Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Cultural Programme

Our students experience a range of exciting visits and events.

There have been many events over the years since the Cultural Programme was first established. Highlights have included Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story; Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at Eastside Jazz Club; the dissection of institutional racism through Blue Orange; creating a woodland with the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and more recently, a talk with BBC LGBT+ news correspondent Ben Hunte.


Spades used by LANS students and staff to plant over 400 trees in Bournville, Birmingham

Cultural Programme 2020-21

Below is the full list of our Cultural Programme for the current academic year. We hope this gives you an idea of the exciting and diverse events you can expect to participate in (free of charge) as a Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences student at the University of Birmingham. Please note - due to COVID-19, most of our events took place on zoom, and some in later months will hopefully be in person. We have also included the events that were scheduled to go ahead but had to be re-scheduled. We are hopeful they will be re-scheduled when feasible to do so.


  • Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry, adapted by Robert Nemiroff, was performed at the National Theatre in 2016. It provided an induction to the Cultural Programme for all first years. It made a very timely intervention in the wake of Black Lives Matter to discuss issues such as systemic racism and cultural hegemony.

Susannah Clapp

The Guardian, 3 April 2016

“It shows how absolutely the history of black nations has been scripted by whites. That is a lesson for the stage. Let alone life.”

  • How to make change happen panel with social activists and decision makers to discuss the key questions of this term's theme 'Ruptures'
  • HINTERLANDS - Ruptures in the Industrial Past of the Midlands with Sophie Huckfield and Mark Essen.  'Virtual tour' with a 360 degree camera to take a picture of around 10 locations around the West Midlands to explore the urban hinterlands of the Birmingham and Smethwick canals, stories and histories which continue to define the present and future of the area.
  • Visit of the THE END OF FUN! Exhibitionat the Ikon Gallery by Czech artist Krištof Kintera.


  • Celebrating Black History Month – Alicia Garza: The Purpose of Power Video Event
  • Extinction Rebellion ran a workshop ‘Making Change through Art’.
  • Rosie Kay Dance Company - Absolute Solo II. Studio at the REP Birmingham
  • Celebrating Disability Awareness Month - ALWAYS BE COMEDY with Rosie Jones


  • LANS Short Film week. A collection of films that explore our theme RUPTURES.
  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on 'Ruptures'. This lecture forms part of our Distinguished Lecture Series.


  • Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month with BBC news correspondent Ben Hunte. During this event Ben Hunte tells us about how he reports on events and has the resilience to keep going.

Alex Harris (they/them)

Final year LANS student

“I found myself hugely grateful for Ben's dedication to platforming the most silenced members of the LGBT community and reassured that there is space being made for those voices in the mainstream media. I am so glad I had the opportunity to listen to him and to ask him questions via the LANS Cultural Programme”

  • Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period. Gabby tells us all about making change, in big ways, and in small ways, about how you can organise, include others and change things for the better.

Eleanor Thomas (she/her)

Second year LANS student

“It was amazing to hear Gabby speak as she is one of my activist role models. From period poverty, taboo and education, to building an anti-racist organisation, it was great to get an insight into the work of Bloody Good Period.”

  • ReThink, Re:Place Festival - New Union - Virtual Policy Hackathon.


  • DanceXchange - Ruptures in Dance, online dance class.
  • How to make change II panel with Narku Laing, Matthew Lloyd and Lucy Ellinson - Sharing experiences of social activism. Narku is a research assistant at the LMU Munich, Matt currently does his PhD in International Political Economy at Kings College London and Lucy is a queer actor and activist.
  • Communicating Science with four speakers who communicate science to all different walks of life.
  • Lyrics Writing Workshop with Maverick Sounds. Maverick Sounds deliver lyric writing courses in custodial and community-based settings.


  • A walk through Garden City Bournville. Together with an Art Historian we want to explore England's 'First planned community'.
  • LANS Sustainability Assembly. We want to build a LANS Green Impact Team - and share first results during a LANS Assembly. Following up on our ideas of the first Assembly back in February 2020, a far distant time before the pandemic.


