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16th February 2016, 11:44am
It’s a beautiful world: why are our natural landscapes so valuable to society?
Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE. Picture credit: David Levenson The importance of beauty in the environments we live in will be discussed by one of the UK’s leading environmental and conservation champions in the latest instalment of the University of Lincoln’s Great Minds lecture series.

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Master of Emmanuel College and former Director General of the National Trust, will use the talk to highlight how the preservation of beauty has been championed for centuries - from the poet Wordsworth’s fight to protect the Lake District from urban development, to post-World War II efforts to rebuild Britain.

Drawing on these stories and her own experiences as a lifelong campaigner for beauty, Dame Fiona will argue that the tensions caused by industrialisation, urbanisation and the commercialisation of farming and forestry can be addressed through a renewed appreciation of beauty.

Her talk, The Fight for Beauty, will take place on 23rd February 2016 at 5.30pm on the University of Lincoln’s main Brayford Pool Campus. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session with members of the audience. Admission is free but booking is essential. Priority will be given to groups from UK schools and colleges.

Dame Fiona said: “In a world where it too often seems only the economy matters, we risk forgetting how important beauty is to our lives. It’s a word rarely used in official language today, yet beauty has mattered enough for people to fight for it and for governments to respond in the past.

“I’m passionate about beauty and have spent most of my life fighting for it. I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas about why beauty matters, and how it can help us all find a better future.”

Dame Fiona served as Director General of the National Trust from 2001 to 2012, and is currently Master of Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge, and Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE). She also sits on the BBC Executive Board, is a non-executive director of Wessex Water, and Chair of the charity Green Alliance.

Dame Fiona previously held the posts of Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office, Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and Secretary to the Council for National Parks. Before being honoured with the Dame Commander (DBE) in 2008, she was awarded a CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998.

She joins the ranks of other notable names to have already spoken at this year’s Great Minds series, including naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham, TV presenter Jason Bradbury, Speaker of the House, the Right Honourable John Bercow MP, and crime writer Ann Cleeves.

Upcoming speakers include archaeologist Professor Carenza Lewis and engineer Abbie Hutty, who is working on Europe’s first Rover mission to Mars, the ExoMars Rover project.

To book a place at a Great Minds guest lecture, visit or email

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