Humanism in Action

Friday 14 June, 11:00–17:00

Humanists UK AGM
(Members only)

Sunday 16 June, 15:30–18:00

Cardiff Students’ Union
Park Place,
CF10 3QN

Our speakers
Our host city and venue
About our speakers

He is a prominent author and broadcaster. He has written 14 books on popular science and the history of science, between them translated into twenty-six languages. His latest book, The World According to Physics, was shortlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize. He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, such as the Bafta nominated Chemistry: a volatile history, and he hosts the long-running weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.

Jim is a past president of the British Science Association and a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal and the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He received an OBE in 2007 and a CBE in 2021 for ‘services to science’.

He is a Vice President of Humanists UK.

Dr Julian Baggini is the author, co-author or editor of over 20 books including The Godless Gospel, How The World Thinks, The Virtues of the Table and The Ego Trick and, most recently, How to Think Like a Philosopher. He was the founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research, Demos, and Counterpoint. He has served as Academic Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, and has been a member of the Food Ethics Council since 2016.

He is a patron of Humanists UK.

Nick Baldwin is Coordinator of LGBT Humanists.

Jamie Bell is a Solicitor in the Public Law and Immigration Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, having joined the firm in August 2014. Bell has significant experience in complex and high-profile cases, often taking on urgent cases to prevent the unlawful removal of asylum seekers. He has a particular commitment to representing Afghan claimants, participating in judicial review claims challenging returns to Afghanistan, and securing orders that prevented mass removals.

Jamie acts as the firm’s point of contact for Afghanistan-related matters, providing training and speaking at events, including a notable event in the UK Parliament. He has contributed articles to the Duncan Lewis website and appeared on various media platforms such as the BBC, the Independent, and the Guardian.

Jamie continues to represent numerous Afghan nationals in their asylum and appeal claims. He specializes in assisting vulnerable clients, including those in detention and victims of torture. His efforts in the Dubs Amendment litigation and his work in the Calais ‘Jungle’ have been pivotal. A ‘Recognised Individual’ in The Legal 500 for civil liberties and human rights, Bell emphasises the importance of legal aid in his advocacy work.

Baroness Burt is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and the former MP for Solihull (2005-2015). Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) until the recent dissolution in advance of the election, she speaks in Parliament on all forms of equalities, but particularly on inclusion, and has worked with Humanists UK and the APPHG to bring several Private Members’ Bills to make school assemblies more inclusive and to include teaching about humanism in RE.

Her recent Private Member’s Bill sought to end the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’, a practice usually rooted in false and often pseudoscientific religious beliefs about what causes people to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

Andrew is Chief Executive of Humanists UK. He became Chief Executive in 2010 after five years coordinating Humanists UK’s education and public affairs work. Andrew is also the current President of Humanists International.

He is the author of Secularism: A Very Short Introduction and, with Alice Roberts, The Little Book of Humanism, The Little Book of Humanist Weddings, and The Little Book of Humanist Funerals.

James Evans is Senedd Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, and Shadow Minister for Farming, Food, and Rural Affairs.

In 2017, James was elected as a County Councillor for the Gwernyfed Ward, later becoming a Cabinet Member in Powys County Council. In May 2021, James was elected to the Senedd as a Member for Brecon and Radnorshire. The first Welsh Conservative MS for this constituency, he currently holds the portfolio of Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing, and Mid Wales. He also sits on the Children, Young People, and Education Committee, and the Legislation, Justice, and Constitution Committee.

Madeleine Goodall is the Humanist Heritage Coordinator for Humanists UK, researching and writing about the history of humanism to celebrate the organisation’s 125th birthday. She has a background in education, museums, and community history, and is also Humanists UK’s Wikimedian in Residence. She currently leads on a two-year National Lottery Heritage Fund project – Humanist Heritage: doers, dreamers, place makers – which focuses on the remarkable freethinkers and activists who changed the world, and the communities they built around them.

Jacob Hawley is a multi-award winning stand-up, writer and performer. He has performed stand-up on Sky Max’s The Russell Howard Hour and ITV X’s Secrets of The Irish Comedy Circuit, as well as appearing on The Stand Up Sketch Show, BBC 3’s hit sitcom Ladhood and multiple BBC Comedy shorts.

