Great Lives

The University of Lincoln welcomes high-profile individuals from all over the world to speak at our prestigious Great Lives public lecture series. Our students, staff and members of the public benefit from guest lectures by Visiting Professors and Lecturers recognised as leaders in their field, some of whom teach on our courses.

 Lord Victor Adebowale

Lord Victor Adebowale

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE was installed as Chancellor of the University of Lincoln in December 2008, replacing Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, who held the role for the previous seven years.

Lord Victor is Chief Executive of the leading social care organisation Turning Point, a post he has held since 2001, and is recognised as a leading voice for people affected by poverty, mental health issues, drugs, alcohol, learning disability and complex needs.

 John Bercow

The Rt. Hon John Bercow MP

The Right Honourable John Bercow is the Member of Parliament for Buckingham and was elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons on 22nd June 2009.

Mr Speaker has been involved in politics since the mid 80’s when he served as National Chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students before being made Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election.

 Jason Bradbury Great Minds

Jason Bradbury

Jason Bradbury, technology expert and presenter of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, is a Visiting Lecturer who teaches on the Product Design and Computer Science degrees. Jason lends his industry insight and experience to exciting project modules that provide industry-relevant challenges to students in their final year.

“I’m confident that the course modules I created with the academic team at the University of Lincoln will ignite the passion and ingenuity of the students. Having spent some time in the incredible facilities at Lincoln, I fully expect to see some truly innovative results.”

 Dallas Campbell 200

Dallas Campbell

Dallas Campbell is a presenter, actor and writer. He was a presenter of BBC One’s popular science show, Bang Goes the Theory, for six series, also co-presenting The Gadget Show, where he raced jet-powered street luges, wrestled robot jellyfish, tested the latest in gadgets of all sorts, and broke the Scalextric land speed record.

He presented Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered on BBC One; a ground-breaking documentary where Dallas used new scientific research to explore the mysterious life and death of the boy king. He also co-hosted the hugely popular BBC One series, Treasure Hunters, and fronted his own three part series, Supersized Earth, in which he travelled the globe visiting some of the world’s largest and most ambitious engineering projects.

 Ann Cleeves 200

Ann Cleeves

A prolific writer, Ann's books have been translated into 20 languages. She's a bestseller in the UK, Scandinavia and Germany, with her novels selling widely and to critical acclaim in the United States.

Two of Ann’s series of novels have been turned into major TV productions. Based on the Vera Stanhope novels, Vera has enjoyed five series on ITV, winning best drama in the regional Royal Television Society Awards in March 2014. 

Steve Cram Great Minds

Steve Cram

Steve Cram is British icon recognised as one of the finest athletes of his generation. He was a World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth medallist as well as a three-time world record holder during his illustrious athletic career. In 1983 Cram won Sports Personality of the Year and received his MBE in 1986.

Sporting legend, television presenter and motivational speaker Steve Cram was one of the first voices of the University of Lincoln’s Great Minds lecture series when he talked about the importance of preparation in 2012.

Carl Djerassi Great Minds

Professor Carl Djerassi

Professor Carl Djerassi was, first and foremost, a leading chemist who invented the contraceptive pill. He then became a renowned author and playwright in the field of science performance.

Professor Djerassi came to Lincoln to open his play Foreplay at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre in April 2014 and gave a public lecture, entitled ‘The Demise of Contraception: Sex in an Age of Art’. This lecture, part of our prestigious Great Minds series, reviewed the enormous societal consequences that followed the introduction of the pill in the early 1960s.

Professor Djerassi sadly passed away in 2015.

 Andrew Graham Dixon - Great Minds

Andrew Graham Dixon

Art critic, journalist and TV presenter, Andrew Graham-Dixon, has presented numerous landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance, and Art of Eternity, as well as individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than 20 years he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and more recently in the Sunday Telegraph.

Andrew is also an author and lends his expert eye to public service in the field of the visual arts, having judged the Turner Prize, the BP National Portrait Prize and the Annual British Animation Awards. He has served on the Government Art Collection Committee, the Hayward Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the board of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

 Carol Ann Duffy Great Minds

Dame Carol Ann Duffy

Dame Carol Ann Duffy is the first woman to hold the post of Poet Laureate in its nearly 350-year history, and was appointed in 2009 for a ten-year fixed term. She is a Professor and the Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, and has written for both children and adults. Her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, the Whitbread, Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America.

