Events Open to the Public

Ordered Universe members undertake a wide variety of activities open to the public. The Project itself has a series of public lectures attached to the research symposia programme, and a series of public forums (longer format events with public readings and analysis of Grosseteste’s works). In addition we take part in other events, as invited participants, and as part of Festivals. If you would like to attend we’d love to meet you and see you at our events. The short films by Alan Fentiman give an excellent flavour of what to expect!

Forthcoming Events

October 21st, 2017–March 11th, 2018: Illuminating Colour: New Work by Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie
The Main Gallery, The National Glass Centre, Sunderland
The exhibition provides an opportunity to explore the relationship between colour, light and glass. Robert Grosseteste (Bishop of Lincoln 1235–1253) has been described as ‘The greatest mind you’ve never heard of’. Scientists, historians and artists from the Universities of Oxford, Durham and Sunderland have worked together to explore Grosseteste’s theories on light and colour culminating in this exhibition of new work created by Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie. Artworks creating colour using only glass and light are shown alongside others using digital technology, allowing visitors to interact with and alter the nature of the works.

February 22nd, 2018: Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies and Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Ushaw Public Lecture
Dr Jack Cunningham, ‘Saving Robert Grosseteste – Fr Philip Perry’s Lost Biography’
18.00-19.15, Exhibition Hall, Ushaw College
Dr Cunningham will present new research on the 18th Century reception of Grosseteste within English Catholic circles, particularly a life written by Fr Philip Perry at the English College of Valladolid, Spain. Never published the life offers insights into how the past was perceived and used, in contested circumstances, and its wider relation to the status of the  Roman Catholic Church in England.
The event is free of charge, with a preceding drinks reception at 17.30.

Previous Events

September 30th 2017, from 19.00, Oxford
A showing by the Projection Studio of Spiritus: Light and Dark inspired by the Ordered Universe project, on the Museum of Natural History in Oxford. Part of the Night of Heritage Light, the presentation is free and open to the public.

September 21st, 2017, 18.00-19.20, Ushaw College
Alexandra Carr, Dr Giles E. M. Gasper and Dr Annalisa Cipollone
‘Creating the Cosmos: From Dante to Dark Matter’
– – a joint lecture with the Sculpting with Light Project (Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence), the Department of Italian – School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University and Ushaw College. Free and open to the public.

September 21st, 2017,15.30-17.30: Ushaw College, Exhibition Theatre
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, Alexandra Carr and members of the Ordered Universe
Show and Tell from the Sculpting with Light project (Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence) – come and find out about medieval and modern cosmology, including Grosseteste, and how they inspire contemporary art, and how that in turn elucidates the subjects. Free and open to the public.

August 24th, 2017, 15.30-17.30: Ushaw College, Exhibition Theatre
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, Alexandra Carr and members of the Ordered Universe
Show and Tell from the Sculpting with Light project (Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence) – come and find out about medieval and modern cosmology, including Grosseteste, and how they inspire contemporary art, and how that in turn elucidates the subjects. Free and open to the public.

August 24th, 2017, 18:00 – 19.30, Ushaw College, Francis Thomson Room
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, Alexandra Carr and Brian Tanner
‘The Medium is the Message: Understanding Medieval and Modern Science Through Art’
– a joint lecture with the Sculpting with Light project (Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence) and Ushaw College. Free and open to the public.

July 26th, 2017, 10:00 am-19.00, St John’s Centre, Leeds, Unit 4
Medieval and Modern Cosmology with Alexandra Carr, Dr Giles Gasper, Dr Mark Neyrinck (part of the Leverhulme Trust funded artist in residence programme – Sculpting with Light). Exhibiting and participating at the ASMbly Lab, organised by The Superposition.

May 17th, 2017, 7:30pm – 10pm, Head of Steam Pub, 3 Reform Place, North Road, Durham
Professor Richard Bower: ‘The Medieval Big Bang’
Part of Pint of Science – Analysing Antiquity.


Friday March 31st, 2017, 16.30-18.30 
Georgetown University, McShain Lounge, McCarthy Hall
Professor Neil Lewis, Professor Tom McLeish, Dr Giles E. M. Gasper and Ross Ashton: ‘Modern Science, Medieval Studies and Art in Dialogue: Bishop Robert Grosseteste’s (c.1170-1253) Scientific World of Light, Sound and the Big Bang

July 26th 10:00 am-19.00, 2017, St John’s Centre, Leeds, Unit 4
Medieval and Modern Cosmology with Alexandra Carr, Dr Giles Gasper, Dr Mark Neyrinck (part of the Leverhulme Trust funded artist in residence programme – Sculpting with Light). Exhibiting and participating at the ASMbly Lab, organised by The Superposition.

