Minerva Programme

The Minerva Programme is a series of lectures and workshops put on by the College for our scholars that encompasses the breadth of academic disciplines available at Bradfield.

The Programme is put together with academic departments and complements teaching in the classroom as well as forming part of the co-curriculum.

Minerva differs from our other lecture-based enrichment programme, the Athena Lectures, which are open to all pupils.

The Athena Programme invites outside speakers (many of whom are Old Bradfieldians), to give lectures on topics outside the curriculum. In recent years, this has included talks on politics and careers, to sporting prowess and exotic adventures, to name just a few.

Minerva Programme - Summer 2018


Minerva Programme 2017/18 - Summer calendar

RUDOLF HESS - A MOST CURIOUS LIFE AND DEATH with Major General Peter Williams

This talk covers the strange saga of the career of Hider's Deputy, his flight to Scotland in May 1941 and his 40-year incarceration in Spandau Prison in West Berlin. It is based, in part, on my experiences both as a guard commander and as the British Governor's interpreter in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Perfect for those studying German, highly recommended to the College's Historians!

Tuesday 1 May




Zoe is an ex-maths teacher who now gives talks with Think Maths. Her talk will take us on an adventure through the dimensions up to the mend bending concepts of the 4th dimension. This session will give pupils a chance to apply their mathematical thinking skills to higher dimensions and non-orienrable shapes, whilst being introduced to mobius loops, the klein boccie and the hypercube.

Tuesday 8 May




Dr. Helen Eastman trained as a theatre director at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, after graduating from Oxford in Classics and English. She works as a director and playwright at theatres throughout the UK and internationally. Highlights include Seamus Heaney's Cure at Troy at the Delphi Interna­tional Festival, Fair at Trafalgar Studios, Dido and Aeneas for ETO and the European tour of Cloudcuckooland. She is Associate Artist of the APGRD at Oxford University and director of the Cambridge Greek Play. She founded the Live Canon Ensemble seven years ago. Her doctorate is from King's College London, where she studied dialect verse translations of ancient plays.

Tuesday 5 June

LA LAiciTE With Marie-Laure Brossier & Jean-Pierre Sakoun

The word “Laïcité” doesn’t have any equivalent in English… or in any other language. The most approaching translation of « Laïcité » in English language would be “secularism”, although it is highly misleading. Several countries that apply or applied in the past the principles of “Laïcité” even decided to keep the word untranslated (like Kemal Atatürk Turkey for instance). In some regions of the world, like most Muslim countries, “laïcité” is confused with atheism.
Does that mean that “laïcité” is purely and only a French idiom, applicable only in France and with no accuracy everywhere else ? Obviously no.
“Laïcité” is in fact built on two pillars:

  • Laws that can be summarized in four principles, and that are universal:
  • absolute freedom of conscience;
  • absolute equality among citizens;
  • absolute equality of all citizens before the law;
  • a special relation between individual freedom and the building of the common good.

A long History, that starts 1,000 years ago in France and makes this country and this concept intimately intricated.

  • The concept of kingdom vs Empire;
  • The three ages of emancipation;
  • The Enlightenment;.
  • Modernity

Jean-Pierre Sakoun will describe the long evolution of the idea of “laïcité” in France and the universal principles that result from this history.

Marie-Laure Brossier will illustrate the current fights in French politics, and especially in local authorities to preserve the principles and “habitus” of “laïcité” in front of the constant and aggressive requests for “communautarist” withdrawal and fallback.

More information

Thursday 7 June

Poetry reading and Q&A with Mary Jean Chan

Mary Jean Chan is an award winning poet and editor from Hong Kong. A graduate of Swarthmore College, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, Mary Jean served as Vice-President of the Oxford University Poetry Society. Mary Jean's debut pamphlet A Hurry of English is published by ignitionpress and was recently selected at the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice. Mary Jean will be joining us to read a selection of her original poems and to

Monday 18 June



#Diamond101 with Richard Bodkin

Richard is a principal research scientist working for Element Six. Element Six (part of the De Beers company) is a leading producer of diamond synthesised exclusively for uses in industrial applications. Richard has over ten years of industrial research experience in the synthesis and behaviour of diamond.

Tuesday 19 June





Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist. After 17 years as a Member of the European Parliament, campaigning for British withdrawal from the EU, he succeeded in abolishing his job in the Brexit referendum on 23 June 2016. He is the author of nine books, including New York Times bestseller 'Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World', and Sunday Times bestseller Vote Leave'. His latest book is 'What Next: How co get the best from Brexit'.

Thursday 21 June




Jonathon is a Product Designer (UX) with over 10 years' experience vmrking on digital transformation projects in a wide range of industries, hoth agency and client side. Experienced at moderating design thinking workshops and design sprints, Jonathon is a creative thinker who puts the user first while understanding the importance of balancing chose needs with business requirements and development capabilities.

Date TBC