He has performed three critically acclaimed shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, his first two shows Howl and Faliraki were both translated into BBC Radio 4 Stand Up Specials, with his second special Class Act being named the Guardian’s Pick Of The Week. His third show, Bump, was described by the British Comedy Guide as ‘An impeccable hour of man-and-mic stand up’, awarded 4-star reviews and then toured across the UK to sell-out rooms.

Dr Jonathan Iliff is a neuroscientist and medical doctor based at University College London with ties to King’s College, and the president and founder of the UCL Society for the Application of Psychedelics.

His research focuses on the use of psychedelic compounds, like LSD and psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – in the treatment of mental health disorders. This will include the treatment of a large number of patients for depression with psilocybin in a clinical trial over the next four years. He has worked with prominent figures in the field, including writing a comprehensive review with Professor David Nutt.

Quick witted, brutally honest, and full of Bristolian charm, Dani Johns is a rising star on the comedy circuit. With an energetic mix of storytelling and serious over-sharing, Dani is an instantly likeable act and described as a ‘pocket rocket of a comedian’ whose ‘sassy delivery captivates every audience member’.

Since starting stand up comedy just a few years ago, Dani has firmly planted herself on the comedy scene and is a regular performer at some of the best comedy clubs in the UK. She’s performed at pubs, clubs, festivals, charity events, corporates, and one particularly memorable patch of grass known as ‘Turbo Island’, but that’s another story… Off stage, Dani has written for the Guardian and a variety of local publishers. She’s also appeared in multiple film and TV projects, including Casualty, Skins, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Brian Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US Politics, Western foreign policy, political violence, and elections. In the past, he has advised governments, US political campaigns, international politicians, the European Union, NATO, and more.

Brian is the author of Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters, The Despot’s AccompliceThe Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on DemocracyHow to Rig an Election, the book Michela Wrong argues, ‘…should be read by every voter, civil society activist, opposition politician, election monitor, journalist, and diplomat.’ His latest, Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters, dives deeply into the phenomenon of random chance and the chaos it can sow, taking aim at most people’s neat and tidy storybook version of reality. He is also the creator and host of Power Corrupts, a podcast about the hidden – and often nefarious – forces that shape our world.

Brian holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford and is a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. Recently, he has worked with individuals at the highest levels of government and public affairs in Thailand, Tunisia, Madagascar, Zambia, Belarus, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Aseel is a former Muslim from a conservative religious society, and a country where apostasy is punishable by death. She started questioning her religious beliefs when she discovered her passion for science. After years of battling with her doubts, she lost her faith, which put her life and safety at great risk. Aseel fled her home country and came to the UK where she was granted asylum in late 2023. Aseel is now actively involved in helping other apostates facing similar struggles, enjoying her newly found freedom, and working on rebuilding her life after she had to leave everything behind.

Billed as ‘one of the country’s top new comedy acts’ by The York Press, Tadiwa Mahlunge has performed at, among others, the Latitude, Greenman, and Greenwich Comedy Festivals – alongside the biggest names in comedy – and has provided tour support for Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Jessica Fostekew, and TV warm up for Desiree Birch’s Amazon Prime special.

As seen on BBC 1, BBC 2, Dave, Comedy Central, UTV, Comic Relief, and heard on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Northampton and BBC Sounds, Tadiwa Mahlunge has established himself as one of comedy’s hottest prospects. As such, he featured on the 2022 Pleasance Comedy Reserve at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Julie Morgan MS, patron of Humanists UK, served as a Labour MP from 1997 to 2010 and has been a Member of the Senedd from 2011. Since campaigning for Jim Callaghan in the 1965 general election, she has had a lifelong commitment to politics in Wales and she continues to be heavily involved in the fields of women’s rights, the welfare of children, and black and minority ethnic and disabled people’s rights. 

