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University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series

2018/19 Lecture Series

The University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series offers the opportunity to hear from expert researchers sharing their knowledge and expertise on a variety of subjects. Open the headings below to find out more about each lecture in our 2018/19 series.

For further information about all of the events The Doctoral College runs, and to book onto any of our lectures, visit our Doctoral College Eventbrite page.

Upcoming lectures

 Mark o'Shea

Mark O’Shea, Professor of Herpetology

Snakebite: A Very Neglected Disease

This one-hour public lecture will raise awareness about the scourge of snakebites. A snakebite should be a survivable event, provided the victim reaches hospital in time and receives the appropriate treatment. But snakebite victims often delay attending hospital, visiting traditional healers, or indulging in worthless, even dangerous traditional snakebite first aid practices. Around the world up to 138,000 people die of snakebite each year, mostly in developing countries, and 400,000 are permanently disabled, or become amputees, due to the effects of the powerful venoms.

The world now faces an Anti-venom Crisis, as major Western drug companies pull out of anti-venom production. But hope is in sight, the World Health Organization has finally recognized snakebite as a “Neglected Tropical Disease”, a status that might encourage more research into its treatment and into anti-venom production.

This lecture series is open to the general public, staff and students at the University of Wolverhampton. Book through Eventbrite

Due to demand booking is essential





Lecture Series archive

Speaker: Professor Ross W. Prior

Date: 19th March 2019 

Time: 5-7pm

Location: Chancellor's Hall 

Watch video interview with Ross Prior about the lecture here

Booking:- Eventbrite Link

With growing concern over the rise in mental health issues, particularly amongst the young, researchers and organisations across the globe are searching for causes of this alarming phenomenon. One of the most frequently agreed reasons is the pressure that the digital age is exerting upon its users. Undoubtedly Post-Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Z, or the iGen, have a range of new pressures unknown to previous generations when growing up. Although it cannot be claimed that life is necessarily more difficult for the Post-Millennials than previous generations, there are new pressures that seem to be developing as a result of the digital age.

The easy and prolific use of the smartphone, social media and YouTube fuel people’s desire to be recognised, validated and liked. Increasingly it is the norm for young people to engage in online performative behaviours of various types. In feeding individual egos the digital age puts into peril many of the values that were once considered part of ‘polite and decent’ society and exposes the vulnerable in new ways. In the short-term, many experts are now asking us to control our digital addictions, to actively switch off and have a ‘digital detox’. Whilst this plea challenges the uncomfortable extent of our digital addictions, it fails to offer sustainable solutions for improving mental wellbeing.

One solution offered in this address is the use of art, that is all of the arts, to capitalise on art’s healing properties. Art offers solutions in the development of young people and can be used within educational settings, not least higher education. The philosophy of this working is encapsulated in the term communitas – simply defined as ‘inspired fellowship’. The fundamental importance to human personal, spiritual and social wellbeing is most purely evidenced in a group’s pleasure in sharing common experiences, being ‘in the zone’ – the sense felt by a group when their life together takes on full meaning. Moments of purpose and elation can be entirely spontaneous and communitas is a group’s pleasure in sharing common experiences with one’s fellows. Integrating arts practices offers considerable potential.

Speaker Biography 

 Ross W. Prior is Professor of Learning and Teaching in the Arts in Higher Education at the University of Wolverhampton. He is best known for his pioneering book Teaching Actors: Knowledge Transfer In Actor Training (Intellect and University of Chicago Press) and his work in applied arts and health as principal editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health, which he established in 2009. He has a record of research surrounding learning and teaching within a range of educational and training settings. He is a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Member of the Australian College of Educators (MACE) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). He is also Chairman of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which runs ten museums and manages 35 historic sites within the UNESCO World Heritage area of the Ironbridge Gorge, widely considered as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. His latest book is Using Art As Research In Learning And Teaching: Multidisciplinary Approaches Across The Arts (Intellect and University of Chicago Press).

Conceived by the Doctoral College in collaboration with faculties from across the University, the lecture incorporated topical subject matter from a variety of informative perspectives within a humourous and seasonally traditional format. The 2018 STEAM'ed Christmas Lecture  took as its theme the First World War to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of its conclusion.

To view the video of the full lecture click 2018 Xmas Lecture  or click for video highlights.


Click here for highlights

Click here for full lecture


Speaker: Professor John Traxler 

'Since the turn of the century, we have seen mobile technologies evolve from being expensive, fragile, scarce, puny and difficult to being powerful, ubiquitous, pervasive, easy, cheap and robust. In this time and in every part of the world, they have changed the nature of the commodities, assets, transactions and organisation that constitute our economic lives; have challenged the certainties of political issues, affiliations and processes.

In languages, we have seen the emergence of new vocabularies, genres and dialects and the transformation of marginal and nomadic languages and their cultures, often in the face in the face of the dominance of global Anglophone corporations; they have fuelled moral panics and catalysed new forms of harm, affront and misdemeanour; they have transformed though not removed digital divides around the world.

