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Speaker spotlights 2015

Throughout the Festival period, we turn the spotlight onto one of the speakers each day in a series of Q&As aimed at discovering more about the speaker and their particular area of research or speciality. Contentious, bold and often closely linked to current affairs, the spotlights offer readers the chance to understand a little more about an area of research prior to the speaker’s event. 

  • Dr David Stillwell is Deputy Director of The Psychometrics Centre and leads the Computational Behavioural Science Unit at the University of Cambridge. He is also Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science at the Judge Business School, Cambridge. . He is part of the event, Artificial ‘un-intelligence’: the future we do not want may already be here on Saturday 24 October.
  • Dr Chris Bickerton is a University Lecturer in International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a fellow in politics at Queens’ College, Cambridge. He previously taught at the universities of Oxford, Amsterdam and Sciences Po, Paris. He will be speaking in the debate Can Europe keep the peace?
  • Professor Anthony Glees is Director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at The University of Buckingham. He will be speaking in the panel debate Can writers and artists ever be terrorists? 
  • Bidisha is a BBC TV and radio broadcaster, newspaper journalist and critic specialising in international affairs, human rights, gender, and the arts and culture. A Trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, she was a 2013 International Reporting Project Fellow, focusing on international development and global health. She also does outreach work in UK prisons, detention centres and refugee resource centres.
  • Dr Chris Giacomantonio is an analyst at RAND Europe. He has experience in project management roles overseeing work for the College of Policing, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Health.
  • Judith Aronson, a former Sunday Telegraph photographer, has spent much of the past 40 years taking portraits of writers, poets, artists and academics. Her work is held in many leading private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, London.
  • Dr Natasa Milic-Frayling, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, is passionate about innovation and social computing. In her talk, Privacy in the digital age on 29 October, Dr Milic-Frayling will examine issues of privacy in today’s technology-dependent society.
  • Emily Dugan is Social Affairs Editor at the Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
  • Dr Kariann Goldschmitt is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge. While her expertise centres on Brazilian music, including the Brazilian music industry, her research interests and teaching experience cover a wide range of areas in popular and world music.
  • Sam Brady is an award-winning comedian and failed Buddhist monk. He will be performing his latest comedy show Kindness on 28th October, during which Sam explores his struggle to become a ‘good person’ and asks why kindness is so undervalued. Heart-warming, thought-provoking, soul-searching comedy.
  • Ian Dunt is political editor of the Erotic Review, editor of and a political analyst for Yahoo UK. He specialises in issues around immigration, civil liberties, democracy, free speech and social justice and appears regularly on the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera as well as a variety of radio stations.
  • Dr James Riley and Yvonne Salmon - Dr James Riley is College Lecturer and Fellow in English at Girton College, Cambridge. He writes on modern and contemporary literature. Yvonne Salmon is an affiliated university lecturer with the Faculty of Law and Department of Land Economy, and is a member of Cambridge University English Faculty. She writes on law, literature and visual culture. They will both be speaking at the event The alchemical landscape on 24 October 2015.
  • Alan Sked is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and founder of UKIP. He will be taking part in the panel discussion, Can Europe keep the peace? on 24th October
  • John Macnicol is Visiting Professor in Social Policy at the London School of Economics. He has researched and published extensively on old age and social policy, retirement and pensions, as well as other areas of social policy. Professor Macnicol also has a new book coming out very shortly – Neoliberalising Old Age.
  • Caroline Wyatt is the BBC's Religious Affairs Correspondent and was formerly Defence Correspondent. She will be speaking at the debate War, censorship and propaganda: does it work? 
  • Cambridge University graduates, Rebecca Fitsimons and Amrou Al-Kadhi are editors and contributors for The Inkling magazine – a celebration of the essay form, with a personal and accessible approach to intelligent writing and creative response – which was created by a group of Cambridge graduates. 
  • Dr Katharina Karcher and Dr Helen Roche. Dr Karcher is Schröder Research Associate in the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include political extremism and violence, feminist theory and 20th-century history. Dr Helen Roche is an Affiliated Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge. Her first book, Sparta's German Children: The ideal of ancient Sparta in the Royal Prussian Cadet Corps, 1818-1920, and in National Socialist elite schools (the Napolas), 1933-1945 (2013), has received critical acclaim from reviewers in several disciplines.
  • The Revd Dr Christina Beardsley is a Church of England priest and hospital chaplain who has worked for over three decades in pastoral ministry. She is the author of The Transsexual Person Is My Neighbour: Pastoral Guidelines for Christian Clergy, Pastors And Congregations. From 2006 to 2014 Tina was a Changing Attitude, England Trustee for Transgender people. She co-leads the Sibyls workshop ‘gender, sexuality and spirituality’.
  • Peter Hitchens is a journalist, author and broadcaster. He has published six books, includingThe Abolition of Britain, The Rage Against God and The War We Never Fought. He regularly writes for The Mail on Sunday and is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow and Washington. 
  • Professor Ulinka Rublack specialises in Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge. Her wide-ranging research interests focus on 16th and 17th century culture, its visual and material aspects, the European Reformation, gender and society as well as methodological concerns. 
  • Professor David Runciman is a political theorist at the University of Cambridge where he is Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). He has worked as a columnist for The Guardian newspaper and written for many other publications. 
  • Dr David Bainbridge is the author of Curvology: the Origins and Power of Female Body Shape. He is also a Clinical Veterinary Anatomist and Admissions Subject Convenor in Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.  
  • Dr Debbie Pullinger, a Research Associate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, is the full-time researcher on The Poetry and Memory Project, a three-year interdisciplinary project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, investigating experiences of poetry learning, and examining the relationships between memorisation, recitation and understanding.
  • Dr Matthew Machin-Autenrieth from the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, explores collaborations between Spanish and North African musicians in the context of current debates regarding immigration, multiculturalism and regional identity.
  • Photographer Toby Smith - artist in residence at the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute - works internationally on projects concerning landscape, environment, industrial and science stories.