SHDP Events

SHDP is expert in bringing together the right mix of expertise and stakeholders to create meaningful conversations with useful outcomes.

SHDP Conference


Venice Biennale 17th International Architecture Exhibition - The Majlis

In 2021, the Venice Biennale has chosen the theme: How will we live together? SHDP is organising a series of interdisciplinary symposia on this theme in collaboration with the Caravane Earth Foundation, whose exhibit, The Majlis (a new building), will host the talks and conferences at the Abbey of S. Giorgio Maggiore.

Caravane Earth is an international foundation based in the Netherlands whose mission is to practice and promote ethical values and wellbeing through craftsmanship, vernacular architecture, innovation in sustainability, agriculture and education. Caravane Foundation's exhibit at the Biennale, The Majlis, is made from bamboo and designed by Colombian architects Simón Vélez and Stefana Simic. The building is covered with woollen fabric created by a women's weaving cooperative in the Atlas Mountains . Traditionally, a majlis is a place where people come together in Arabian culture to discuss local events and issues, exchange news, and receive guests.

The meetings will address the Biennale theme: How will we live together? from a number of perspectives, with an interdisciplinary mix of speakers, including from the University of Cambridge, UNESCO, INTBAU (The Prince's Foundation), and the Smithsonian Institution.



23 May - 29 November 2021


Abbey and Gardens of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

The impact of disinformation in the communication of science: the threat of climate change and the role of the media

Jesus College, Cambridge

SHDP is developing a new conference series on the impact of disinformation on the communication of science. We are interested in how people's perception of the threat of climate change is affected by disinformation in the media. We will consider both the role played by technology in underpinning and reenforcing disinformation, and the prospects for science and technology to respond positively to the threat of disinformation.


To be announced


Jesus College

About SHDP Events

SHDP runs a number of types of event depending on the topic, audience, speakers, and outcomes desired. Examples of SHDP events include:

  • One-day roundtable conferences for 50-70 people
  • Conferences of up to 200 people from one to several days
  • Academic seminars
  • Lectures in various venues
  • Dinners with keynote speakers
  • Briefings for the media
  • Art exhibitions with talks and events

SHDP is based at Jesus College, Cambridge, which offers a superb range of world-class conference facilities, catering and accommodation.


The SHDP team have produced conferences and reports on a wide range of topics including: Cyber Security, Food Security, Inequality, Infrastructure, the Financial Crisis, Big Data, Blockchain and Bitcoin, the Future of Research-based Universities, the North-South divide, Ageing in the UK, and the Future of Work.

Past Events


How Technology is Changing Journalism – Media in the Post Truth Age

13 September 2019 – Frontline Club, London

In this conference journalists, editors, technologists and researchers from a range of disciplines will discuss a number of vital questions, including how technology is changing the media the landscape, the role of the data journalist, new business models; the manipulation of the media and the public using technology, the use of technology in political campaigning, the role of technology platforms, censorship, and regulation – even legislation – to counter fake news.

SHDP worked with Russian Readings, an academic project based at Oxford and Leeds Universities, to produce this event.


Cultural Tourism Salon – Berlin

12 September 2019 – Tempelhof Airport, Berlin

SHDP co-organised the workshops at this one-day conference with Visit Berlin and LCD, bringing together leaders from major European cultural institutions (curators, museum directors, artists, architects, town planners) and tourism organisations (city councils, hotels, travel groups, airlines, hospitality) to discuss trends and key questions around place making, cultural destinations, including planning, architecture, technology, and climate change. Can one and should one aim to design, curate and create a cultural destination, or is this something that evolves naturally over time through the interplay of a number of factors?


AI – Ethical and Religious Perspectives: Will advances in machine intelligence serve to enhance or diminish our moral and spiritual selves? Will these advances serve to create better or worse societies?

