Current Speakers List
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Sort NameNameGeneral LocationSubjectKeywordsShort DescriptionEmailFull DescriptionWebsite
Parekh, HariHari Parekh
Nottingham (can travel)
ActivismAHS, ActivismPresident of the can come and talk to you about the work of the AHS.
Asher, RobertRobert AsherEast of EnglandScienceBiology, zoology, evolution, scienceSenior Lecturer and Curator, University Museum of works on the evolutionary biology (including palaeontology) of mammals, focusing on the evolution of insectivoran-grade and endemic African mammals, their patterns of genealogical relationships, and development of teeth and bones in certain living species. Robert also has an interest in the intersection of science and religion, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss how palaeobiology in general relates to the ongoing debates on creationism, ‘intelligent design’, etc. In 2012 his book ‘Evolution and Belief’ was published by Cambridge University Press.
Barrett, PaulPaul BarrettLondonScienceBiology, zoology, evolution, sciencePalaeontologist at the Natural History specialises in dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles. He is able to talk in detail about the evolution of birds from their dinosaur ancestors as well as on vertebrate evolution in general (excluding primates and hominids) and also on co-evolutionary interactions.
Barry, JohnJohn BarryNorthern IrelandPoliticsPolitics, philosophy, environmentReader in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy and Associate Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World at Queens University has written extensively about normative aspects of the politics and ethics of sustainability, citizenship and sustainability; the green movement and the political economy of sustainability and the politics of renewable energy and the transition to a low carbon economy. While based within social science, John approaches issues around un/sustainability such as climate change from an explicitly interdisciplinary perspective. He also has direct experience and expertise on the politics of Northern Ireland, as he was co-leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland from 2003-2009. He can speak about these and related topics such as the public role of the academic and the university, atheism and humanism in modern politics and society and the creeping commercialisation of the modern university.
Blundell, TomTom BlundellEast of EnglandScienceScience, biologyBritish biochemist and science 2009, Tom was the Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry and former head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. His speciality is molecular biology. In September 2010, Tom, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK. He is a supporter of the British Humanist Association.
Boulton, DavidDavid BoultonNorth WestHumanismInterfaith, HumanismFormer producer, director and scriptwriter with Granada Television, where he was Head of News, Current Affairs, Arts and Religion.dboultondent@btinternet.comDavid edited the award-winning weekly investigative series World in Action and television's longest-running current affairs series What the Papers Say. He is both a Quaker and a Humanist, active in the international Nontheist Friends Group and in the Sea of Faith network, which promotes an understanding of religious faith as a wholly human creation. A contributor to New Humanist, New Internationalist and The Guardian, he is the author of 20 books including The Trouble with God and Who on Earth was Jesus? He is a regular keynote speaker, lecturer and workshop leader in Britain, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Broeckx, SylviaSylvia Broeckx
Yorkshire and the Humber
HistoryHistory, entertainment, ActivismDirector Hug an Atheistsylviabroeckx@gmail.comDirector of Hug an Atheist, documentary on Atheism in the USA. PhD canditate in American History. Can give talks the history of Separation of Church and State, Atheist Activism and how the UK can learn from the US in the struggle with Faith Schools.
Brookmyre, Chris
Chris BrookmyreScotlandHumanismHumanismAuthor and President of the Humanist Society Scotlandcbrookmyre@yahoo.comThe author of fourteen published novels to-date, the latest being ‘Where The Bodies Are Buried’. Since April 2008, he has been President of the Humanist Society of Scotland. However, only comfortable giving talks on his books.
Butler, RogerRoger ButlerEducationEducationEducational Consultantreb@macace.netRob can give talks on why Religious Education (RE) came to be a compulsory subject in the curriculum of all state maintained schools.
Cairns, MarkMark CairnsSouth EastEntertainmentAtheism, Entertainment, MagicAtheist is a magician and atheist who explores the nature of belief with mind reading and some cool tricks.
