The Annual Glaister Lecture
As an educational charity, Braziers has for a number of years invited guest speakers to give the annual “Glaister Lecture” in memory of the Society’s founders, Norman and Dorothy Glaister. Norman, a psychiatrist, and his wife Dorothy, a teacher and educationist, were together well-known figures in the circles of evolutionary and generally progressive thought before the war and Braziers was founded in 1950 to provide a permanent centre for study and small-group discussion in the form of a residential college of integrative research. Thus, it had the most holistic possible remit of exploring life in all its wholeness and interconnectedness: “no aspect of life, individual or social, can be said to be beyond our purview”.
The Glaisters’ vision has been described as “pursuing the love of knowledge and the search for truth, assisting the fulfilment of human potential and trying to create a better world”.
Glaister Lecture 2020
This year’s lecture was given virtually on 18 July by Nicole Pohl, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Critical Theory in Oxford Brookes University.
Professor Pohl reflects on the challenges and usefulness of utopian thinking in the Anthropocene, and more recently, the COVID-19 global crisis. In an article in the New Statesman, David Miliband came to the conclusion that post-Covid crisis, the ‘alternative is not utopia. It is common sense as well as common humanity.’ Professor Pohl wants to suggest that common humanity is the essence of utopia and utopianism and to reflect on the kind of utopianism the world needs today. We will face global, indeed dystopian, challenges ranging from the ‘Sixth Extinction’, a new wave of nationalism and anti-democratic policies (under the smokescreen of the pandemic) and a continuation of racial/gender inequalities. She would like to put it to discussion if utopia is a useful way of creating new narratives, narratives as Monbiot suggested, that are created from the bottom up and challenge the narratives of neoliberal capitalism, to reveal them as ideologies. Thus utopia and utopianism are about imagining different worlds, telling different stories to try out – with common sense- a world that works for all humanity.
Glaister Lecture 2019
In 2019, the Glaister Lecture was given by Professor Chris Rhodes, an advisor on low-carbon energy to the European Commission and director of Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, based in Reading.
His lecture was entitled “Solving the Plastic Problem.” Plastics are wonder-materials that have enabled the creation of the modern, industrialised world. However, their robustness means they degrade only slowly and poorly in the environment, and now pollute the oceans, the air, drinking water and food. As alarming as this may sound, plastic pollution is really just one element in the overall problem of a changing climate (“the world’s woes”), and must be addressed as part of an integrated consideration of how we use all resources, and the need to change our expectations, goals and lifestyles.
Glaister Lecture 2016
In 2016, the Glaister Lecture was given by Professor Chris Rhodes, an advisor on low-carbon energy to the European Commission and director of Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, based in Reading.
The 2016 Glaister Lecture examined the implications of fracking within the overall context of global oil supplies, and how humanity might best respond to the inevitability of declining use of fossil energy sources. Might localisation be a remedy for globalisation? Is there an underpinning linked to biodiversity?
Past Glaister Lectures
Evelyn Woodcock B.A:- John Woodcock and Braziers (Annual Glaister Lecture 2006) (pdf version)
Between Glaister and Faithfull (Glaister Lecture 2002) – Alan Clark (pdf version)
New Physics and the Group Mind (Annual Glaister Lecture) – Penny Pitty (pdf version)
Braziers Park – the Buildings (Annual Glaister Lecture) – Maurice Roth (
pdf version – 100Kb)
The Sensory – Resistive Method (Annual Glaister Lecture) – Jean Robertson
(pdf version – 109Kb)