The March of Women!

Until very recently, women composers and musicians were almost always ignored, or grossly patronised

Friday 21 Nov, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Composer and violinist Sonja Grossner will be discussing the many distinguished women classical composers in the last 1000 years, with an interlude from Geoff Gay ( “a bit of a pianist” as he would put it ) about the role of women in Jazz.
Both Sonja and Geoff will bring examples of the actual music.

Jazz saxophonist Betty Smith who was born very near here in Sileby.

Jazz saxophonist Betty Smith who was born very near here in Sileby.

Composer  Ethel Smyth. She was also a suffragette who spent time in jail

Composer Ethel Smyth. She was also a suffragette who spent time in jail

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Revolution! is this a joke?

RB_RevolutionFriday 7 Nov, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by Dr Ray Sutton

We all know the system isn’t working.  Our governments are remote and the opposing parties pointlessly similar.  Our culture is filled with vacuity and pap, and we are told there’s nothing we can do – ‘it’s just the way things are’.  Brand deftly destroys this illusory facade and suggests a revolution is necessary, to save the planet from corporate exploitation.  But does he really know what revolution is and how might we get there?   Ray Sutton discusses the options.

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Challenges to the NHS

NHS_DavidGFriday 24 Oct, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by David Girdler.

The NHS may have been rated the best in the world [1], but it faces major challenges. These have not been helped by recent top-down reorganisation, which the Tories now admit was “their worst mistake”. [2]

Some of the increased use of commercial services and privatisation has turned out badly, but are they always a bad thing?

The challenges remain:
What is to be done about patient waiting times? Mental health services? Care of the elderly? Recruitment of staff at all levels? Care after hospital discharge? Illness screening? Healthy living? The application of new materials and new surgical methods?

David will base his introduction on:
Christine Montross -/Failing into the Fire – Encounters with the mind
crisis /
Micheal J. Sandel – /What money can’t buy – the moral limits of markets/
Roger Taylor – /God bless the NHS – The Truth behind the current crisis/

Too many to list.
But, see the /Times /October 13th 2014.
/Private Eye /is useful to understand how NHS policies actually work.

EPPM – /Revoltions in surgery and new materials /- September 2014
TCT – /Changing the game in healthcare/ – September 2014
Engineering materials -/3D printing of biological organs/ – Autumn 2014.

[1] The Guardian: NHS comes top in health care survey

A survey produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems,  finds the NHS the best in the world.

[2] International Business Times: Tories admit NHS reforms were ‘huge
error’ which David Cameron didn’t even understand

The Times: NHS reforms our worst mistake, Tories admit

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Engaging with Young Voters

The Leicester Unlock Democracy group invite you to the next “Democracy Drinks” to be held on Monday October 27th at the Ale Wagon pub, Charles St., Leicester, at 7.30 pm.

The speaker is Heather Worman, Labour County Councillor for the Ibstock and Appleby division.

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Prioritising the teaching of science and maths and making it inspiring

Girl writing equations on a chalkboardFriday 10 Oct, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Friday Room regular and lifelong teacher Geoff Gay will be presenting this topic:

When I was at school back in 1960, at the tender age of 12/13 we had to choose between two pathways: “Science” or “Arts” (echos of CP Snow – Two Cultures!). From the age of about 10, I was very interested in science (especially astronomy) so that was naturally my choice. BUT my enthusiasm was soon dimmed by some very uninspiring science teaching: when I asked questions, I usually got the answer “Just learn it to get a good grade in the exam”.

I understand that science teaching has not got much better in the ensuing 50-plus years, with the result that most people in our society do not understand either scientific method or the key science concepts. To take one example, lots of people are not aware of the time and distance scales of our universe. Understanding science is one of the keys to understanding the world and the universe, and, without that understanding, it is difficult to contribute to change. What can be done about this?

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Friday Room Special: A Conversation with Ruth Lister

RuthListerFriday 26 Sept, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

We need to create a culture that combines a sense of belonging with openness to new ideas. To get away from the idea that we are individuals to be consulted and not just consumers or components of some machine. Politics needs to be based on dialogue rather than Party bigwigs telling us what is best for us.

The starting point will be the idea of the Open Tribe which was developed in a series of interviews with politically active people and refined into a book by Sue Goss. It is to do with reconciling the supportive but restrictive nature of belonging to a specific group or tribe and the openness to novelty but risk of isolation that comes from not belonging.

Ruth’s Profile

From 1971 to 1987 I worked for the Child Poverty Action Group, the last 8 years as director.  I joined the Department of Social Sciences after 6 years as Professor and Head of Department of Applied Social Studies, Bradford University.  Between 2005 and 2007 I spent some time at the University of Glasgow as the first Donald Dewar Visiting Professor of Social Justice.  I retired in October 2010 and joined the House of Lords as a Labour peer in February 2011.  I was elected hon president of CPAG in December 2010.  I currently sit on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, the board of the Smith Institute and am vice-chair of the Fair Pay Network and a patron of JustFair.  In the past I have sat on a number of independent commissions, the National Equality Panel and the Community Development Foundation, as well as numerous other voluntary organisation and research advisory committees.  In 2010 I received a life-time achievement from the Social Policy Association.  In 2005 I was co-recipient of the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education awarded to the university for its contribution to social policy.

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Change of Venue for Friday’s meeting

Matt Sissons meeting will now be in the Yeoman room in the Brush Sports and Social Club in Fennel street, next door but one from Unity House.



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