Debating the big issues

From human rights issues to climate change, Victoria University regularly leads debate on important issues of the day through free public lectures.

As well as showcasing the expertise of its own academics, the University also invites locally and internationally renowned guest speakers to its campuses throughout the year.

“Our inaugural professorial lecture series is especially well attended,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford. “These lectures feature thought-provoking commentary from Victoria’s newly appointed or promoted professors.”

Issues in the spotlight this year have included restorative justice, constitutional protections of human rights, criminal psychopathy and the effectiveness of psychological treatment, journeys of transformation in works of fiction and low voter turnout among young people.

Each year, the University also holds science public lectures in regional centres, enabling audiences outside Wellington to hear from some of Victoria’s top speakers. Topics this year have spanned climate change, black hole thermodynamics and radio telescopes.

One of the major overseas speakers to visit Victoria this year was world-leading polar scientist Professor Robert DeConto, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the United States. As the S.T. Lee Lecture’s guest speaker, Robert explored the Antarctic ice sheet’s contribution to future sea-level rise.

“One of the University’s goals is to disseminate knowledge that has scholarly or societal impact to a wide audience,” says Grant. “Our public lectures are one way of fulfilling our role as the ‘critic and conscience’ of society.”

Recordings of many of this year’s public lectures are available online.