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Fairbrother Lecture 2019 – University of Reading

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  • Showcasing the breadth of doctoral research

  • Showcasing the breadth of doctoral research

  • Showcasing the breadth of doctoral research

  • Showcasing the breadth of doctoral research

Fairbrother Lecture 2019

The Fairbrother Lecture is a University public lecture named after Jack Fairbrother who in 1929 became the first student to be awarded a PhD from the University. The Fairbrother Lecture is an annual event at which a Reading doctoral researcher presents their research to a wider audience.

fairbrother lecture 2019 

Women's Voices: From slavery to the #MeToo movement

Elizabeth Barnes, Department of History 
Held on Tuesday 21 May 2019

Elizabeth Barnes

In October 2017 following sexual abuse allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein, the viral spread of the #MeToo hashtag on social media sparked an unprecedented global wave of women disclosing their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment. Though the phrase had been used before, within a 24 hour period the #MeToo hashtag was tweeted more than 500,000 times and featured in 12 million Facebook posts.

The wave of disclosures spread rapidly beyond the film industry to survivors of sexual violence in other arenas including the church, the music industry and politics. For many, the #MeToo movement represented a watershed moment of social progress in which the victims of sexual violence and misconduct were given a voice. But what lessons does history hold for the #MeToo movement?

The end of the American Civil War offered emancipated African Americans equal protection under the law for the first time - including granting black women the right to bring rape charges against white men. Similarly to #MeToo, the period saw an escalation of disclosures of sexual violence, with black women seizing upon the opportunities that freedom gave them to redefine their past abusive relationships with white men.

In this lecture, Elizabeth Barnes recounts her research journey through the history of this wave of revelations and explores how the pattern of progress followed by sustained backlash continues to be felt today. 


Research Showcase

The lecture was followed by a wine reception and a showcase by five other doctoral researchers from across the University with a brief to create displays communicating their research to non-specialists.

Controlling Computers with Thought

Dr Maitreyee Wairagkar,  Biomedical Engineering


A display explaining how interfaces between the human brain and computers make it possible for humans to control computer movements directly from thought, bypassing the muscles in the body.


 Fairbrother 2019 MAITREYEE WAIRAGKAR 300

Britain's Human Rights Abuses during the Mau Mau Conflict

Bethany Rebisz, Department of History


A display looking at women's experiences of forced resettlement during the Mau Mau conflict in Kenya, using access to newly released government records.


Fairbrother 2019 Beth Rebisz 300

How Dinosaurs Conquered the Earth

Ciara O'Donovan, School of Biological Sciences


A display exploring why, given dinosaurs diversified into hundreds of species and successfully ruled the entire planet, they became extinct.



Fairbrother 2019 Ciara O'Donovan 300

Change Blindness in the Brain

Catriona Scrivener, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences


A display investigating our brain's ability to detect minor changes in the world around us and whether it gives us access to this information.



 Fairbrother 2019 Catriona Scrivener 300 pixels v2

Getting Help for Children with Anxiety Disorders

Tessa Reardon, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

A display recounting research on strategies used by parents to get help for children suffering from anxiety disorders.

 Fairbrother 2019 Tessa Reardon 300
For further information contact Joanna John.
For information on Fairbrother Lectures from 2014 to 2018 see previous events.

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