Announcing the Blackham Lecture 2023: Exploring ADHD, Neuroscience, and Ethics

25 October, 2023

Coinciding with ADHD Awareness Month, Humanists UK is thrilled to unveil the upcoming Blackham Lecture for 2023, titled ‘Pay Attention! Neuroscience, Ethics, and ADHD’. As the focal point of the online event on 6 December, Professor Roi Cohen Kadosh will be awarded the prestigious Blackham Lecture Medal, acknowledging his outstanding contributions to human development through his research into human attention.

This compelling event will delve into the world of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), exploring its neurological foundations, ethical considerations, and its relevance in today’s fast-paced world. The announcement comes at a time when the global community is focusing on ADHD awareness.

In recent years, ADHD has surged into public consciousness, with Google searches for the term quadrupling in just three years. Moreover, a national patient safety alert issued by the Department of Health and Social Care in September 2023 has drawn attention to a critical shortage of ADHD medication in the UK, citing manufacturing issues and surging global demand. These developments beg critical questions about the condition’s impact on society.

Is the growing recognition of neurodiversity leading to more precise diagnoses and improved well-being for individuals with ADHD? Is the media’s spotlight on the ‘over-medicalization’ of typical human traits contributing to this trend? Could the rapid pace of modern life, characterised by 24-hour news updates, remote work, smartphone usage, and social media, be intensifying the prevalence of ADHD-like symptoms?

To delve deep into these questions and to understand the very nature of attention itself, the Blackham Lecture 2023 will feature Professor Roi Cohen Kadosh. Professor Kadosh, a renowned cognitive neuroscientist, specialises in the realm of mathematics and sustained attention. His groundbreaking work incorporates safe and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, offering a potential paradigm shift in our comprehension and treatment of ADHD in individuals across the neurodiversity spectrum.

The Blackham Lecture, named in honour of the educationist and activist Harold Blackham, the first executive director of Humanists UK and the first general secretary of Humanists International, has a longstanding tradition of exploring themes related to education, human development, and humanism. The Blackham medallist is selected for their significant contributions in these fields.

Organised in collaboration with Birmingham Humanists, the Blackham Lecture 2023 is scheduled to be held online on December 6, 2023, at 19:30. Tickets can be purchased at


The Blackham Lecture explores an aspect of education, either philosophical, practical, or social, that relates to humanism. The Blackham medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named for the educationist and activist Harold Blackham, first executive director of Humanists UK and first general secretary of Humanists International. It is held annually, in association with Birmingham Humanists. Distinguished figures who have previously delivered the Blackham Lecture include psychologist Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, integration expert Professor Ted Cantle, and social psychologist Professor Helen Haste, and educationist Professor Michael Hand.

The Blackham Lecture is just one of the events that make up the Humanists UK Annual Lecture series, which also comprises The Darwin Day Lecture, The Rosalind Franklin Lecture, The Voltaire Lecture, and The Holyoake Lecture.

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