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Dr Gareth Griffith to give Best of Bristol Lecture

13 March 2017

Dr Gareth Griffith will give a Best of Bristol Lecture, having been voted one of the most inspiring lecturers by Bristol students. "Out of the Echo Chamber: Listening to Voices from the Past" will take place on Tuesday 21st March 2017 at 1pm in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building. On the topic of his lecture, Gareth said that: 'As a medievalist who spends most of his working day in what is called "Widening Participation", I want to use this lecture to argue that reading and studying literature together could be one way to address increasing polarisation in the world we live in.  A curriculum that is chronologically and geographically inclusive, read and discussed together by a student community that represents the full diversity of our society, is a powerful tool to break out of the 'echo chamber' of our own opinions. By taking time to listen hard to voices from the past, and from the present, that see the world differently from each of us, we can all develop an increased awareness of difference, and an ability to engage productively with viewpoints that differ markedly from our own'. When asked about his nomination, Gareth admitted: 'I was very surprised but delighted to be nominated to give a Best of Bristol lecture - most of my lectures this year have been on quite 'dry' subjects, like Middle English grammar, which I hadn't realised was so popular with our student body. More seriously, I think this gives the lie to the myth that the lecture as a format is dead; our students are more than ready to engage in a sustained way even with quite alien material, and even (it seems) ask for more. The Best of Bristol lectures are a great chance for staff and students to step back and think more widely about (or outside) their discipline, and I'm thrilled to be a part of them in 2017. And I promise not to talk about medieval subjunctives.' The Department sends its warmest congratulations to Gareth. You can buy tickets for his lecture here and read more about the series here.

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