Saturday 11th February, 2017, 9.30-12.00 Old Palace, Ely, Open Seminar
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper and Professor Hannah E. Smithson: ‘The Scientific World of Bishop Robert Grosseteste: Medieval and Modern Science
Organised by the Bishop of Huntingdon, Rt Revd Dr David Thomson

Friday 10th February, 2017, 15.00-19.30, Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge
Ordered Universe presents Let There Be Light! Medieval and Modern Science on Light.
15.00-17.00: Ross Ashton, Richard Bower, Hannah Smithson, Giles Gasper and Tom McLeish present a series of short talks to support the Cambridge e-Luminate Festivaland the new projection from Ross Ashton and Karen Monid Spiritus – Light and Dark.
17.00-19.30:  Interactive activities and poster display from Ordered Universe, on project research and Medieval and Modern Science – with Sebastian Falk, Girton College, University of Cambridge on Astrolabes, as well as modern galaxy modelling, human vision and perception, medieval universe modelling and the life and times of Robert Grosseteste, and his scientific treatises.

Friday 27th January 2017, 3.30-5.00: University of Cambridge, Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Professor Tom McLeish: ‘Extracting new science from 13th century treatises by Robert Grossteste’

Tuesday 24th January 2017, 17.30-18.30: Durham University Institute of Advanced Studies Fellows’ Public Lecture
Professor Hannah Smithson, ‘Medieval and Modern Explorations of Human Colour Perception’ 
Joachim Room, College of St Hild & St Bede, Durham University

Friday 18th and Saturday 19th November 2016: ‘Heaven’s Above!’ Being Human Festival in Durham
Friday 18th November: Durham Cathedral
Dr Philipp Nothaft (All Souls College, University of Oxford) ‘Medieval Time Reckoning and the Dating of Easter
14:00 – 16:00, Durham Cathedral

Saturday 19th November: Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green, Durham University
Heaven’s Above!’: Interactive Exhibition – Medieval and Modern visions of the cosmos, with hands-on activities and mini-talks.
11.00-18.00, Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green, Durham University

Wednesday 16th November 2016: University of Lincoln, Annual Edward Delaval Public Lecture in Physics
Professor Tom McLeish FRS ‘Medieval Science and the Ordered Universe Project
18.00 EMMTEC Lecture Theatre, Brayford Pool Campus, University of Lincoln

Friday 7th October, 2016, 15.00: Robert Grosseteste Day, Bishop Grosseteste University, Annual Lecture and Book Launch

Dr Giles E. M. Gasper: ‘Sounding a Sonativum: Robert Grosseteste and the Generation of Sound
15.00, Robert Hardy Building Lecture Theatre, Bishops Grosseteste University, Lincoln

Wednesday 28th September, 2016:  McGill University, Montreal, McGill Medievalists Fall Visiting Lecture

Dr Giles E. M. Gasper: ”To Loose the Bonds of Arcturus’: Astronomy and the Liberal Arts in the Twelfth Century
17.00-18.30, Arts Building 160, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Friday 2nd September, 2016: St Chad’s College, Durham University, Ordered Universe Symposia Public Lecture Series

Professor Clive Siviour: ‘Imaging Fast Phenomena: Waves, Vibrations and High Speed Photography’
17.00-18.15, The Atrium, St Chad’s College, 18 North Bailey, Durham, UK

Monday 13th June 2016: Wesley Methodist Church, 7.45pm

Professor Tom McLeish, ‘Towards a theology of science – what is science for?’, including a section on Robert Grosseteste.

Friday 27th May 2016: Science, Art & Spirituality; Exploring Fields of Human Endeavour, Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion

Tom McLeish took part in an evening panel discussion on ‘Science and Spirituality’, using the Ordered Universe projects a key example.

19.30, Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot

Monday 16th May 2016: Hild Bede Senior Common Room

Tom McLeish presented an evening talk on the Ordered Universe project, entitled ‘Lessons from a Medieval Thinker: an Interdisciplinary Study.’

Thursday 7th April 2016: Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway, Ordered Universe Symposia Public Lecture Series

Tom Mcleish and Cecilia Panti: ‘Wonders of the Universe: Planetary Systems and Knowledge of the Cosmos in the Middle Ages and Now’
18.00, Notre Dame Global Gateway, Via Ostilia 15, Rome. Free and open to the public.