Furthermore, they have given individuals and communities the means and opportunities to generate, share, transform, discuss and access ideas, images, identities and information and in doing so have the potential to threaten the established professions, institutions and forms of education.

There are clearly different interpretations of their impact from merely a technical aspect of the otherwise unchanged realities of the modern world to a symptom of a slide into the fragmented, subjective, suspicious and transient world of post-modernity. We hope to explore these perspectives.'

Speaker Biography 

John Traxler is Professor of Digital Learning in the Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton. He is one of the pioneers of mobile learning, associated with projects since m-learning in 2001, the first major EU project. He is Founding Director of the International Association for Mobile Learning, responsible for the annual international mLearn research conference running since 2002. He is co-editor of the definitive book, Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers, and four others, plus papers, articles and chapters on all aspects of learning with mobiles and their wider impact on society. He has supported and advised UNESCO, UNRWA, USAID and ITU, and worked on projects funded by LSC, JISC, British Council, EU, IDRC and DFID in Europe, the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia













Success is a Choice 12th June, 2018

Danielle explored the relationship between success and our mindset. Coming from a world where one tiny mistake is the difference between winning and failing. Danielle's lecture challenged the way you think and demonstrated how to harness the powers of vision and self-belief to pursue excellence.

Speaker Biography

Double paralympic gold medallist Danielle Brown has proven that setbacks do not have to be a barrier to success.

Taking up archery on her fifteenth birthday was the first step on a journey that saw her power to paralympic glory. Danielle spent her entire international career as world number 1, winning gold in two consecutive paralympic games and three world championships. She also accomplished something that very few disabled athletes manage when she transitioned onto the able-bodied team.

Danielle now works as a professional speaker, mentor and coach, using cutting edge research and her experiences to help others strive for excellence, develop skills for success and achieve big goals.


Over 130 bookings were received for reserved seating for Professor Kate Moss's lecture on the epidemic of female homelessness, with some attendees travelling from as far afield as London to attend.                                         

  Kate Moss Lecture ‌   

Click on image above for video of Kate's lecture.                 

The lecture highlighted how rough sleeping is on the rise, yet for women homelessness continues to be widely seen through a male lens. It is homeless men who are most often encountered on the streets, rarely women. But just because we don't often see women down and out, we should not infer that homelessness simply doesn't exist for them - far from it, homelessness is an issue that affects women too.

Drawing on years of substantial research into rough sleepers, Kate provided insights into the complex challenges faced by homeless women.

 This lecture was part of the University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series organised by the Doctoral College. 

Kate Moss and Ben HalliganKate is pictured above with the Head of the Doctoral College, Dr Ben Halligan.  




A STEAMed Christmas Lecture proves a big hit!

Due to inclement weather in December the University's much anticipated Christmas Lecture  in the Arena Theatre finally took place on 6th February. The delay only served to heighten expectations that were duly met, if not exceeded, at  matinee and evening performances. The Christmas-themed lecture explored the areeas where you least expect science and the arts to merge in a performance aimed at 11- 18 year olds, their teachers, parents and anyone young at heart. The result was an hilarious journey into the world of science, music and performance with the mildest touch of education thrown in for good measure!

Steamed Xmas 2017 Intro

Click on image to view highlights video

Or for full length video click here

The 2018 Lecture featured a cross-University collaboration between the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Music Department, the Institute of Sport, and the Doctoral College.


Steamed Xmas 2017 Nurse Nitro

Steamed Xmas 2017 Trio
Steamed Xmas 2017 Choir Steamed Xmas 2017 team pic




The University was delighted to stage a lecture by Prof Peter Churchill, the Adviser on Scientific Development to the Director General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, as part of the University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series.

Prof Churchill spoke about the increasingly complex challenges facing society. Issues such as climate change, food securityenergy security, and economic development comprise multidisciplinary approaches. To address them properly requires clear, unbiased evidence toward informing local, regional, national and multi-national policy. The lecture explored the issues and the role of scientific support in informing policy through some examples from a European Union perspective.   


        Churchill Lecture Doctoral College‌   

Click on picture for video of Prof Churchill's 1st February, 2018 lecture.                        





Speakers: Professor Marek Kowalczuk and Dr Iza Radecka

Speaker biographies

Dr Iza Radecka is a Reader in Biotechnology and has an MSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Silesia, Poland completed in 1990. Within biosciences, she first specialised in anatomy and histology (interactions between heavy metals and enzymatic activity in brain tissue). In 1991, she took a position as a junior research worker in the Institute of Polymer Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze, Silesia, with a special interest in the biodegradability of different synthetic polymer blends. After one year there, she decided to take a PhD researcher/lecturer post at the University of Silesia, Katowice, with a special interest in microbial biotechnology concerning the production of biodegradable polymers by bacteria under different environmental conditions. Iza completed her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Silesia, Katowice.

