Free talks and lectures in London

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Big-name speakers and leading thinkers are sharing their wisdom for free in lectures and talks across the capital. Time Out hunts out the best places to hear enlightening ideas on everything - from politics to the meaning of life

  • Free talks and lectures in London

    Free events at the Science Museum's Dana Centre

  • Arts and humanities


    The Ethical Society
    Conway Hall in Red Lion Square has long been the home of free thinking in London, and their programme of lectures and events cover topics such as ‘Do humanists need the concept of evil?’.
    The Ethical Society, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL (7242 8037/www.ethicalsoc.org.uk). Holborn tube.

    The British Academy
    The British Academy is the national centre for the humanities and social sciences and its evening lectures are all free.
    The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH, (7969 5200/www.britac.ac.uk). Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Royal Academy of Arts
    The Royal Academy hosts regular free lunchtime lectures on art-history topics by major scholars in the field.
    Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD (7300 5839/www.royalacademy.org.uk). Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Tate Modern
    Various talks and discussions are offered at the Tate Modern, many are free and if not, you can watch them online. There are also free ten minute collection talks at 1pm on Saturdays and Wednesdays plus free guided tours around the gallery every day. (11am/12pm level 3 and 2pm/3pm level 5).
    Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG (7887 8888/ www.tate.org.uk). Southwark tube.

    More: The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Wallace Collection also offer free talks.


    Sciences


    London School of Economics
    Many of the world’s leading statesman - including Bill Clinton - have appeared in the LSE's stellar lecture programme.
    London School of Economics, Houghton St, WC2A 2AE (7955 6043/www.lse.ac.uk). Holborn or Temple tube.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society does for science what the British Academy does for the humanities. All events are free, though in some cases pre-registration is necessary. The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AG (7451 2500/www.royalsociety.org). Piccadilly Circus tube.

    Dana Centre

    If you’re over 18, the Science Museum’s Dana Centre offer a lively and innovative programme of events to engage with science and the culture around it. Many events are free, though it’s best to book Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate London, SW7 5HD (7942 4040/www.danacentre.org.uk). South Kensington tube.Wellcome Collection Make sure you book a spot for the Wellcome Collection’s popular Thursday evening events or if you miss those, keep checking the website for upcoming ‘Packed Lunch’ lectures that start promptly at 1pm.Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE (7611 2222/www.wellcomecollection.org). Euston tube.

    General

    Gresham CollegeGresham College maintains a roster of professors, most of whom are on three-year secondments from other institutions, and hosts guest lectures on subjects ranging from law to psychiatry.
    Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH (7831 0575/www.gresham.ac.uk). Holborn tube.

    UCL Lunch Hour Lectures
    UCL’s Lunch Hour Lectures are bite-sized, 40-minute talks given by eminent members of the faculty. These take place in the Darwin Lecture Theatre on Gower Street, and run throughout the year.UCL Lunch Hour Lectures, Darwin Lecture Theatre, Gower St, WC1E 6BT (7679 2000/www.ucl.ac.uk/lhl). Goodge St or Warren St tube.

    More: Birkbeck College and King’s College also puts on free lectures at lunchtime and after work, and don’t forget Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.For more courses and workshops, see Around Town listings.

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17 comments
Christine Clements
Christine Clements

I enjoy listening to speakers and would love to come along and do a speech myself on overcoming habits and changing your outcomes

david
david

is there a way to get updates on forthcoming big talks/lectures/presentations that are sociologically or politically motivated? i remember missing out on a naomi klien talk a couple years ago and have regretted it ever since! thanks

reconstituted socialist party of great britain
reconstituted socialist party of great britain

We are holding a free lecture "The facts of Life Under capitalism" on Sunday 4th December 2011 at Marchment Community Centre, Marchment street, London Near Russell Square Station. Admission Free

ALI DALE
ALI DALE

Free talk this weekend on Volunteering in Thailand at the STA Travel branch in Clapham Junction. Saturday at 2pm!

ali abbas
ali abbas

pls inform me about all the free lectures,seminars and trainings in london

Lia Tarkhan-Mouravi
Lia Tarkhan-Mouravi

Gazelli Art House, a new commercial art gallery has free talks and seminars alongside its exhibitions. On the 15th of April 2011 Richard Wentworth is chairing a seminar on contemporary sculpture there. Please visit www.gazelliarthouse.com for more information.

Peter U
Peter U

The Ethical Society lecture on "whistleblowers" had rich promise given the wikileaks situation. Sadly the request for questions fom the floor turned into an unco-ordinated series of rants. There was no rational debate. We did learn though that Bradley Manning who leaked to Wikipedia is being held in solitary confinement and stripped naked at night. He may be gormless and misguided but surely he does not deserve to be tortured. What can be done to get facts about his safety?