Claeys, GregoryGregory ClaeysSouth EastHistoryHistory, PoliticsProfessor of the History of Political Thought, Royal Claeys has been Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway since 1992. He is the author of Machinery, Money and the Millennium: From Moral Economy to Socialism (Princeton University Press, 1987), Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism (Cambridge University Press, 1989), Thomas Paine: Social and Political Thought (Unwin Hyman, 1991), The French Revolution Debate in Britain (Palgrave, 2007), Imperial Sceptics: British Anti-Imperialism 1850-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and Searching for Utopia: the History of an Idea (Thames & Hudson, 2011). He is also co-editor (with Gareth Stedman Jones) of The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He has also edited some fifty volumes of primary sources, chiefly in the history of utopianism and radicalism. His main research interests lie in the fields of social and political reform movements from the 1790s to the early 20th century, with a special focus upon utopianism and early socialism. He has been visiting professor at the Australian National University, Canberra; Keio University, Tokyo; the University of Hanoi; and Peking University. He has spoken widely on his research, including two talks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2011.
Colgan, StevynStevyn ColganLondonEntertainmentEntertainment, SkepticismQI Elf and former Police OfficerStevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that supply the questions for the popular BBC TV series QI and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4. He has, among other things, been a chef, a potato picker, a milkman and a police officer. He has written briefing notes for two Prime Ministers and TV scripts for Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who. He’s helped build dinosaur skeletons for the Natural History Museum, movie monsters for Bruce Willis to shoot at, and was the official artist for the 2006 National Children’s Book Fair. He has been set on fire twice, been shot at once, and has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA on a variety of subjects from problem solving to Cornish mythology to why he believes that he wasn’t even vaguely intelligently designed.
Cox, SusanSusan CoxEast MidlandsActivismActivism, leaving religion, charityRepresentative of Survivors Voice
Sue is a representative at Survivors Voice, an organisation/charity which campaigns on the behalf of child victims of sexual abuse, particularly those abused by the Catholic Church and seeks to raise awareness and prevent further abuse.
Craig, JohnJohn CraigSouth EastHumanismHumanism, defence, military, ethicsDefence Humanistsjohncraig7@live.comEthics, Royal Navy, Humanism, UKAFHA, armed forces
Cram, IanIan Cram
Yorkshire and the Humber
ActivismFreedom of SpeechWriter on freedom of speech has written on the topic of the Danish cartoons and has been critical of attempts to curtail freedom of expression on grounds of offence to religious belief. His research lies in comparative constitutional protection for expression and speech, with an especial focus on the US first amendment.
Curry, OliverOliver CurrySouth EastScienceScience, evolution, anthropology, moralityPost-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, at Oxford works on the evolved psychology of cooperation and conflict -- that is, our moral and political instincts. He is available to speak on the evolution of morality -- covering aspects of game theory, animal behaviour, psychology and moral philosophy.
Dalgleish, JohnJohn DalgleishSouth WestHumanismHumanism, defence, military, ethicsDefence Humanistsjohn.dalgleish988@mod.ukDefence Humanists
French, ChrisChris FrenchLondonScienceScience, psychology, paranormalHead of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. He is the editor of The Skeptic and writes a regular column for the Guardian's online science pages. He was recommended to us by Edinburgh Humanists.
Fuller, AliceAlice FullerLondonHumanismHumanism, Activism, Young HumanistsYoung Humanists Humanists is a section of the BHA for Humanists aged 18-35. Alice can talk about the work of Young Humanists and advise you on setting up a Young Humanist Launch in your area.
Griffith, NiaNia GriffithWalesPoliticsPolitics, education, activismMP for 20 years, Nia taught in local schools, was an active member of my trade union; a founder member of a local Women's Aid organisation; a driving force behind a local youth group; and an environmental activist. Nia has previously spoken to AHS Groups on the important issues of Faith Schools.
Hayes, AllanAllan HayesEast MidlandsInterfaithInterfaith, Humanism, secularismSpeaker on ‘Interfaith’ dialogue.allan-hayes@ntlworld.comAllan Hayes went from Heywood Grammar School, Lancashire, to Trinity College Cambridge in 1953 to read Mathematics (BA 1956, PhD 1960). Since retiring from an academic career in Mathematics he has been increasingly involved in issues to do with Secularism. Living in one of the most diverse cities in the country (Leicester) he is keen to build bridges and is regularly invited to speak to religious and other groups.
