Lecture founder returns to reflect upon 25 years of the Roscoe

25 years of 'Roscoe Reflections'

Professor the Lord David Alton returned to St George’s Hall with hundreds of guests from across Liverpool and the LJMU community. 

The former MP, lecturer and human rights advocate founded the Roscoe Lecture Series at LJMU, in 1997. The Roscoe Lecture titled ‘Roscoe Reflections’ is part of LJMU Bicentenary celebrations and focused on the past 25 years and 169 lectures of the Roscoe series, to date. 

Professor Mark Power, Vice-Chancellor of LJMU welcomed Lord Alton to the stage, who then shared with audiences why the Roscoe’s were launched, their legacy and future, plus reflections on some of the most memorable speakers, including His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, now King Charles III and the Dalia Lama. 

Lord Alton said: “I wanted the lectures to be varied and unpredictable but not shy of stimulating thoughtful debate, to be an example of the university’s insistence on academic freedom and free speech. 

“We wanted the lectures to be a space in which people would rub shoulders and strike up conversations with people they might not otherwise come into contact with.” 

Why 'Roscoe'?

Lord Alton also reflected on why the lectures were named after William Roscoe “the father of Liverpool culture.” 

“William Roscoe, as an MP, voted to abolish the transatlantic trade, published tracts and poems attacking the inhumanity and evil of slavery and in doing so, championed the infamies of his times, even in the face of strong opposition. 

“So, I had no doubt that I had the right person and the right name for a public lecture series.” 

Q&A with Ngunan Adamu and Lord Alton

To finish the lecture, BBC Radio Merseyside journalist and soon to be honorary fellow of LJMU, Ngunan Adamu hosted a Q&A with Lord Alton and the audience. 

Questions asked included: 

“Can you share some of your key experiences that shaped your political journey?” 

“What would be your advice to the younger generation in this complex global landscape?” and “How do we protect free speech?” 

You can watch Lord David Alton’s responses and the full Roscoe Lecture ‘Roscoe Reflections’ here. 

Or download and listen to ‘Roscoe Reflections podcast episode on LJMU’s 1823 podcast.

About the Roscoe Lecture Series 

Beginning in Liverpool, in 1997, the series quickly became one of the largest public speaking events in the country with, guests ranging from heads of state to comedians and civil rights campaigners to explorers of both our planet and the universe. Never less than thought-provoking and entertaining, the Roscoe events have continued over the past 25 years as the university’s contribution to the civic life of the city, with more than 130,000 people attending, since 1997. 

Speakers over the years, as well as HRH the Prince of Wales, have included the Dalai Lama, journalist George Alagiah, ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen, Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thomspon plus The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presidents of Ireland and Ghana, and Nisha Katona, Chancellor of LJMU. 

You can find out more and watch LJMU’s Roscoe Lectures here.  

Next Roscoe Lecture 

LJMU’s next Roscoe Lecture will take place on 24 November in St George’s Hall where LJMU graduate and Liverpudlian author and poet, Malik Al Nasir, will deliver his lecture titled “The Truth That Lies Behind Roscoe.” The final lecture of the LJMU’s 200th year will see Malik share his perception of the Liverpool pioneer William Roscoe, in the context of the times, and now. 

Further information about the event and how to attend will be available on the Roscoe Lecture Series webpage. 



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