Julie worked as a social worker and an assistant director of Barnardo’s before entering Parliament. She was instrumental in the creation of the Welsh Children’s Commissioner role, removing the defence of reasonable punishment and securing significant funding for autism support services across Wales. Julie has long campaigned for a change in the law on assisted dying. She was until recently the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care in Wales where she held responsibility for social care, mental health provisions, and children’s and young people’s rights and entitlements, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Julie continues to serve her constituency of Cardiff North and provides support to Humanists UK’s campaigns.

Catherine Nixey is a journalist and author. She currently works as a writer at the Economist; her writing has previously appeared in The Times and the Financial Times, among others. Her first book, The Darkening Age, was published in 2017 and was an international bestseller, was translated into 12 languages, and won a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award and the Morris D. Forkosch Book Award from the Council for Secular Humanism.

Her second book, Heresy: Jesus Christ and the Other Sons of God, was published in March 2024.

Lucy Potter is a PhD candidate within the department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. In collaboration with Humanists UK, she is exploring how blasphemy and apostasy form a basis for an asylum claim. Lucy’s academic interests are based in the field of non-religion as well as migration studies. 

Yvonne Quaintrell is an experienced counsellor who specialises in supporting those who leave religion behind. She herself left an Evangelical church some years ago, and trains therapists on the needs of so-called ‘apostates’.

She is a volunteer for Faith to Faithless where she offers therapy services to apostates and is on the Faith to Faithless leadership team.

Kathy leads Humanists UK’s work in Wales as Coordinator of Wales Humanists, the section bringing together all of Humanists UK’s members and supporters in Wales. She is also Campaigns Manager in the Public Affairs and Policy team working across all Humanists UK campaigns. She came to Humanists UK after a successful career in business consulting and communications.

As well as representing Wales Humanists to senior stakeholders in the Welsh Government, Kathy ensures that the voice of humanists in Wales is fully represented in public policy discussions, Senedd debates, and in the media, and works to expand the availability of humanist ceremonies, pastoral support, and resources for teachers in Wales.’

He is President of Humanists UK.

Dr Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist at University College London, the author of multiple best-selling books, and a BBC science communicator. She is best known for her work in the areas of false memory, bisexuality, and criminal psychology.

Released in the summer of 2022, Julia’s third book Bi: The hidden culture, history, and science of bisexuality is an eye-opening, rigorous, and personal exploration of sexuality. According to the Guardian, ‘the book opens up conversations that might just lead to more visibility, understanding and empathy for all people, however they define themselves’.

She co-hosted the BBC podcast Bi People and is the founder of the Bisexual Research Group.

Emma Shepherd has over two decades of experience in the third sector, with a specific interest in grassroots community action. She is currently the National Head of Wales for BBC Children in Need, and a non-executive director of the Pen-Y-Cymoedd Community Fund. 

Previously chair of Wales Humanists, Emma has been involved in humanist campaigns in Wales, particularly around education. Passionate about people and community, she regularly runs events to bring people of all backgrounds and beliefs together in her local area.

She is a member of the board of Humanists UK.

Mari Vaughan-Owen is a trained and accredited member of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network and, in October 2023, became the first humanist chaplain for staff and Members of the Senedd.

For the past 41 years, Mari has worked as a nurse and health visitor, working in many clinical and community areas across London and Cardiff.

Amy has worked for HM Prison and Probation Service for 20 years. During this time she has worked in a variety of settings including community probation teams, courts, and prisons. She is a qualified probation officer and currently works as Head of Offender Management Delivery and Resettlement at her local prison.

She has a BA(Hons) Criminology from Southampton Solent University and a Diploma in Probation Studies from Portsmouth University.

Callum Weaver is a professional close-up magician with a contemporary style of performing. ​He is a member of The Magic Circle, the world’s premier magic society. 

He has over two decades of experience as a magician, specialising in both Close-Up and Parlor magic. He is a multi award-winning, Gold Star member of the Bristol Society of Magic, winning the Close-up Magician of the Year award three years running.

Leanne Wood is best known for her tenure as the first female leader of Plaid Cymru from 2012 to 2018. She was a Member of the Senedd from 2003 to 2021. first representing the South Wales Central region, and then the Rhondda constituency.

