Festival of Ideas and Caritas Lecture 2017

Festival of Ideas and Caritas Lecture 2017

Published on 16 August 2017

Now in its third year, the Festival of Ideas is a series of lectures and seminars given by distinguished visiting speakers and staff of George Watson’s College.

The series of lectures takes its theme from the ninth Caritas Lecture which this year will be given on Tuesday 26 September 2017 by Professor Sarah Churchwell. The title of her lecture will be Careless People: F Scott Fitzgerald and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

The title of the Festival of Ideas 2017 will therefore be “Careless People” which lends itself to a number of interesting interpretations. The CEO of Tesco Bank, Benny Higgins and the former Deputy Head of Strathclyde Police's Criminal Investigation Department, John Carnochan OBE are amongst a line up of external speakers and members of staff who will be exploring aspects of the theme.

The Caritas Lecture and the other events of the Festival of Ideas are all free and open to pupils, staff, parents and other friends of the School. Those interested in attending these events should contact Senior School Reception. Tickets for the Caritas Lecture will be made available shortly from Senior School Reception. 

Programme of Events

Wednesday 13 September – 12.45pm, Lecture Theatre

Songs of Empathy

Dr Linda Mackenney

It is ‘a truth universally acknowledged’ that poets care and seek to make us care: this lecture will look at poetry by William Blake, John Keats, TS Eliot, Seamus Heaney and some of the new poets of today such as Kate Tempest, poets who have sought to encourage their readers to engage imaginatively and empathetically with their experience and thereby make us feel what it is to be part of what Wilfred Owen called ‘the eternal reciprocity of tears’.

Dr Mackenney was educated at Cambridge University. She was a theatrical researcher in her youth, set up the Scottish Theatre Archive at the University of Glasgow, has published a book on Scottish popular theatre in the twentieth century and is working on another. She is also the Head of English at George Watson’s College.

Friday 15 September – 12.45pm, Lecture Theatre

Playing With Fire!

Jes Eckford

Here ‘careless people’ is considered within the context of fire. Mr Eckford will share some fire survival skills and a fire safety message which may save your life, especially important for our older pupils as they consider their moves to University, College or Work and flats of their own.

Jes Eckford studied Geography at the University of St Andrews and Further Education Teaching at the University of Stirling. He served as Fire Officer with London and Strathclyde Fire Brigades in Operational, Training and Health & Safety roles. After completing a 30-year career with the Fire Service, he served as a Health and Safety Officer at Moray College, the University of Highlands and Islands and is now George Watson’s College’s Health and Safety Officer.

Monday 18 September – 2.40pm, Music Auditorium

Moral Courage in a Careless World – Stepping Up to Perform

Guy Richardson

This presentation is aimed at igniting thoughts and providing personal motivation. Over a period of 30 years Guy Richardson has been developing and leading High Performance Teams within one of the elite armies of the world as well as one of the world’s most celebrated international sports teams.

Guy is a graduate of The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and The Open University. As an officer in the British Army for 20 years, he led soldiers on operations from the age of 22. On leaving the army in 2004, Guy joined the Scottish Rugby Union and became the first professional Manager of the Scotland National Rugby Team. In 2010 as Director of Operations for The British and Irish Lions Rugby Team he was accountable for everything off the field of play planning and delivering the successful tour to Australia in 2013. He now works with clients to achieve high performance through a range of Leadership and High Performance training. He also lectures on leadership, High Performance Teams and Culture at seven universities across the UK, as well as The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Tuesday 19 September – 1.45pm, Music Auditorium

Why Care About Internet Porn?

Mary Sharpe

Mary will explain pornography’s impact on the adolescent brain and examine the many consequences of viewing internet pornography. Why is it so compulsive? Is it harmful? How can a person quit? She will look at mental, physical and social health aspects of moderate to heavy pornography use. She will explain how the legal system is treating teenagers over sexual offending. Mary will look too at the wider impact of pornography on matters such as human trafficking and even the environment. Finally, she will tell stories about recovery and the ‘superpowers’ young men claim to develop as a result – including how quitting appears to reduce acne, and to improve muscle strength and overall energy. Not to be missed!

Mary Sharpe is the Chief Executive of The Reward Foundation, an educational charity that looks at the impact of internet pornography on love and sexual relationships. Mary draws on her experience as an Advocate in Scotland and as a researcher at the University of Cambridge. Mary worked for nine years with the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme following 9/11 to understand better the mindset of suicide bombers. She is also a board member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) based in US and is active in the National Organisation for the Treatment of Offenders (NOTA) in the UK.

Tuesday 26 September – 7.00pm, Assembly Hall

The Caritas Lecture
Careless People: F Scott Fitzgerald and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

Professor Sarah Churchwell

Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She received her MA and PhD in English and American Literature from Princeton University, and her BA with honors in English Literature from Vassar College. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, editor of Forgotten Fitzgerald: Echoes of a Lost America, and co-editor of Must-Read: Rediscovering the American Bestseller.

Her scholarly articles cover subjects including F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and the cultural influence of the 1920s. Her literary journalism has appeared widely, including in the Guardian, New Statesman, TLS, New York Times Book Review, Financial Times, Prospect, and many others.

