Richard Wilkinson Lectures

Since 2017 The Equality Trust has held the annual Richard Wilkinson Lecture, in partnership with UCL's Faculty of Population Health Science. The purpose of these lectures is to disseminate the latest research on socio-economic inequalities from world-renowned expert academics and practitioners in the field. These events increase public engagement about inequality and encourage attendees to join the movement to tackle inequality in the UK and beyond.   

The inaugural lecture, in December 2017, saw Professor Richard Wilkinson give an engaging talk presenting evidence from The Inner Level, co-authored with Professor Kate Pickett. He demonstrated the adverse impacts that status competition and status anxiety have on all of us as individuals and which are, unfortunately, intrinsic to living in unequal societies.  In particular, there were fascinating insights into the interplay of genetics and environment, and intriguing evidence that differences in our abilities are more a reflection of our position in the social hierarchy than they are a cause of it. 

Professor Richard Wilkinson delivering a lecture in front of a power point slide with the title 'what kind of stress causes the biggest rise in stress hormones'

Professor Richard Wilkinson delivering the inaugural Richard Wilkinson lecture in front of a PowerPoint titled 'What kind of stress causes the biggest rise in stress hormones?'

Professor Kate Pickett delivered the second in the series of lectures. Her topic was Failing The Future: Childhood in an Unequal World. In a wide-ranging and engaging presentation, Kate presented a vast array of evidence that showed how children are adversely affected by growing up in very unequal societies, such as the UK, compared to growing up in more equal societies. 

Professor Kate Pickett and Dr Wanda Wyporska taking questions in front of a power point slide with a picture of a young girl and a request for a donation

Professor Kate Pickett and Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, taking questions at the second Richard Wilkinson lecture.

The Richard Wilkinson Lectures are not purely academic activities. Richard and Kate have always allied activism to their research, not least through the creation of The Equality Trust. Understanding the true nature of inequality, and providing the evidence to show just how much it damages each one of us (poor, middling and rich alike) is essential if we are to win the argument that inequality must be substantially reduced - and to tip the balance in favour of making it happen. The aim is not only to inform but to inspire participants to take the actions needed in order to build a society where we can all flourish. 

Can We Be Happier? Richard Wilkinson lecture 2020

The third Richard Wilkinson lecture will take place on Thursday 11 June 2020 from 1pm to 2pm. The lecture, titled Can We Be Happier? Evidence and Ethics, will be presented by Professor Richard Layard. Richard is the Founder and former Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, and Programme Co-Director - Wellbeing.

Event details

Most people now realise that economic growth, however desirable, will not solve all our problems. Instead, we need a philosophy and a science which encompasses a much fuller range of human need and experience.

Labour economist Richard Layard of the London School of Economics argues that the goal for a society must be the greatest possible all round happiness. Discover how each of us can become more effective creators of happiness, both as citizens and in our own organisations.

Richard, the author of Can We Be Happier?, will provide hard evidence that increasing happiness is the right aim, and that it can be achieved.

This is a free event part of the York Festival of Ideas 2020. For ticket information, click here.

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