Thursday 25th February, 2016: ATOM Society, Abingdon

Hannah Smithson: ‘All the colours of the rainbow – Medieval and modern accounts of human colour perception’
19.00 for 19.30 Barn Room, Crown and Thistle (18 Bridge St, Abingdon OX14 3HS)

Wednesday 24th February 2016, Sevenoaks School, Kent

Tom McLeish gave a talk to Sixth Form Students at Sevenoaks School in Kent entitled ‘Learning from Medieval Scientist: An Interdisciplinary Investigation’.

Friday 29th January 2016: Durham University Physics Society, Senate Suite, Durham University.

Tom McLeish: ‘From a Medieval Big Bang to Rainbows’

Friday 27th November, 2015: Durham University, Ordered Universe Symposia Public Lecture Series

Giles Gasper: ‘Order, the Universe and Everything: The World of Robert Grosseteste’
17.30-19.00, Ken Wade Theatre, Calman Learning Centre. Free and open to the public

Saturday 21st November, 2015: Durham Cathedral, Haydn’s Creation, Concert, The Durham Singers and Ensemble, 7.30 pm.

Giles Gasper: ‘Creation Songs’
Pre-concert talk, 7.00-7.20: Durham Cathedral. Free to ticket holders for the concert

Saturday 21st November, 2015: Durham University

Richard Bower: ‘Secrets of the World Machine’
10.30-11.30 am:  James Duff Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics
A free public lecture on the science and history behind the World Machine, the centrepiece of Durham Lumiere 2015.

Saturday 14th November, 2015: Being Human, Festival of Humanities
‘The music of light: public workshop and poster exhibition’
14:00–16:00, Trevelyan College, Durham University

‘The music of light: public workshop and poster exhibition’ showcases research into understandings of light from the middle ages to modern science. Participants can explore the creation of colours, send messages along a light beam and experience a simulation of light being bent by the gravity of their own bodies. Alongside modern science, historical understandings of light will be presented, especially the world of Robert Grosseteste (d.1253). This features the work of the Ordered Universe Research Project (www.ordered- universe.com), whose members will be on hand to explain the richness of collaboration between medievalists and modern scientists. The event is supported by the Institute of Physics.

The workshop and exhibition is followed by an hour long concert given 
by the Durham Singers on the theme of light.  ‘The Music of Light‘ will feature works from the Renaissance to the modern-day including a piece by Durham-based composer Janet Graham.

Free, ticketed, events: tickets from World Heritage Visitor Centre.

Thursday 12th November-Sunday 15th November, 2015: Lumiere Durham
Durham City Centre, 16.30-23.00 (tickets only 16.30-19.30), Palace Green

Ordered Universe research into the medieval cosmos features as part of the main sound and light installation for Durham Lumiere 2015 ‘The World Machine’. Created in collaboration with designers and projectionist Ross Ashton, composer Isobel Waller-Bridge and sound designer John Del’Nero, the show was the brainchild of Carlos Frenk, Director of the Durham Institute of Computational Cosmology. He and Richard Bower have masterminded production of films from the EAGLE Galaxy Modelling project, and astronomical images of the universe, together with a team of devoted cosmologists. Richard and Giles Gasper helped curate the material for the medieval cosmos, using Ordered Universe research into the De luce, using the edition and translation by Cecilia Panti and Neil Lewis, as well as Giles and Faith Wallis’s project on the early 12th century Durham scientific compendium Hunter 100 (part of the Durham Priory Digitisation Project). The result will be an amazing display of the different perceptions and understandings of the universe in which we live. For more on the research behind the show see Inside the World Machine. The show itself is free, and runs every twenty minutes (dates and times above).

Tuesday 27th October, 2015: Westgate Talks – Oxford Castle
Hannah Smithson and Giles Gasper: ‘Uncovering medieval science: An interdisciplinary exploration of the work of Robert Grosseteste’
6pm, Oxford Castle Key Learning Centre at Oxford
Hannah and Giles will be presenting aspects of Grosseteste’s teaching and learning, including new work on the treatises on sound and the liberal arts, as part of a series of talks based on exciting new archaeological discoveries beneath the Westgate Shopping Centre. These include the Franciscan Friary established by Agnellus of Pisa in 1224, within Francis’s lifetime (d. 1226), to which community Grosseteste was appointed as their first lector.

