Saturday Evening Lecture Series 2015

International climate change experts will come together at the University of Dundee next month to rethink the way we respond to global warming in the first instalment of this year’s Saturday Evening Lecture Series (SELS).

The flagship series will begin its 2015 run on Saturday, 7th February when Professor Karen O’Brien (University of Oslo), Professor Laura Lindenfeld (University of Maine) and Paul Ryan (Director of the Australian Resilience Centre) join Dundee’s Professor Ioan Fazey to discuss the ways in which societies can respond in order to deal effectively with climate change.

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. The ‘Winds of Change: Rethinking the way we respond to a changing climate’ event will be followed by a further five talks between February and May.

Professor Fazey, Deputy Director of the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) at Dundee, said, “I am delighted to be welcoming prestigious colleagues from across the globe to Dundee and for us to have the privilege of leading the first Saturday Evening lecture of 2015.

“Our changing climate is a result of the way modern human societies operate, the way our economies are structured, our dependency on oil and carbon intensive technology and the way we live and think.  Although the implications of rising global temperatures are hard to imagine, sometimes it is just as hard to imagine how we will get to a world that is equitable and sustainable, especially at the rate and scale called for by climate change science. 

“We will be discussing the ways in which societies can respond in order to deal effectively with climate change. We will visualise what a world that responds effectively to climate change might look like, the kinds of ways in which new thinking can lead to the societal changes necessary to rise to the climate challenge and the importance of collaboration, networks, and linking sustainability initiatives.”

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 by holding evening classes, giving public lectures and undertaking welfare.

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 2015 SELS programme take place in the Dalhousie Building and begin at 6pm. They are followed by a drinks reception. The full programme is as follows:

•             7th February – ‘Winds of Change: Rethinking the way we respond to a changing climate’. Professors Karen O’Brien, Laura Lindenfeld and Ioan Fasey.

•             7th March – ‘Tapping all our Talents – Women in science , technology, engineering and mathematics’. Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

•             28th March – ‘The risks to society of unrestricted antibiotic use’. Professor Dame Sally Davies.

•             4th April – ‘A witness to war’. Allan Little.

•             2th May – ‘The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland’. Robert Douglas Fairhurst.

•             16th May – ‘“And the winner is….”:The Olivier Awards and celebrating the best in British theatre.’ Julian Bird.


For more information visit the Events Office website at   

Free tickets for all lectures are available from the University’s Tower Building reception, by calling 01382 385108, visiting or emailing


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