BHA Convention and Humanist Professionals Conference, 9 to 11 June

From the BHA: The Humanist Professionals Conference, taking place in Cambridge during the daytime on Friday 9 June. This conference has been organised to take place alongside the BHA Convention 2017, which is running from Friday evening through to 16:00 on Sunday 11 June.

The Humanist Professionals Conference is an excellent opportunity to share experiences and best practice with others, with CPD that will be relevant and useful to everyone who might attend: school speakers, pastoral support volunteers, dialogue officers, and celebrants. The day is also open to those who might not be involved with the BHA in any of the above ways, but who would like to be. There’s been strong interest, and half the tickets are gone already.

There will be twelve sessions – plenary and parallel – throughout the day, covering a wide gamut of topics and interests:

  • Getting involved with Community Services
  • Pre-need funerals and pastoral support
  • Marketing yourself
  • Producing a good PowerPoint
  • How to ask good questions
  • Prison Education
  • How to speak to young people about Humanism – and answer tricky questions
  • Developing a voice you can rely on
  • Debating and dialogue techniques
  • Making use of symbolic gestures in your work
  • Successful peer assessment

The Humanist Professionals Conference is free to those also attending the BHA Convention 2017, or just £49 as a standalone event.

The BHA Convention 2017 will take place from 17:30 on Friday 9 June until 16:00 on Sunday 11 June, featuring dozens of speakers on myriad topics. Even three months out, it’s already our biggest Convention ever.

Join us and hear from theoretical physicist and BHA Vice President Jim Al-Khalili; comedian and BHA President Shappi Khorsandi; Humanist of the Year and author of the ‘Dubs amendment’ that committed the government to accepting more child refugees, Lord Alf Dubs; Julia Ebner, policy analyst at the Quilliam Foundation; oceanographer and physicist Helen Czerski; and many, many more.

Dr Rupert Read on climate change

From the conference organised by Center for Inquiry UK and the British Humanist Association: Global Warming — Where Do We Go From Here? Philosopher and Green activist Dr Rupert Read speaking on global over-heat, the end of denialism, and the self-destruction of libertarianism in relation to this issue – and a possible way forward, in terms of guardians for future people.

Dr Mayer Hillman on climate change (video)

From the conference organised by Center for Inquiry UK and the British Humanist Association: Global Warming — Where Do We Go From Here? by Dr Mayer Hillman, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Policy Studies Institute, London. What do we do now that society is demonstrating all too clearly its strong preference for downplaying the significance and implications of climate change?

North West Humanists conferences

John Coss of the Greater Manchester Humanists writes:

In the spirit of continual improvement we are trying something different this year. For the past three years our annual conference has taken place in the autumn – but there have always been difficulties finding a three-day slot which doesn’t clash with other significant humanist events taking place elsewhere in the country, and this has often meant that some invited speakers have been unable to join us.

So the three-day conference will now be moved to spring each year – the next, therefore, being in 2015. We expect this will be held in Cumbria, with Kendal the most likely location, and we are confident of securing a very attractive line-up of speakers.

In 2014 we are organising one or more One-Day Conferences, the first of which is scheduled for Saturday 28 June in Warrington, with the theme: Humanism and Education. We aim to maintain the standard of previous conferences – for feedback from participants see

The booking fee is reduced for earlybird bookings received by Monday 9 June.

7 June: Birmingham Humanists 50th anniversary conference, ‘Humanism: the way forward’

Saturday, 7 June:  ‘Humanism: the way forward’, a day of talks and discussion to celebrate the Birmingham Humanists‘ 50th anniversary, with speakers including Kate Smurthwaite, 10.30am–3.30pm. The meeting takes place at the MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH. Cost: £10. You can book by sending a cheque, made out to Birmingham Humanists, to Carolyn Sugden, 37 Devonshire Road, Birmingham B20 2PB, or by making payment to their PayPal account (

10.30 coffee & cake
11.00 Prof Colin Campbell
11.45 Pavan Dhaliwal (BHA)
12.15 Short presentations: Uganda Humanist schools, Sunday Assembly, etc.
1.00 Lunch
1.45 Workshops
2.30 Panel
3.15 Kate Smurthwaite
4.00 close

The fee is £10 (concessions £5) and it promises to be an inspiring day!

Religious Education Teachers’ Conference: British Humanist Association

The British Humanist Association, supported by Conway Hall Ethical Society, presents a free day-conference for Religious Education teachers to explore Humanism and the inclusion of non-religious perspectives in Religious Education, on July 16th, 2014 from 10:00 to 16:00 at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL.