  • Forest Green Rovers - the 'world's greenest football club'. It is the first and only vegan football club in the world. And also the first club on the planet to be certified carbon neutral by the United Nations.

Cultural Programme 2019-20

Below is the full list of our Cultural Programme for the previous academic year. Please note - we have also included the events that were scheduled to go ahead towards the end of Semester 2. Due to COVID-19, they unfortunately did not go ahead.


  • Rebel Music by Robin French. This performance took place at The Rep and provided an induction to the Cultural Programme for all first years.
  • How to Fail with Elizabeth Day as part of the annual Birmingham Literature Festival.


Second year LANS student

“I thought it was interesting how Elizabeth Day referred to your twenties and often this assumption that it's going to be like 'Sex and the City'. But it's not going to turn out like that and that's OK.”

  • Nadiya Hussain: Finding My Voice talk. 
  • Life drawing at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. 

students showing their finished life drawings

 LANS students showing off their finished charcoal drawings


  • LANS x London: trip to Ashurst Emerging Artists Gallery and Imperial War Museum. 
  • Jamie Hannaford: What do we talk about when we talk about drought? This lecture forms part of our Distinguished Lecture Series.
  • Bollywood night: film and food. A refreshing exploration of culture and film outside of the Western sphere. Organised by one of our final years.
  • Screening of Erik Knudsen’s film ‘Cleft Lip’, followed by a Q&A with the Director himself. This event was in collaboration with the College of Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham.
  • Jaguar Land Rover Factory Tour.


First year LANS student

“The factory itself is gigantic and has one of the smartest robots in the country. In addition, I realised the important role of Birmingham in the industrial economy of Britain.”


  • Rugby Challenge Cup: Worcester Warriors v Dragons.
  • Salt of the Earth film screening in our very own student hub.


  • Moscow City Ballet: Swan Lake. Complete with live orchestra, breath-taking choreography and a dazzling cast.
  • Vitality Netball Nations Cup. We were lucky to watch both matches – JAM v NZ and ENG v SA. 


England vs. South Africa in the Vitality Netball Nations Cup, Arena Birmingham

  • ‘Creating a Woodland’ with the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust. Both students and staff managed to plant over 400 trees at a site in the Bournville area of Birmingham. 


  • Celebrating LGBTQ history month with Paris is Burning: screening and discussion. This event was hosted by our Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Reps, Megha and Jasmine. 
  • Exploring ideas through comedy with Andy White. Andy shows us how to find humour in whatever topic you may be presenting and also how to use humour to find new perspectives in ideas.


Students engage in an intimate workshop with renowned comedian, Andy White

  • Professor Tom McLeish: The Poetry and Music of Science, and the Role of Creativity in Science and Arts. This lecture was part of our Distinguished Lecture Series and can be watched via this video link.
  • Warwick Congress 2020. With an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, this year’s congress aimed to inspire the next generation who can advocate change. 
  • Visualising the mechanics of plant cells using virtual reality. Galane Luo introduced us to a virtual reality project within Mathematics. 
  • Writing Love Poetry with Al Anderson. LANS students had an exclusive workshop with Anderson at the Barber Institute and were encouraged to read examples of love poems, especially by LGBTQ writers, before writing their own. 


  • Exploring Creativity with Puppets with Sophie Huckfield. This workshop focussed on a range of different puppet techniques – from movement, to voice to character development. 
  • Bollywood film night showing Ek Ladki To Dekha Toh Aisa Laga – one of the first mainstream LGBTQ+ films in Bollywood cinema. Hosted by one of our final years.
  • SIX: The Musical. The six wives of Henry VIII finally take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an eighty-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. 
  • Exploring Grime with Ian Clarke from Sound Community LTD. This workshop explored Clarke’s mission to co-ordinate and deliver music making projects for Birmingham Youth Offending Service. He has been doing so since 2004 and now strives to increase participation.  

Future events

Students are invited to suggest events themselves, so future Cultural Programme activities may encompass your own personal passions and intellectual pursuits.