Dame Duffy visited the University to discuss poetry and give a reading as part of our Great Minds lecture series, she will return again in 2016 for the 2016/16 series of Great Minds lectures.

Jonathan Foyle Great MindsJonathan Foyle

Jonathan Foyle is an architect and art historian and holds a doctorate in Archaeology. He developed a practical knowledge of historical monuments while working at Canterbury Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace, where he worked with the University's conservators.

He is perhaps best known for his presenting work, including the award-winning BBC series Climbing Great Buildings. He writes regularly for the Financial Times and is author of two books: Architecture of Canterbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral: The Biography of a Great Building. Jonathan is a Visiting Professor of Conservation at the University of Lincoln.

Susan Greenfield Great MindsBaroness Susan Greenfield

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a leading neuroscientist and writer and currently holds a Senior Research Fellowship at Oxford’s Lincoln College. She previously served as Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a post held jointly with her chair in Oxford, and is the founder, CEO and CSO of biotech company Neuro-Bio that is developing an anti-Alzheimer drug based on her research exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegeneration.

Baroness Greenfield’s first lecture at the University as part of the Great Minds series examined how and why we respond to the different technologies we use in everyday life. 

John Hurt Great MindsSir John Hurt

Sir John Hurt was a BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning actor. With a career spanning six decades, Hurt appeared in more than 100 films including The Elephant ManTinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy; and the Harry Potter series of films.

Educated in Lincoln and Grimsby, Hurt became Honorary Doctor of Arts at the University of Lincoln in 2014, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television, film and theatre. In 2013, he delivered a lecture as part of the University’s Great Minds series, where he talked about his life, career and upbringing in Lincolnshire.

Sir John Hurt sadly passed away in January 2017.

 Abbie Hutty 200

Abbie Hutty

In her current role Abbie coordinates a team of specialists that are working on developing a rover structure that will survive the rigours of a rocket launch, descent through Mars’ atmosphere, landing on its surface and lasting the operational lifetime of the mission.

Inspired by the Beagle 2 and ExoMars Rover bid while she was at school, Abbie graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Surrey and went on to work for Airbus Defence and Space.

Bridget Kendal Great MindsBridget Kendall

Bridget Kendall is an award-winning journalist who began her career at BBC World Service before joining BBC Two’s Newsnight and then working as producer, editor and presenter on a range of current affairs programmes. She was made an MBE in the 1994 New Year’s Honours list.

Bridget has interviewed several world leaders, including President Putin live from the Kremlin. She is currently a Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, sharing her vast knowledge and experience of working across social, cultural and national divides with journalism students looking to follow in her footsteps.


Helena Kennedy Great Minds

Baroness Kennedy QC

Baroness Kennedy QC is a leading barrister and Queen’s Counsel, and is an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues. She is a member of the House of Lords and Chair of Justice - the British arm of the International Commission of Jurists. She was a member of the Women’s Legal Defence Fund which helps women take sex discrimination cases to court and her book, Eve was Framed, is an impassioned call for reform in the way the British legal system treats women.

In 2014 she delivered a talk at the University of Lincoln on the relevance of Magna Carta on modern society.

David Montenegro Great MindsSquadron Leader David Montenegro

David Montenegro was selected to join the Red Arrows in 2009 and his first three years with the team culminated in the role of Red 6 and Synchro Leader – flying one of the pair of aircraft which perform dynamic passes and well-known manoeuvres such as ‘the Heart’. Following several tours of duty in the RAF, Montenegro was selected as the RAF Red Arrows Team Leader (Red 1) in 2014.

Montengro delivered a guest lecture as part of our Great Minds lecture series entitled ‘Teamwork Leadership and Trust – How and Why the Red Arrows Display on a Global Scale’.

 Chris Packham Great Minds

Chris Packham

Naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham delivered a Great Minds lecture in 2014 and was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln in 2015. His passion, knowledge and vast experience benefits undergraduates on the Zoology, Biology, Biomedical Science, Bioveterinary Science and Animal Behaviour and Welfare courses he teaches on.

