The Orwell Lecture 2020

Monday 16 November 2020 @ 18:30

Free (Donation Recommended)

A Special Online Event

Tristram Hunt will deliver this year’s Orwell Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘Decolonising The Wonder House: Orwell, Empire and the Museum.’

About this Event

Ever more combative cultural politics, increasing public debate about the legacies of the colonial past, and movements to decolonise museums and universities are bringing the work of George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling – the anti-imperialist and the imperialist – back into contestation. In the Orwell Memorial Lecture 2020, Tristram Hunt will explore how these two literary giants – and their relationship – can help to frame today’s conversation around museums, empire, and decolonisation. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, the director of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum and Thant Myint-U the writer and historian who established the Yangon Heritage Trust will respond. The Orwell Foundation is delighted to welcome registrations for this first online and international Orwell Lecture.

Tristram Hunt – Biography

Dr Tristram Hunt is the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Since taking up the post in 2017, Tristram has focused on support for design education in UK schools, expansion of the photography department, and encouraging debate around the museum’s global collections. In the coming years, Tristram’s priorities are centred around the transition to a multi-site museum, with V&A Dundee, the redesign of the Museum of Childhood, and the development of a new museum and Collections and Research Centre in Stratford, East London. Prior to joining the V&A, Tristram was MP for Stoke‐on‐Trent Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and is the author of several books, including Marx’s General, Ten Cities That Made an Empire and, most recently, The Lives of The Objects – telling the story of the South Kensington collection.

Your ticket and donation

The Orwell Foundation is an independent charity which exists to continue the legacy of George Orwell, our goal is to make that legacy accessible to everyone. While the lecture is free to attend, we encourage those that can to donate to support our ongoing work so we are able to continue to celebrate honest writing and reporting, uncover hidden lives and confront uncomfortable truths – and, in doing so, to promote Orwell’s values of integrity, decency and fidelity to truth. We hope to connect with the many different constituencies to whom Orwell and his writings are a source of inspiration, from policy-makers and politicians to students and schoolchildren, and to offer a platform for debate and discussion designed to appeal to the widest possible public audience.

Your donation will contribute directly to the Orwell Foundation’s youth strand. Through workshops, resources, seminars and direct feedback, our writing programmes and prize support young people from across the UK to engage with Orwell’s work and think critically and creatively about the society they are a part of. Our lecture programme will include supporting and developing a youth response and educational resource that reflects and engages with the content and issues raised by the 2020 lecture.

More information about the Orwell Youth Prize can be found on our website. Every donation helps to support our work to engage our partners, our network and the public at large.

‘Competitions like the Orwell Youth Prize are so important for giving us a space to fight our corner and express our creativity’ – Rosaleen Tite Ahern, 2020 OYP Winner

Joining Instructions

You will only be able to access the event if you register for a ticket via Eventbrite by following the link below. Through your ticket, you will be provided with a link to the Zoom channel five minutes before the event starts.

The Orwell Memorial Lecture

The Orwell Memorial Lecture, given in memory of the author, essayist and journalist George Orwell, has been given annually since 1989 and has attracted notable speakers including Daniel Finkelstein, Kamila Shamsie, Dr Rowan Williams, Dame Hilary Mantel, Robin Cook and Ruth Davidson MSP. Speakers are tasked with discussing any topic ‘Orwell might have been interested in’. Originally held at the University of London, Birkbeck and the University of Sheffield, the Orwell Memorial Lecture usually takes place each year at University College London, home of the UNESCO-registered Orwell Archive, the most comprehensive body of research material relating to the author’s life anywhere. The Orwell Foundation is based at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies. This year, however, the Orwell Memorial Lecture is being held exclusively online for the first time.

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