Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

Knight Lecture 2024

Published by Monkton Senior School on Tuesday 30th of April 2024

Our Knight Lecture this year brought another fantastic discussion from three incredible speakers. Developing the conversation we began at last year's lecture, this time our speakers explored the issues of Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. 'Battlelines have been drawn and any constructive dialogue seems impossible' - was the opening line of a recent television documentary provocatively titled Gender Wars. With the topic of diversity and inclusion so hotly debated in society, our aim with this year's lecture was to openly discuss these themes, drawing on the knowledge and experience of a diverse panel of speakers. Whilst not claiming to be experts, our panellists, Julia Strachan, Israel Oyelumade, and Mark Browning, were honest and vulnerable in using their experiences to shed light on this important topic. Julia Strachan is a campaigner against modern slavery and trafficking, an ambassador for Justice and Care, and a world record holder as part of the first all female crew to row across the Atlantic. She discussed how her early life experiences, and then discovering the prevalence of modern day slavery and the millions of lives affected worldwide, led her to pursue justice in this field and use her platform to spread awareness. Israel Oyelumade, founder of Dramalysis, and actor whose roles from screen to stage include Pirates of the Caribbean and the controversial play about slavery, African Snow, spoke about his experiences of racial prejudice and discrimination growing up and breaking into the acting world. He openly shared the challenges he has faced, but also the privilege he has felt in playing roles such as Jesus in The Passion. Mark Browning is CEO of Zinc Media Plc, and has a wealth of experience across the media industry, with previous positions including Managing Director at ITN and Director of Content at Heart. He discussed his experience breaking into the media world, and creating documentaries covering hotly contested ethical issues. The stories shared by each of the speakers gave an invaluable insight into the issues of equality and inclusion, and served as inspiration to all in the room, from pupils to staff to parents and wider members of our community. With questions from the audience closing the lecture, it was clear that the discussion prompted deep thinking, and we hope the conversation will continue. As always, the Knight Lecture is a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome guests from across the Monkton Community, including donors, OMs, current and former parents, pupils, and representatives from partner schools. We would like to thank everyone who attended this year, and of course, our three brilliant speakers.

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