What if Wednesdays - Free public lectures, twice monthly

The University of Canterbury holds free public lectures on campus, twice a month on Wednesdays from 7.00pm.

The What if Wednesdays (WIW) public lecture series is returning for 2015. This year the series will be held twice a month with interesting topics and speakers from the University of Canterbury. You can register your interest by entering your details here..

Should you wish to revisit any of the WIW lectures from 2014, 2013 or 2012, you can view them via our YouTube channel.

Upcoming Lectures

11 March

What if... All women everywhere were treated the same as men?

Associate Professor Annick Masselot, Department of Accounting and Information Systems, School of Business and Economics

Man has been the dominant sex forever. But for the first time in human history, things are changing. Women live longer than men; for every two men who get a University degree, three women will do the same; women have entered every professions (including going to space and to war, as well as running countries such as in New Zealand); in the US women now represent the majority of the workforce; the European monarchies have revised their succession rules to permit first born girls to become monarch. The economic success of women is held as an indicator of the overall economic success of any given country.

The historical and legal preference for the male is fast eroding worldwide. In this context, some have argued that post-industrial society is better suited to women and that the quest for equality is no longer necessary.

  • What is gender equality?
  • What is the role of the law in developing equal treatment between women and men?
  • Do women need equal treatment with men?
  • Do men need equal treatment with women?

In this lecture, I argue that despite the success of some women, equality is still a very relevant concept for both women and men, in all part of the world. I also explore the complex concept of equality, which allows equal treatment as wells as special treatment to accommodate for past discrimination and existing structural inequalities.

Annick Masselot is an Associate Professor in law at the University of Canterbury (Department of Accounting and Information Systems). Her research interests is comparative in nature and focuses upon gender equality and equal treatment, social and employment law, reconciliation between work and family life, pregnancy and maternity rights. She has written extensively on gender equality. She is the author of Reconciling Work and Family Life in EU Law and Policy, (2010) London: Palgrave Macmillan (with E. Caracciolo di Torella). She is also the author of the Thematic Report of the European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality “Fighting Discrimination on the Grounds of Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenthood - The application of EU and national law in practice in 33 European countries”, Publication of the European Commission, November 2012. ISBN 978-92-79-27748-1, http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/your_rights/discrimination__pregnancy_maternity_parenthood_final.en.pdf (with E. Caracciolo di Torella and S. Bury). She is a co-editor of Importing EU Norms? Conceptual Framework and Empirical Findings, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2015 (Björkdahl A., N. Chaban, J. Leslie and A. Masselot eds.)

Register now!

25 March

What if... Coaching cricket and other sports could get you a great job?

Professor Richard Light, Head of School: Sport and Physical Education, College of Education

Sport is a dominant practice in Canterbury that we all enjoy playing at whatever level and watching - especially at elite level. Children and young people can also learn great lessons about life and working with other people through participation in sport and particularly through the very social nature of team sport. Beyond the benefits for health and well-being regular participation in sport through childhood and adolescence, and with appropriate coaching and parental guidance, sport can teach valuable life lessons,. For the talented few playing at the most elite levels it can also provide a financially rewarding career and a great start to a financially secure life. For even fewer people a coaching career in some sports can also be financially attractive but what about the rest of us? Can learning to coach get us a good job beyond sport?

The notion of sport teaching valuable lessons for work and life originated in the 19th century schools of the English middle classes and despite the massive changes in societies around the globe since then there is strong belief in the capacity of sport to prepare us for life and for work. Given the complexity of the job of a coach of a team sport like rugby or netball and what s/he must do be successful it is easy to see the similarities with business leadership across the breadth of vocations and employment in New Zealand society. A successful coach invariably has the characteristics of a successful business leader an the qualities valued in most work places. You only have to look to the popular use of famous players or coaches to motivate or guide successful business people to see our belief in what sport can teach.

This presentation examines the ways in which coaching and learning to coach develops the characteristics and skills that are required for success in any vocation or enterprise. It draws on recent innovations in coaching to emphasize what learning to coach well can do too get you a great job anywhere.

Register now!

15 April

What if... Education included community participation alongside literacy and numeracy?

Dr Billy O’Steen

29 April

What if... More people could understand the law?

Dr Chris Gallavin

20 May

What if... More volunteered to help communities after disasters?

Linda Cruse

27 May

What if... Christchurch became New Zealand capital of electric vehicles?

Dr Allan Miller

10 June

What if... a mathematician, a philosopher and a student walked into a bar?

Distinguished Professor Mike Steel

24 June

What if... Nutrition could treat mental illness?

Professor Julia Rucklidge