It’s always good to question what we think we know. The Rethinking Collection is a series of Garden Talks by world experts that reexamine the ideas and events that have shaped and continue to shape our world.

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Talks structure30 minute lecture20 minute Q&A

8 talks in this Garden Series



Psychology & Behaviour
Society & Politics
Rethinking Serendipity: How is luck created?

47 mins

Research has proven that there's more to luck than simple chance. How can the right mindset turn uncertainty into serendipity? Read more

Dr. Christian Busch

New York University

Dr Christian Busch is a world-leading expert in the areas of innovation, purpose-driven leadership, and cultivating serendipity. He directs the CGA Global Economy Program at New York University, and also teaches at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Previously, he co-directed the LSE's Innovation Lab and co-founded the Sandbox Network, a global community of young innovators, as well as Leaders on Purpose, an organization convening purpose-driven CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Expert Forum, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and among Diplomatic Courier’s "Top 99 Influencers" as well as the Thinkers50 Radar list of 30 thinkers “most likely to shape the future.”

Christian's bestselling book, The Serendipity Mindset, has been highlighted as a "wise, exciting, and life-changing book" (Arianna Huffington), and was featured on platforms such as the BBC, Harvard Business Review and Forbes.

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Philosophy & Religion
Did Jesus answer fan mail?

47 mins

The Abgar Legend tells the story of the King of Osroene, who (it's said) got into a correspondence with Jesus. Are these letters real? Read more

Dr. James Corke-Webster

King's College London

Dr James Corke-Webster is a classicist and historian with particular interests in early Christian and late antique history and literature. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Classics, History and Liberal Arts, and Co-Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies. He studied Classics and Theology at Oxford, Cambridge, and Manchester, before taking up a Fulbright Scholarship at Berkeley.

He has held lectureships at Edinburgh and Durham, and moved to Kings College in 2017. He is also the author of the multi-award winning book Eusebius and Empire: Constructing Church and Rome in the Ecclesiastical History.

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Human Biology & Medicine
Psychology & Behaviour
Why is a computer not a good analogy for the brain?

49 mins

Artificial intelligence systems are built to mimic human intelligence. Do they have any chance of replicating all the abilities of a brain? Read more

Prof. Angus Fletcher

Ohio State University

When Angus Fletcher first started out in the lab as a young neuroscientist, he believed that the human brain was just like a computer. He soon discovered he was wrong; the brain wasn't data driven or logical but rather emotional, creative and driven by stories.

Today as Professor of Story Science at Ohio State University, Angus specialises in using art & literature to unlock the neuroscience of human creativity and emotional resilience. His research has been called "mind-blowing" by Malcolm Gladwell and has been endorsed by leading scholars in neuroscience, psychology, medicine and literature.

Angus has written two recent books, Wonderworks and Storythinking, and has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles.

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Science & Nature
Which mathematical challenges will shape the 21st Century?

46 mins

The most transformative scientific breakthroughs depend on maths. Which problems are mathematicians working on that will drive scientific change in the coming decades? Read more

Prof. Yang-Hui He

City, University of London

Professor Yang-Hui He is a mathematical physicist working on the interface between geometry, number theory and string theory. Recently, he helped introduce machine-learning into the field of pure mathematics by using machine learning to uncover new patterns and raise new conjectures.

Yang did his undergraduate at Princeton University and then obtained a Masters in Mathematics with distinction at the University of Cambridge. He went on to receive his PhD in mathematical physics from MIT.

Yang continued with postdoctoral work in the University of Pennsylvania before joining University of Oxford as the FitzJames Fellow in Mathematics and then the UK STFC Advanced Fellow in theoretical physics. He is currently Fellow at the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences. He concurrently holds a professorship of mathematics at City, University of London, the Chang-Jiang Chair Professorship at NanKai University, China and remains a tutor and lecturer at Merton College, Oxford. Yang is the author of three books and more than 170 journal papers.

