Join us in Cambridge over the weekend of 9–11 June for the most open, most thrilling, and most entertaining Convention ever. Kicking off on the Friday evening with a massive comedy evening open to all delegates, the weekend will speed by leaving you entertained, uplifted, and wanting more.
Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a British scientist, author and broadcaster. A well-known science communicator, he is a professor of Physics at the University of Surrey where he also holds a chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He is a Vice President of Humanists UK, having been President from 2012 to 2015.
Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of Humanists UK, and the President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
with Defence Humanists
Flight Lieutenant Robin Crosse represents the Royal Air Force (RAF) on the Defence Humanists committee. He joined the RAF in 2004 and, after training, was selected for the Merlin Force, part of Joint Helicopter Command, based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. After having been deployed, on multiple occasions, to Afghanistan, Jordan, Morocco, and the USA, he made the move across the county to RAF Brize Norton in 2016, to join the Voyager Force, providing global reach to UK operations. Robin has worked to ensure the needs and interests of the non-religious are understood and catered-for within defence, playing a role in both the establishment of the humanist employee support network for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and the staging of the inaugural Humanist Remembrance event.
Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster with a passion for science, sport, books, creativity, hot chocolate and investigating the interesting things in life. She currently works in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London, and is a science presenter for the BBC.
with Young Humanists
Andrew Dart has a master’s degree in Research Psychology and spent four years studying how pre-existing religious and paranormal beliefs literally affect the way we see the world around us. He is the author of a beginner's guide to skepticism and a science book for children and is currently working on a novel. He works as a support technician for a software company where he spends as much of his day combating bad logic as he does technical issues. When not doing this he can often be found wandering the byways of Cambridgeshire, reading books, watching philosophy videos on YouTube, and writing pointless computer programs.
Dr Kate Devlin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Coming from an Arts and Humanities background and now working in STEM, Kate investigates how people interact with and react to technologies, both past and future. She works in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), focusing on cognition, sex, gender and sexuality, and how these might be incorporated into cognitive systems such as sexual companion robots. She was Co-Chair of the widely reported Love and Sex with Robots 2016 and ran the UK’s first sex tech hackathon. Kate is a campaigner for gender equality and is involved in national initiatives to improve opportunities for women in tech.
Kindly sponsored by
Karen Douglas is a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kent. In addition to conducting work on the psychology of conspiracy theories, she is involved in projects examining sexism in language, the influence of sexist ideology on attitudes toward pregnant women, and the psychology of internet behaviour.
At the age of six, Lord Dubs was one of 669 Czech-resident, mainly Jewish, children saved from the Nazis by English stockbroker Nicholas Winton on the Kindertransport (Dubs’ father was Jewish). His father had fled to England the day the Nazis arrived in Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939, and he met Alf when he arrived in London. Dubs learned how he had arrived in the UK when Nicholas Winton’s story was broadcast in 1988. He later met Winton in person and campaigned for him to be knighted, which he was. In 1979, Lord Dubs was elected as an MP for Battersea South. From 1988 to 1995 he was director of the Refugee Council. He became a peer in 1994 and served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from 1997-99 and as chair of Labour peers from 2000-05. Among Lord Dubs’ many achievements, his sponsorship of an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain amidst the European migrant crisis. His amendment, with some revisions, was eventually accepted by the Government after public opinion swung decisively in favour of supporting child refugees.
with Young Humanists
Julia Ebner is a Policy Analyst at Quilliam. Her research focuses on EU terrorism prevention initiatives and counter-extremism policies in the UK, France and Germany. She co-authored “The EU and Terrorism: Is Britain Safer In or Out?” and contributed extensively to the EU-funded TERRA policy advice report as well as research projects for FATE (Families Against Terrorism and Extremism) and the Kofi Annan Foundation. Julia has given evidence to parliamentary working groups, spoken at international conferences and in Parliament, held workshops in schools and universities, written for The Guardian, The Independent and Left Foot Forward and given live TV and radio interviews for BBC World News, CNN International, France24, LBC and others.
Jay Harman is Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager. He works on all Humanists UK education issues, from school admissions and discrimination in employment, to religious education, collective worship, and evolution vs creationism in schools.
