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Witness Seminars

Recent Witness Seminars

For more information on any of these seminars, please email Dr Michael Kandiah (michael.kandiah@kcl.ac.uk).

Recent Witness Seminars

Women and the Northern Ireland Peace Protests

Date: November 2018

This seminar looks at women's involvement in the Northern Ireland Peace Protests.

Click here to listen to the recorded witness seminar.

Britain in the Commonwealth: The 1997 Edinburgh summit 

Date: 19 March 2018

Time: 14.00 - 18.00

Location: The Court Room, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

More info: http://bit.ly/2Hx0asV

*jointly organised by Dr Michael Kandiah and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Description: The meeting in Edinburgh in 1997 was the last occasion on which Britain hosted the Commonwealth heads’ meeting, and the discussions covered a range of important issues for the future direction of the association which remain relevant and highly topical: the great step forward on trade, business and investment; the denouement of the Nigerian crisis and the willingness to impose sanctions; the return of Fiji and the presence of President Nelson Mandela; the elevation of HM the Queen into the summit itself; the start of a visible Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) presence; and discussion on possible new members. 

The intended timetable:

  • 2.00pm – 3.30pm: Session One
  • 3.30pm – 4.00pm: Break for refreshments
  • 4.00pm – 5.30pm: Session Two
  • 5.45pm: Reception for participants

Please register here if you are interested in attending: http://bit.ly/2FwJ4yO

The History, Role and Functions of The Washington Embassy Since the 1980s

21 June 2017, 13.00 - 17.00

This witness seminar will examine the role and functions of UK Embassy in Washington, principally from the testimonies and perspectives of those who served there.

Twenty years ago a witness seminar was held, which examined the role of the British Embassy in Washington,  and two years later another was held focusing on the Moscow Embassy.  This is part of a Witness Seminars series on Embassies and High Commissions, the other’s examined being: Beijing; Canberra; New Delhi; Moscow; Paris; Pretoria; Latin American Embassies; and most recently on the UK representation in the Caribbean.

Chair: Professor Kathleen Burk (University College London)

Participants: Sir Roger Carrick, KCMG, LVO; Mark Pellew, CVO; Sir Christopher Meyer, KCMG

Location: River Room, 2nd floor, King’s Building, King’s College London

'The History, Role and Functions of The British High Commissions in the Caribbean Since the 1980s'

4 May 2017, 13.00-17.00

The 1974 NHS Reorganisation

Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 13.30-17.00

The Law on Marital Rape 

2 November 2016. 
Chair: Professor Jeffrey Weeks; Witnesses: Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Ruth Hall; Lady Hale, Selma James, Lisa Longstaff, Professor Jennifer Temkin.

Post-PACE: Police and Policing in the South West

Plymouth University, 28 April 2016, 10.00am-4.30pm

The role of the United Nations, 13 January 2016, part of "The UN@70" events.

Weston Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford, 09.30-17.30

The Child Poverty Action Group in the 1990s and 2000s

1 June 2015

The Role and Functions of the British High Commission in Ottawa

British Embassies in Latin America, 29 January 2015

This witness seminar was organised in collaboration with Lancaster University and Canning House. It examined how British diplomatic representation in Latin America has been developing over the past 30 years. Participants included senior diplomats and other British policymakers. The event was held in Canning House, Belgravia, London, on Thursday 29 January 2015 between 15.30 to 18.00.

Chair:

Baroness Hooper GMC (Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin America Group, 2009-Present)

Witnesses:

• Georgina Butler (HM Ambassador to Costa  Rica)

Dr Peter Collecott CMG (HM Ambassador to Brazil, 2004-8)

• Nigel Haywood (Governor of the Falkland Islands, 2010-4)

• Donald Lamont (HM Ambassador to Venezuela, 2003-6; Governor of Falklands Islands, 1999-2002; HM Ambassador to Uruguay, 1991-4)

Giles Paxman CMG, LVO (HM Ambassador to Mexico, 2005-9; HM Ambassador to Spain, 2009-13)

The seminar was also attended by academics, policymakers, and others with a strong interest in British policy in this region. 

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), 6 January 2015

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in 1965, a series of witness seminars are being held. The intention of these is to reflecting on CPAG's achievements over the past 50 years and what can be learnt from the organisation's successes and failures.

The first of these events brought together people active in CPAG during the 1970s and 1980s to discuss their recollections. The seminar was introduced and chaired by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw (University of York), who is currently a member of CPAG’s Board of trustees and Chair of its Policy Committee.

