Ashby Lectures

Since 1985, Clare Hall has hosted the Ashby Lectures, a widely acclaimed summer event in Cambridge.

Named after one of the founders of Clare Hall, the lectures focus on the presentation and discussion of ideas that inspire human values in a wider sense: values that relate, in compelling and contemporary ways, to philosophical questioning about the nature of life and society.

Guest speaker 2018

Professor George Van Kooten

Oiling the Wheels of Nations? Religion and Politics, Then and Now

Professor Van Kooten is currently at the University of Groningen and shortly to become the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge

Ashby Lecture Report

Ashby Lecture 2018 photo gallery


Ashby Lecture Archive

Recordings are available for some of our archived talks and can be found in the University's video and audio collection.

  • 2017 - How much is the free market compatible with a 'decent' society?

    Dr Ha-Joon Chang from the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge. 
  • 2016 - Imagining universities: new worlds, old ideas?

    Professor Stefan Collini FBA, Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature University of Cambridge and Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall. 

    The 2016 Ashby report
  • 2015  - Liberty, Equality. What Happened to Fraternity [Human Solidarity]?

Albie Sachs

  • 2014 The Impact of the First World War on Strategy

Sir Hew Strachen
Chichele Professor of the history of war at All Souls College, Oxford.

  • 2013  Energy, water, food and the nine billion
    Lord Oxburgh, FRS
    Former Chairman of Shell UK and former Rector of Imperial College
  • 2012  In the Eye of the Storm: Journalists under Fire
    John Fisher Burns

    London Bureau Chief for The New York Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
  • 2011  Lessons from America: The Impact of Universities on their Region and the World
    Professor Andrew Hamilton, PhD FRS

    Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford
  • 2010 How and Why Did Hitler's Germany Fight On to the Bitter End?
    Professor Sir Ian Kershaw
  • 2009  Perverting Trust
    Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve  CBE  PBA  Hon FRS  F Med Sci

    President of the British Academy, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation and Professor of Philosophy
  • 2008  The Business of Climate Change
    Sir David King
    Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford
  • 2007  Happiness and Values
    Richard Layard
    Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics
  • 2006  The Case for an Emergency Constitution
    Bruce Ackerman
    Sterling Professor of Law at Yale University
  • 2005  From Alola to Helena: A Tribute to the Women and children of East Timor 1999-2005
    Kirsty Sword-Gusmao
    First Lady to the President of the independent nation of East Timor
  • 2004  Trans-civilisational Perspective on Global Issues
    Professor Yasuaki Onuma
    University of Tokyo
  • 2003  Muslims and Modernity
    Guy Sorman
  • 2002  Dancing Beneath the Red Banners: Chairman Mao's Red Guard Movement During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
    Dr Aiping Mu
  • 2001  Storytelling
    Isabel Allende
  • 2000 In Search of a Common Language – What does Chinese Traditional Medicine Have in Common with Modern Physics?
    Kenneth Hsu
  • 1999  Universities and the Magic Fountain: African Literature into the 21st Century
    Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
  • 1997  From Penitentiary to Palace of Art: Uncovering the History of the Tate Gallery
    Frances Spalding
  • 1996  The State of Our Prisons
    Sir Stephen Tumim
  • 1995  Some Reflections on Multinationalism: the Example of Former Empires in East Asia
    Professor Herbert Franke
  • 1994  Understanding and Justification of Other Cultures
    Professor Eero Loone
  • 1993  The Education of a 'British' Protected Child
    Chinua Achebe
  • 1992  When was Modernism in Indian Art?
    Geeta Kapur
  • 1991  After Marx – the Prospects for Post-Communism
    Svetozar Stojanović
  • 1990  Into Inequality Born – a Tale of the Health of Women in South Asia
    Professor Vulimiri Ramalingaswami
  • 1989  The Fusion of the Great and Little Traditions of Indian in Salman Rushdie's Work
    Anita Desai
  • 1988  Models of the Mind
    Professor Christopher Longuet-Higgins
  • 1987  The Nature of (Literary) Naturalism
    Professor David Baguley
  • 1986  Narrative Verse and Read Examples of his Own Work
    Mr Alec Hope
  • 1985  Genes and Disease: Opportunities and Reservation
    Dr Paul Berg