You are now looking at an archive of our original website - some information may be out of date.
Please visit our new website (launched 2008) at:

leicestersecularsociety.org.uk

for current information, contacts and events.

Leicester Secular Society

PROGRAMME PAGE — 2004
(January–April & September–December)


Back to: — Programme PageHome Page

é FREE LECTURE SERIES January to April 2004

Sunday 4th January: The European Social Forum - Talking Shop or blueprint for change? by Mary Mclintock, Anna Liddle and Jessie Fleming. The speakers are three Leicester students who participated: they recount what they found.

Sunday 11th January: Life in a Muslim State - and other topics - Speaker Bunn Nagara. Bunn spent several active years in Leicester, and then had to return to Malaysia. He tells us about the state of religion and power to be found there.

Sunday 18th January: John Cook's Questions by John Cook. Professor Cook has a group of questions relevant to the Society's development and attitudes to religion. Come and help him find answers. This meeting may also spend some time looking at Faith Schools.

Here are the discussion questions provided by John Cook for this meeting

IF THE ENTIRE WORLD WAS VEGETARIAN IT COULD EASILY FEED ITSELF.
WHY ISN'T IT?
It is suggested that there is insufficient land to grow the food that the world population needs.
It is argued that the above is untrue and first world hogs the food that should get to the deserving.

MORE JOINED UP THINKING IS REQUIRED IN THE WORLD.
HOW WILL IT BE ACHIEVED?
Is there anything that doesn't need more joining up?

IS THERE A RELATION BETWEEN POVERTY, POOR DIET, UNEMPLOYMENT, POOR EDUCATION AND FULL PRISONS?
HOW CAN THIS BE SOLVED?
See the statement below. It's not a cheap answer but how much did our intervention in Iraq cost? 10bn?

IF YOU THINK EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE TRY IGNORANCE.
HOW TRUE IS THIS? HOW COULD IT BE BETTER?
What of course we mean by education needs examining.
Remember our appalling record of those able to get into Higher Education a decade ago - only Greece was below us on the list of first world countries.

RELIGION, ART AND EDUCATION ARE INTERTWINED IN OUR HISTORY.
WHY SHOULDN'T THE CONTEXT BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS?
No reason. What Secularity is against is single exclusive faith schools and especially those funded by the state, and single faiths being taught.

THE UK EDUCATES MANY OF THE WORLD'S DESIGNERS.
DON'T WE DESERVE A BETTER STANDARD OF DESIGN IN BRITAIN?
Lets think of some good examples of DESIGN in the UK.
It's worth remembering that everything 'man-made' has been designed - probably not by professional designers, probably not well or appropriately.

VEILED WOMEN IN TWENTY FIRST-CENTURY BRITAIN.
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS?
Where did it come from why does it happen now? What's acceptable about this practice in the UK? What's unacceptable about it?
[This question is due to be discussed in our meeting on 1st February.]

AS INDIVIDUALS WE FIND DEALING WITH CHANGE DIFFICULT ESPECIALLY IN CONSTANTLY CHANGING TURBULENT TIMES.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS?

A TRANSPORT STRATEGY FOR THE UK IS LONG OVERDUE (linking footpaths, cycle tracks, road, rail, canal, and air).
WHY HAVEN'T WE GOT ONE?
[This question is due to be discussed in our meeting on 21st March.]

WHO ARE YOU? WHERE YOU HAVE COME FROM? WHAT YOU ARE DOING ABOUT IT?
('It' being what you want it to be.) EACH PERSON GETS 5 mins.
[This seems to be a suggestion for our meeting on 8th February.]

SOMEONE OBSERVED THAT THESE WERE POLITICAL QUESTIONS. I disagree. The questions are questions. Our answers will inevitably be political!


SOME POSITIVE SECULAR POINTS ABOUT WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUSIVE IN EDUCATION
[These notes were also originally for the meeting held on 14th December 2003.]
CITIZENSHIP
IDEALS OF WOODCRAFT FOLK
ONLY ONE LIFE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT
CREATIVE THINKING
CONSEQUENCES OF ACTIONS
EXPANDING THE WORLD OF FRIENDSHIP
FOR COOPERATIVE AND NON-AUTHORITARIAN, AGAINST COERSION
QUALITY OF LIFE
UNDERSTANDING

This is not meant to be a definitive list but a guide. Let's add more. How are we going to convince people to follow these eminently sensible ideas?


