Exciting line-up to help celebrate 90th anniversary of Saturday Evening Lecture Series

Journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark and historian and author Sir Max Hastings are among the high-profile speakers who will help to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the University of Dundee's Saturday Evening Lecture Series (SELS).

SELS is Scotland's oldest continuous free public lecture series and attracts thousands of people each year eager to hear from prestigious, world-class speakers.

To mark the occasion, an extended programme of events will run throughout the year, beginning with a talk by Dr Caroline Shenton, former Director of the Parliamentary Archives at Westminster and an honorary teaching fellow of the University's Centre for Archive and Information Studies, on February 1st.

Speakers include geologist Professor Iain Stewart, entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl and space medicine pioneer Dr Kevin Fong. Some of the University's leading professors will also be joining in the anniversary celebrations and more dates will be announced over the coming months.

SELS will also be celebrating International Women's Day with four formidable women, all of whom are recognised leaders in their fields of expertise, exploring their professional motivation and experience. Professor Sue Black, Professor Fiona Raitt, and Alyson Leslie from the University will be joined by the University of Strathclyde's Professor Niamh NicDaeid for the event, which will be chaired by international crime writer Val McDermid.

Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, 'For 90 years, the Saturday Evening Lecture Series has been the flagship public engagement programme for the University, and we are delighted with the exciting line-up for this special anniversary year.

'Over the years, tens of thousands of visitors have come to campus to hear from an astonishing range of speakers and we look forward to welcoming many more in 2014.'

The programme of events for the first half of 2014 is:

  • 1st February: 'The Day Parliament Burned Down' - Dr Caroline Shenton.
  • 15th February: 'Extremes: Life, Death and the Limits of the Human Body' - Dr Kevin Fong.
  • 1st March: 'Leading by Influence: The stories from four remarkable women' - Professor Sue Black, Alyson Leslie, Professor Niamh NicDaeid & Professor Fiona Raitt.
  • 22nd March: 'Geology's rock star' - Professor Iain Stewart.
  • 5th April: 'The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle' - Kirsty Wark.
  • 26th April: 'Catastrophe' - Sir Max Hastings.
  • 31st May: 'Putting the 4th J into Dundee: The rise and rise of the videogames industry' - Chris van der Kuyl.

The tradition of holding public lectures dates right back to the founding of University College Dundee in 1881. The early professors and staff were keen to establish and strengthen ties with the people of Dundee and Tayside holding evening classes, giving public lectures and undertaking welfare projects such as those of the Dundee Social Union, with which Mary Lily Walker was involved.

The public lecture programmes reflected research interests of College staff as well as topics that were of a more general nature. The evening lectures as we know them today can be traced back to a series of lectures held jointly with the Dundee Naturalists Society beginning with a lecture by Principal John Yule Mackay on Primitive Man in October 1924.

All lectures in the 2014 SELS programme take place in the Dalhousie Building and begin at 6pm. They are followed by a drinks reception.

For more information visit the Events Office website at www.dundee.ac.uk/events.

Tickets for all lectures are available online at www.dundee.ac.uk/tickets.


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