Wollstonecraft Speaker Series

The Wollstonecraft Speaker Series, named for writer, philosopher and women’s right advocate Mary Wollstonecraft, is a chance to stimulate intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. The fortnightly talks form part of the Sixth Form academic enrichment programme. When appropriate, the talks are made available to other year groups. Invited guests speak to students on a wide range of subjects: exploring chosen career paths, the challenges and rewards of their profession, and opening up interesting conversations through the post-talk Q&A session.

We aim to provide a diverse programme, and have previously welcomed a medical physicist, a chemical engineer, an opera singer, a programme integration engineer, a cyber-security specialist, a linguist from GCHQ, a creative freelancer, a QC, a university admissions officer, a city broker turned yoga instructor and nutritionist, as well as a volunteer from the Samaritans who spoke about the importance of being silent and just listening.

The underlying message from many of our speakers – irrespective of discipline – is the need to remain open-minded, for students not to worry if they have not decided on possible degree courses and above all to continue to develop their interpersonal skills. Another theme which emerged strongly was that of resilience. Our freelance speakers revealed a great deal of commitment, creativity and tenacity in pursuit of their goals. All of our guests firmly articulated the notion that a dogged determination to succeed was essential, coupled with a flexibility of approach.

Lectures have included:

Are the Kardashians a postfeminist fairy tale?
Eliza Cummings-Cove, Sociologist and BHS alumna

My time at Blackheath High and my career in journalism
Charlene White, Journalist, ITV Broadcaster and BHS alumna

The riddle of the sphinx: Alexander, Caesar and Boneparte in Egypt
Ben Crozier, Teacher of History at Blackheath High

Evolution, genetics and psychology: why do humans differ in their personality, cognitive ability and behaviour?
Dr Kostas Papageorgiou, Lecturer at London Metropolitan University School of Psychology

How to be an artist
Jeremy Wood, BHS parent and Artist

The challenges of elite sport
Fiona Greer, BHS parent, Sportswoman, International polo player & GB Masters swimmer

Surrealism and the Royal Academy
Professor Neil Spinner, Greenwich University, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor; Professor of Architecture and Digital Theory

The Fast Stream and careers in the Civil Service
Charlotte Sanderson, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Understanding and working in the law
Helen Milburn, General Counsel