16-17 May 2019 – Jesus College, Cambridge

In this conference we asked what impact future AI is likely to have on notions of the soul, religious faith, religious practice, and the virtues. Does AI pose a threat, or encouragement, to religious belief and practice? In turn, we asked how religion might guide and inform attitudes towards, and relationships with, future intelligent machines.

AI – Ethical and Religious Perspectives - SHDP Report

AI and the Future of Humanity Project – The Singularity Summit: Imagination, Memory, Consciousness, Agency, Values

26-27 September 2018 – Jesus College, Cambridge

Topics for discussion included: Definitions of the Technological Singularity, The Self, Identity, Agency and free will, Gödel and Kripke (Computational Brain), Embodiment, Consciousness, Imagination, Moral behaviour, Aesthetics, Radical Enactivism. This conference provided a much-needed opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion between these groups who do not often find themselves around the same table.

Singularity Summit – SHDP Report

AI and the Future of Humanity Project – AI in Science Fiction Film and Literature - SHDP Conference Report

15-16 March 2018 – Jesus College, Cambridge

AI in Science Fiction Film and Literature - SHDP conference report.

AI in SciFi Film and Literature – SHDP Report

Memory & Imagination in Humans & Machines

21-22 September 2017 – Cambridge

DeepMind and SHDP Conference

Artificial Intelligence and neuroscience in discussion with the humanities – philosophy, psychology and the arts. This conference was a collaboration of SHDP and DeepMind and was by invitation.


Science – The Next Generation

11 May 2011

This conference was held in association with City University Journalism School and brought together a group of young scientists and experienced journalists to discuss the problems and constraints, the scope and potential, of careers in science journalism at a time of rapid media change and challenge. Each segment was introduced briefly by two seasoned practitioners: followed by open-floor discussion. High quality, responsible science reporting is crucial both to public understanding of a range of issues as well as the decisions of government. Over the past two decades the Science and Human Dimension Project at Jesus College, Cambridge, has convened conferences as a contribution to public understanding of science. Our aim has been to enhance the quality of the science media and to encourage scientists to participate in outreach to the public.

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The Irrelevance of Ethics - Lecture by Alasdair MacIntyre

3 June 2010

Alasdair MacIntyre, author of After Virtue and some thirty books on ethics, gave a lecture sponsored by the Science & Human Dimension Project and Prospect magazine. The text of the article John Cornwell wrote for Prospect magazine’s October 2010 issue on the lecture and its background is available here


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Ethics and the Media in an Era of Complex Moral Challenge

23 February 2007

A workshop for an exchange of views on media coverage of ethical and religious issues, and to discuss the launch of a forum for ethics in the public space called Ethicscope. A constituency of leading journalists, ethicists and representatives of different faiths discussed the access, fairness, balance and quality of ethical perspectives in print, radio, TV, photojournalism and online media. Our aim: to explore ways in which media practitioners at every level can develop and enhance their ethical insights and presentation of issues. This meeting occured at a time when the domains of politics, medical science, business, economics, the environment, social and human rights, face increasingly complex choices and judgments. At the same time, the world’s leading faiths are experiencing mounting challenges and scrutiny from secular and pluralist standpoints. The conference report is available here.

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Report on Media and Development in Africa: A Case Study based on North Kenya

SHDP Conference 2006 – Media & Development in Africa

This conference explored the media coverage of development and aid in Africa. Senior Kenyan development workers discussed poverty, development and the media with specialists from NGOs, the Department for International Development, charities, development academics, and journalists.

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Creativity and Depression

SHDP Symposium 2005 – Creativity & Depression

There has long been a notion that creativity and imagination are associated with forms of depression and even psychosis. This conference explored a wide-ranging approach to the topic, including literary, historical, and psychiatric perspectives.The discussion focused particularly on the way in which depression is reported in the media as well biographically and autobiographically.