“If you really care for a subject you should teach it, and I am delighted to share my passion for wildlife and my experiences of some of the most urgent conservation issues we face. I am envious of the students at Lincoln, who are embarking on that journey of discovery.”

Nicholas Parsons Great MindsNicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons, Honorary Doctor of Arts at the University of Lincoln and long-standing host of the popular Radio Four show Just A Minute, regularly visits the University to give public lectures on the arts.

His inaugural lecture was entitled ‘The English Language and the Spoken Word’ as part of the University's Great Minds series.

“The English language is one of the richest and most colourful in the world, having been derived from many sources. In this country you can travel 100 miles and find people using our language in quite a different way.”

Martin Rees Great MindsProfessor Lord Martin Rees

Professor Martin Rees, Baron of Ludlow, is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. Professor Ludlow has been Astronomer Royal of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich since 1995 and throughout his career he has held prestigious positions as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and President of the Royal Society. He has written books on astronomy and science for the lay person and delivers popular public lectures and broadcasts.

As part of the University’s Great Minds lecture series, Sir Martin Rees delivered a presentation on astronomy entitled ‘Space Exploration, Life and the Cosmos’

Dame Fiona Reynolds 200

Dame Fiona Reynolds

Dame Fiona has held a number of senior positions in a variety of organisations.

Currently Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Dame Fiona was Director-General at the National Trust from 2001 to 2012. During her tenure membership of the charity, which looks after 612,000 acres (2,480 km2) of land in the United Kingdom, grew from 2.7 to 4 million people. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for "services to heritage and conservation".

Angela Rippon - Great MindsAngela Rippon

Internationally-respected newsreader Angela Rippon became the BBC’s first regular female newsreader in 1976 and was awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting in 2004. She has since presented a range of television programmes, including Top GearCome Dancing, Cash in the Attic, Amazing Greys and Rip Off Britain, as well presenting on radio and authoring 14 books.

She was appointed Visiting Professor of Consumer Journalism at the University of Lincoln in 2010. Her vast experience in the industry benefits our students on journalism programmes.

Robert Winston Great MindsProfessor Lord Winston

Professor Lord  Winston is a doctor, scientist, television presenter and politician who sits on the Labour Party benches in the House of Lords. He has been associated with the University of Lincoln on a number of occasions and in 2007 delivered its Munton Medallion lecture. In 2012, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University.

An award-winning host of the successful television series The Human Body and Child of our Time, Winston’s inaugural lecture at the University of Lincoln focused on the topical issue of trusting the ethics of scientists.

Stewart LeeStewart Lee

Comedian, writer and director Stewart Lee has had an incredibly varied and successful career including writing award-winning TV and radio shows and directing and co-writing Jerry Springer The Opera.

Stewart made his name in the mid-1990s as one half of the radio duo Lee and Herring, alongside Richard Herring, a success followed through with extensive touring to build up a live following. His more recent work has included, Comedy Vehicle, which has received a number of accolades including a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme and Best Male Television Comic and in 2012 won a BAFTA Television Award for Best Comedy Programme. The programme returned for its fourth season in 2015.

Tom HeapTom Heap

TV presenter Tom Heap is a freelance broadcaster and journalist with a passionate concern for rural affairs, science and the environment. Tom presents the investigations on Countryfile – Britain’s most popular factual TV programme. This feature is the most journalistic element of the show, where breaking news and revealing the hidden depths of current rural and environment stories. He is also the principal voice of ‘Costing the Earth’ on Radio 4, the nation’s only dedicated environment series. He is also a regular Panorama reporter covering food, farming energy and wildlife.

Sir Mark WalportSir Mark Walport

Recently appointed Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport has long been a champion for science, engineering and technology within his career including his role as Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Head of the Government Office for Science and Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.

Sir Mark’s previous roles include being Director of the Wellcome Trust, which is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds. A distinguished scientist in his own right, Sir Mark was also Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London.


Our Great Minds lectures and Visiting Professors provide our students, school children, staff and members of the public with inspirational insights into a range of different careers, industries and disciplines. We arrange talks, lectures and events throughout the year. 

Please visit our events page for details and information on booking a place.

Public Lectures at the University of Lincoln 


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