This year we have organised a series of nine lectures.

Most are held on the second or third Wednesday of the month, depending on the CBSO use of their Centre. Please note, however, that 6th February 2019 is a first Wednesday.

These monthly lectures are held at:
The CBSO Centre Berkley Street • Birmingham B1 2LF.

Proceedings begin at 10.50 am. Please be seated by 10.45. Coffee and biscuits are available from 9.45.

Wednesday 12 September 2018


Dr Diane Davies

This lecture will discuss the major achievements of the Maya as well as pointing out the common misunderstandings we have of this remarkable civilization.

Dr Davies is a Maya archaeologist and Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University of London.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Faber & Faber

Toby Faber

Since its foundation in 1925, Faber & Faber has built a reputation as one of London’s most important literary publishing houses. This lecture traces the history of Faber and Faber through its illustrations, covers and designs.

Toby Faber is a non-executive director of Faber & Faber.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Lawrence of Arabia, tortured hero or troubled times

Dr Neil Faulkner

On the basis of sensational new evidence from archaeological fieldwork, Neil will contrast the legend of Lawrence of Arabia with the true story of what happened in the desert war of 1916 to 1918. Is the legend a myth? Was Lawrence, as some claim, a liar and a charlatan? Does the legend reflect reality? Was he, in fact, a brilliant military commander and a sincere advocate of the Arab national cause?

Dr Neil Faulkner is a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and works as a lecturer, writer, archaeologist and occasional broadcaster.

Wednesday 16 January 2019

The Music and Life of J S Bach

Peter Medhurst

Music lovers generally regard J S Bach as the greatest of early 18th century composers. In fact, he is so important in the history of music that we close down the Baroque period with his death in 1750.

This lecture goes beneath the surface of Bach’s music to decode some of his musical symbolism, to reveal some of his working methods and to highlight some of his aesthetic goals.

Peter Medhurst works as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist all over the world. He is director of The Classical Music Company, an organisation that promotes special musical events.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

The Architecture of the British Raj

Anthony Peers

Anthony Peers is a freelance historic buildings’ consultant who in the mid 1990s was employed by the DTI in Bombay, India in setting up and running an innovative project to repair George Gilbert Scott’s university buildings and train local architects and craftsmen in conservation techniques and philosophy.

Anthony Peers is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Deputy Chairman of the Ancient Monuments Society.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

The Creative Courtesan: The Art of High Renaissance Prostitution in Renaissance Italy

Sarah Dunant

Titian’s Venus of Urbino is just one of a number of Renaissance masterpieces that celebrate the beauty of the female form. But who were the women who modelled for such paintings?

The answer, in cities like Rome and Venice, was the birth of courtesan culture: women as cultured, clever and fashionable as they were lovely. This lecture names names and tells stories, with wonderful images to match.

Sarah Dunant is both a broadcaster and novelist

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Birmingham Town Hall: “The Pride of Birmingham and the Ornament to England”

Anthony Peers

Birmingham Town Hall was built in 1832-4 to serve as an emblem for the town and as a venue in which to hold its great public events. As it occupies a central place in Birmingham its story and study of this focal landmark provides ample opportunity for explorative consideration of the broader history of this the ‘city of a thousand trades’.

It was regarded as Britain’s first truly civic building. Birmingham Town Hall was also the country’s first great purpose-built concert hall and over the course of its history it has played host to many noteworthy events.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Anglo-Saxon and Norman England – Architecture and Cultural Changes

The Rev Dr Nicholas Henderson

The pre-Christian to the Tudors – It is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, of movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our older English country churches. This lecture takes us from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans and onwards to the sixteenth century and the epoch changing Tudors.

Dr Henderson trained for the Anglican Ministry and has a particular interest in the period of the English Reformation and the associated cultural, architectural and social changes it has produced.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Pilgrimage to St Catherine’s Monastery – Exploring the Treasures of the UNESCO heritage site

Dr Helen Rufus-Ward

St Catherine’s Monastery is a splendid basilica with exquisite little chapels, intricately carved wooden doors and breathtaking mosaics. It has an amazing collection of the rarest early icons, and a library of rare and beautiful religious manuscripts. The Monastery stands at the foot of Mount Sinai and is the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It is also the location of the legend of the Burning Bush and the resting place of the martyred body of St Catherine.

Dr Helen Rufus-Ward is an Associate Tutor at the University of Sussex who has published work on late antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting.

TASB LECTURES – 2017-2018

by Victoria Linehan

Unfortunately at the start of our season Dr Kershaw’s much-awaited lecture Galla Placidia, the Empress and the Fall of Rome had to be cancelled but we were delighted with Tony Faber coming at very short notice and delivering an outstandingly interesting lecture on Stradivarius violins. This was followed by Tom Duncan’s October lecture on Andalusia and its Golden Age which was also a great delight.

In November James Allan came and talked on Ceramics – Tin Glaze, the Islamic Story and Dr Angela Smith came in January giving a most interesting lecture on Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun whose portrait of Countess Golovina hangs in the Barber Institute. With Midlands interests again in mind Alan Reed talked on Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Legacy in February.

Imogen Corrigan came in March and gave a fascinating lecture on The Hazards of the Journey: Pilgrimage and Travel in the Middle Ages. This topic has always intrigued me as it was a time when people were so mobile without the benefit of engines or credit cards.

In April Peter Warwick was taken ill en route to Birmingham and we therefore showed a DVD on Jan Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece. Happily I have since heard that Peter has recovered and will come at a later date to deliver his lecture on Leningrad.

Sarah Dunnant came in May and gave an outstanding lecture on a truly cultured woman, Isabella D’Este. Denise Haywood gave our last lecture of the season on Laos.

The Arts Society Birmingham Evening

Members of The Arts Society Birmingham may be interested in the programme of lectures and events  offered by The Arts Society Birmingham Evening. For further details go to www.tasbe.org/.