Wood has been a strong supporter of Wales Humanists’ campaign for inclusive schools in Wales. After supporting a popular petition from Welsh school children Rhiannon and Lily to end compulsory collective worship in Wales, she attempted to hold the Welsh Government to account on the issue in subsequent parliamentary sessions. In 2020, she spoke out against the law again, citing that the compulsorily Christian aspect of collective worship conveys the message ‘that Christianity tops all of the other religions and… undermines the message that you are giving in your religious education.’

She is known for her involvement in the trade union movement, having previously chaired the all-party Public and Commercial Services Union group in the Senedd. In her time as Member of the Senedd, she has been responsible for the Sustainability, Environment, Social Justice, and Housing portfolios for Plaid Cymru. Her leadership platform in 2012 included a call for ‘real independence’, emphasising economic and environmental concerns alongside Plaid Cymru’s aim of an independent Wales.

We look forward to welcoming our keynote guest speaker to Humanists UK Convention 2024.

StartEndGreat HallY Plas/Meeting RoomsFoyer
10:3011:00Humanism in Action registration
11:0017:00Humanism in Action
19:0020:00Cash bar welcome drinksRegistration

20:0022:00Evening entertainment
22:0023:30Drinks at the bar
All times tentative and subject to change
StartEndGreat HallY Plas(The) TafFoyer
09:0012:10Morning sessionsMorning sessionsRegistration

Shop and exhibitions
12:1013:00Lunch (Lunch ticket-holders only)Shop and exhibitions
13:0017:00Afternoon sessionsAfternoon sessionsShop and exhibitions
19:3020:00Drinks reception
20:0023:00Gala Dinner
All times tentative and subject to change
StartEndGreat HallY Plas(The) TafFoyer
10:0012:00Morning sessionsMorning sessionsShop and exhibitions
12:0013:00Lunch (Lunch ticket-holders only)
13:0015:00Afternoon sessionsAfternoon sessionsAGM registration

Shop and exhibitions
(Members only)
17:0018:00Drinks with Board members
(Members only)
All times tentative and subject to change

Look through a first draft of our 2024 programme!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


As someone attending my first convention, it was very easy to meet and discuss things even if I was not certain on my position on the topics – the friendliness of those attending gave space to discuss and explore the ideas.

Humanists UK Convention 2022 attendee

I loved the fabulous array of speakers – top quality people with really stimulating and worthwhile things to say. Utterly brilliant.

Humanists UK Convention 2019 attendee

It’s like in the old days, when we used to read newspapers – when you turn the page, you’re not sure what you’re going to get. So it can be challenging and thought-provoking, but most of all it is an oasis of greatness in a world that is going absolutely mad.

Humanists UK Convention 2019 attendee

Hard to pick what was the highlight!

Humanists UK Convention 2022 attendee

I enjoyed the high quality speakers who brought so many ideas and such understanding to us. I felt thrilled to belong to an organisation which takes action at the highest levels of politics and does so much work in so many fields. I enjoyed the sense of being with people who shared my values and were of similar mind. Thank you to all who organised it.

Humanists UK Convention 2019 attendee

Event policies


Bookings may be cancelled free of charge up to 120 days prior to the Convention start date (by 14 February 2024, inclusive). Bookings cancelled 60-119 days (by 15 April 2024, inclusive) from the start date will incur a 50% charge of the full price of the ticket. Cancellations made within 60 days of the Convention start date (from 16 April 2024, inclusive) will not be refunded, but may, at the discretion of Humanists UK and with no less than 21 days’ notice (by 24 May 2024, inclusive), be transferred to another eligible individual. Any refunds for ticket cancellations will be processed within two months.


All appearances are subject to speakers’ work and other scheduling commitments.

Photography, video, and audio recording

Humanists UK reserves the right to photograph and record video and audio of all public sections of the Convention and to make public the footage as it sees appropriate. Please be aware that by attending Humanists UK Convention 2024, you consent to your voice, name, and/or likeness being used, without compensation, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised, for eternity, and you release Humanists UK, its successors, assigns, and licensees from any liability whatsoever of any nature. If you would like to ensure that you are not captured in any media, please contact and we will do our best to accommodate you.