Religious Education teachers know that for their subject to remain relevant and engaging it is vital that it includes non-religious perspectives alongside religious beliefs as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. This view is supported by the Secretary of State for Education and by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales.

Surveys consistently show that a high proportion of young people are not religious, and it is vital that these young people are able to explore their own beliefs as they develop their own moral and ethical framework that will take them through to adult life.

The case for including Humanism in RE as non-religious worldview has never been stronger, but RE teachers will be the first to admit that they would value extra support and resources to be able to confidently include Humanism in lessons.

This day conference is aimed at Religious Education teachers, Head Teachers, Local Authority RE advisors, RE subject specialists and co-ordinators to increase teachers’ confidence and competence in planning and delivering lessons that include Humanism.

Attendees will:

  • Increase their understanding of Humanism as a non-religious worldview and see how it can fit in to RE lessons and contribute to Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC)
  • Get the latest update on the national picture and current state of play for Religious Education
  • Hear directly from practitioners and teachers about how Humanism has improved pupils and students learning, in the context of practical ideas and examples
  • Increase their own confidence and competence in delivering lessons on Humanism

Who should attend?

RE teachers, Head Teachers,  Local Authority RE advisors, and RE subject specialists.

Speakers and contributors:

Dr Mark Chater (Culham St Gabriel’s Trust)
Beth Stillings Cohen and Saara Quested (3FF)
Sara Passmore (Head of Education and Promotion at the British Humanist Association)
More to be announced…


Registration for this event is free. Light refreshments will be provided. For further information please contact

Full details here on the BHA website.

North West Humanists Conference, 11-13 October 2013

We have received information about this conference in Manchester in October. For full information, including the programme,  please see the NW Humanists web site,

NWhumanists: united on purpose

‘What the world most needs at this moment is a means of convincing human beings to embrace the whole of the species as their moral community. For this we need to develop an utterly non-sectarian way of talking about the full spectrum of human experience and human aspiration. We need a discourse on ethics and spirituality that is every bit as unconstrained by dogma and cultural prejudice as the discourse of science is’  Sam Harris

Announcing our third regional conference (Organised by Lancashire Secular Humanists and Greater Manchester Humanists):

Humanism in Action : Friday 11th – Sunday 13th October 2013 at The St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North
A few minutes walk south from Manchester Piccadilly station – free on-street parking nearby. There is disabled access throughout the venue and a loop system in the main hall
(The Friday evening film show will be held at the Britons Protection, near the Bridgewater Hall).

Conference Objectives:
• To enrich the knowledge and commitment of new and existing members
• To help participants move forward in living their lives as Humanists
• To enthuse participants with the message that we have something really worthwhile to offer

Report on the BHA conference

Chris Smith writes: I enjoyed the Friday night entertainment, especially Robin Ince.  The BHA choir had a more lively repertoire than when I heard them last.  The speakers who followed on Saturday and Sunday morning , with one exception, were interesting and I enjoyed the ones on science and sex most.
The most memorable part of the conference was at the Gala Dinner.  Terry Pratchett was unable to be present to accept his award for his contribution to Humanism, due to his poor health, but he had been able to record a video greeting and Andrew Copson read a longer message.
At the end there was a collection made for the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust, to be matched by the lady who suggested it.  Very positive.
I have already pre-registered for the World Humanist Congress, August 2014 in Oxford.
What surprised me?  The age range was far greater than any previous conference, BHA has started to attract Young People!  A significant proportion of all ages were attending their first BHA conference.
It was an encouraging event.
Richard Burnham adds: Chris mentioned Terry Pratchett, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to note the death of Iain Banks the novelist, also known as Iain M. Banks for  his science fiction, who was a distinguished humanist. Many other distinguished people are humanists, and some of them are listed here and here.

British Humanist Association’s 2012 annual conference

Beyond Tomorrow: Visions of the Future features some of the world’s leading scientists, journalists, technologists, and thinkers. Together we will be looking closely at visions of the future that range from the apocalyptic to the utopian, and include everything from history, art, science, and much more.