Kindly sponsored by
Robin Ince is a comedian, actor, writer, and creator of the incredibly popular 'Lessons and Carols for Godless People', celebrating science and featuring scientists, musicians, and comedians. He presents The Infinite Monkey Cage with Brian Cox on BBC Radio 4.
with Defence Humanists
Lieutenant Commander Craig Jordan joined the Royal Navy in 1996 in the Engineering Branch. Following a broad range of roles in various locations, including working within NATO Headquarters, he now finds himself specialising in Cyber Security Risk Management for maritime platforms. He is currently based at MoD Corsham in Wiltshire. He has been an active member of Defence Humanists since 2014 and is keen to highlight and represent the rights of the non-religious across the MoD.
Sara Khan is an award winning human rights and counter-extremism activist and author of the best-selling book The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism.
Having worked and actively campaigned for women’s rights within Muslim communities for over 20 years, Sara co-founded Inspire in 2008 to empower Muslim women, raise awareness of their inequalities and challenge the growing extremism often justified in the name of Islam.
Born in Iran in 1973, Shappi Khorsandi and her family were forced to flee from Iran to London after the Islamic Revolution, as her father had written satirical poetry. She is a comedian, performs stand-up, and has appeared on many radio and television shows, including Shappi Talk and Question Time. She became President of Humanists UK in January 2016.
Mark Lynas is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, Six Degrees, and The God Species. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power, and was climate change advisor to the President of the Maldives between 2009 and 2011. He now works with the Cornell Alliance for Science, funded entirely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also a member of the advisory board of the science advocacy group Sense About Science, and campaigns on behalf of various pro-science causes.
with Defence Humanists
Squadron Leader Emily McCullouch joined the RAF as an Air Traffic Controller in 2007, after working within the NHS and as a teacher. She has served operational tours in Afghanistan and the Middle East. As Chair of Defence Humanists, Emily is proud to work with the MoD towards greater inclusion for all, particularly the non-religious.
Mister Meredith was trained at Birmingham University in Music, Drama and Dance and worked in all three fields before combining them in the marvelous smorgasbord of cabaret, when he began talking about himself in the third person. In London you can mostly find him at Proud Cabaret as one of their resident comperes or The Coach and Horses hosting his regular pub singalong (now in its 8th year!), however he still finds time to travel to other cities either as an act or compere and is equally at home in large theatres and intimate nightclubs.
Daniel Nabarro studied Electrical Sciences at Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and has an MBA from Simon Fraser University. As an entrepreneur he has founded a number of tech startups and other businesses, most recently figleaves.com, an online lingerie retailer with more than 200 employees. He is now retired, and is co-founder and Chairman of Nip in the Bud, a charity aiming to improve the lives of young people with mental health disorders.
His talk will be on 'Living and Dying with Early Onset Alzheimers'; he was diagnosed three years ago.
with the London Humanist Choir
Teddy is Humanists UK's Director of Community Services, responsible for the strategic development of the services Humanists UK offers in education, pastoral support, ceremonies, and other aspects of support in the community, in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. He is also responsible for development of research and pilot projects to ensure the secure future and promote the value of the services Humanists UK provides.
Before joining Humanists UK, Teddy was a senior leader in education, working in a large academy in West London, and came to Humanists UK from Mencap where he led national projects for children and families.
Sophie Scott is head of the Speech Communication Group at University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. She researches the neuroscience of voices, speech, and laughter. In our Friday evening comedy event, Sophie will not just make us laugh, but explain why we do.
Kate Smurthwaite is a left-wing, feminist, atheist stand-up comedian and political activist. She performs all over the UK and around the world at major clubs including The Comedy Store, Comedy Cafe, The Stand, Covent Garden Comedy Club, Soho Comedy Club and Crack Comedy Club. She also writes and tours an annual solo show of highbrow left wing comedy under the name The News At Kate which has been a feature of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival since 2009. In 2013 she won a Three Weeks' Editor's Choice Award naming her one of the ten best things about the Edinburgh Fringe.
with Defence Humanists
Flight Lieutenant Ruth Staton is a surgical specialist within the Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service. As a flight nurse she has completed nursing missions across the globe and routinely works in acute clinical settings whilst in the UK. An active member of Defence Humanists and a funeral celebrant with Humanists UK, she was the ceremonial lead for the first MoD-supported Humanist Remembrance event in 2016. Ruth works on the pastoral support subcommittee within Defence Humanists and is committed to exploring how Humanist Pastoral Support can benefit Defence. In her spare time, she enjoys appreciating fine arts, wine and gardening.
