Tom Shakespeare to give 2020 Swarthmore Lecture on ‘hope’

Woodbrooke announces that Tom Shakespeare will give the 2020 Swarthmore Lecture on hope

Woodbrooke has announced that the 2020 Swarthmore Lecture will be given by Tom Shakespeare. A member of Norfolk and Waveney Area Meeting, Tom Shakespeare is a sociologist, broadcaster, campaigner for disability rights and writer on disability, genetics and bio-ethics. According to Woodbrooke, his lecture will address hope: ‘How do we face all the very real, terrible things that happen in our world and still have hope? How did Friends in the past have hope in dark times? What does our engagement with the world look like today?’

The appointment was made after the Swarthmore Lecture Committee minuted that they wanted an enduring message which goes beyond the present turbulence, drawing on the past and pointing towards the future. In selecting Tom Shakespeare they discerned that they had someone ‘who lives hope as well as someone who can inspire with their words’.

Currently professor of disability research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he teaches on disability and development – including sexual and reproductive health of disabled people – Tom Shakespeare has worked at the universities of Sunderland, Leeds, Newcastle and East Anglia, and for the World Health Organisation, Geneva. He is also a broadcaster, particularly known for his talks on Radio 4’s A Point of View, as well as contributing to other programmes including: BBC One’s Question Time, Radio 4’s Today, BBC Two’s Newsnight, CNN and Al Jazeera. He also served as a member of the Arts Council of England between 2003 and 2008.

Woodbrooke said: ‘We hope Friends are excited to see how the lecture will explore and respond to the much-needed concern of hope which attends to the very nature of our faith and witness in the world today.’

The lecture will be given at Yearly Meeting Gathering 2020 in Bath next August.

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