Cafe Conversations Beginning Friday February 4th 12.30

By , January 26, 2011 9:57 am

Press release

Cafe Conversations:

UEA comes to Magdalen Street

The Magdalen Street revival continues with a series of ‘Café Conversations’  sponsored by UEA and CUE East, and hosted by Aladdin’s Cafe

In response to the enthusiastic community response to the first annual Magdalen Street Celebration,  Aladdin’s Café will host a series of social and intellectual events for the community.

Café conversations are an opportunity to meet scientists, researchers and scholars from the University of East Anglia, and interact with them about cutting edge social and technological issues.

Café Conversations on a variety of topics will be held weekly for the next six months.  Café’s will be held at various times during the week to accommodate everyone’s schedule: either on a Wednesday lunchtime, a Friday evening, or a Saturday afternoon.

Dates and Times See attached schedule for details.

Wednesdays at 12.30                                   Fridays at 8 pm                     Saturdays at 3 pm

CUE East is a UEA initiative to support faculty members in engaging with the public. CUE East is one of six higher education national Beacons for Public Engagement .

About Scientific Cafes in Norwich

CUE East and partners hosted the country’s first Sustainable Living Festival at the Forum in Norwich (May 2009).  As part of this Festival CUE East took the concept of ‘Café Scientifiques’ to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.  Usually held in cafes, bars or restaurants, they are always outside of the traditional academic context.  The Social Science Cafes held at the Festival proved popular.   Recently CUE East have helped partner Café’s at the Inspire Discovery Centre and the Castle Museum.

About the Magdalen Street Celebration

The first annual Magdalen Street Celebration took place in October 2010.  It is an arts and music festival focused on showcasing local talent and uniqueness and vibrancy of the Magdalen Street neighbourhood.   The Magdalen Street themes ‘Creativity, Sustainability, Diversity’ are reflected in many of the Café Conversation topics of this new series.

About Transition Norwich

Transition Norwich is a community-based response to peak oil, climate change, and economic recession. It was launched in Norwich in October 2008, and is part of the national and international Transition Network.  Its NR3 members were the organisers of the Magdalen Street Celebration.

About Aladdin’s

Aladdin’s is the new intellectual hub of Magdalen St and a favourite spot for socialising, meeting and networking amongst people with ‘alternative’ views. Stop by for Café conversations or interviews with authors, poets, activists, educators and entertainers from Norwich and across the UK, often recorded with a live audience.

For more information

Stefi Barna, Lecturer, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia

01603 591109         07964 494836

Café Conversation Topics


Facilitator Date & Time
What is Infinity?

Why is the universe infinite?  If a tree grows for an infinitely long time, will it be infinitely tall? What does “infinity” mean, and why is it so controversial and misunderstood?   In this Cafe Conversation we will answer these questions and more with interesting examples and thought experiments.  No mathematical experience is required, only a willingness to try out new ideas!

Robert Henderson and Lydia Rickett

School of Mathematics

Friday         4 Feb     8 pm

Saturday     5 Feb     3 pm

Wednesday  9 Feb  12.30 pm

Increasing Happiness, Decreasing Consumption

What makes us happy?  In this workshop we will do some simple exercises, hear a brief introduction to research findings on what generates wellbeing, and talk about how these findings translate into activities that have little or no cost to our purses or the Earth.

Teresa Belton

School of Education

Saturday     19 Feb     3 pm
Bioplastics: Waste product or gold mine?

The food and drink industry generates 12.6 million tonnes of waste per year, more than 10% of UK’s total.  Can food waste be used to make ‘bioplastics’  for packaging and other sustainable materials?

Dominique Georget

School of Chemistry

Saturday 26 Feb 3pm

Too busy to be bored?

Is feeling bored a good thing or a bad thing?  This conversation explores what older people mean by “being bored”.  Your input will help define various kinds of boredom and what value older people place on not being bored and on maintaining activities and social relationships.

Kathleen Lane

Centre for Applied Research in Education

Saturday 5 March at 3pm

International Women’s Centenary

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  The first International Women’s Day event was run in 1911; 2011 is the Global Centenary Year There will be two separate conversations to celebrate this week; topics to be announced.



Norwich Business School

Wednesday 9 March 12.30

Friday 11 March 12.30

Greenspeak: How to talk people into compost and other inconveniences

Sexing up recycling: Can it be done? The conversation revolves around the techniques we might use to generate and created messages that might encourage the reluctant to recycle and the grudging to act green.

Simon Hampton

School of Social Work & Psychology

Saturday 26 March 3pm
Engineering Earth

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have so far provided little confidence that we will avoid dangerous climate change. But can technology succeed where we have so far failed? The new science of Earth Engineering offers an array of promising and innovative new technologies designed to capture emissions and cool the planet; but raises a number of novel social, ethical, legal and political questions. Come and share your views on this rapidly evolving and vibrant topic.

Rob Bellamy

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Friday  1 April  8 pm
Sustainable Food Systems: Can Farming be Green?

With growing populations and diminishing resources, sustainable agriculture and food security are top priorities the world over. One of the greatest challenges we face is to increase agricultural yields while reducing environmental damage caused by farming. Modern agriculture is one of the most energy hungry and polluting industries in the world, and covers nearly 40% of the land surface, yet without it we cannot survive. We are all directly and indirectly affected by our food provision systems; how can we change them to achieve food security in the long term? Come and share your views with two researchers in sustainable agriculture.

Tom Powell and Melanie Bennett

School of Biological Sciences


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