Please contact if you would like to add an event to this list.

External events

Other events that may be of interest to members of the Network:

Speech! Birmingham Literatrure Festival 2016.


October 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm

speeches changed briatain£8/£6.40, Festival Pass: FREE

Some of the most nationally significant speeches made outside Parliament have been delivered in Birmingham.

The city is alive with speeches people listen to and remember: two Prime Ministers delivered key policy-making
speeches here in the past year. Malala’s speech at the opening of the Library of Birmingham in 2013 made international headlines.

What is it about our city which inspires such oratory and orators? Join us for a lively discussion about Birmingham, and what makes a great speech.

With Imandeep Kaur, co-founder of Impact Hub Birmingham, and TEDxBrum historian Andrew Reekes and Jess Philipps MP for Birmingham Yardley. The event will be chaired by Dr Malcolm Dick (University of Birmingham).

How to Book: 
Please contact The BOX to book tickets on 0121 245 4455 or you can book online.

European Speechwriter Network Leadership & Communication Conference 2016 at the Scottish Parliament.

An invitation to the 13th conference of the UK Speechwriters’ Guild at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh on 20 & 21 October 2016. 

By accident, rather than design, this conference will be at the epicentre of major recent political upheavals.

The main conference is on Friday 21st October and includes eminent speakers from all over the world.

Few of us were expecting Brexit. After the shock of the ‘Leave’ vote, we’ve invited Vincent Stuer, a former speechwriter for José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to speak about the new landscape in Brussels.

Blair McDougall, the strategist behind the Better Together campaign during the Scottish independence referendum, will be explaining the view from Holyrood.

American politics is more baffling than ever. Barton Swaim, published his book, The Speechwriter in 2015 – a highly amusing account of the humiliations he experienced working for a South Carolina State Governor who was tipped to as a future Vice-President.

Barton will be sharing the lessons he learnt from sufferings and offering some insights into the Presidential elections.

Alex Marklew has worked as a speechwriter for two Government departments, as well as the Vice Chancellor of the Open University. He will be giving a more didactic speech: Saving Bambi: 10 tips for getting your speech cleared, as used in Britain’s biggest bureaucracy.

Charlie Ward is a playwright. He has worked for the UK’s only agency offering speechwriting services for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and he will be sharing insights from the experience. 

Intercultural expert, Patricia Lane, will be speaking on how to prepare your speech for the translators.

Jesuit priest, Peter Scally, will be describing the correspondences between speechwriting and sermon writing. 

Pre-conference training is also an important part of the event.

We have a distinguished line-up of speakers and trainers. On Thursday 20 October we will offer the choice of three one-day workshops.

1) ‘Wisdom from the White House – Basic Techniques from the Best American Speechwriters’ with Eric Schnure, who used to write speeches for American Vice-President Al Gore.

2) ‘Style, Structure and Storytelling’ workshop with the authors of the Mehrabian Myth YouTube viral hit, Martin Shovel and Martha Leyton.

3) ‘Add Meaning with Metaphor: Improve your Speeches with the Most Powerful Figure of Speech’ with Denise Graveline, author of The Eloquent Woman blog.

The tour of the Scottish Parliament is open to all attendees of the conference. It begins at 4.45pm on Thursday 20 October and will be followed by drinks hosted by Sir Paul Grice, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament.

Academics or students who wish to apply for a bursary to attend this event can make a short statement of 100 words explaining why they would benefit from taking part. Please send your statement with contact details to 

Find out more and book tickets for this event.

Republican Orators from Dwight. D Eisenhower to Donald Trump

3rd November, 2016 9.30am-5.00pm

The School of the Arts Library, 19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool, L697ZG

Liverpool University are delighted to host the annual PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Special Group event this year. As it is election year in the US, ‘Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump’ is a timely reassessment of conservative rhetoric over the course of recent history.

The project evaluates how leading Republicans communicate their message to the American electorate. Each paper revolves its analysis around the core political arenas – the Senate, media and/or public engagements, and the party conventions. As an academic framework the Aristotelean modes of persuasion (character/credibility; use of logic; employment of emotions) are adopted asymmetrically, reflecting the distinctive and conflicting styles of communication between each figure under examination.