Iza joined the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton in September 2000. Since then, she has continued her research into the production of biodegradable plastics from bacteria. Her research is focused on the cost-effective production of novel bio-based polymeric from waste. Iza has published numerous research papers in highly ranked scientific journals, and authored several chapters in biotechnological books. Iza has also given a broad number of invited lectures at international conferences.

She was awarded a Mercia Spinner Pathfinder concept grant and Enterprise Fellowship Scheme to develop new biopolymer extraction methods from bacteria grown in large fermenters.

Professor Marek Kowalczuk graduated from the Chemistry Department at the Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Science (1984) and his ‘Habilitation’ in Technical Science (1994) from the same University. Since 2010, he has been a Professor of Chemistry, nominated by the President of Poland. In 1973, he joined the Centre of Polymer Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Science in Zabrze, Poland (currently: the Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Science) and focused on anionic ring opening polymerization of β-lactones, especially β-butylolactone. Marek joined the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton in 2013.

His main scientific interests are: biodegradable and functional polymers; novel initiators and mechanisms of anionic polymerization related to the synthesis of biodegradable polymers possessing desired architecture; biodegradation of synthetic and natural polymers; and novel mass spectrometry techniques for analysis of biodegradable polymers at the molecular level.

His current research involves structural studies of biocompatible copolymers and blends of controlled biodegradability containing synthetic analogues of natural polyhydroxyalkanoates and copolymerisation reactions to novel polymeric materials with “made-to-order” structure and properties, with variety of catalysts, including metal free anionic initiators


Gary Sheffield

Speaker: Professor Gary Sheffield

Date: 25 April 2017

In war, different soldiers can have radically different experiences. A soldier in a trench or in a tank will have a very different view of a battle from someone in a supply depot, and a campaign in the desert will produce very different challenges from one fought in a temperate land. Some factors that shape experience of war are within the control of the individual, but many are not.

In this lecture, Professor Gary Sheffield examines these various factors and asks how much, or how little, control soldiers have over their own fate, and whether things have changed much over the centuries.

Speaker: Professor Andy Westwood

Date: 15 March, 2017

This lecture discussed the Higher Education reforms in England introduced in Parliament, considering how they  evolved and the politics  surrounding them. Particular attention was given to the White Paper: 'Success in a Knowledge Economy' and to the subsequent HE & Research Bill as it continued through both Houses of Parliament towards legislation. The lecture asked what this would mean for universities, students, graduates and research in England?

Professor Andrew Lane

‌‌‌Speaker: Professor Andy Lane

Date: 6 February 2017

Sport psychology is focused on helping athletes perform better in competition. Human competition is an integral part of many areas of endeavour, ranging from taking an examination, giving a presentation, and having a job interview. In this talk, Professor Andy Lane will examine strategies than might help people perform better. He will draw on a wealth of research and practice including the largest study ever study conducted on the effects of interventions to change emotions to perform faster, a project run with the BBC narrated by Olympian Michael Johnson.

When giving advice to someone striving for an important goal, the advice needs to work. Sport psychology is a science and Andy will discuss how we can conduct research that has real-world value. Using the BBC project as an example, he will talk about working on a project that size, working with Michael Johnson, working with the media, and the stresses and strains that launching your research on The One Show brings about. The talk will be relevant to anyone who wishes to improve her or his mental game and interested in being able to develop and evaluate how effective strategies are.

Professor Sir Richard J Evans held a guest lecture hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences on Tuesday 15 November 2016:

The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914

Richard Evans explored the revolutions, empire-building and wars that marked the nineteenth century. It was a time where what was seen as modern with amazing speed appeared old-fashioned, where huge cities sprang up in a generation, new European countries were created and where, for the first time, humans could communicate almost instantly over thousands of miles.

Richard Evans’s lecture drew on a lifetime of thinking about 19th century Europe and recreated a rich and entertaining exploration of a continent undergoing drastic transformation.

The author also signed copies of his book following his talk.

About the Author

  • President of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Provost of Gresham College
  • Until 2014, the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University
  • Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Historical Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and Birkbeck College, London
  • Knighted in 2012

Professor John Darling, Dean of Research, and Dr Benjamin Halligan, Director of The Doctoral College, welcomed over 80 people to the inaugural lecture of The University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series on Thursday 10 November 2016.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, spoke about Research in UK Higher Education: The Challenges and Opportunities. screenshot of inaugural lecture series presentation‌‌ Watch Geoff's presentation on The Doctoral College’s channel and download the PowerPoint Presentation from the lecture: Lecture Series Prof Geoff Layer (Powerpoint 862k) (Powerpoint 862k).


Photos of the event

Inaugural lecture series, Professor Geoff Layer, Dr Benjamin Halligan Professor John Darling speaking with guest Inaugural lecture series audience