Talks & Courses

Maritime Lecture Series: Sailing to an Island Feast

Journals of maritime exploration are full of food – worries about supplies, the endless quest for fresh provisions and finally the joy – and sometimes horror – of feasting on native food when ashore.  Among the most famous of these culinary encounters are the Pacific banquets of roast pig and tropical fruits, described by mariners like Cook and Vancouver, surviving today in the feast known as the Hawaiian luau. The mainstay of the modern tourist experience, the luau began as a sacred feast, surrounded by taboos and rituals, reserved for chiefs, priests and the gods.

Astronomy Day Course: Introduction to Astrobiology

Led by a Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer, the course will cover the basics of astrobiology. It will explore what is life, what kick started it on Earth and whether life could thrive anywhere else in our Solar System. Participants will also discover how scientists can determine how habitable an exoplanet outside of our Solar System might be without having to visit these other worlds. The course will then conclude with how a detection of extra-terrestrial life could be made.

Astronomy Day Course: The Evolution and Fate of Stars

This course will begin with the basics of how a star functions, from its power source to its internal structure, and use simple physics to go from these on to how the entire life of a star progresses. It will explore the evolution of stars from their birth on to their sometimes spectacularly violent deaths and look at how star’s composition or the presence of nearby neighbours can greatly change a stars fate.

Maritime Lecture Series: British Seaside Postcards and Censorship

Are they full of outdated attitudes or just a harmless bit of fun? She tackles questions around censorship and audience, but above all, offers an examination of what makes these so uniquely part of the British seaside experience.

Katina Bill is the curator at Kirklees Museum and Galleries.

Maritime Lecture Series: The Great British Seaside

From the history of fish and chips to innuendo-ridden postcards, discover why the British seaside is the way it is with these expert lectures.

Maritime Lecture Series: The Changing Faces of the Seaside

This lecture by Daniel Burdsey explores how and why the English seaside is often mistakenly seen as a discrimination-free zone, ignoring the experiences of minority ethnic seaside communities – residents, tourists, revellers and workers.

Daniel Burdsey is a Reader at the University of Brighton. He is the author of Race, Place and the Seaside: Postcards from the Edge.

Maritime Lecture Series: England-on-Sea: Wish You Were Here

Travis Elborough traces the development of the British seaside in order to examine how our ideas about health, wealth and happiness evolved. Our aspirations and snobbery, our attitudes to sex, our keen sense of fair play, our chequered relationship with national pride and our ability to laugh at ourselves have all been played out against a backdrop of stormy skies, pebbly beaches and sticks of rock.

Maritime Lecture Series: The Origins and History of Fish and Chips

Sprinkled with salt and vinegar, fish and chips were the country’s original fast food. Fried fish was first introduced and sold by East End Jews, while chips may have first taken off in Lancashire and Yorkshire. By the twentieth century, when the dish reached the seaside, a variety of migrant communities such as Italians and Greek Cypriots were playing a leading role in the fish and chip trade. This lecture unwraps the history of the UK’s most popular takeaway, a story that brings up complicated issues of class and identity. 

Edmond Halley; astronomer, geophysicist, adventurer and Astronomer Royal

His career spanned celestial cartography, an Oxford Professorship, a daring explorer-captaincy in the Royal Navy, service as a diplomat, and Astronomer Royal.  Meteorology, geology, and the ancient, pre-human history of the earth were early subjects of original research for him.  And he possessed great charm, humour, and a love of fun. I suspect that he was excellent company as well.

Astrophotography Day Course

Led by an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, course participants will get all the information they need to get started shooting the night sky with a DSLR camera on tripod. This includes details of the type of kit required, how to plan the shoot with freely available software and apps, instructions on the methods for shooting, processing methods for the images to get the most out of them and finally going beyond the DSLR alone to combine with a telescope to capture more specific targets like the Moon, Sun and deep sky objects.


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