Tuesday, 28 January 2020 - 7:30pm

*Please note this event has now been cancelled*

May landscape studies add to our understanding of the Christianisation of Norway?

Professor Sæbjørg Walaker Nordeide

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion - University of Bergen

In Norway, as in several other countries, both written and archaeological sources about the main period of Christianisation around AD 1000 are poor and partly unreliable. Models of Christianisation are often discussed along two main lines: that Christianisation either occurred top-down (forced) or in a gradual (peaceful) fashion. Given that it was top-down and power-based, can landscape studies add information to the question of what identified the power-scape, and consequently to our understanding of the Christianisation process?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - 6:00pm
Thursday, 30 January 2020 - 1:00pm

Marco Tamborini

Twentieth-Century Science of Form between Evolutionary Biology and Architecture

In 1971, biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin criticised the agenda that had dominated evolutionary thought in England and the United States according to which natural selection is seen as an optimising agent. Conversely, they proposed a different standpoint on evolution, in which body plans are constrained by phyletic heritage, pathways of development and general architecture. As they admitted, while this different focus on evolutionary mechanisms was long popular in continental Europe, it was almost absent in English-language biology. Given this background, how did this European perspective come to form the basis for a major theoretical challenge to Adaptationist thinking? What were the sources of this perspective? In my talk, I point out that this rethinking was possible through an exchange and transfer of practices, data, technologies, and knowledge between biologically oriented students of form and architects. Specifically, I analyse how morphological knowledge travelled from evolutionary biology into architecture and back during the 1960s. As a case study, I focus on the Stuttgart Collaborative Research Center on wide span surface structures. In this research centre, architect Frei Otto and biologist Gerhard Helmcke developed a structural analysis of morphogenesis. According to this analysis, an efficient form is obtained by using as little material as possible in line with the lightweight principle. Hence, by showing how morphological knowledge travelled during the 1960s, my presentation will provide preliminary insights into a different history of 20th and 21st-century science of form.

The talks run for around 40 minutes and are followed by a Q&A.

The Clare Hall Dining Hall now offers a 'light lunch' option consisting of soup and a sandwich. If you would like to bring lunch along to this event, you are more than welcome to. Water, napkins, and fruit are provided. You can also use your College coffee card to enjoy a free hot drink.


Saturday, 1 February 2020 - 7:30pm

Cello and Piano: Beyond the Score

Adrian Brendel, cello
David Dolan, piano

Cellist Adrian Brendel and pianist David Dolan return to further explore the performer’s role as creator over different musical styles. In a programme providing the performers with a scope for extemporisations and following seventeenth and eighteenth centuries performance practice, the duo will embellish repeats and improvise preludes and interludes to create the setting for the pieces performed and to connect between movements and works. 

Marcello  Sonata for cello and piano
Boccherini Sonata for cello and piano 
Schumann Five pieces in Folk Style Opus 102 
Beethoven Sonata No. 3 for cello and piano in A major Opus 69
Fauré Élégie for cello and piano Opus 24 
£15.00 • £10.00 Clare Hall Members • £5.00 Students
Reservations; (01223) 332360 or at the Porters’ Lodge 
Tuesday, 4 February 2020 - 7:30pm

Wrong-Site Surgery

Dr John Clarke

Emeritus Professor of Surgery, Drexel University, University in Philadelphia

Telling right from left is not as complicated as brain surgery. So, why do brain surgeons occasionally get it wrong? Wrong-site surgery is an interesting case study in the development of reliable healthcare delivery systems because the lack of success can never be blamed on the patient’s disease. Studies of this relatively rare event have been facilitated by large-scale systems for reporting adverse medical events and near-miss events, including the Veterans Health Administration’s National Center for Patient Safety, the Minnesota Department of Health’s Adverse Health Event Reporting System, and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority’s Patient Safety Reporting System in the United States, and from 2001 to 2012, the National Patient Safety Agency’s National Reporting and Learning System in England.

During 11 years as Clinical Director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, our team analysed over 600 reports of wrong-site surgery. We discovered two basic reasons for wrong-site surgery and why the problem could not be solved with a simple edict.


Tuesday, 4 February 2020 - 8:00pm

Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman.

Written 1955-1964, published in English in 2010. Please note, this is a US paperback, if ordered it may take around two weeks to arrive.

King Room (provisionally).


Wednesday, 5 February 2020 - 5:30pm

Photographing Art in the Digital Age by renown photographer Sergei Petrov

5.30 pm drinks reception, 6 pm talk, 7.30 pm buffet dinner

Richard Eden Suite, West Court

Admission - £10 to be paid by card or in cash at the door. Free for members of Clare Hall, FCHAS, and of the Clare Hall Art Committee

Please RSVP by 3 February to


Friday, 7 February 2020 - 7:00pm

Dining Hall, Main Site.

By invitation only.


Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - 7:30pm

Network Vulnerability, Complexity, and Resilience: The role of connectivity

Professor Aura Reggiani
University of Bologna, Italy, Visiting Fellow

The issue of network complexity has received a great deal of scientific attention in recent decades, given its relevance in several fields (economics, geography, transport, environment). In parallel, the concepts of vulnerability and resilience have come to the fore, also for their links to sustainability issues and related policy (eg the terrorist attack in NY in 2001, the economic shock in 2007-08, disruptions of nodes in transport/communication). The methodological question is: What is the role of network connectivity in vulnerability/resilience analysis and modelling? And, consequently: Can network connectivity be considered as a useful framework for understanding and interpreting resilience and vulnerability in complex (spatial) economic systems?


Tuesday, 18 February 2020 - 7:30pm

Introducing Ermengarde, a Medieval Countess

Dr Amy Livingstone

Associate Dean of the Honors College, Professor of History, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Countess Ermengarde of Brittany led a fascinating life. Yet, in spite of a rich documentary base, she is virtually unknown. This presentation will provide an introduction to her life and the profound impact she had on her world.