pubTALK is a monthly series of informal lectures and discussions, held at the pub! A typical pubTALK features a short talk from an expert on a particular topic, followed by an open Q&A. Speakers and attendees are encouraged to stay for a drink afterwards to continue the discussion informally.

pubTALKs are held on the first Monday of every month, from 7pm-9pm, upstairs at The Jolly Sailor in Canterbury. The talks are free to attend, and everyone is welcome.

Please arrive from 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The Jolly Sailor offer a great range of food and snacks which you can order to have during the talk.

Please note that the talks may be photographed and/or filmed. If this is a concern, please speak to a member of the team when you arrive. If you are unable to attend the talk, you can follow the event on Twitter @unikentqstep with #pubTALK.

Are you interested in speaking at a pubTALK? If so, we currently have a waiting list of speakers for the 2018/19 academic year but if you are interested, please contact us at: qstepinfo@kent.ac.uk

Upcoming pubTALKs:

4th December 2017 - Home and Sexuality: the 'Other' Side of the Kitchen

Dr Rachael Scicluna

In this talk, I explore the meanings and experiences of home among a group of lesbians who over the past five decades have sought to create alternative intimate and public living spaces. The protagonists who enact the ethnographic narrative are a small group of older lesbians, mainly feminist activists, residing in the metropolis of London. The meaning of home and domestic space emerges from unique life histories informed by the wider social and political context, and moves from the earliest memories of their childhood kitchens to their contemporary domestic lives.

Leaping from the radical lesbian feminist collectives and squats of the 1980s to the ordinariness of home life, the kitchen emerged as a tangle of cultural norms, customs, duties, ideas, aspirations, expectations, and values that tells us about the thinking process and behaviour of this specific group of older lesbians. In this context, the kitchen brings out the experiences of social inequalities experienced by these older lesbians, mainly brought out by the hegemonic institution of heteronormativity and patriarchy.


5th February 2018 - Thumbs up! The evolution of our hands

Dr Tracy Kivell

With our opposable thumbs and dextrous fingers, the human hand is known for its remarkable manipulative abilities that are critical to almost all aspects of our daily life.  The evolution our dexterity is traditionally thought to be a result of no longer needing our hands for locomotion and, in particular, using our hands for tool-use.  However, recent fossil human and archaeological discoveries, as well as research on other primates, suggest that the evolution on the human hand is much more complex and that tool-use has been a part of our evolutionary history for much longer than traditionally thought.

In this talk, Tracy Kivell will discuss what is unique about the human hand, what we share with other primates, and what the hand skeletons of newly-discovered fossil human ancestors, such as Homo naledi, can tell us about the evolution of our hands. 

5th March 2018 - "The social life of a teenage brain".

Dr Heather Ferguson

Details TBC

9th April 2018 - Living Differently: the Cultural Spaces of the Left

Dr David Nettleingham

The history of British socialism, communism and anarchism in the 20th century was as much one of culture and community as it was of politics and policy. Theatres, cycling clubs, Sunday Schools, book groups and music festivals provided spaces and activities through which comrades socialised, learned skills and often raised their children.

In the last 10 years there has been a resurgence of these kinds of spaces and activities – not tied to parties or international political camps as were their predecessors, but organised by groups of friends, communities on and offline, young people getting involved in politics for the first time. Some aim to revitalise the old, some are new responses to new challenges.
This talk looks at some examples of the cultural responses to the political needs of today, putting them in historical context and asking what it means that this form of political engagement is on the rise.


Previous pubTALKs:

Mind The Gap: Does voluntary action in education exacerbate inequality?

Mind The Gap: Does voluntary action in education exacerbate inequality?

Dr Eddy Hogg

Voluntary action in schools is not new, but increasingly state schools are relying on donations of time and money to deliver core and non-core activities. This has brought inequalities between what donations schools can attract into focus. In this talk Eddy Hogg will discuss research (conducted with co-researcher Dr. Ali Body) from Kent which finds that some schools are raising significantly more money and attracting significantly more volunteer time than others. Further, he will reflect on the impact that schools’ socio-economic profiles have on these donations.

Inside-Out: the prison exchange programme.