Time and date:                 6:00pm Friday 8 June – 12:30pm Sunday 10 June
Venue:                                 National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP
Tickets:                                General public: £156
Contributors:                     Internet technologist, journalist, author, and broadcaster Ben Hammersley; the world’s first cyborg, Kevin Warwick; sci-fi writer and botanist Paul McAuley; academic and journalist Aleks Krotoski; Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London, Gregory Claeys; former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government Professor Sir David King; barrister, environmental lawyer and author Polly Higgins; and musician, comedian, public speaker, futurologist, and author, Mark Stevenson More still to be announced!
For more information and to book tickets visit or call us on 020 7079 3580.
Book today: We never know what the future will bring! … Or do we?

Upcoming events from the BHA

Saturday 14 Jan 2012 – Beyond the Veil day conference
Saturday 28 January – Blasphemy day conference
Wednesday 8 February – Darwin Day Lecture featuring Adam Rutherford (chaired by Richard Dawkins)

Details below:

Beyond the Veil – a closer look at spirits, mediums and ghosts

A day conference presented by the Centre for Inquiry UK and the British Humanist Association taking a closer look at spirits, mediums and ghosts.
Date: Saturday 14 th January 2012
Time: Registration: 10.30am Start: 11am – Finish 16.00pm
Address: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Nearest tube: Holborn

Information and tickets:
Tickets: General: £10 general public, Members and students: £8 BHA, AHS and SPES members and students with valid ID, Free to members of the Centre for Inquiry UK – please register online.
***Special offer*** Joint ticket for both this event and the Blasphemy! event on the 28th January: £16 for a general ticket, and £12 for members and students.
CHRIS FRENCH – Spirits on the brain: Insights from psychology and neuroscience

Chris French is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and former editor of the Skeptic.

HAYLEY STEVENS – ‘Is there anybody there?’
A ghost hunter that doesn’t hunt for ghosts, Hayley Stevens has been researching paranormal reports since 2005. She is the co-host of the Righteous Indignation Podcast, blogs at ‘Hayley is a Ghost’, occasionally writes for numerous publications, and has spoken internationally about ghosts and critical thinking.

PAUL ZENON – Mediums at Large
Paul has been a professional trickster for almost thirty years during that period has appeared countless times as performer, presenter and pundit on numerous TV shows across many genres.

RICHARD WISEMAN – Paranormality
Richard Wiseman is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He has been active in the skeptical movement for many a year, does Twitter stuff, has recently written ‘Paranormality: Why we see what isn’t there’, and likes dogs.

IAN ROWLAND – You Are The Magic
Ian Rowland is a writer and entertainer with an interest in various aspects of how the mind works or sometimes doesn’t. He taught FBI agents how to be persuasive, and taught Derren Brown how to read fortunes. In America, in front of 10 million TV viewers, he proved that he could talk to dead people – or at least fake it well enough to convince complete strangers. He knows an awful lot about cold reading (look it up), but tries not to drone on about it at parties. He is good at drinking tea and waiting for interesting invitations to come his way.

‘Blasphemy!’ – blasphemy, religious hatred, and human rights: who speaks for the sacred?
A day conference focusing on the criminalization of religious hatred, defamation, and insult under European human rights, and how this functions as a de facto blasphemy law.
Date: Saturday  28th January 2012
Time:  Registration 10.30am for a 11.00am start – Finish -16.30 pm
Address: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
Nearest tube: Holborn
Tickets and information
PricesGeneral: £10 general public, Members and students: £8 BHA, AHS and SPES members and students with valid ID, Free to members of the Centre for Inquiry UK.
***Special offer*** Joint tickets to this event and the Beyond the Veil event on the 14th January: £16 general public and £12 members and student ticket offer
Description/ details of the event– Introduced by Dr Stephen Law of Heythrop College, University of London and Editor of Think, and featuring writer, lecturer and broadcaster Kenan Malik , Andrew Copson on Blasphemy laws by the back door, Austin Dacey, representative to the United Nations for the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Jacob Mchangama, director of legal affairs in the independent think tank Center for Political Studies (CEPOS) based in Copenhagen and others.

Creation: synthetic biology and the origin of life
BHA 2012 Darwin Day Lecture
Chaired by Richard Dawkins, the 2012 Darwin Day lecture will be presented by renowned author, broadcaster, scientist, and geek Adam Rutherford.
Date: 8th February 2012
Time: 7:00 for a 7:30pm start – 9:30pm
Venue: Congress Hall, Congress Centre 28 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS
Dr Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, author and broadcaster, as well as an editor at the science journal Nature. He presents television and radio programmes and is a writer for The Guardian newspaper.
Tickets General public: £12
Members and students: £7 (BHA, AHS, CFI and UKAFHA members and students)