The participants included:

Fran Bennett, Baroness Lister of Burtersett, Professor John Veit-Wilson,
Professor Adrian Sinfield, David Bull,  Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone,
Jane Streather, John Ward, and Gary Runciman.

This witness seminar followed on from two previous ICBH seminars on CPAG.

Cultural Enquiry into Young People and the Arts, 10 November 2014

This witness seminar examined how various institutions attempted to engage young people with the Arts from the 1980s onwards. It was organised by Cultural Partnerships, King’s College London, with ICBH support.

"Defence Through Deterrents", 10 September 2014

Throughout the Cold War, British forces were involved in a wide range of sensitive operations, many of which for security reasons are not mentioned in the available archived records. The sole source of information thus remains in the memories of participants. Before their memories are lost, it is important that those who can share their experiences be given an opportunity to do so and that a record is kept of these precious memories. 

This Witness Seminar focused on defence and deterrence and covered a wide range of subjects such as V-force capabilities, BRIXMIS, and maritime surveillance. For more information please email Dr Michael Kandiah (michael.kandiah@kcl.ac.uk)

The Role and Functions of the British Embassy in Paris, 3 April 2014

This was the sixth seminar in a series sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It examined the history, role and functions of the UK Embassy in Paris, principally from the testimonies and perspectives of those FCO officials who served there. Witnesses included Sir David Manning GCMG: First Secretary, 1984-88, Sir Christopher Mallaby GCMG: Ambassador, 1993-1996, Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG: Counsellor (Financial and Commercial), 1987–90; Ambassador, 1996-2001 and Sir John Holmes GCVO: First Secretary (Economic), 1984–87; Ambassador, 2001-2007. In addition, academic papers discussed earlier ambassadors: with Dr Rogelia Pastor-Castro on Sir Oliver Harvey, Dr Helen Parr on Sir Patrick Reilly and Dr Isabelle Tombs on Sir Nicholas Henderson.

The Role and Functions of British High Commission in Pretoria, 26 November 2013

This was the fifth in the AHRC-FCO-ICBH series of witness seminars on Embassies and High Commissions. The first focused on the British High Commission in New Delhi and was held on 17 November 2011. The second, on the British Embassy in Beijing was held on 7 June 2012. The third was held on 7 November and examined the British High Commission in Canberra. The fourth looked at the UK Mission to the United Nations (New York). This witness seminar series builds on previous seminars held by ICBH such as The British Embassy in Moscow and The British Embassy in Washington (click on the links to go to pages about those seminars, with downloadable pdf files of the transcripts).  If you are interested in attending this seminar, please email Dr Michael Kandiah (michael.kandiah@kcl.ac.uk).

The Resource Allocation Working Party - distributing resources in the NHS, 21 November 2013

A further seminar on UK health policy, following The Tomlinson Report and After in November 2012. This will be held at King's College London, and there will be limited spaces available. If you'd like to be put on the list for an invitation, please email Dr Virginia Preston (virginia.preston@kcl.ac.uk).

The History, Role and Functions of the UK Mission to the United Nations (New York), 22 May 2013

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Institute of Contemporary British History (ICBH) at King’s College London, and the Foreign ad Commonwealth Office (FCO) are jointly organising a seminar on: The history, role and function of the UK Mission to the United Nations (New York). The event will be held at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, on Wednesday, 22 May 2013.

The seminar will bring together an unparalleled panel of senior FCO alumni of British representation at UKMIS NY. Participants will include:
      Sir Thomas Richardson KCMG: First Secretary, 1974-78
      Charles Humfrey CMG: First Secretary, 1981-85
      Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG: UK Permanent Representative, 1987-90
      Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG: UK Permanent Representative, 1990-95
      Sir Stewart Eldon KCMG: UK Deputy Permanent Representative, 1998-2002
      Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG: UK Permanent Representative, 2003-07

The seminar will take the form of an interactive group interview, chaired by Sir Franklin Berman KCMG: UKMIS Legal Adviser, 1982-85 and Kirsty Hayes: Head, International Organisations Department, FCO , with provision for discussion and questions from delegates. It is intended that the oral history interviews and historical analysis will help us to better understand how the UK has interacted with the United Nations. The seminar will be attended by humanities researchers, diplomats, policymakers, analysts and others with a strong interest in the future of policy in this area.

For further information, please contact Dr Michael Kandiah (on Michael.Kandiah@kcl.ac.uk.

