As part of a suite of events for the “Great Read At Birmingham” initiative, Alice Roberts worked with colleagues in Library Services to put on a cross-disciplinary afternoon event for students, staff and the general public. The title of the event was “The Incredible Human Journey: past, present and future” and it included short talks on diverse subjects, by six academics from across the University, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

The speakers were:

      • Professor Alice Roberts – The Incredible Human Journey
      • Dr Nick Hawes – Intelligent robots: our future or fiction?
      • Dr Jeremy Williams – Procreative ethics
      • Dr Vanessa Heggie – The long history of medicine
      • Dr Jeremy Pritchard – Darwinism and evolutionary biology
      • Dr Glyn Watson – The idea of progress in the social sciences

The event was held in the Haworth 101 lecture theatre, and attended by around two hundred participants, including around 40 members of the public. The event was managed by a team of staff Library Services staff, headed up by Ann-Marie James, who worked extremely hard and efficiently to organise, promote and support the event on the day. The diversity of the speakers and the subject matter made for an exciting and lively discussion following the talks. For several members of the public, this was their first visit to the campus. As well as being a success on the day, the event also brought together some academics from different Colleges for the first time and this has already led to new collaborations.