Jim Melfi
Jim Melfi

I enjoy TIMEOUT very much and feel that many of you enjoy my website videotalks.org. The site is dedicated to video talks, lectures, conferences, debates . . . kind of a robust directory linking many sites that we currently have bookmarked or haven't yet discovered. In ref to Matt Kendall's 1/14/11 post above sounds like an excellent idea! Matt.... I hope you video the talks and make them available! Jim Melfi

Matt Kendall
Matt Kendall

Hi all I am starting a new group called Interesting Talks London. Each month we will be having amazing speakers giving interesting talks. The talks are free to attend but we do ask you make a donation to UNICEF The first event is on Wednesday 26th January in Leister Square and it is Conversation Master Class. Three PUA Master Trainers showing you how to have amazing conversations, not to be missed!!! Full info available at http://www.meetup.com/Interesting-Talks-London and www.interestingtalks.wordpress.com Thanks and I hope to see some of you there Matt Kendall

Hackney Bike Workshop
Hackney Bike Workshop

The Hackney Bike Workshop provides free lessons in all aspects of bicycle maintenance at the The Kings Centre Frampton Park Baptist Church Frampton Park Road London E9 7PQ On the First and Third Tuesday of the month and at St Michael and All Angels Church Hall, Northwold Road, London N16 On the Second Tuesday of the month

JD
JD

What about talks on secret subterranean London all free.These are just a few on offer look here for more info http://www.illuminievent.co.uk/illumini-2010/illumini2010-info.html Living London uncovers the mysteries that lie beneath us. Sat 11th Sept at 11 am Free Living London will give a free talk on Subterranean London. Find out about secret tunnels and rooms that exist in our city. The talk will explore many locations, uncovering the mysteries, they lie beneath us. 'Eighth Wonder of the world' on Sat 11 th Sept 2pm Free Brunel's Tunnel was designed to move cargo under the Thames, but opened as a banquet hall, shopping arcade and underwater fairground. Now part of the London Overground, this is the oldest tunnel in the oldest metro system in the world. Robert Hulse, Director of The Brunel Museum, tells the story of the men who worked in the dark, dodging flames and raw sewage every day to build what the Victorians called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World' Silver Vaults Tue 14th 11am Free Rebecca will reveal the history and secrets of one of London's oldest trades, taking visitors on a virtual tour through the underground jewellers workshops of Hatton Garden. Here we will see how some of the most illustrious gems are forged carefully by hand, using tools and techniques that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, and follow stone-setters, polishers and engravers as they work their magic below the streets and shops of the city. Empire of Shadows Tue 14th Sept 1.30pm Free This talk explores Victorian London's criminal underworld through contemporary representations and popular melodramas in which the metropolis was reproduced on-stage. It will investigate the notorious subterranean locations believed to be occupied by a vast criminal and outcast population. The talk will also reveal the symbolism of London 's depths in the nineteenth century as the locus of buried desires, a dark mirror to the world above ground and a lost realm of magic and superstition in contrast to the daylight city of rationalism and progress. 'Into the Belly of the Beast: Exploring London's Sewers' Tue 14th 4pm Free This talk will consider the allure of London's sewers, past and present. It will cover early explorations of these secretive spaces - from the poet Ben Johnson to the Victorian journalist John Hollingshead - to the present day activity of 'draining'. Drawing on the speaker's own experiences and richly illustrated with photographs, this talk will appeal to all those fascinated with London's underbelly.

Marie Herbert
Marie Herbert

"The Songs of Rodgers & Hart" The Songs of Rodgers & Hart Kew Library 16 March 6:30 PM Free talk with music Booking essential

Marie Herbert
Marie Herbert

"The Songs of Irving Berlin" Free talk by Marie Herbert at Kew Library, 106 North Road, Kew Tuesday, July 21st, 6:30PM - Refreshments Reservations 020 8876 8654

BIRKBECK OPEN DISCUSSION SOCIETY
BIRKBECK OPEN DISCUSSION SOCIETY

BIRKBECK OPEN DISCUSSION SOCIETY welcomes a different guest speaker each week to lead the discussion on various topics... including ... How to change the world....for the better! Presentation and Discussion led by Michael Norton, OBE, Friday 6 March 6:15pm for 6:45 start At Birkbeck Main/Library Building Room B18 (DOWNSTAIRS- Staircase C), Author of 365 Ways To Change The World,Ex-merchant banker, has changed the face of charity in the UK. He has also set up street-children's banks in South Asia and, with Childline, a network of phone help lines for street children in India. www.365act.com £20,000 or more funding available for innovative projects www.changemakers.org.uk £4 million per year available, to anyone up to the age of 25 yrs old BIRKBECK Torrington Square, WC1 7HX Between Malet St & Russel Squ Next to SOAS open.discussion@inorbit.com Birkbeck Open Discussion Society Free Event, Everyone Welcome!