SOME FURTHER THOUGHTS ON THE WORLD
We live on a FINITE planet.
Most children die from lack of clean water and glucose.
We spend more on weapons of war than 'weapons' to enhance the world.
Children are still in slavery in many parts of the world.
Women are unnecessarily blamed and persecuted - sometimes to death - in some parts of the world.
Foreign Debts are crippling third world countries.
The EU gives $86bn a year in farm subsidies.
The UK spends $1774 per capita per year on Health. India spends $71.
The world's biggest multi-national firms earn more than many African Nations.
The first world uses hugely more of Earth's resources than the third world.
Communication in the world has never been easier. How can we make it less abused and more positive.

Sunday 25th January: People's Lives in Nablus by Niki Dean. Niki recently visited Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement, who bring people to their country to come and show solidarity with the Palestinian people. Niki spent six weeks in and around Nablus. She tells us about people's lives under occupation.

Sunday 1st February: Headscarves and French State Education by Yvette Rocheron. Yvette is Director French Studies at Leicester University and has been observing the controversy in French schools surrounding the wearing of religious insignia. She gives us an informed view of the topic.

Sunday 8th February: Discussion Meeting and Information Exchange - all welcome. Bring your issues with you or post or e-mail them in to the Society.

Sunday 15th February: Sweatshops and Globalisation by Nick Holden "NO Sweat" is an organisation against the exploitation of factory workers worldwide. The key idea that No Sweat adopts is the idea of International Solidarity as the weapon to confront the harmful effects of International Capitalism. This is done partly through the dissemination of information. nosweat.org.uk

Sunday 22nd February: The Brights - Should we join them? by Keith Baker. The Brights are an international internet constituency of like-minded people whose world views are free of mystical, and superstitious elements. This group, founded in California, base their actions and ethics on a naturalistic world view. Come and hear more. Keith is a researcher at De Montfort University.

Sunday 29th February: Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Moral Panics by Julia O'Connell-Davison. Julia is Professor of Sociology at Nottingham University and has published on many topics including: sex tourism, prostitution and the commercialisation of children.

Sunday 7th March: A History of Leicester Secular Society by Dave Ray. Dave has had a variety of jobs and currently runs a print works. What should I know about Leicester Secular Society? He wondered, and tonight gives us his version.

photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 These photos show Dave Ray presenting his talk which turned out to be on English History: A Secular Analysis. The digital photos have been "enhanced" to make them less dark, and the "fish-eye" effect in the second photo magnifies the central image and helps to conceal the fact that the camera-view was slightly askew. The image on the screen in the third photo is of the novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans 1819-1880). The photos have also been processed in WebImage to cut down the file size from around 500KB to 12KB.

Sunday 14th March: Museums, Religion and Faith by Sarah Levitt (Head of Leics City Museums and Heritage Services). Sarah will explore the ways in which museums have traditionally represented religion. She explains how many museums have moved away from detached presentations of religious objects and factual information towards a greater engagement with Faith and Faith Communities.

photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004

These photos show Sarah Levitt and members of her audience. As before, the digital photos have been "enhanced" to make them less dark and processed in WebImage to cut down the file size. They were also trimmed to remove unwanted artifacts (probably caused by the photographer's hand). The chairman is our President Lyn Hurst. The central and front figures in the third photo are members Wilfred Gaunt and Derek Cooper.

Sunday 21 March: Sustrans - What is it about? by Patrick Davis. Sustrans, the National Organisation which examines sustainable forms of transport, recently held a national conference in Leicester. Patrick Davis tells us about the conference and the difference that SUSTRANS projects are making to people's lives.

Sunday 28th March: 1767 at 36 Craven Street by Wilf Gaunt. This was the year when at this address, Benjamin Franklin's London House, leading thinkers met; including Jean Jaques Rousseau, David Hume, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. Is this where the touchpaper of later revolutions was lit?

Sunday 4th April: Half-Annual General Meeting with Wine and Cheese. This is for Members of the Society; motions should be submitted at least two weeks in advance.