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The Anthropic Principle and the Multiverse

SHDP Debate 2003

John Polkinghorne and Sir Martin Rees tackled the notion of the anthropic principle– the existence of numerical accidents in the Universe that were essential for the development of life. The speakers went on to draw contrasting conclusions from this circumstance, and explanations. John Polkinghorne insisted that principle indicated a prime mover or mind in the Universe, which he would call God, while Martin Rees invoked a multiverse in which there is an infinite series of Big Bangs, each resulting in a different set of laws of chemistry and physics. According to this theory we are living in the Universe in which the conditions, while extraordinary, are right for life - by chance rather than by design.


“Copenhagen”: Science, War, and the Devil’s Pact

SHDP Conference 2002

The conference explored the ethics of science, using as a focus Michael Frayn’s playCopenhagen which was staged at the conference with Michael Frayn fielding questions. Mark Walker and Paul Lawrence Rose spoke directly to the German historical and biographical background of Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. Other speakers included Walter Gratzer, Lewis Wolpert, Henning Grunwald and John Naughton.

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Virtual Universities

SHDP Conference 2001

The growth in the use of the internet and related technologies for teaching and learning brought together a variety of distance and e-learning specialists from Europe, and the United States, working mainly in the fields of publishing and tertiary level education.

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Explanations: Styles of Explanation in Science

SHDP Conference 2000

This meeting brought together philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, and anthropologists to discuss why explanations work, why they vary between disciplines, periods, and cultures, and to discover whether they have any necessary boundaries. The issues engaged the keen interest of the participants from the media, for it is in journalism that the notion of an explanation is often misused or misunderstood. Speakers included Peter Atkins, Sir Martin Rees, Peter Lipton, Colin McGinn and Juliet Mitchell.

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Consciousness and Human Identity

SHDP Conference 1997

Consciousness has puzzled philosophers, naturalists, and theologians down the ages. Now it has caught the interest of contemporary scientists, some of whom believe they are on the brink of discovering its basis in neurobiological processes. This meeting of neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, theologians and novelists, discussed the prospects and consequences for finding a scientific explanation of consciousness. Speakers included Margaret Boden, John Searle, Steven Rose, Mary Midgely, Jeremy Butterfield, Peter Lipton and David Lodge. Proceedings are published as Consciousness and Human Identity, edited by John Cornwell, Oxford University Press, 1998.

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Science - The Next Generation

SHDP Conference 1996

The Science and Human Dimension Project brought twenty four young scientists together to discuss the future of their disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, computer science, and medicine. This meeting was supported by Wellcome Trust, Chiroscience Ltd, and the New Scientist.

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Science and the Media

SHDP Conference 1995

This specialist forum for participants from the science media was convened to discuss current issues of interest and concern. Speakers included Nigel Hawkes ofThe Times, John Maddox of Nature, Ravi Mirchandani of Penguin¸ Alun Anderson of New Scientist and Duncan Dallas of Café Scientifique

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Plato and Mathematics

SHDP Symposium 1994

Logicians and philosophers of mathematics discussed the mathematical Platonism with Penelope Maddy, Michael Redhead, Tim Smiley, Jeremy Butterfield, and Peter Smith. Is mathematics created by the mind or does it have an extra-mental existence, and what are the implications for philosophy?

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Mathematical Education

SHDP Symposium 1993

A group of world-class mathematicians, scientists, and professors of mathematical education explored the role of mathematics in different academic disciplines.

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Reductionism’s Primacy in the Natural Sciences

SHDP Conference 1992

This conference brought together world class neuroscientists, mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, psychiatrists, biologists, engineers, publishers and journalists to discuss to what extent reductionist method is shaping, and “reducing”, psychology, social studies, and even the humanities? Speakers included Nobel Prize Winner Gerald Edelman, Oliver Sacks, Freeman Dyson, Roger Penrose, John D Barrow, Paul M. Churchland, Patricia Churchland, Mary Midgely, and Peter Atkins. The conference proceedings are published in Nature's Imagination: The Frontiers of Scientific Vision, edited by John Cornwell, Oxford Unversity Press, 1993.

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