Attendance is free please email either Andrew Crines ( or Andrew Taylor ( to register.

Call for Submissions: Women's Voices and Parliament 2018



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Women's Voices and Parliament

In 2018, the Houses of Parliament will mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act of 1918.  Activities will include a landmark public exhibition in Westminster Hall, delivered by the Vote100 project (, which will tell the story of women, the vote and Parliament, and explore the contribution and impact of women Members in both Houses post 1918.

House of Lords Hansard will be supporting the 2018 anniversary by publishing a book to document and celebrate the contribution of women to Parliament.

The book will consist of a diverse range of material by former and current parliamentarians, academics, parliamentary staff, performers and others. It will focus on the lived experience of women as they have worked in and for Parliament, and have come to have their voices heard in it. Submissions could include historical accounts/ analyses of speeches, incidents or events; personal memories and anecdotes; analyses of parliamentary representation and participation; and commentary on the rituals, accoutrements and the gendered spaces of Parliament and its processes. Submissions from all relevant disciplines will be considered.

While it is anticipated that the book will be of interest to academics, students, and Members of Parliament, its primary audience will be the general public and parliamentary visitors. It will be sold through the Parliament shops, using the Parliamentary exhibition and other events and activities as a platform, and there will be an initial print run of up to 2000 copies.

An accessible written style will be used, and good quality illustrations sourced through and provided by the Parliamentary Archives and the Parliamentary Art Collection.

This is a great opportunity to make use of the records of the Parliamentary Archives and Oral History project, and engage the general public with academic work. 

The co-editors are currently seeking proposals of 100-200 words by academics for eventual submissions of 1000-2000 words.

Possible areas for inclusion: 

  • The history of women and Parliament before 1918 (e.g.  Mary Wollstonecraft, failures to secure the franchise);
  • The women’s suffrage movement and its participants;
  • The Representation of the People Act and the first female Members of Parliament (e.g. Nancy Astor, the regulation of conduct through Standing Orders); 
  • Misogyny in Parliament;
  • Women’s experiences as Members of Parliament or parliamentary staff;
    • Gender and labour in Parliament;
    • The gendered spaces, languages, costumes, and conduct of Parliament;
    • Parliament’s adaptation to the presence of women;
    • Disruptions to parliamentary procedure by women;
    • Women in the Lords;
    • The role of political parties in extending female representation;
    • Political impact of women MPs;
      • Social impact of women MPs;
      • How women MPs have been represented in the press, portraiture, media, film and literature, etc. 


Proposal Submissions: 31 October 2016

Commission: 6 January 2017

First Draft to editors: 30 April 2017

Final Draft to editors: 31 October 2017

Publication: Spring 2018


Please send your 100-200 word entry proposal plus a biography of 30 words to John Vice (Editor, Hansard, House of Lords),, and Maggie Inchley (Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance, Queen Mary University of London), Please name your proposal with your surname and Women’sVoices1918-2018 (eg Inchley_Women’sVoices1918-2018). Please also put Women’sVoices1918-2018 in the email subject line. Informal queries should also be directed to both editors and use Women’sVoices1918-2018 in the subject line. 

The relationship between philosophy and rhetoric has often been strained, if not hostile. Philosophers have regarded rhetoricians with suspicion, accused them of misleading the masses and squandering truth for power. Rhetoricians, on the other hand, have considered philosophers as politically naive or even dangerous.

This series invites its speakers to rethink and challenge the sharp distinction between the two disciplines. There are good reasons to do so. It has, for instance, long been recognised that philosophy has its own rhetoric. Moreover, good rhetoric aims at reconciliation, rather than usurpation. At the same time, any rapprochement is not without its difficulties. It creates questions about disciplinarity, about truth and politics etc.

