Poets and Politicians to
At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer our students fantastic opportunities to attend talks from world-renowned guest speakers. We are unique among summer schools in offering this opportunity and believe it really benefits our students. We believe that the chance to talk frankly and openly with leading figures from the worlds of culture, media, sport and academia allows our students to develop both their confidence, and their analytical skills.
Each of our expert speakers presents on their leading topic before fielding questions from our student audience. We carefully tailor our guest lecture programme to ensure that our students attend talks that are not only stimulating and informative, but enjoyable too. Our guest lecturers encourage debate and enhance the scholarly atmosphere of all Oxford Royale Academy summer courses.
Listed below are just a few of the guest speakers who have previously delivered talks, debates, and discussions to ORA students:
Historian, broadcaster and film-maker
David Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster, and filmmaker who has made TV series including Empire and the BAFTA winning show Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. His award -winning book Black & British: A Forgotten History was also made into a major BBC TV series.
Explorer, author and poet
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is described as the world’s greatest living explorer. His most ambitious adventure was the Transglobe Expedition,travelling over 100,000 miles. He was the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot, and was the oldest British person to climb Mount Everest.
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti
Politician and activist
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti is a lawyer and a member of the British House of Lords who served as director of the human rights group Liberty, campaigning against “excessive” anti-terror legislation. A frequent public speaker, she has been described as “the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years”.
Former Director General of MI5
Eliza Manningham-Buller is the former Director General of MI5, the British Intelligence Agency. During her career she dealt with the aftermath of 9/11 and the threat of terrorism, and later became Chair of the Welcome Trust, one of the world’s largest charitable organisations for medical research.
Professor Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary biologist and author
Professor Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist and internationally bestselling author. He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, and returned as a Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995-2008. His books are internationally acclaimed, and he is one of the patrons of the Oxford University Scientific Society.
Baroness Susan Greenfield
Neuroscientist and Baroness
Baroness Susan Greenfield is a renowned scientist, researcher and member of the House of Lords. She is a neuroscientist and has made significant contributions to the understanding of the brain, specifically in the areas of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. She is also an author, broadcaster and member of several international scientific boards. She is also a Visiting Professor at Lincoln College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
British television presenter
Jason Bradbury is a British television presenter and children’s author, well-known for presenting the Channel 5 series The Gadget Show.. Some of his own DIY gadgets include the first ‘phone glove’, a vehicle Head-Up Display, and a hovercraft made from only a car wheel and an industrial sized fan.
Lord William Hague of Richmond
Former Secretary of State
William Hague MP served as Leader of the Conservative Party, Leader of the House of Commons, and First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He has also authored award winning biographies. Mr Hague studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was President of the Oxford Union.
MBEBusiness leader and philanthropist.
Tom Toumazis is a business leader and philanthropist. He is the Chairman and founder of the ChildLine board, and the former Deputy Managing Director of ITV, where he helped to establish the channel's reputation for high-quality programming. He is also a director of several other media companies and a member of the board of several charitable organizations. He has also been awarded an OBE for his services to broadcasting and charity.
Dr Julian Baggini
BA Reading, PhD University College London
Dr Julian Baggini is a renowned philosopher, journalist, and author. He is the Co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine and a regular contributor to several newspapers and magazines. He has written over 20 books, including "The Ego Trick," "The Ethics Toolkit," and "The Philosophy Gym." He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He gives talks and lectures on philosophy, ethics, and critical thinking around the world.
Sir Andrew Motion
Andrew Motion is an English poet, novelist, and biographer who held the title of Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009. During his laureateship Motion founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and recordings of poets reading their own works. His own work includes the Dylan Thomas Award winning collection Natural Causes.
Professor Ben Ambridge
Child language expert and TED speaker
Professor Ben Ambridge is a researcher at Liverpool University, specialising in child language acquisition. He is an expert in the field of developmental psychology and has published numerous articles and books on the topic. He is also an official TED speaker, giving talks on child language development and how it shapes our thoughts and beliefs. He is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and a recipient of several awards for his research in developmental psychology.
Book a call with one of our advisors. We will call you at the time requested to answer any questions you have and to help you through the booking process.
Students in different age groups will enjoy different guest speaker events during their summer courses:
We aim to provide our 13-15 year old students with inspirational and motivational speakers from a variety of academic and entrepreneurial backgrounds. Previous talks have covered topics from The Psychology of Dance and Animal Conservation, to record-breaking adventures and the origins of the universe itself. Sessions are designed to be interactive, with plenty of opportunity for students to ask questions and take part in activities.
The Great Debate
Small, campus-led debates are hosted throughout the session, with each campus selecting a student representative to take part in the final debate on-stage with one of our notable speakers.
Debates & Discussions
Students in campuses outside of Oxford will have the opportunity for debates and discussions with leading figures in smaller groups, giving them an opportunity for greater participation and interactivity.
During the second week of the programme, the whole campus will come together for talks from university lecturers, business leaders and industry experts. These talks will be interdisciplinary in nature allowing students to bring their own subject experience to the discussion and are designed around a theme relevant to the modern world and workplace.
The Great Debate is an Oxford debate event hosted by one of our guest speakers, on a specific topic or theme related to current affairs or a broader academic field.
The inaugural Great Debate for our Oxford campuses was held in the iconic Sheldonian Theatre with former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti (CBE) chairing a debate on Privacy in the Digital Age. Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength, with a number of esteemed speakers joining us last year in 2022, including David Olusoga, Ranulph Fiennes and Matthew Syed.