public events

Here are some of the events I have organised or participated in, where members of the public are warmly invited to listen and participate in discussion.

September 2019: ‘Crossover Literature – ‘Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: Coming of Age in a Fantasy World’ – A Conference and Workshop on Crossover Literature and Reading, for Swiss High School Teachers of English. Organised by Martine Hennard Dutheil.

15 Sept 2017 : ‘Green Thought
in a Green Shade’ – A Conference and Workshop on Literature and the Environment, for Swiss High School Teachers of English. Organised by Martine Hennard Dutheil.

14 March 2017: Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage, Oxford Professor of Poetry, gave a Poetry Reading and a workshop on his 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 Poésie Festival.

irish-commemoration-poster2 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. Bernard O’Donoghue
Poetry Reading by Irish poet and professor Bernard O’Donoghue
(University of Oxford), at l’Ecurie, Ferme de Dorigny, University of Lausanne.

Marko Rachel talking Heaney 28-29 April 2016: Traduction, Rhythm, Musique, a conference organised by Martine Hennard Dutheil, with lectures by myself, Irène Weber Henking, Vera Viehover, Angela Sanmann, Nicola Pozza, Geetanjali Shree and translator/poet André Marcowicz.

6 April 2016: Theory of the Lyric
Jonathan Culler (University of Cornell) gave a lecture and led a 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, organised by me, with lectures by Kevin Curran (Lausanne University), Martin Leer (Geneva University), The Irish Embassy, and Irish Recitation and Music by Tale of the Gael (Sligo)

Pat 29 April 2015: Don Paterson
Scottish poet, editor, critic, professor and musician Don Paterson (University of St Andrews) gave a Poetry Reading in the Grange Theatre, University of Lausanne

12 Sept 2014: Wonderlands,organised by Martine Hennard Dutheil, with talks by me, Neil Forsyth, Kirsten Stirling and Martine Hennard Dutheil, 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 and Q & A, open to the public, by poet and professor 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 me and Denis Renevey, University of Lausanne. Guest speakers included Prof Heinrich Von Staden, Classics Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University, and others.

March 2012: Inaugural Lecture, Faculty of Arts, University of Lausanne. My inaugural lecture as Prof Ord. at Lausanne, delivered to the Faculty of Letters: ‘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’. The evening consisted of the music of Dowland, Handel and Britten, played by chamber musicians, interspersed with a lecture by me. Music organised by cellist Pascal Desarzens. 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.