20 October 2016 – Dr Johan Siebers (Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Middlesex University London) The Zen of Rhetoric

24 November 2016 – Prof. Richard Toye, (History, University of Exeter) Should we always say what we mean, and mean what we say? Reflections on politics and the English language

9 February 2017 –  Prof. Kurt Barling (Journalism, Middlesex University London) Philosophy of otherness versus rhetoric of race

2 March 2017  – Prof. Jennifer Saul (Philosophy, University of Sheffield) Dogwhistles and Figleaves: Techniques of Racist Political Manipulation

30 March 2017 – Prof. Lene Rubinstein (Classics, Royal Holloway) Ethos and Logos. Persuasion and Character in Classical Greek Theory and Practice

Please click here to keep an eye on updates to these events.

Oratory and Rhetoric Workshop, University College London: 23 March, 2016

Organiser: Proffessor Gensine Manuwald, UCL. 


3 - 4.30pm: Session 1

Sarah Knight (Leicester) 

“Take heede of that dull, cold, idle way of reading Syllogismes out of a paper”: learning to argue at the early modern English universities

Michael Trapp (KCL)

Aelius Aristides’ Platonic Orations: Orators, Politicians and Plato’s Gorgias

4.30 - 5pm: Tea

5 - 6.30pm: Session 2

Gesine Manuwald (UCL)

"‘that talker, Cicero’: the orator Cicero as a figure in early modern drama"

Mike Edwards (Roehampton)



All welcome, followed by a wine reception.


Professor Manuwald is a member of the steering commitee for the Network for Oratory and Politics. Find out more information about this event.


From Thucydides to Twitter: Towards a History of the Soundbite London, 22-23 April 2016

Organizers: Jonathan Powell, Peter Rhodes, Lene Rubinstein and Christos Kremmydas 

The Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric (COR) is pleased to announce its next conference entitled “From Thucydides to Twitter: Towards a History of the Soundbite”. The conference will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of April 2016 in Senate House (room 349).  

The conference aims to to explore the nature and history of the ‘soundbite’ as a feature of political rhetoric and other forms of communication in the classical and modern worlds. It will bring together classical scholars, researchers in the fields of rhetoric, media and communication, and practising speechwriters, broadcasters and journalists, to explore the history of the phenomenon, compare its ancient and modern manifestations in theory and practice, and highlight its advantages and disadvantages in the context of public debate. 

Conference speakers:   

Tom Clark (Melbourne)
Michael Edwards (Roehampton) 
Bruce Gibson (Liverpool)
Richard Hawley (Royal Holloway) 
Brian Jenner (UK Speechwriters guild)
Joshua Katz (Princeton) 
Asako Kurihara (Osaka)
Christian Kock (Copenhagen)
Simon Lancaster (Bespoke speeches)
Nigel Rees (BBC broadcaster and author)
Peter Rhodes (Durham)
Catherine Steel (Glasgow) 
Anne Ulrich (Tübingen)
Lisa S. Villadsen (Copenhagen)
Katerina Voussoura (freelance journalist) 

Further updates on the programme and booking details will be posted in due course. 

The Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric is grateful for the generous support of the Institute of Classical Studies and the Classics Department at Royal Holloway. 

For any queries please contact: and  

Addressing Matters in Context: The Art of Persuasion across Genres and Times, International Conference, University of Cyprus, 27-9 August 2015

University of Cyprus, 27-9 August 2015

Most people think of persuasion in antiquity only in the context of the law-court, where two litigants present their arguments in an attempt to persuade the judges. In reality, however, persuasion was employed in antiquity across many genres and this very generic flexibility makes the forms of persuasion an inherently interesting subject for inquiry for scholars of ancient literature. Since antiquity the art of rhetorical persuasion has also been employed in public speaking. Rhetoric is central to political processes and outcomes: it gives the speakers the power to influence their audience to achieve their political aims. Although what we know today as the art of public speaking has undergone continuous change since the days of Pericles, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Quintilian, nevertheless, it has been suggested that Greco-Roman rhetoric has influenced how contemporary politics is articulated.

Download the conference programme.