She also comments regularly on arts, culture, and politics for UK television and radio, where appearances include Question Time, The Review Show, and Today. Professor Churchwell is currently writing a short book about the history of the American Dream, and a long book about Henry James.

Thursday 28 September – 2.40pm, Music Auditorium

Careless with Hearts but Great for the Mind! How Even Bankers Need Burns

Benny Higgins, CEO Tesco Bank

After achieving a First in Mathematics at Glasgow University, Benny began his career at Standard Life in Edinburgh. He qualified as an actuary in double quick time and since then he has worked at the highest levels at the Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS, and now at Tesco Bank.

But beyond his financial accomplishments, Benny is also a very talented and keen sportsman; in his youth he played for Glasgow Celtic captaining the youth team. Indeed, he is the living embodiment of what Robert Burns would call “a man o’pairts” and, in his talk he will explain how the wise and inspirational words of Burns have provided amusement, solace and inspiration in a very careless world...

Thursday 5 October – 1.45pm, Music Auditorium

Careless Society

John Carnochan OBE

John Carnochan will present David’s Story, a factual life story illustrating the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences throughout a life course. He will discuss the importance of primary prevention through the development of safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and their caregivers. He will highlight the need for collaborative and coordinated public service responses to the shared agenda of creating wellbeing and public safety. He will also explore the importance of being human.

John Carnochan was a police officer for nearly four decades, including a stint as Deputy Head of Strathclyde Police’s Criminal Investigation Department. He rose to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2007. As the co-founder and co-director of the Violence Reduction Unit (with a Scotland-wide remit), John led a variety of successful initiatives in tackling gang violence, knife crime and domestic violence. He has acted as a technical adviser to the World Health Organisation, and served on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force, as well on the boards of several groups (including Alcohol Focus Scotland, Children’s Parliament and the Poverty and Truth Commission).

Friday 6 October

Drama Workshop

David Wolstencroft

This event has been cancelled.

Monday 9 October – 12.45pm, Lecture Theatre

The Sad, the Mad and the Bad: Shakespeare’s Careless Kings

Melvyn Roffe

Shakespeare’s portrayal of kingship is rarely flattering but this lecture will look at three kings who get it particularly badly wrong and will examine the lessons for those in power (or at least in office) in 2017.

Melvyn Roffe studied English Literature at the University of York, taught English at a number of schools in England and Wales and has been Principal of George Watson’s College since 2014.

Wednesday 11 October – 12.45pm, Lecture Theatre

Let’s Agree To Be Disagreeable – Psychopathy and the Psychology of Caring

Terry Rodgers

What makes us care about other people? Can it be measured? Does your personality lead you to care about others or not? Is it the result of genetics or upbringing? Is it possible for us to change the way we are? Find out about the differences between psychotics, psychopaths and sociopaths and why you probably already know a few...

After studying Psychology at Edinburgh University, Terry Rodgers worked around the world and found a job in a medium-security psychiatric prison before eventually coming to Watson’s where he works in the Communications Department. He still has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up.

Thursday 12 October – Corn Exchange

Careless Driving Costs Lives

All S6 are invited to attend a Police-run safety event at the Corn Exchange

17 to 25-year-olds account for nearly a quarter of all road casualties in Edinburgh. New drivers are most at risk in their first year of driving. The event will focus on the risks and responsibilities facing newly qualified drivers at a time when young people may well be thinking about taking driving lessons. This is one of Edinburgh Council’s biggest multi agency events involving all the main emergency services.

Thursday 12 October – 2.40pm, Lecture Theatre

Making Things Better

Dr Lesley Penny and Dr Ross Dobie

Drug development over many years has led to new effective treatments for a wide range of diseases. However there are still diseases where treatment options are limited or non existent. Research at the University of Edinburgh is making a significant contribution to the development of novel treatments in a variety of areas including cancer, liver disease and diabetes. In this talk we will discuss how new potential drugs are identified and how animal research in this area is controlled, including the impact of the ‘3Rs’ – Refinement, Reduction and Replacement.

Dr Lesley Penny is the Director of Veterinary Scientific Services, overseeing a team of vets who look after the animals used in biomedical research at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to working at Edinburgh University she was Named Veterinary Surgeon at the Roslin Institute for 15 years which included looking after Dolly the sheep.

Dr Ross Dobie is a post-doctoral researcher working at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research. One of the main focuses of Ross’ research is the development of new therapies to treat liver disease.

Monday 30 October – 2.40pm, Music Auditorium

Careless Highs! – The Use of Recreational Drugs in a Careless Society

Dr Euan Sandilands

Dr Sandilands will discuss the use of recreational drugs in today’s society including the emergence of novel psychoactive substances or ‘legal highs’. He will explore why people take drugs, what the medical effects of these substances are and the long term implications of their use.

Euan originally hails from Fife before moving across the Forth to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. During his medical training he developed an interest in drugs and pharmacology. He went on to complete specialist training in clinical toxicology and is now a Consultant Toxicologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Director of the Edinburgh unit of the National Poisons Information Service. Euan spends his time managing patients who have been poisoned with drugs and other substances either accidentally or deliberately.