Star Trek scriptwriter, future of work, “happiness food”: April & May events

From a Star Trek scriptwriter who talks elastic thinking and creativity… to how healthy eating can boost our mood — here’s a smorgasbord of events in or near London.

Also vying for our time: how artificial intelligence keeps us from flagging in an art exhibition … or an event about the future, or otherwise, of the Commonwealth. Perhaps the changing face of work is more your thing?

Yes, yes, we’re all busy. Still, maybe as the spring makes the days seem longer, at least, one or other of these events will make it into your diary.

Factfulness: ten reasons we’re wrong about the world and why things are better than you think, Weds 11 April, London
Organiser: LSE; 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

A glass-half-full event at the end of a hump day… (Wednesday, keep up.) What’s not to like?

The premise of this talk? When we’re asked a simple question about a global trend — for instance, how many of us live in poverty — a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will outguess a Nobel laureate.

Authors of the book Factfulness explain what distorts our perspective and can make us more gloomy than the evidence allows for.

(On that note: a couple of months back Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker argued on BBC Radio 4 that humanity is flourishing. From health to prosperity, via safety, peace and happiness — all are improving, Pinker explained.)

Events blog

Philippedelavie on Pixabay, published in a

The Power of Elastic Thinking, Thurs 12 April, London (+ Facebook live)
Organiser: the RSA; 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

At this event a stone’s throw from London’s Charing Cross station, Star Trek scriptwriter and bestselling author Leonard Mlodinow talks about what he calls elastic thinking.

It’s a trait that has allowed creators from writer Mary Shelley (she of Frankenstein fame) to jazz trumpeter Miles Davis to be at the cutting edge of change.

Amid concerns about the possible impact of robotics on job prospects, what better time to mull and ponder ways of thinking that foster human creativity?

The State of the Commonwealth, Thurs 19 April, London
Organiser: British Library; 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Events blog

Screenshot from British Library website, published in a

“A relic of Empire or essential to our global futures together?” the event description asks about the Commonwealth. It’s a grouping of 53 countries, most of them former British colonies, that are home to 2.4 billion people.

Other talking points at the British Library (what an inspiring place it is): realignment of trade after Brexit; can the Commonwealth’s fortunes be reversed following “a troubled recent past”?

Among the speakers are Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Labour politician Paul Boateng.

PR & Communications Census 2018 Launch, Tues 1 May, London
Organiser: PRCA; 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Events blog

Image by designwebjae on Pixabay, published in a

This event will set out how much the PR and communications industry contributes to the economy and look at prospects for the sector, including client budgets.

Trade magazine PRWeek, one of the partners for this launch evening, has published a 2017 ranking of the top 150 PR consultancies in the UK. Surprisingly or not, about 80 percent of them are based in London.

(I’m a member of PRCA, or Public Relations and Communications Association.)

Virtual Reality Brighton Meetup, Thurs 10 May, Brighton
Organiser: Digital Catapult Centre, Brighton; 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Events blog

This summer marketing card includes a photo taken in Brighton. Published in a

The line-up here includes Abigail Wincott, a researcher from the University of Brighton with a project to reconstruct “the historical soundscapes of post-industrial Britain”; also two speakers from Mnemoscene, which aims to use immersive experience to make cultural heritage more engaging.

This event is aimed at those interested in the GLAM sector. Galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

Talking of archives, the Bishopsgate Institute near Liverpool Street station in The City has a new addition to theirs.

I’m no ballroom dancer, but look forward to gong to a launch event there on Weds 11 April to celebrate the archive of Peggy Spencer, described as “the queen mother of Ballroom and Latin”.

The dancer and choreographer, who taught ballet star Rudolf Nureyev how to tango, also put the south London suburb of Penge on the map thanks to her dance school.

(From southeast to southwest London, The National Archives in Kew hold a range of events, too, from medicine to male support for women’s suffrage via the Reformation and food. Who knew?)

Eat Yourself Happy: how to transform your mood with food, Weds 15 May, London
Organiser: Action for Happiness; 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Events blog

More snap to your celery? Remembered from a Rumpole book. Instagram screenshot in a

Britain ranks number 19 in the latest annual survey of the world’s happiest countries, compared with Finland in top place.

On that… happy note, fancy an event that explores the link between eating healthy food and good cheer?

Rachel Kelly and nutritionist Alice Mackintosh, co-authors of “The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food,” present their findings.

(The evening is part of Mental Health Awareness Week.)

Being hangry at an event about the mood-enhancing possibilities of healthy food? If that’s not an example of irony, I’m not sure what is… Best to eat beforehand.

The Future of Work with RSA’s Matthew Taylor, Thurs 24 May, Croydon
Organiser: Croydon Chamber of Commerce; 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Events blog

Image by umsiedlungen on Pixabay, published in a

The Taylor review of modern working practices came out last July. (There’s a useful summary of the main points, ranging from wages to “gig-economy” workers and corporate governance, in this BBC article.)

During this lunchtime event Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA and the report’s author, will talk about what, if anything, has changed in the world of work since last summer.

From clamping down on unpaid internships to the gender pay gap — and those worries, again, about automation replacing jobs — our interest in what makes work meaningful and dignified is unlikely to wane.

(Have a particular interest in employment stories? Online newspaper the Independent has a section on just that; for The Telegraph it’s here.)

As a member of Croydon Chamber, I hope to join in with the discussion in May. If work allows.


So many events, so little time? Exactly.

While I may get to only a couple of these, having such a big choice of events vying for our time and attention is a luxury, when you come to think of it.

What better way of mulling over those talks, or at least thinking about getting to one of them, than taking yourself for a springtime stroll as the days stretch out. That, after all, can be an event in itself.

(Lead photo by Couleur on Pixabay; the final image is my own, taken in Hampshire.)

*What events help to develop your business or give you fresh ideas?
Please add any other comments about this blog too. Many thanks.*

4 comments on “Star Trek scriptwriter, future of work, “happiness food”: April & May events

  1. Keith Sharpe on

    All v exciting stuff. Everybody should read the Steven Pinker book you refer to, ‘Enlightenment Now’. It is an excellent defence of the Enlightenment values of free speech, thought and expression which have brought such progress to humanity, and which are now under threat from the rise of political and religious dogmas. On Sat 14 April, 10:30 am, the National Secular Society have a conference lobbying for the reform of Religious Education. All welcome:

    • Brian McGee on

      Thanks a lot for your comment, Keith. I’ll add the Steven Pinker book to my list… The Radio 4 programme was very interesting. Thanks too for the information about that conference.

  2. Sarah Gilfillan on

    Wow – you’ve certainly dug deep and found out about some interesting events Brian! I like the sound of the Eat Yourself Happy one. It’s something most of us wouldn’t consider contributes to our moods….so that probably means I should go along and find out more!

    • Brian McGee on

      Thanks a lot for your comment, Sarah. Glad to hear you found the smorgasbord appealing! Yes, the Eat Yourself Happy One does sound good, doesn’t it? Action for Happiness seems like an interesting organisation too.


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