Hurd, SteveSteve HurdWest MidlandsHumanismHumanism, Activism, InternationalUganda Humanist Schools Trust (UK)s.j.hurd@btinternet.comSteve can talk about his work in Uganda as well as the developing world, education, humanism, and politics.
Kail, PeterPeter KailSouth EastHistoryHistory, philosophyProfessor of Modern is a University Lecturer in the History of Modern Philosophy, St Peter's College, University of Oxford.
Kazi, TehminaTehmina KaziLondonActivismActivism, secularism, IslamDirector of British Muslims for Secular Muslims for Secular Democracy is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting secularism in the UK, founded in 2006 The group believes the diversity of views among British Muslims is not adequately represented to wider British society and that their image is distorted. The organization is a one of the growing number of feminist and progressive Muslim organizations.
Lake, MikeMike LakeEast MidlandsHumanismHumanism, secularism, activismFounder of Secular Derbyinfo@secularderby.orgMike has a degree in Psychology, has worked as a teacher and set up a software company and electronics/software company. He founded Derbyshire Secularists and Humanists in 2005, represents Humanism on Derby SACRE, attends all meetings of Derbyshire SACRE and is a Trustee Director of Derby Open Centre. He participated in the 2009 teachers' working group which helped to revise the Agreed Syllabus for RE for Derby City schools. He is a member of the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association. Despite being taught in a C of E primary school, and going to Sunday school, he cannot remember a time when he was not an atheist. He claims to be the only atheist in Derbyshire living in an Old Rectory and looking after the church yard! Mike is totally opposed to acts of religious worship in schools but he supports teaching about religion and belief - though he would prefer that it was done as part of Philosophy and Ethics to reflect its proper place in the history of human thought and belief. He does not charge for his time or expenses - though the Open Centre makes a small administrative charge to arrange a booking. He is a qualified teacher and holds a CRB certificate. He can provide assemblies, "chats", talks, discussions or debates from KS2 to adult level. He can present talks and run discussions on a very wide range of topics pitched at all levels. Mike can give talks in and around Derby
law, stephenStephen LawSouth EastPhilosophyPhilosophy, religion, educationPhilosopher, Author and Senior Lecturer
Stephen works at Heythrop College University of London, editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy for everyone, Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK. He has written several philosophy books for the general public, including the award-winning The Philosophy Gym and The Philosophy Files (aimed at children 12+), and has appeared on TV, radio and in the national press. He has also published in Religious Studies, the leading Philosophy of Religion journal. The titles of some of Stephen's talks include the Existence of God (based on his God of Eth argument), Faith schools and religious education (based on the book The War For Children's Minds), Secularism - why it's a good idea, What's it all about then? Life the universe and everything, Intellectual black holes.
Mawson, TimTim MawsonSouth EastPhilosophyPhilosophy, religionFellow and Tutor of Philosophy and Dean at St Peters College, University of Oxford.
Tim is interested in the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and moral philosophy. He is religious and has authored the book 'Belief in God - and Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion' as well as contributed to a number of journals. Tim is the current Secretary of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion. Tim is only able to travel within the Oxford area.
Moore, TrevorTrevor MooreSouth EastHumanismHumanism, CelebrantSouth East London Humaniststrevoramoore@aol.comTrevor Moore is a British Humanist Association accredited celebrant who can talk about Humanist Ceremonies and Humanism.
Namazie, Maryam
Maryam NamazieLondonActivismActivism, secularism, IslamSpokesperson Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, human rights activist, writer, speaker, commentator and broadcaster.
Mayram has lived in, Tehran, India, UK, US and Sudan. Previously Executive Director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugee, founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees (CHAIR), was the Human Rights Advocates Training Programme Coordinator at Columbia University's Centre and the NYC Refugee Coordinator/ US National Steering Committee Member of Amnesty International. She also ran a refugee women's leadership training programme in NYC. She is the Campaign Organiser for Iran Solidarity, She is also spokesperson for Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women's Discrimination in Iran, the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran; co-editor of WPI Briefing; a National Secular Society Honorary Associate and the NSS' 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner; Patron of the British Humanist Association and an Emeritus member of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil. Executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Her blog has been rated one of the top 100 atheist blogs. She has worked on a number of campaigns including: against stoning, executions, sexual apartheid, and women's rights violations particularly in Islamic societies, opposing the veiling of children, opposing Sharia or religious laws, defending the banning of religious symbols from public institutions, opposing the incitement to religious hatred bill in the UK violence against women, political Islam, and secularism Islamic terrorism rights, cultural relativism, secularism, religion, political Islam, and calling for secularism and the de-religionisation of society.