Dr. Caroline Chatwin

Inside-Out is a groundbreaking educational programme which allows 15 university students to study alongside 15 students from within a prison population.  The University of Kent has been participating in this programme for the past two years, taking 15 criminology students to study alongside 15 students from HMP Swaleside.  The students involved have been discussing issues of criminological interest (why does crime happen; what is prison for; what should we do about drugs etc.) and using their different perspectives and life experiences to learn from each other and expand their existing knowledge base.

This talk outlines the premise of the Inside-Out programme and examines the benefits of such a programme to both the university and the prison.  It also explores the potential links between universities and prisons more generally, and questions whether we could or should do more to, as universities and as communities, to allow those with criminal convictions to participate in educational opportunities.

Pint of Science Festival

Monday 15th to Wednesday 17th May 2017

In May the Q-Step pubtalk team worked with staff from the Medway School of Pharamacy to put on Kent's first ever Pint of Science festival. Featuring 9 speakers over three nights, in pubs in Canterbury and Medway, the event was a huge success, completely selling out.

Watch this space for more details of next year's bigger, better Kent Pint of Science festival!

Through Obamageddon and the Trumpocalypse

Through Obamageddon and the Trumpocalypse: “Doomsday” Prepping and Contemporary American Politics

Dr. Michael Mills

Monday 3rd April 2017, 7pm, The Jolly Sailor

The last decade has witnessed a remarkable rise in the number of Americans engaged in so-called “Doomsday” prepping – a co-ordinated set of activities centred on storing food, water, and weapons for the purpose of independently surviving a (potentially apocalyptic) social collapse.

This talk will briefly look at some of the core attractions of prepping for those who engage in it, and will discuss the relationship between prepping’s rise and developments in mainstream American politics.

In particular, it will highlight how prepping’s rise from 2008 onwards has been affected by wider strains of right-wing alarm at the presidency of Barack Obama, and will speculate about how enthusiasm for prepping is being (and will be) affected by the rise of Donald Trump.


Negotiating with Terrorists: Is it ever an option?

Dr. Harmonie Toros

Monday 6th March 2017, 7pm, The Jolly Sailor

State leaders have repeatedly told us that they would never, ever negotiate with terrorists. Despite secret talks being held in numerous conflicts across the world, the rhetoric remains strong. Why can’t state negotiate with terrorists? Harmonie Toros has spent a decade investigating negotiations with terrorist groups and argues that such talks may, in some cases, represent the best way out of terrorist violence.

Paycheck to Paycheck: Lone parents as members of the “working poor”

Dr. Tina Haux

Monday 6th February 2017, 7pm, The Jolly Sailor

Recent reforms in the UK place increased pressure on lone parents to work.  In this talk, Q-Step director Tina Haux outlines the rationale for these reforms, before discussing the challenges lone parents face in finding “good jobs” and avoiding joining the growing group of “working poor” in the UK. The talk concludes by discussing the way forward for the government.

Trump and Brexit: the end of politicial polling?

Thursday 1st December, 7pm, The Jolly Sailor

The last six months have seen two cataclysmic events in politics. The UK voted to leave the EU, and Donald Trump was elected to the White House. Most polls saw neither result coming.

In 2015, after the general election polling ‘miss' in Britain, qustions were raised over the value of polling, with one Labour peer saying polls were ‘corrupt' and should be banned during election campaigns. After the polling fiascos of 2016, this debate is set to ignite once again.

In light of this, Q-Step are excited to host a panel discussion followed by a Q&A on the future of opinion polling in politics. Should polls be banned? Are they reliable anymore? What worth do they have for democracies today?

The importance of the social sciences in vaccine uptake

Confidence and hesitancy: The importance of the social sciences in vaccine uptake

Thursday 3rd November 2016, 7pm - The Jolly Sailor, Canterbury

Up until fairly recently women were broadly advised not to take medication during their pregnancy. This changed in 2009 when the influenza vaccination, and three years later the whooping cough vaccination, became widely recommended as effective means of protecting mothers during pregnancy, and infants shortly after birth, from potentially life threatening diseases. The change has presented a unique landscape for studying the concept of vaccine hesitancy and the reasoning behind why an individual may refuse a vaccine when offered.

