23 November 2011: Aaron Porter, The value of higher education in a new era
In the light of the unprecedented changes to our higher education system and the controversy over the cuts and the trebling of tuition fees, this lecture explored the real value and purpose of higher education. Examining evidence about who is studying at university, their backgrounds and outcomes, the lecture also assessed whether our education system is the solution to overcoming social mobility, or simply reinforces existing inequality.
Aaron Porter is a freelance journalist and higher education consultant. He graduated with a BA in English from the University of Leicester, and was editor of the student newspaper, 'The Ripple'. He went on to become President of the National Union of Students during the high-profile tuition fee debate of 2010-11. As a freelance journalist he has written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Times, The New Statesman and Times Higher Education magazine, as well as presented on BBC1. He also blogs weekly for the Guardian HE Network. As a higher education consultant he has a range of clients, including a number of universities, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. He acts in an advisory capacity to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).
5 May 2011: Alan Titchmarsh MBE in conversation with Angus Scott
The 25th Enterprise Lecture in the series took the format of an informal interview, in which Angus Scott, ITV/Al Jazeera presenter and Lecturer in Media and Film Studies at the University, conversed amicably with this much loved gardening guru and TV personality.
Alan Titchmarsh was born and brought up on the edge of Ilkley Moor. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice gardener in the local nursery, following this with full-time training at horticultural college and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Alan has presented the BBC's coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show, programmes such as Gardeners' World, Ground Force and British Isles " A Natural History as well as his own daytime ITV television show. He has written four volumes of memoirs, over fifty gardening books and seven novels. Alan was awarded an MBE in 2000 and appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire in 2001; he is also Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society. In 2004 he received the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest accolade in the British gardening world, and in 2007 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Winchester.
How did it all begin? "I sowed some seeds from a packet of Woolworth's and they came up." He hasn't looked back since, although at times, gardening has been daunting: "I was told at Kew: 'This one was brought back by James Cook. Don't kill it.' " At other times, gardening has led him into deeply moving situations, he told the audience, such as the time when, for Ground Force, he had the opportunity to do a garden make-over for Nelson Mandela. Much to the envy of journalists, the garden make-over was followed by a half-hour interview, in which Mandela told him about the nearest he ever came to gardening in prison, carefully nurturing a tomato plant in the corner of the prison courtyard. It was the only thing he was able to care for and take charge of during the long years on Robben Island.
At the time of the lecture, long-time Hampshire resident Titchmarsh ("Yorkshireman by birth, Hamphire hog by adoption") was working on the programme Love Your Garden, which was broadcast over the summer. Is a he a workaholic? "No, I don't work - I just do things."
17 March 2011: Alex Langlands, Farming the Past: Tales from BBC 2's Victorian and Edwardian Farms
In this lecture, archaeologist and Victorian and Edwardian Farm star Alex Langlands gave a 'behind-the-scenes' insight into what it is like to bring history to life for a television audience. Alex talked through the highs and lows of his years spent farming historically, as well as exploring issues surrounding the commercial and entrepreneurial role of farming in the past. Alex has always had a passion for the past and for the rural landscape around us. He graduated with a BA and MA in Archaeology from University College London and worked for seven years as a field archaeologist throughout Britain and Europe. His love of farming and its rich history found him involved in Tales from the Green Valley, a television series about rural life in the seventeenth century; the surprise success of this led to the commissioning of Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm. Alex is currently reading for a PhD in early medieval history at the University of Winchester.
This event was also part of the University's Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology Research Seminar Series 2010-11.