Richy Thompson is the Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Humanists UK. He works on issues from across Humanists UK's public policy remit. From May 2011 to February 2015 he was the Faith Schools and Education Campaigns Officer, and before that he was the President of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies. Richy is the Treasurer of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, a member of the advisory group of the Sex Education Forum, and on the steering groups of Voice for Choice, the Accord Coalition for inclusive education and the Fair Admissions Campaign.
Richard Wiseman is Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written several best-selling popular psychology books that have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His YouTube channels have more than 2 million subscribers and more than half a billion views between them. Richard was listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live, and has acted as a consultant for Derren Brown, Brain Games, Your Bleeped Up Brain, and Mythbusters. His research has been published in some of the world’s leading academic journals, and he has delivered keynote addresses to organisations across the world, including The Swiss Economic Forum, Google and Amazon.
Atheists, Humanists, and Secular Students
The AHS is an association of atheist, humanist and secular student societies facilitated and supported by Humanists UK. Its vision is to see a thriving atheist, humanist or secular student society in every institute of Higher Education in the UK and Republic of Ireland, networked together, with a shared voice in public life, whose members can contribute to and be part of the wider national and international movement.
With over 400 members and supporters the Defence Humanists (formerly the UK Armed Forces Humanist Association) is a growing network of non-religious service personnel, MOD civil servants, veterans and their families within Humanists UK who seek to represent the interests of all those who subscribe to humanist ideals.
Faith to Faithless
Faith to Faithless was founded in 2015 by Aliyah Saleem and Imtiaz Shams, now a trustee of Humanists UK, in order to draw attention to the discrimination faced in particular by 'minorities within minorities and to give a platform to the faithless and 'apostates, to come out in public and speak out against this discrimination.
For over 30 years LGBT Humanists has promoted Humanism as a rational, naturalistic worldview that trusts the scientific method as the most reliable route to truth and encourages a moral and ethical life based on logic, reason and compassion. It campaigns for equality and diversity, particularly relating to sexual orientation and identity – both in the UK and internationally. Since 2012, it has been proud to be the LGBT section of Humanists UK.
London Humanist Choir
The London Humanist Choir focuses on promoting humanism in the arts. A section of Humanists UK, they aim to provide a choir to anyone who wishes to sing non-religous music, promote Humanism and humanist arts through public performances, be an inclusive community founded on humanist principles, and showcase songs composed for the Choir to be used in humanist ceremonies and events.
Humanists are people who believe in our ability to be good, caring and productive without believing in gods and goddesses, or belonging to a religion. We believe reason and empathy are the best ways of working out what is right and wrong, and solving problems faced by society. Their focus is the here and now, and working together to make our world a better place for everyone. Most younger people share these values, even if they don't call themselves humanists yet. Young Humanists is the 18-35s section of Humanists UK.
Humanist UK Convention 2017 is the most affordable ever, with tickets starting at £99 for members and just £49 for students.
All ticket-holders are entitled to attend all sessions of the Convention from Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon.
Tickets for the Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening are now sold out. Lunch tickets are no longer available.
Humanist Professionals Conference
The Humanist Professionals Conference will be integrated with Humanists UK Convention 2017. Taking place from 11:00 on Friday 9 June, the Conference will provide valuable training, CPD, and networking opportunities for all humanist professionals – celebrants, pastoral carers, school speakers – and those aspiring to become one. All Humanists UK Convention ticket-holders may attend the Humanist Professionals Conference free of charge, by selecting the free add-on when purchasing their ticket. Standalone tickets for the Humanist Professionals Conference are available for £49.
Please note that there are only a limited number of tickets available for the Humanist Professionals Conference, and that they will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. More details will be provided at a later date.
Our home for the weekend is the Cambridge Corn Exchange – the only venue in the city large enough to host our busiest ever Convention.
Throughout the weekend we'll also be hosting parallel sessions in the Cambridge Guildhalls, right across the road.
Get the app
For the first time, in addition to sending emails, we'll be using an app (iOS and Android) to give delegates all the information they might need for the full weekend.
Find information on all our speakers, see exactly what's happening when and where, and follow what everyone's saying about the event on Twitter.
As the Convention approaches, useful documents such as joining instructions and seating plans will be added, making our Convention app your handy one-stop shop for everything going on, before and during the event.
Please read the Humanists UK Convention 2017 event policies, including regarding tickets, cancellations, and recording on the day.
Helen Czerski photo by Alex Brenner
2 Wheeler St
Cambridge, CB2 3QB