Season 3

June 22nd

Literature: In Conversation with Byron Rogers

By: Byron Rogers

Sunday School has collaborated with the Dinefwr Literature Festival to programme a session at its sophomore event, which takes place in the stunning surroundings of Dinefwr Park and Castle in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday June 22nd.

Byron Rogers is undoubtedly one of Wales’ most gifted writers currently living in exile (Northamptonshire to be precise). Described as an historian of the quirky and forgotten, his books and collection of essays convey a fascination of the fading world around him - ancient pubs and churches, the characters that inhabited them, and the places they grew up in – all of whom are perfectly captured, preserved, and brought to life in Rogers’ funny, engaging, and poignant writing.

From R.S. Thomas to J.L Carr, pub landlords to old school friends, Rogers is drawn towards real life characters that are eccentric, talented, contrary, proud, and sometimes slightly odd, but always interesting. He is a master storyteller of the lives of others, and each story and essay is a miniature masterpiece of social history and a delicately crafted portrait of someone, something, or somewhere that at one moment was extraordinary.

Sunday School is delighted to welcome this rare and uniquely talented writer in conversation with the author Dan Tyte about his life in exile as a Carmarthen born, Oxford educated, and London trained journalist and his outstanding body of work including The Bank Manager and the Holy Grail, The Green Lane to Nowhere, and his Autobiography Me.

To celebrate this unique collaboration between Sunday School and the Dinefwr Literature Festival we will be leaving 20 copies of Byron’s work – including The Bank Manager and the Holy Grail, The Green Lane to Nowhere and The Last Human Cannonball – in pubs, bars, and cafes in Llandelio and Cardiff – a full list of locations will be published on our Facebook page shortly. If you come across one of the books you can either read it where you found it or take it home. All we ask is that you tweet your favourite passage using the hashtag #ByronR – or email it to - and then pass the book onto someone else once you’ve finished it or return it to where you found it.

Season 2

September 29th

Education: The Future Classroom, Today

By: Simon Pridham

Three years ago, Simon Pridham embarked on a journey – based on his interest in independent learning theories – that would lead him to advising the Welsh Government on how to make Wales a world leader in digital learning.

In his day job as Headmaster of Casllwchwr Primary School, he led it from being a successful small village school to one of the UKs most innovative and successful exponents in using technology successfully to raise standards and gain whole school improvement. The highly successful LIFE programme (whose aims are to promote learning without boundaries and social cohesion) grew out of the school’s success and now enjoys national prominence in being rolled out to other areas of Wales.

During his talk, Simon will outline his vision and beliefs in how schools should see technology as important as literacy and numeracy and how education will naturally evolve in the next decade. He will also demonstrate how a vision of the future classroom is already being realized in a number of Wales’ most innovative schools.

November 17th

Medicine: Harnessing the power of the T-Cell Army

By: Andy Sewell

At the beginning of the 20th century a young American surgeon named William Coley sought funding to carry out research into how the immune system could be used to treat cancer. Unfortunately for Coley, the medical profession did not embrace his ideas and for the next hundred years progress in the treatment of cancer would come mostly from radiation and chemotherapy. However, towards the end of the century, the approach of harnessing the immune system – by manipulating T-cells - to fight against cancer and diseases such HIV began to take hold.

Cardiff University’s Professor Andy Sewell describes T-Cells – white blood cells that patrol our bodies scanning for, and destroying, foreign microbes – as both generals and assassins. They control immunity to infection, are critical for vaccination, and can naturally eradicate cancer. They’re also responsible for the rejection of transplanted organs, can result in deadly allergic reactions, and cause autoimmunity, something that costs the NHS a sizable fraction of its budget.

In this talk, Andy Sewell will focus on the immune system with special emphasis on T-cells. He will describe how new knowledge  – discovered by his pioneering team based in Cardiff University - allows us to beneficially manipulate the immune system and reveals how autoimmune disease can be caused. This information has resulted in exciting advances against cancer and is providing new concepts for treatment of infectious diseases. Andy will also look at what might be possible in the near future through the harnessing the power of immune T-Cells.

December 8th

Business: How to Make Things Happen without a Big Budget

By: David Hieatt

One of life’s most persistent questions is ‘What are you doing?’ It’s a question we ask of children, friends, strangers, and ourselves, or though probably not as often as we should. It’s a question David Hieatt has asked himself many times and each time he’s answered it, he’s changed the course of his life.

