosopher back to the fore.

Tom Rubens is a semi-retired teacher of English and Philosophy. He has worked as a university and college lecturer, and as a private tutor, and is still active in the latter field. Linked to his teaching work is his writing activity: he has produced eight books on philosophy (seven published so far) and has also published poetry. A novel is due to appear later this year. 

He has been a member of Conway Hall Ethical Society since the 1980s, and has been active at Conway Hall in a number of ways: serving a brief period as editor of the Ethical Record: delivering a large number of Sunday morning lectures; and doing archive work on material in the Society's journals from the 1870s onwards.

If you would like to comment on this event please visit our Ethical Record section.

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

Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of William Lane Craig's Eight Reasons for God: Refuted

Talks & Lectures

William Lane Craig's Eight Reasons for God: Refuted

Sun 19 Apr 2015, 11:00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Norman Bacrac

In 2014, the American Christian apologist W.L. Craig set out his eight reasons for belief in God in the bi-monthly magazine Philosophy Now, issue 99. In this talk, the validity of these eight reasons will be critically examined by atheist Norman Bacrac. Also assessed will be the morality of a God who seems to require us to have the logically impossible faculty of libertarian free will.

Norman Bacrac was first elected a Trustee of the Ethical Society several decades ago. He is also Editor of Conway Hall Ethical Society's monthly journal, Ethical Record. As a former physics teacher, he is particularly interested in the 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.

If you would like to comment on this event please visit our Ethical Record section. 

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

Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of Do humanists need to be more outspoken on Islam and Sharia?

Talks & Lectures

Do humanists need to be more outspoken on Islam and Sharia?

Wed 22 April 2015, 19:00

The Central London Humanist Group presents

Do humanists need to be more outspoken on Islam and Sharia? - Charlie Klendjian

Charlie Klendjian is a commercial lawyer and the Secretary of the Lawyers’ Secular Society. The LSS is a group of lawyers, law students and legal professionals, both religious and non-religious, which campaigns for state neutrality towards religion and equality before the law for people of all faiths and none.

• Charlie will be leading a general discussion about the LSS, including the successful campaign against the Law Society's sharia practice note, and a new campaign highlighting that law firms providing sharia advice are uninsured

• Talking about free speech with the events in Paris and Copenhagen

• Talking about the terms "Islam" and "Islamism"

• Asking; what are secularists getting wrong? 

Doors at 6.30 pm for talk at 7.00 pm 

Please arrive early to have a glass of wine from our charity wine bar find your seat and chat with other members.

Donations to the wine bar will go to Charlie's chosen charity Tourettes Action  

All our talks are open to the general public and free to attend but we do rely on those who can, to make a donation of what they can afford, to cover the costs of room, equipment hire and help keep our talks free to all. Please give generously so we can continue with this policy.  

Brockway Room (ground floor)


Image of All The World’s a Stage

Talks & Lectures

All The World’s a Stage

23 April 2015

The Adlerian Society UK presents

"All The World’s a Stage”

Presented by David Herbert

David Herbert is a writer and a psychotherapist. His background is the professional theatre where he worked as an actor, director, teacher and playwright. His training is in psychotherapy and psycholinguistics. His mentors are Alfred Adler, Carl Jung and, always, Will Shakespeare who somehow knew everything.

In his presentation Psychology looks at a Shakespearean character’s view of the world, seen through seven stages, from mewling infant to second childhood, with all the testing stages in-between. 

Admission £7 (concessions £4) All welcome. No need to book. CPD certificates are available. Lecture enquiries: evans_patel@hotmail.co.uk 

START AND END TIME:  7.30 – 9.00pm


Image of All change: Religion & Belief in Britain

Talks & Lectures

All change: Religion & Belief in Britain

Sun 26 Apr 2015, 11:00

Conway Hall Ethical Society presents

Jeremy Rodell

The country is going through a massive change in its religion and belief landscape. Yes, there has been an overall decline in religiosity, but that masks important changes in the mix among the religious, as well as complexity among the non-religious. Does it help to think about three dimensions – belief, behaviour and belonging - rather than simply “religion and belief”? Jeremy looks at the evidence from polling and other sources, and highlights the dangers of generalisations. How can thinking people respond to this dynamic environment? 

Jeremy Rodell is co-founder and chair of SW London Humanists, a Trustee of the British Humanist Association and its volunteer Dialogue Officer. After a degree in chemistry at Oxford University, he had a career in international business. As well as his involvement with humanism, he is chair of trustees at Eastside Educational Trust and a director of part of Age UK Richmond, as well as a local campaigner.

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

Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.


Image of A Boring Conference

Special Events

A Boring Conference

Sat 9 May 2015

The Boring Conference presents

Boring V

The Boring Conference is a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked – subjects often considered trivial and pointless, but when examined more closely reveal themselves to be deeply fascinating.

It was created in response to the cancellation of the 2010 Interesting Conference. It seemed like the obvious thing to do.

Ticket details will be announced in due course. 

Previous speakers have included Jon Ronson, Robin Ince, Josie Long and Adam Curtis. People have talked about sneezing, toast, IBM tills, the sounds made by vending machines, the Shipping Forecast, barcodes, yellow lines, London shop fronts, the television programme Antiques Road Trip and the features of the Yamaha PSR-175 Portatune keyboard.


Image of London Thinks - Buying and Selling Sex: the Big Debate

Special Events

London Thinks - Buying and Selling Sex: the Big Debate

Wed 13 May 2015, 19:30

London Thinks:
Buying and Selling Sex: the Big Debate

'Sex work' is work. Prostitution is violence against women. These two sentences encapsulate the polarised and often bitter feminist debate over the buying and selling of sex. So what can the two sides agree on?

In this special London Thinks, hosted in association with the New Statesman, we will hear from current sex workers and prostitution survivors about the reality of the sex trade, and take floor contributions from academics, charity workers and other experts. Can selling sex be empowering, or a job like any other -- or should we try to "end demand"?  And what does the evidence say is the best way to keep women safe - legalisation, decriminalisation or the "Nordic model" of criminalising punters, but not prostitutes?

Confirmed panellists include: 

Margaret Corvid is a writer, activist and professional dominatrix living in the south-west of England. She writes for the New Statesman on sex, power and social change. 

Fiona Broadfoot was exploited into prostitution at the age of 15 and exited in 1996 after someone close to her was murdered. She now works for SPACE, an organisation which supports women leaving the industry.

In addition to our panellists, we will also take floor contributions, and we invite audience members to submit testimony which can be read aloud by the chair or delivered anonymously in the hall, from behind a screen. Please, email statements to be read out to ian.steadman@newstatesman.co.uk with the subject line "Conway Hall" and include details of how you would like to be referred to.

The panel will be chaired by Samira Ahmed.

Tickets: £15 (£5 for Ethical Society Members and concessions - unwaged/students/retired).

Complimentary drinks and nibbles will be available on the night (first come, first served).

Discount also available to new members signing up via Eventbrite. 

Doors open 19:00.

N.B. This event will be filmed on the night. Only the stage area will be filmed to protect identities of anyone in the audience who does not wish to appear on video. Please be aware that audio from the event will be more difficult to anonymise and we cannot guarantee that audience members will not take their own pictures (on their phones, etc) for personal use. 


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