Woodbrooke is delighted to announce that the 2020 Swarthmore Lecture will be given by Tom Shakespeare. Tom is a sociologist, broadcaster, campaigner for disability rights and writer on disability, genetics and bio-ethics. He is a member of Norfolk and Waveney Area Meeting currently living in London.
Tom’s lecture will address hope. How do we face all the very real, terrible things that happen in our world and still have hope? How did Friends in the past have hope in dark times? What does our engagement with the world look like today? Tom will reflect on the nature of hope, our reasons to hope, and how we can preach hope through the way we live our lives.
The Swarthmore Lecture committee minuted that they wanted an enduring message which goes beyond the present turbulence, drawing on the past and pointing towards the future. In selecting Tom they discerned that they had someone “…who lives hope as well as someone who can inspire with their words.”
Tom has taught and researched at the Universities of Sunderland, Leeds, Newcastle and East Anglia and worked for the World Health Organisation, Geneva. He is currently Professor of Disability Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he teaches on disability and development, including sexual and reproductive health of disabled people.
As well as academic work Tom is also a broadcaster particularly known for his talks on Radio 4’s A Point of View. He has also contributed to other programmes including BBC Question Time, Radio 4 Today, BBC Newsnight, CNN and Al Jazeera. He served as a member of the Arts Council of England between 2003 and 2008.
We hope Friends are excited to see how the lecture will explore and respond to the much needed concern of hope which attends to the very nature of our faith and witness in the world today. The lecture will be given at Yearly Meeting Gathering 2020 in Bath next August, it will also be live streamed online and recorded as video and audio. There will be an accompanying book which will be available at Yearly Meeting Gathering 2020.