Meetings for September to December 2004
Most lectures are on Sundays at 6:30 pm
at Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester

The Headstrong Evenings may be late arranged meetings on topical events or spontaneous evenings of discussion. They are named after the Headstrong Club in Lewes which was where Tom Paine honed his revolutionary ideas in the eighteenth century.

Sunday 12th September 2004. A Special Members Evening was held, which included a tour of the Hall and a discussion about plans to develop the building (including disabled access). Statements about the Role and Purpose of Leicester Secular Society in the 21st century, and improvements to our activities and facilties, were laid out on tables in the Library for members to add their comments, which proved to be quite extensive. Here are photos of members examining the grand ballroom upstairs.
photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004
The third photo shows the empty ballroom, seen from the other end below the main gallery. The fourth photo shows the skylights in the roof, seen from the small gallery. The small circles are probably due to reflection of flash light from dust particles.
Sunday 19th September 2004. John Newsinger — The Invasion of Egypt 1882 and the Invasion of Iraq 2003: History Repeating Itself? Note: there is a photo from this meeting below.
Sunday 26th September 2004. A Headstrong Evening. — Open discussion with wine and cheese, and meet some of the speakers for the series.
Sunday 3rd October 2004. Pam Thompson — and eight poets read their poetry. This is in collaboration with Frontline Books and ‘Everybody's Reading’ Week.
Thursday 7th October 2004. Dr Klaus Herman of IGMetal — Siemens, Collective Bargaining and Globalisation. Klaus has worked for Germany's largest union for many years as an industrial sociologist. This important topic will affect us all.
Sunday 10th October 2004. Keith Baker and Pete Flack — What is Leicester Social Forum? World, Continental, National and now City Social Forums. From this meeting we can learn what it means and about local progress.
Sunday 17th October 2004. Satish Kapur — HOSH – A Secular Society in Pakistan! After partition Satish and several million people were refugees in the Indian sub-continent. Recently, after decades of working for education in Leicestershire, Satish returned to the place of his early life and found organisations of secular interest.
The first photo below was taken during the tea-break at the 19th September meeting. The speaker, John Newsinger, seated at the table was unfortunately obscured by a tea-drinker's arm.
photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004
The other three photos were taken at the 24th October exhibition of Labour History. In the last Ned Newitt is the speaker facing right.
Sunday 24th October 2004. Ned Newitt — Introduces the exhibition of Leicester's Radical and Working Class History that he has assembled from original materials. The Exhibition will be on show in Secular Hall for the week 24th – 30th October.
Sunday 31st October 2004. A Headstrong Evening. — Open discussion.
Sunday 7th November 2004. Karin Koller — Environmental threats to childrens health. Karin is a toxicologist with the Medical Research Council's Institute for Environment and Health in Leicester. She gives an overview and focuses on the effects of exposure to metals, in particular lead and arsenic.
Thursday 11th November 2004. A. C. Grayling — Reason, Hope and Charity: Humanism with a Human Face. The internationally known philosopher, journalist, broadcaster and writer shares his thoughts on various topics with Leicester Secular Society.
photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004 photo by G.P.Jelliss, copyright 2004

Sunday 14th November 2004. Annual General Meeting. Preceded by wine and cheese. For members only, but new members may join before the meeting.
Sunday 21st November 2004. Claire Plumb — Good News (and some bad) from Nicaragua. Claire is the link officer between Leicester city and twin-town Masaya in Nicaragua. This talk is illustrated. the plight of Nicaragua is a paradigm for much of the world.
Sunday 28th November 2004. Grant Denkinson — Sexual Politics (exact title to be advised).
Sunday 5th December 2004. Dr Adrian Hastings — The 21st Century General Practitioner – Doctor or Priest? Adrian has been a GP in Leicester for 20 years, and is Senior Lecturer in Medical Education at Leicester University Medical School. He surveys the current and future role of the General Practitioner.
Sunday 12th December 2004. A Headstrong Evening. — Open discussion.
Friday 31st December 2004. 8:00pm to first footing — New Year's Eve Party, with Greenshoots Ceilidh Orchestra.


Back to: — Programme PageHome Page