Otten, GuyGuy OttenNorth WestHumanismHumanism, celebrant, IslamChair of Greater Manchester Humanists and BHA well as being a Chair of Greater Manchester Humanists, Guy is an accredited BHA Celebrant and BHA trustee. Guy has given talks on Humanists ceremonies, human rights, and the origins of Islam.
Paterson, DavidDavid PatersonInterfaithInterfaithPress officer of the a co-founder of the Sea of Faith Network. He believes that gods do not exist except as human creations for which we (the human race) are responsible, and that religions can nevertheless be valuable sources of inspiration, just as art, is happy to talk about the Sea of Faiths Network, and also would like do talks such as, 'Can we co-operate to build a genuinely secular state on humanist principles and with religious inspiration?' And how on earth do we get people with other power agendas to take such an aim seriously?
Petrovich, Olivera
Olivera PetrovichSouth EastSciencePsychologyDevelopmental psychologist working as a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Experimental Psycology at’s main interest is how humans acquire certain metaphysical concepts, notably a concept of God, and further developments in this concept across age and culture. I have, indeed, done quite a bit of cross-cultural research, in Japan (with children and adults), in UK also with children and adults, and in UK with children from different faith schools. In all the research projects I have looked at this concept in the context of children's everyday understanding of the physical world. I also teach a course "Developmental Questions in Science and Religion" (for undergraduates in Experimental Psychology) and "Introduction to Psychology of Religion" (for undergraduates in Philosophy and Theology).
Poulter, MartinMartin PoulterSouth WestSkepticismSkepticism, Philosophy, EconomicsLecturer at University of is a lecturer at University of Bristol. He has fingers in many pies - perhaps his website and videos best explain what he's about. He is a member of Bristol Skeptics in the Pub and his interests encompass many things including scientology, philosophy, economics and IT. He has given Bristol the talks Cognitive Bias: Introspection and Religious Belief (2008) and Scientology: It's worse than you think! (2008). He's quite a character!
Pryce, AshAsh PryceScotland & NationalEntertainmentEntertainment, Magicashpryce@hotmail.comentertainer and magician with a rationalist angle. Ash Pryce is a mind reader and paranormal entertainer- don't let that fool you, he is absolutely on the side of rationalism and utilises his skills as a magician to replicate such allegedly psychic phenomena as metal bending, thought reading, psychic surgery (might get a little messy!), table levitations, and possessions. He's even been known to hammer spikes into his head against his doctor's express orders to stop. His two main shows are: How to be a Psychic Conman, which will teach you how to bend metal, move objects with a thought, read minds and perform psychic surgery. The sister show, How to Talk to the Dead ventures back to the 19th century and looks at classic mediumship including spirit slate writing, ouija boards, ectoplasm demonstrations (again with the mess!) and how to exorcise a sadly possessed individual. Both shows mix comedy, magic and a healthy dose of skepticism and have sold out venues across the country.
Quinn, BrianBrian Quinn
Yorkshire and the Humber
SkepticismSkepticism, HumanismNorth Yorkshire HumanistsBrian has a background in Physics, Statistics and Information Services.
He is passionate about equality and rationality and offers a set of talks including:
‘Why does God Hate Women?’perstition – the Odd Delusion’
‘That’s Handy! – A Truth Detection Kit’
‘Christian Values – No Good without God?’
‘Humanism & Morality’
Rogers, PatriciaPatricia RogersLondonHumanismHumanism, InternationalBHA trusteetrisha_rogers@yahoo.comWith an MA from Cambridge University, a PGCE and a Diploma of Management Studies, Patricia is an educator and internationalist, and has lived, taught and written in the UK, Nigeria, Pakistan the Philippines and South Korea. She also has strong working links with India, Nepal, Tibet, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Patricia has been Chief Executive of the Council for Education in World Citizenship, as well as the Jubilee Debt Campaign and Pestalozzi International Village. She is aware of the effectiveness of international collaboration and attended the 2011 IHEU meeting in Norway. She hopes her experience of running educational, international and campaigning charities will be useful to the BHA.