Rosie and Richard are current PhD students associated with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In this talk they will discuss some of the social science literature on vaccine hesitancy and talk about their current research into vaccine hesitancy during pregnancy. Rosie from an anthropology, qualitative perspective and Richard from a psychology, quantitative perspective.

The pursuit of the super you...

Dr. Amir-Homayoun Javadi

Thursday 6th October 2016 - The Jolly Sailor, Canterbury

Would you like to have a better memory, to make better decisions, to be physically stronger, to sleep better, to become a better musician, or to be faster?

In this talk Dr Amir-Homayoun Javadi gives an introduction to electrical brain stimulation. He talks about its applications and how it can transfer you to super-you, before discussing whether it can really be used in everyday life, and whether we should (or should not) use it for physical and cognitive enhancement.

EU Referendum Special

Tuesday 7th June 2016 - The Parrot, Canterbury

This June, for the first time since 1975, the people of Britain will get a say about their relationship with Europe. With both sides making compelling arguments, we think it’s vital to get a broad and accurate picture of the pros and cons of EU membership, and the changes we can expect should Britain vote to Leave on the 23rd June.

This pubTALK special provides just that. The format will be a panel discussion, featuring representatives from both the Remain and Leave campaigns, as well as academic and student speakers. We hope to get a range of opinions and perspectives on the key issues the referendum is being fought around.

There will be plenty of opportunity to get involved in the discussion, through social media (both leading up to the event and live on the night) and a good old-fashioned live Q&A with the speakers. As always, both attendees and speakers are encouraged to stick around for a few drinks afterwards, to continue the discussion informally.

Iceland, the Panama Papers and the rise of the Pirate Party

Dr. Ben Leruth

Tuesday 3rd May 2016 - The Dolphin, Canterbury

The release of the Panama Papers had a huge impact around the world. According to these leaks, thousands of bankers, businessmen and politicians have had links to anonymous offshore companies. Among them, David Cameron’s father, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin, and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Daví Gunnlaugsson. What happened in Iceland is particularly remarkable: more than 20,000 people (around 7 per cent of the whole population) protested in front of the Icelandic parliament, and the Prime Minister eventually stepped down.

In this month's pubTALK, Dr Benjamin Leruth will discuss what happened in Iceland, and why this small island is a fascinating case study for analyzing successful protest movements. He will also discuss the rise of the Icelandic Pirate Party, which has topped opinion polls for more than a year, and is likely to form a government after the upcoming elections in the Autumn.

The Implications of Brexit

Zach Paikin

Tuesday 12th April 2016 - The Dolphin, Canterbury

Due to a late change in speaker, we do not have a full blurb for April's pubTALK. PhD candidate Zach Paikin kindly stepped in at very short notice and delivered a blisteringly perceptive talk on the possible implications of a UK exit from the EU, which was followed by an engaging Q&A session.

Mind the gap - Why pay-gap statistics don’t tell the whole story

Eva Kleinert

Tuesday 2nd March 2016 - The Dolphin, Canterbury

Despite increases in women’s employment, by many measures women remain at an economic disadvantage in all developed countries. Women are less likely to be in the labour market, more likely to work part time, hold only 20% of top executive positions and are paid less on average for like-for-like roles. Despite this, more and more families depend on women’s work, with 61% of mothers acting as “breadwinners” or “co-breadwinners”.
Recently announced legislation will require all medium and large UK companies to publish pay-gap figures from 2018, showing differences in wages between male and female employees. In this month’s pubTALK, Phd candidate Eva Kleinert shows how such pay-gap measures can be misleading, and presents the case for a more nuanced approach to women’s employment discrimination.

Between a rock and a hard place

Dr. Trude Sundberg

Tuesday 2nd February - The Parrot, Canterbury

Welfare tourism, swarms of immigrants, a drain on already scarce jobs and housing these are all commonly used descriptions of what immigration means for the UK. This lecture breaks down these narratives, qualifies them, and analyses them with a view to understanding what drives them. It attempts to tell an alternative story about immigration, a story of discrimination, destitution and despair.




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Last Updated: 06/11/2017