Friday 9th October, 2015: Annual Grosseteste Lecture: Bishop Grosseteste University
Michael Huxtable: ‘A Guided Tour of Robert Grosseteste’s Chateau d’Amour
3 pm, Robert Hardy Lecture Theatre, Bishop Grosseteste University
The Ordered Universe project is deeply honoured that Mike Huxtable, a founding member, has been asked to deliver the annual Grosseteste lecture. Mike, an expert on Middle English vernacular and medieval colour theory, will offer a series of reflections on Grosseteste’s majestic poem of redemption, written in Anglo-Norman French, the Chateau d’Amour: castles, rainbows, the fall and salvation of mankind.
The lecture is free to attend.

Monday 21st September, 2015: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand: 2 Lectures by Tom McLeish.
1) ‘Successful Collaborative Research Between Humanities and Science’,
3.00-4.00 pm, Arts Building, Burns 7 Lecture Theatre.
Tom will be talking in the University of Otago about the collaboration between humanities and science, as exemplified by the Ordered Universe project. Tom’s talk is jointly hosted by the University of Otago’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues, and the Division of Humanities and Division of Science.

2) ‘Medieval Science and the Ordered Universe Project’  
5.30-6.30 pm, Teachers’ College Auditorium
Part of the Centre for Science Communication Science Communication Distinguished Communicator Series, which began in with the foundation of the Centre in 2008, Tom will be talking about the Ordered Universe project from its inception, its ambitions to edit, translate and analyse, contextually and scientifically, the scientific treatises of Robert Grosseteste, and its methods and practice.

Saturday 19th September, 2015: Royal Society
Brian Tanner and Giles Gasper: ‘A 13th century theory of everything’
12-1, The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG
Join Brian and Giles as they explore the unified nature of Grosseteste’s scientific thought, from cosmology to the earth and its natural phenomena. The lecture is part of the Royal Society’s contribution to the Open House London weekend, which celebrates the city’s architecture and heritage, and the dynamic place of the buildings in modern life.  The event is free to attend, tickets can be picked up on the day from the information desk, and doors open 15 minutes before the start of the lecture.

Tuesday 15th September, 2015: Emmanuel College, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Tom McLeish: ‘Working with Medieval Scholars on 13th Century Science Texts – A Scientist’s Tale’.
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Riverview Room, Emmanuel College
Tom will talk about the Ordered Universe project from the perspective of modern science, how scientists’s can, and should, engage with the deeper roots of their subjects. In so doing an appreciation of the understanding of natural phenomena known by past thinkers  can lead to new respect for their wisdom, and allow their examples to be a source of inspiration .

Friday 11th September, 2015: Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Tom McLeish: ‘The Ordered Universe Project’
2:15 pm – 3:45 pm, South Lecture Theatre, Monash University
A public lecture given by Tom on the nature and genesis of the Ordered Universe project: what happens when medievalists and scientists join forces to follow the thought of a 13th century genius. The event is jointly organised by the Monash Centre for Medieval & Renaissance StudiesThe Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology, and the School of Philosophical & Historical Studies at The University of Melbourne.

Sunday 7th June 2015Cheltenham Science Festival
Robert Grosseteste: The Greatest Mind You’ve Never Heard Of..
Tom, Hannah and Giles, in conversation with Lord Winston, will present their favourite and exhilarating moments from the Ordered Universe and dwelling with Grosseteste and his scientistic works. A snip at £8 in the Helix Theatre.

Wednesday 20th May, 2015: Reading between the Lines: Pint of Science
Duke of York, Kings Square, York YO2 8BH, 7.30pm-9.30pm
Tom McLeish: Scientific Collaborations with a Medieval Bishop
From Tom’s write-up: ‘I’ll talk about the experience of a scientist today working alongside humanities scholars to unearth the detailed scientific thinking of a 13th century scholar, Robert Grosseteste. His ideas on cosmology, colour, rainbows, sound helped to lay the ground for the scientific enlightenment three centuries later. But his ideas are so original that when we ‘translate them’ we get inspired to do new science today.’

18th-19th November 2014: From the Dark Ages to Dark Matter: Modern Encounters with Medieval Science‘: a day-long public workshop on the 18th November as part of the Being Human, Festival of Humanities, in Durham Cathedral, introducing the public to Grosseteste and the treatises on colour, light, the rainbow and the generation of sounds. The day culminated with the first public showing of the visualisation, in the chapter house at Durham. The 19th November featured a Public Lecture as part of the Durham University, Centre for Catholic Studies, Ushaw Lecture Series, by Michael Brooks, well known popular science author. The activities were funded by the Festival of Humanities and the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.

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