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Brains tickled not pickled at MindJam

Thursday 24 October 2019 3:27pm

Otago Professors (clockwise from top left) Sonja Tiernan, Liam McIlvanney, Val McDermid and Tony Ballantyne will speak at MindJam events.

This weekend’s MindJam again offers a great opportunity to hear, meet and converse with Otago experts as they explore important cultural questions.

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Associate Professor Thomas McLean

The events begin on Friday, 25 October with an evening session on crime fiction featuring award-winning novelist and Otago’s Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies, Professor Liam McIlvanney. He will be joined by Val McDermid, the globally-acclaimed Scottish crime novelist, who is also a visiting Professor of Crime Fiction and Scottish Studies at Otago.

Saturday kicks off with Associate Professor Tom McLean, an expert on nineteenth century literature, discussing letters, biographies and ways of making sense of past lives.

On Saturday afternoon discussion will turn to national nostalgia and contemporary politics with Professor Sonja Tiernan, who is the Eamon Cleary Chair in Irish Studies at Otago, and Professor Jo Sharp, from the University of St Andrews, who is also a visiting fellow in Otago’s Geography programme.

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Dr Grace Moore

On Sunday Dr Grace Moore, an expert of literature and the environment, will discuss how climate change and how it was understood in the late nineteenth century.

The MindJam programme winds up with Val, Liam and Sonja providing perspectives on Brexit and what exactly is going on in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

University of Otago Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Ballantyne says the Division isexcited to again partner with the Catalyst Trust to provide an event which is becoming an important fixture on Queenstown’s cultural calendar.

“This year’s events high-light the depth of research and creativity at Otago, and it’s great to have a programme that spans crime fiction, contemporary politics, climate change, and the art of biography.”


“Making sense of the world is central to the Humanities and the relaxed and interactive setting of MindJam is a fantastic forum for exploring some very important ideas and issues,” says Professor Ballantyne.

MindJam 2019 is the third annual event collaboration between Queenstown’s Catalyst Trust and the University of Otago’s Division of Humanities.

VENUE: Yonder, 14 Church St, Queenstown 25-27 October.
Click HERE for the full programme.