Kyriakos Demetriou (University of Cyprus) 
Sophia Papaioannou (University of Athens) 
Andreas Serafim (University of Cyprus/ Open University of Cyprus/ University College London)

Keynote speaker: 
Michael Gagarin (University of Texas at Austin)

Find out more information.

CFP: Speaking in Parliament, Queen Mary University of London, 6-7 April 2016 (Deadline 30 Nov 2015)

Queen Mary University of London

6-7 April 2016‌

Thanks to the presence of television cameras in its debating chambers, the spectacle of Parliament is familiar to everyone who watches the evening news. For those who wish to venture beyond the sound bites, BBC Parliament now offers exhaustive coverage of proceedings in the chambers and committee rooms at Westminster. Yet despite this prominence in the public eye little has been done to assess the impact of parliamentary speaking on the political culture at large and its history as a rhetorical form remains to a large extent unwritten. Parliament’s development as an institution, its changing constitutional role, the political alignment and realignment of party groupings within it, and its contests with organised opinion out of doors have been the theme of many conferences but few have looked closely at one of the activities that most make it distinctive, the practice of speaking itself.

Jointly organized by the History of Parliament and Queen Mary University of London, this two-day conference will be an opportunity for practitioners and scholars across a range of disciplines to explore approaches to parliamentary speaking, past and present, in a forum dedicated to that topic. We invite proposal for 20-minute papers, and for panels, on any aspect of the history and practice of parliamentary speaking. Papers on particular speakers, speeches, debates, sequences of debates, and the reception of debates will be welcome. While we expect the Westminster Parliament to provide a focus, we also welcome proposals which deal with speaking in different parliamentary traditions and offer opportunities for comparative study.

Proposals of no more than 250 words, including institutional affiliation and contact details, should be submitted to by 30 November 2015. We hope to notify acceptances to proposers by 31 January 2016.

There will be a registration fee of £30.00 for both days or £20.00 for a single day to cover catering and other costs.


Ancient rhetoric in contemporary political discourse, Classical Association Annual Conference, University of Bristol, Sunday 12 April 2015, 14.30

Political oratory: addressing the powerful across the ages

Panel for the Classical Association Annual Conference, Edinburgh 6-9 April, 2016.

Organiser: Dr Henriette van der Blom (University of Glasgow) and sponsored by the Network for Oratory and Politics (

Chair: Prof. Gesine Manuwald (University College London)

Political oratory is highly sensitive to historical, cultural and political contexts – especially if it is to be successful. Nevertheless, there are some forms of oratory which we might expect to share traits across historical periods, cultural milieus and political circumstances because of similarities in the relationship between orator and addressee and the resulting negotiations of authority and power within such a relationship.

This panel will explore oratory aimed at powerful individuals and groups in four different historical and political contexts: the oratory of Demosthenes in the Athenian city-state of the fourth century BC, the oratory of Cicero in the first-century Roman Republic, Latin political oratory in late antiquity, and the communication from members of the public to politicians in modern British politics. Themes going through the papers are the attempts to build up authority and credibility when addressing the powerful, the extent to which orators could criticise the powerful, the flexibility in the power dynamics of this kind of rhetoric, and the varieties in communicative modes between the powerful and the not so powerful.

The panel is sponsored by the Network for Oratory and Politics, which aims to facilitate research into and discussion of political oratory across historical periods and regions. Designed especially for the CA 2016, this panel offers the chance to compare and contrast political oratory in Greco-Roman settings with that of a modern democratic society.

There will be four papers on this panel:

Dr Guy Westwood, University of Oxford: ‘Power and Danger in Demosthenes’ earlier speeches.’

Dr Henriette van der Blom, University of Glasgow: ‘Cicero and the rhetoric of asymmetrical relationship.’

Dr Roger Rees, University of St Andrews: ‘The Voices of Political Praise in Late Antiquity.’

Dr David S. Moon, University of Bath: ‘Modern Political Oratory within Heteronomous Politics: Lessons from the 2015 British General Election Leaders Debates and beyond.’

Bookings for this event can be made through the Classical Association's website.

Find more information, on panels and how to book places please.