public events

Here are some of the events I’ve organised or participated in, where members of the public are warmly invited to join us on campus.

14 March 2017: Simon Armitage, Oxford Professor of Poetry, gave a Poetry Reading and a small-groun workshop on translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl, Theatre de Vidy and Amphimax, University of Lausanne. Both events formed part of the Printemps de la Poesie Festival.


29 Nov 2016: Irish Poetry, Music and Commemoration. Guest lecture by Professor Hugh Haughton, University of York, and performance of Dublin Songs by Tale of the Gael Trio, Sligo.


3 May 2016: 5 pm. Poetry Reading by Irish poet and professor Bernard O’Donoghue
(University of Oxford), l’Ecurie, Ferme de Dorigny, University of Lausanne.

Marko Rachel talking Heaney

28-29 April 2016: Traduction, Rhythm, Musique. A series of lectures, by Rachel Falconer, Irène Weber Henking, Vera Viehover, Angela Sanmann, Nicola Pozza, Geetanjali Shree and translator/poet André Marcowicz.


6 April 2016: Theory of the Lyric, with Jonathan Culler (University of Cornell). Lecture and discussion of the state of lyric poetry, in theory and practice, organised in association with members of the French, Italian, German and Classics Depts in the Faculty of Letters, Lausanne.

5 October 2015: A Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of W. B. Yeats, a poetry workshop in the Grange Theatre, University of Lausanne, open to the public, with contributions from Kevin Curran (Lausanne University), Martin Leer (Geneva University), The Irish Embassy, and Irish Recitation and Music by Tale of the Gael (Sligo)


29 April 2015: Poetry Reading in the Grange Theatre, by Scottish poet, editor, critic and musician Don Paterson (University of St Andrews).

12 Sept 2014: Wonderlands, a series of lectures by Martine Hennard Dutheil, Rachel Falconer, Kirsten Stirling and Neil Forsyth, on the theme of wonder in Milton, J M Barrie, C S Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and Angela Carter, for the Department of Continuing Education, Formation Continue, University of Lausanne.

24 April 2013: Poetry Reading , open to the public, by Kathleen Jamie (University of Stirling), Fécule Festival, The Grange Theatre, University of Lausanne.

27-29 June 2012: Literature, Medicine and Science in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. International Conference of SAMEMES (Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies) , co-hosted by Rachel Falconer and Denis Renevey, University of Lausanne.


22 March 2012: Inaugural Lecture, Faculty of Arts, University of Lausanne. ‘Afflatious Encounters: les oiseaux dans la poésie contemporaine britannique’.

20 April 2012: ‘Littérature et musique anglaise du 17e au 21e siècle: réflexion et interrogation autour de l’évolution de la littérature et de la musique à l’intérieure d’un même pays’. Concert of English music performed by cellist Pascal Desarzens and other musicians, and Lecture by Rachel Falconer. Caveau du Singe Vert, Lutry, and l’Eglise Saint-Vincent, Montreux.



Arts-Science Encounters

In 2009-2010, I initiated and organised a series of interdisciplinary public events at the University of Sheffield, under the name of Arts-Science Encounters. The project began as a commemoration of the life of my uncle, Jeremy Knowles, who was a distinguished chemist at Oxford and then Harvard. 2009 also happened to be the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, and the 50th anniversary of C.P. Snow’s controversial 1959 Reith Lecture, ‘The Two Cultures.’ I developed the Arts-Science initiative to challenge the notion of ‘two cultures’ (C P Snow), to stimulate research partnerships across all five of Sheffield University’s faculties, to encourage outstanding artists to work collaboratively with University scholars, and to broaden public awareness and understanding of the University’s research activities. The flagship of the initiative was a series of public talks, which ran from March to June and showcased cross-faculty research in an accessible, entertaining and provocative format. I ran a second series of events in 2010, which like the first series, attracted audiences from across the town and University. There were guest speakers from a range of disciplines, including Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Biology, Medicine, Psychology, Music, Literature, Philosophy, Law, Architecture, and Engineering. There were also invited guest speakers from the Universities of Harvard, Oxford, York, and other universities, as well as BBC journalists, and internationally-acclaimed writers and musicians. In conjunction with the arts-science initiative, two oil portraits were commissioned to commemorate the life and work of Chemistry Nobel Laureates Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts. A final public lecture concluded the series of Encounters: in 2009 by University of Oxford geneticist Professor Denis Noble (with classical guitar) and in 2010, by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at University of Oxford. The Arts-Science Encounters continue at the University of Sheffield to this day.

Oct 2009 : ‘Releasing your Inner Angel: David Almond’s Skellig for children and adults’, pre-performance public lecture, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.