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Society & Politics
Why are our universities getting whiter?

45 mins

With more scrutiny on it than ever, inclusion in our universities should be the widest it's ever been. So why do so many key metrics tell a different story? Read more

Prof. Kalwant Bhopal

University of Birmingham

Kalwant’s research on the position of minority ethnic academics in higher education was instrumental in creating what is now known as the Race Equality Charter Mark, a framework through which institutions work to improve the representation, progression, and success of minority ethnic staff and students in higher education.

Kalwant is a Professor of Education and Social Justice at the University of Birmingham. She was recently conferred a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. She is Visiting Professor at Kings College London and was Visiting Professor at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education from 2017-2019. Her research specifically explores how processes of racism, exclusion and marginalisation operate in predominantly White spaces with a focus on social justice and inclusion. She has published 9 books, 10 edited collections and various journal articles.

If you don't see her at her desk, you will likely find her watching movies, doing some yoga, or traveling somewhere around the world. She loves food and enjoys discussing social justice at dinner with her family.

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Intro to Catherine de Medici: Why do we love to hate a woman in power?

46 mins

History's leading ladies often come with a bad reputation. What can the Black Queen teach us about the misunderstood women of the past? Read more

Dr. Leah Redmond Chang

Leah Redmond Chang is an author and historian. She is a former Associate Professor of French and Director of the French Literature Program at George Washington University and was most recently a Senior Research Associate at University College London. 

If you had any doubts about female authorship she would be the best person to speak to. She researched and wrote extensively about the role of queens during the Renaissance era, specifically Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary Stuart, and Elisabeth de Valois. One of her works, Portraits of the Queen Mother: Polemics, Panegyrics, Letters, was also the winner of the Josephine Roberts Award from the International Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. She spends her time between Washington DC and London, so you will probably catch her typing some new exciting piece in one of those flights.

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Psychology & Behaviour
Literature & Language
How do the stories we tell shape who we are?

49 mins

Conversation is a continuous act of curating, connecting and analysing the events in our lives. How do we decide how we want to be seen? Read more

Prof. Ann Phoenix

University College London

Ann Phoenix is a Professor of Psychosocial Studies at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Research Institute, UCL Institute of Education, and a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences. She is on the Nuffield Foundation Trust Board.

She mainly researches the ways in which psychological experiences and social processes are linked and intersectional. It includes work on racialized and gendered identities and experiences; mixed-parentage, masculinities, consumption, young people and their parents, the transition to motherhood, families, migration, and transnational families. Much of her research draws on mixed methods and includes narrative approaches. 

She is particularly good at word games and enjoys reading and taking long walks outside. Most often, you will find her spending time with her two fascinating grandchildren. 

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Geography & the World
Society & Politics
How do cultures around the world think about property and ownership?

45 mins

The Sharing Economy is challenging the West's traditional view of ownership, but other ways of thinking about property and possession have existed for millennia. What do they look like? Read more

Dr Saskia Vermeylen

University of Strathclyde

Saskia is a legal expert, but she's not like any legal expert you've ever met.

She is one of a small number of experts in the world looking at the next frontiers in property, from outer space to microbes to the deep sea. She also explores property and ownership through the lens of literature and art, particularly African Futurism, ecocriticism, science fiction, and visual and performative art.

Saskia's wide range of specialisms are reflective of her broad and open approach to the world around her. She has always been interested in getting to know other cultures through traveling, food and reading, and just love to get the wider world. When Saskia's not with us in The Garden discussing the concept of ownership, you're likely to find her growing fruit and veg in her allotment.

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About talks

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Garden series are hand curated by us, and are designed to take an in-depth look at a particular theme or topic. You can sign up to join us for the whole series, or just parts of it. You can start watching talks by starting a free trial or a subscription with us.

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What if I can't make it to a talk?

No problem! All of our talks are available to watch on-demand, so you can catch up on any talks that you miss.

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