The Tomlinson Report and After: London's health services 1992-7, 13 November 2012

This seminar was organised with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Participants included:  Nicholas Timmins, Virginia Bottomley, and Leslie Turnberg. For full details, including downloadable transcript,please click here.

The Cold War Challenge to the Christian Churches,  29 November 2012.

ICBH jointly organised this seminar with the Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations, London Metropolitan University, and the School of History, University of Ulster. The event was held in Room CM238, Aldgate Campus, London Metropolitan University, Goulston Street, London, E1 7TP, on Thursday, 29 November 2012.

The seminar brought together a panel of Christian activists involved in different capacities with the problems of the churches and East-West relations going back to the 1960s. The participants possess critical insights into two significant institutional responses to the Cold War challenge to the Christian Church, the British Council of Churches’ East-West Relations Advisory Committee and the Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism (later Keston Institute).

Panel Participants:

The Very Rev Canon Dr John Arnold, Dean Emeritus of Durham
The Very Rev Canon Dr Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston College
Xenia Dennen, Chairman of the Keston Institute
The Very Rev Canon Dr Paul Oestreicher, former vice president CND

The seminar took the form of an interactive group interview, introduced by Professor Jeff Haynes and chaired by Dr Dianne Kirby, the UK co-ordinator of the research project ‘Christian World Community and the Cold War’, for which the seminar is the first event to be held in Britain. It is intended that the participants’ testimony will help us to better understand the extent to which the Cold War was a religio-political enterprise that confronted the churches with profound challenges on a number of levels that have only recently begun to attract serious attention from Cold War scholars. Humanities researchers and those with a strong interest in this area, as well as other Christian activists with Cold War recollections will attend the seminar.

This is an invitation-only event. It will be recorded and the recording will subsequently made available via the London Metropolitan University website, whilst an agreed version of the transcript of the proceedings will be published in the ICBH witness seminar series.

For further information contact: Dr Michael Kandiah at ICBH (Michael.Kandiah@kcl.ac.uk, or 020 7848 7044) or Dr Dianne Kirby, (d.kirby@ulster.ac.uk, or 02871 375285).

This is the first in what is intended to be a series of witness seminars. The second seminar, which is to be held next year, will focus on the dilemmas with which nuclear weapons and the peace movement confronted Britain’s churches.

The Role and Functions of the British High Commission in Canberra, 8 November 2012

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Institute of Contemporary British History (ICBH) and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, both at King’s College London, and the Foreign ad Commonwealth Office (FCO) are jointly organising a seminar on: The history, role and function of The British High Commission in Canberra, Australia. The event will be held at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, on Thursday 8th November 2012.

The seminar will bring together an unparalleled panel of senior FCO alumni of British representation in Australia, going back to the mid-1950s. Participants will include:

Rt. Hon. the Lord Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC: High Commissioner 1955-1959; Foreign Secretary, 1979-1983

Gavin Hewitt CMG: First Secretary 1973-1978

Peter Collecott CMG: Deputy High Commissioner 1982-86

Sir John H.G. Leahy KCMG: High Commissioner 1984-1988

Sir Brian L. Barder KCMG: High Commissioner 1991-1994

Sir Roger J. Carrick KCMG, LVO: High Commissioner 1994-1997

Hon. Sir Alexander Allan, KCB: High Commissioner 1997-1999

Rt. Hon. the Lord Goodlad KCMG: High Commissioner 1999-2005

Rt. Hon. the Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke PC: High Commissioner 2005-2009

The seminar will take the form of an interactive group interview, chaired by Professor Carl Bridge of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies and David Fitton, Acting Head of Pacific Department, FCO, with provision for discussion and questions from delegates. It is intended that the oral history interviews and historical analysis will help us to better understand how the UK has promoted its international presence and political, security, economic and cultural interests in Australia in the recent past. The seminar will be attended by humanities researchers, diplomats, policymakers, analysts and others with a strong interest in the future of policy in this area.

This is an invitation-only event. Please contact Dr Michael Kandiah (on Michael.Kandiah@kcl.ac.uk or 020 7848 7044), Institute of Contemporary British History, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS with any queries.

It is the third in a series of six witness seminars. The first focused on the British High Commission in New Delhi and was held on 17 November 2011. The second, on the British Embassy in Beijing was held on 7 June 2012. The next witness seminar in this series will examine the British Embassy in Paris. This witness seminar series builds on previous seminars held by ICBH such as The British Embassy in Moscow and The British Embassy in Washington (click on the links to go to pages about those seminars, with downloadable pdf files of the transcripts).  


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