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 2015, 2014 or 2013, you can view them via our YouTube channel.

Upcoming Lectures

29 April

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

Dr Chris Gallavin, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Head of School at the School of Law

There are two things that particularly fascinate New Zealanders; real estate and criminal justice. He suggests that these topics have more in common than you might think - discussion of each is often governed by emotion, presumption and gut feeling. Haig, Doherty, Bain, Tamihere, Ellis, Watson, October, and Teina Pora - how can these cases exist and what do their frailties say about our system? Rotten to the core or to be expected? In this lecture the basis of the adversarial system of criminal law will be discussed. How are criminal cases put together? What is a case theory and how are they devised? What is the basis of the rules that govern the giving of evidence? The admission of evidence and exclusion of evidence such as prior convictions appears to many to be entirely unjust, is that true or is there a method to the legal madness? This lecture will not be a defence of the criminal law but will seek to explore where we might profitably focus our attention for the future development of our criminal justice system - a focus governed by a better understanding of the criminal law and not merely by emotion and irrationality.

Dr Chris Gallavin is the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Head of School at the School of Law, University of Canterbury. His areas of academic expertise are criminal law (consent and culpable homicide) and the law of evidence. He has published extensively in the areas of domestic and international criminal justice and is consistently the University of Canterbury’s most media cited member of staff. Since becoming Dean and Head at Canterbury in August 2012 Chris has embarked upon a programme of reform that is shaping the Law School as the showcase of community engagement at the University of Canterbury. Currently the School of Law is rolling out New Zealand’s first compulsory clinical legal programme. For Chris, community engagement is more than just a marketing tool – it is a pedagogical imperative.

Register now!

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

8 July

What if... the centralisation of services stifles innovation?

Tony Mortensen

22 July

What if... plastic was not used in facial scrubs?

Dr Sally Gaw

12 August

What if... arts only made us appreciate life more?

Professor Jonathan Le Cocq

26 August

What if... super computers saved lives?

Professor Tim David

9 September

What if... buying a house became more affordable?

Tim Nees

23 September

What if... we could make Christchurch the smartest city in the best world?

Dr Malcolm Campbell

7 October

What if... we could predict ground shaking in future major earthquakes?

Associate Professor Brendon Bradley

21 October

What if... we could detect breast cancer without xrays or pain?

Professor Geoff Chase