Scaramanga, Jonny
Jonny ScaramangaSouth WestEducationEducation, Leaving ReligionEx Christian Fundamentalist, Faith School researcher and musicianjonnyscaramanga@gmail.comJonny grew up in the UK in a Christian fundamentalist household and was educated under the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) programme which he now campaigns against. He has written about ACE and fundamentalism for The Guardian and the Times Education Supplement among others. For the first year writing his blog (below) he focused on Accelerated Christian Education, “a cult-like fundamentalist education system where children work individually, in silence, at isolated desks. The science curriculum emphasises Young Earth Creationism and mocks evolution. The politics curriculum teaches the views of the Christian Right.” He also collects accounts of people who have experienced ACE and provides insight into his experiences of leaving fundamentalist religion. Jonny is also a keen musician (see his site) and is working on a book about his life as a fundamentalist. Note Oct 2014: Jonny has been very busy recently and is trying to reduce the number of events he does. But if you're interested it's worth getting in touch and being really really nice!
Shaha, AlomAlom ShahaLondonHumanismHumanism, Education, ScienceJournalist, broadcaster, physics teacher and author of The Young Atheist€™s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God.alom.shaha@gmail.comAlom Shaha is the writer of The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God. Shaha discusses his exploration of belief through memoir, science and philosophy. Alom is also a Physics teacher and science enthusiast and educator, who has worked on a variety of programmes and projects including Horizon and Science Shack. His creative approach to science communication and teaching has been recognised with fellowships from the ‘’, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and The Nuffield Foundation.
Smith, ChrisChris SmithSouth EastHumanismTheology, InternationalVSO / Theology
Sturges, PaulPaul SturgesEast MidlandsActivismFreedom of SpeechResearcher in intelectual freedom matters. Professor Emeritus, Loughborough University; Professor Extraordinary, University of has written, taught and given conference presentations on intellectual freedom matters for over ten years. During this time he has touched on most aspects of intellectual freedom, including freedom of access to information, freedom of expression, and freedom of opinion. In the 1990s he advised the Council of Europe on the potential damage to access to information caused by Internet filtering. The controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 led him to work on tolerance in relation to freedom of expression, and in 2010 he is looking at the problem of blasphemy. The most enjoyable aspect of all this has been researching comedy and freedom of expression, which justified going to lots of comedy gigs and interviewing stand-up comedians.
Travers, AverilAveril TraversSouth EastActivismAnimal RightsAnimal Aidaveriltravers@sky.comAnimal Rights
Upchurch, PaulPaul UpchurchLondonScienceScience, biology, evolution, creationismSenior Lecturer in Palaeobiology at University College's research interests include the evolution of dinosaurs, the physical events that control the spatial distributions of organisms, and the analysis of diversity patterns in the fossil record. He has had a long standing interest in the evolution-Creation debate, particularly with regard to issues such as: 'Intelligent Design', the age of the Earth, intermediate forms in the fossil record, and the origins of novel anatomical features/adaptations. He also enjoys debating creationists.
Weedon, RoyRoy WeedonSouth EastHumanismHumanismFarnham, Humanism
Zachhuber, Johannes
Johannes Zachhuber
South EastTheologyTheology, politics, secularismLecturer in Modern Theology at Oxford University.
Johannes' interests include Christian theology, the history of religious thought in the 19th and 20th century, religion and politics, and theories of secularisation.
Rodell, JeremyJeremy RodellLondonHumanismHumanism, InterfaithJeremy is the BHA's Dialogue Officer and Chair of SW London Humanists
Jeremy is the BHA Dialogue Officer. He has a particular interest in the dramatically changing landscape of religion and belief in this country, where we will soon have a non-religious majority, and how humanists can make a positive contribution. He has spoken to many audiences including Conway Hall Ethical Society, faith and interfaith groups, professional bodies and humanist groups.
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