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 second Monday of each month at a pub in Canterbury from 19.00 to 21.00. The talks are free to attend, and everyone is welcome.  Please arrive from 19.00 for a 19.30 start. Please see the monthly drop down boxes below for details of location.

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, please contact us at: qstepinfo@kent.ac.uk

Upcoming pubTALKs

Details coming soon



Previous pubTALKs


Secular Muslim Women’s Activism in the Age of ISIS

11 March 2019

Hind Elhinnawy

Experiencing abuse, harassment, and sometimes death threats from ‘radical Islamists’, and accused of collaborating with Western imperialism by importing alien ideas and practices, secular Muslim women activists challenge discriminatory laws within Islamic texts, reject and condemn the jihadist political message, and assert that human rights laws have precedence over religious and cultural considerations.

In this presentation, I focus on two organizations run by two secular Muslim women activists; “Inspire” a counter-extremism and women’s rights organization; and “Mother’s Brigade” a French organization that provides support for traumatized mothers of foreign fighters working to save children from recruitment in extremist and jihadist groups. In doing so, I hope to unravel many of the tensions, conflicts and ambiguities that mark the nature of activism of Muslim women in the West opposing what they define as “violent Islamist Extremism”.

Palliative care - not just for cancer?

11 February 2019

Professor David Oliver (Honorary Professor for the Tizard Centre)

Palliative care is the active support of people with life threatening illness, considering all aspects of care – physical, psychological, social and spiritual.  It is often associated with the care of people with advanced cancer, although when St Christopher’s Hospice was opened in 1967 by Dame Cicely Saunders patients with other diagnoses were admitted. 

My interest has been in the development of palliative care of people with neurological disease and my research and publications has been on this developing field, particularly for people with motor neurone disease.  This pubTALK will look at this area and how palliative care, in hospices, hospitals and the community, is developing to care for people with any disease.

Lies, Fake News, and Statistics

10 December 2018

Dr Robert de Vries

Browse your social media feed, turn on the TV, or open your news website of choice - chances are it won't be long before you come across a story based on a statistic. Maybe it's that '70% of married women have cheated on their partners' (The Washington Post) or that '32,000 people in the US die from gun violence every year' (tweet by US Senator Tammy Baldwin) or that 'One in five British Muslims sympathise with Jihadis' (The Sun).

The news is full of numbers for a good reason: numbers and statistics are vital to understanding what's really going on in the world. But they can also be deceptive. In the wrong hands, they can easily end up giving us a distorted picture of reality. In this talk, based on his new book Critical Statistics: Behind the Headlines, Robert de Vries will show how understanding a few simple tricks and some basic statistical concepts can help us see the truth behind the numbers in the news.

Location: The Old Buttermarket, 39 Burgate, Canterbury CT1 2HW.

Speech, language and communication needs (SCLN) in the criminal justice system

12 November 2018

Cara Drury

In 2008, the UK government’s Bercow Report stated that “Communication is a fundamental human right.” But in a current landscape where 60% of young people in youth justice services have communication needs, compared to 5-14% of the general population, what’s going wrong? 

In this talk, Speech & Language Therapist and Kent Alumni, Cara Drury will explore why this discrepancy exists, what it means for these young people, and what the evidence says we can do to help.

Location: The Old Buttermarket, 39 Burgate, Canterbury CT1 2HW.

Citizens preferences on the Irish border after Brexit: evidence from a survey experiment

8 October 2018

Dr Laura Sudulich

Location: The Parrot, 1-9 Church Lane, St Radigans, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2AG



Countering drug deaths

21 May 2018

Professor Alex Stevens

Concern is mounting about the rising tide of drug-related deaths, both nationally and in Canterbury. Professor Alex Stevens will present evidence collected for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ report on Reducign Opioid-Related Deaths in the UK.  He will show what’s behind this worrying trend, followed by a discussion of two crucial questions. What steps could we take to reduce these deaths? And do we care enough to take them?

The social life of a teenage brain

9 April 2018

Dr Heather Ferguson

Understanding and predicting other people’s thoughts, feelings, intentions etc is a unique human ability that develops from early infancy, and is often referred to as ‘mindreading'. In fact, in every day life these mindreading abilities are engaged so readily that it's easy to forget just how complex they are – we are constantly working out what other people do/do not know, to ensure successful interactions, and avoid misunderstandings or embarrassment!

For a long time, it has been assumed that children reach adult-like levels in these important social skills by around 7 years old. In this this talk, Heather Ferguson will explore the ‘black box’ of a teenager’s mind to discuss how social communication abilities continue to develop change across the teenage years, and what might influence these changes, both positively and negatively.

Thumbs up! The evolution of our hands

5 February 2018

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. 

Home and Sexuality: the 'Other' Side of the Kitchen - CANCELLED

4 December 2017

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.


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

6 November 2017

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.

2 October 2017

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: 08/04/2019