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School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Outreach Lecture Series

We open our doors to school leavers to give an insight into our research.

Meet the researchers

Six form age pupils stood outside the Samuel Alexander Building

Our 'Meet the Researchers' events are a great opportunity for pupils to meet the experts and find out more about cutting-edge arts and humanities research.

As our research informs our teaching, pupils gain an insight into the wide variety of topics university students are introduced to in their degree. 

The lectures are of particular interest to Sixth Formers, but are also suitable for pupils in Year 11. Members of the public and from the wider University of Manchester community are also warmly invited to attend.

Future events

For further information contact Sonja Bernhard:

Past events

Ford Madox Brown: Picturing Manchester, Making History Public

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

How do artists go about representing the past? How do they select and depict historical events, and how do they understand, interpret and imagine historical processes? What is it, then, that makes art public? This lecture engages with these matters by examining the extraordinary set of murals painted by Ford Madox Brown in the Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall (1878-1893).

It starts by explaining why Brown was commissioned by the Corporation of Manchester, goes on to demonstrate how he enriched the project with ideas derived from historical, literary and cultural sources, and ends with a consideration of the political and philosophical concerns behind the series as a whole.

Making America: How Thirteen Un-united Colonies Became a (Somewhat) United States

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

This talk will examine how colonies which differed dramatically from one another in environment, economy, values, and lifestyle, and had little in common besides a shared British identity, came together to fight a war against their fellow Britons and struggled to create a new nation to replace it.

Ghosts in the Machine: 9/11 and Music Technology

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Since 2001, Kevin Malone has composed music about the events of 9/11 based on oral histories of witnesses recalling the events. Using a variety of sources from broadcast news bulletins to recording his own interviews with witnesses, Kevin has listened carefully to how people related their experiences - their exclamations, hesitant recollections, pensive asides - and then notated the music within their voices.

He captured their pitches, rhythms and phrases to make instrumental melodies, resulting in tunes which sound more like speech than song, thus preserving the original emotions but without the words. Six of his seven compositions about 9/11 use this technique, and they have been featured in newspapers, television interviews, radio broadcasts, dozens of internet news outlets, embassies' publications, two CDs, Spotify, iTunes and through Amazon.

The lecture includes historical background of the events, video and audio examples of the music, explanation of the technique, ethical issues, and a live demonstration with audience interaction on how this works.

Tales from the diaspora: Language and identity in second-generation South Asian Britons

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My target group are professional South Asians who have married out of their ethnic and linguistic group. I chose to focus on this group as they are currently under-represented in linguistic studies, and because I was interested in the relationship these ostensibly assimilated members of UK society had with their Heritage Languages.

Further, I wanted to investigate the role that the Heritage Language now played in their lives as parents of dual-heritage children. I use a narrative approach, an umbrella term used to describe research which uses oral or written life-stories as data. In my case, I have elicited narratives from my participants through semi-structured interviews.

I am analysing this data through two approaches: through a thematic analysis of certain discourse features, and through a close look at how the narratives are jointly-constructed within the interview.

Inventing the Tudors

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

This talk looks at the way we remember, in particular looking at the current explosion in representing the Tudor period (from Wolf Hall to The Tudors) in popular culture. The talk will look at novels, television series, and films.

Modern Dictatorships? Museums and Heritage at National Socialist Sites in Eastern Germany

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

In this lecture, I will present my research into the way museums select and present the German experience of dictatorship at three former National Socialist sites in eastern Germany:

  1. Prora: the vast and now largely derelict holiday resort on the Baltic island of Rügen that was built in the mid-to-late 1930s by the National Socialist regime as part of its mass leisure programme, ‘Strength through Joy’ (Kraft durch Freude)
  2. Peenemünde: the rocket-testing site and forced labour camp on the Baltic coast near the present-day Polish border where the V2 weapon was designed and a rocket first launched into space in October 1942
  3. Alt-Rehse: the small village and country estate near Neubrandenburg that housed the training facilities for the National Socialist Medical Association and where instruction in theories of racial hygiene was delivered from May 1935.

As well as their geographical location in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the sites share three important features.

Firstly, in all three cases the original purpose of the site advanced not only the specific aims of the Nazi regime and its ideology, but also an aspect of social or scientific modernity: mass tourism (Prora); rocket technology and space travel (Peenemünde); and medicine and applied genetics (Alt-Rehse). Secondly, the surviving infrastructure at all three sites was re-used after 1945 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the subsequent East German socialist dictatorship.

And, finally, at all three sites the original buildings and their remains are now being preserved or commemorated in some form of museum and related heritage practices. These shared features make these sites an intriguing case study through which to examine how museums and heritage construct narratives about the German past.

My research explores the construction of those narratives through a variety of media and on a variety of levels: the personal narratives of individual perpetrators, victims, and witnesses; the public narratives of German ‘collective memory’; and the conceptual narratives (e.g. totalitarianism, resistance, modernisation) through which historians have sought to make sense of the twentieth-century German dictatorships and their relationship to our modern, democratic present.

Integration and Racism in the French Republic

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The January and November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris have led to a nationwide re-appraisal of the ‘republican’ values of universalism, humanism and integration, and to the symbolic foregrounding of the term ‘republic/republican’ in official discourse, not least in the naming of the ‘Marche de la République’ on 11 January 2015, led by the Socialist president, and the rebranding of the Conservative party (formerly the UMP) as ‘Les Républicains’ in May.

Nonetheless, the last 25 years have also seen a growing criticism of the very notion of republicanism, as different sections of the French population (and some critics abroad) underline the shortcomings of the French Republic as an institution, especially in relation to the economic integration of post-colonial migrants and to the cultural expression of France’s Muslim population.

Many, in fact, now argue that the French Republic needs less, rather than more, ‘republicanism’. To contextualise the terms of this debate, this lecture will return to the basics of French national identity by defining republicanism and its core values (humanism, secularism, integration…), and by explaining the challenges to this ideology in the post-colonial context.

Part conceptual analysis and part cultural overview, this lecture will be of interest to all students of contemporary French society, at Sixth-Form and University levels alike. The talk is delivered in English.

Humanitarianism: Can we prevent disasters?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

What causes a disaster and how can we reduce the impacts of disasters? What are some of the practical, philosophical, political and ethical challenges that humanitarian aid workers face and how can they be addressed? These are some of the questions that will be discussed at this presentation about a new BSc in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response.

Archive: WW1 Lecture Series 2013 and 2014    

The first two SALC Outreach Lecture Series took place in autumn 2013 and 2014 and were themed around WW1 to tie in with the Centenary. Selected lectures were recorded and can be accessed on the lecture recordings page: