Sample lectures

We have special sample lectures from our faculties throughout the day. Learn what makes our staff passionate about what they teach.

What makes our academics passionate?

Come along and sit in on one of our sample lectures offered during the day. You'll get to know what it is like to sit in a lecture theatre and hear about the exciting and cutting-edge research our faculties are involved in.

What is a mental disorder?

Professor Simon Keller, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


KKLT303, Kirk Building, Kelburn Campus

The history of thinking about mental illness is full of mistakes: mistakes about what counts as a mental illness, mistakes about how mental illnesses are caused, and mistakes about how they can be treated. When do the normal stresses of living turn into anxiety disorders? These are philosophical questions, as much as they are questions of science or medicine. Professor Simon Keller looks at some of the main philosophical approaches to mental disorder and problems researchers face. He explores some promising possibilities for improving our understanding of mental disorder and mental health.

Is New Zealand’s health sector doing a good job?

Dr Lesley Middleton, Faculty of Health


HULT119, Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus

New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to create a national health system. Since then, our expectations have grown about what will be delivered. How are we managing the challenges of providing accessible care, of good quality, at reasonable cost?

The vulgar wasp

Professor Phil Lester, Faculty of Science


TTRLT1, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn Campus

Wasps are called a lot of things, most unrepeatable in polite company. Dr Phil Lester has been known to call them vulgar, and also fascinating. Join him as he talks about one of New Zealand’s most unpopular imports, and how we’re tackling head on the challenges posed by the vulgar wasp.

Fanatic beasts and where to find them: Popular culture, fandoms, and tourism

Dr Ina Reichenberger, Victoria Business School


HULT323, Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus

New Zealand is no stranger to the impact that popular culture has on tourism—Lord of the Rings and Hobbit-related tours and activities, for example, are available to visitors throughout the country. Tourism can provide valuable opportunities for fans to come together and co-create their respective communities in face-to-face settings. Dr Ina Reichenberger (a proud Hufflepuff) considers the role of tourism for fans and fandoms and explores fan-based visitor experiences, linking to our search for belonging and expression of self.

Anti-social media? Is Facebook to blame for the Christchurch mosque attacks?

Dr Peter Thompson, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Memorial Theatre, Student Union, Kelburn Campus

World leaders gathered recently in Paris in response to the ‘Christchurch Call’ to discuss how to respond to social media such as Facebook, which provided the platform used to live-stream the terrorist attack on two mosques. But how far should we hold Facebook responsible, and should we perhaps be more concerned about the less obvious ways that digital media companies are becoming anti-social?

Design in transition

Nan O’Sullivan and Tonya Sweet, Faculty of Architecture and Design


Lecture Theatres 1 and 2, Te Aro Campus

Right now, design is in an exciting moment of global transition. As designers, we have the power to impact the world, but how do we ensure our impacts are positive rather than destructive? While we must challenge non-sustainable habits, preconceptions, and behaviours, the changes we make are our own. So, let’s ask: What roles and responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges face design as we create more equitable and sustainable futures?

Sport, physical education and the promotion of positive socialisation: Fact, fallacy, or simply wishful thinking?

Dr Barrie Gordon, Faculty of Education


MCLT102, Maclaurin Building, Kelburn Campus

Dr Barrie Gordon will examine the commonly held view that participation in sport is ‘character building’. He will examine the historical background of this belief, contemporary views, and the implications for New Zealand. The lecture will conclude with recent research findings that offer ways of maximising the benefits of participating in sport and physical education.

Architecture in future

Dr Andre Brown, Faculty of Architecture and Design


Lecture Theatres 1 and 2, Te Aro Campus

More than ever, it is essential that our designed environments respond to the needs of a challenging and potentially fragile world. Our architecture should be both inspiring and responsible; balancing tasteful and well-informed design decisions with smart technologies, and an intelligent approach to sustainability. Natural environments and precious resources must be valued and understood to ensure we use them wisely. Architects and building scientists must play a key role in designing a future that is both responsible and uplifting.

How the virtual world can save the real world

Dr Simon McCallum, Faculty of Engineering


MCLT101, Maclaurin Building, Kelburn Campus

In a world of increasingly strained physical resources and high carbon footprints, the ability to travel for education, business, or entertainment, or to connect with family and friends, will become increasingly more expensive, both financially and environmentally. The virtual world offers us a way to connect and meet that will reduce the need to travel. Dr Simon McCallum will explore the current state of the art and the challenges that lie ahead.

What makes school rules enforceable?

Professor Graeme Austin, Faculty of Law


HMLT205, Hugh Mackenzie Building, Kelburn Campus

School rules—what makes them legal? Can they be challenged? Come along and take part in a typical Victoria University of Wellington Law School class. We’ll be asking questions about the legality of school rules. What happens if a student is suspended for disobeying an order by the school principal? Can a decision to suspend a student be challenged?