David started his career in advertising first at Saatchi and Saatchi before moving onto the Adidas Ad Agency. It was there that he decided to create his own clothing company and founded Howies, which he located in his native West Wales and later famously sold to Timblerland, although he tried to buy it back on a number of occasions.

After parting ways with his own company, David co-created - together with his wife Clare - the ‘Do Lectures’, described by one journalist as the rural TED, which brings together tireless entrepreneurs like David who have a desire to do things and make the world a more interesting and better place.

David’s latest venture - Hiut Denim Co – aims to bring back the denim industry to Cardigan that once used to produce 35,000 pairs of jeans a week and employed 400 people. He also runs The 25 Mile – the Cardigan gastropub, which only serves food sourced within 25 miles of the town.

Sunday School is delighted to welcome David to talk about how to make things happen without a big budget, how to turn ideas into realities, and give an insight into the Tao of Do.

Season 1

June 2nd

Art: A Guggenheim for Wales?

By: Adam Price

The first permanent Guggenheim Museum was opened in New York City in 1959 and was founded by American businessman and philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim. Designed by Welsh American Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum established the Guggenheim trademark of combining unique architecture with dynamic programmes of contemporary art. Since then The Guggenheim Foundation has opened museums in Venice, Berlin, and Bilbao, which gave birth to the term “The Guggenheim Effect” for the way it transformed a city blighted by economic strife into one of the world’s most popular cultural destinations.

For the inaugural Sunday School talk, Adam Price will tell the story behind his proposal to attract the Guggenheim to Wales. Set alongside other infrastructural investments such as airport upgrading and electrification of the railway, Adam will argue how a securing a global partner would powerfully transform Wales’ international image, radically signalling the country’s transition from manual past to creative future. This talk aims to start a conversation about what kind of national arts institution is right for Wales. Join the debate.

June 16th

Drama: Conversation, Charisma, and Chance

By: Phillip Mackenzie

Kontakt is a theatrical experiment that blurs the boundary between performer and audience. 20 performers (aged between 12 – 25) and 20 audience members sit across from one another over a bridge tablee ach with lit by a single overhanging light bulb. What follows is a series of unique one to one encounters, which can include conversations, drawing, writing and sometimes dancing.

Created in Wales by Philip Mackenzie for the Sherman Cymru Youth Theatre, Kontakt has since been adapted by theatres throughout the UK and has been hailed as a groundbreaking exploration into how we communicate and learn from one another. Phillip will talk about the project’s success in creating a unique environment where adults and young people can have meaningful interactions, and the power of conversation, charisma, and chance.

June 30th

Philosophy: What’s Happened to our Perspective and Balance in Life?

By: Peter Thomas

When Peter Thomas was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007- resulting in an 11cm x 7cm tumour in his chest - he underwent 18 months of treatments including a Stem Cell Transplant at UHW and one month in isolation. During this time, Peter stared at his only companion in his cramped room - a two-foot high cupboard - and started to think about "stuff". The "stuff" our lives are full of, that are minds are overflowing with, the "stuff" which keeps us awake at night trying to work out how and when we'll ever find the time to deal with it. The "stuff" which can sometimes overshadow what really matters in our lives.

Unsurprisingly, the cupboard offered Peter few answers, but since beginning his long, and ongoing, journey to recovery he's thought a lot about the importance of finding the right balance for our busy lives, whilst also wondering if we've lost our perspective? And how do we deal with the challenges life throws at and navigate our way through them? Peter's talk will address these questions as well as giving insights into his incredible story, which has given him the determination to work harder than ever, whilst also finding more time for his loving family. Impossible some might say? Here's your chance to find out.

July 14th

Business: The Recipe for a Successful Business

By: Kemi Nevins

Kemi Nevins opened her first café in Cardiff on the opening day of the 1999 Rugby World Cup hosted in Wales. In was certainly an auspicious moment, but it wasn't all plain sailing because although she had a great time trying to make her first venture a success, she had very little money to show for it. Fourteen years later her hard work - which she attributes in part to her inherited Nigerian entrepreneurship - has paid off and she now has 3 cafés throughout the city and has just started her own cooking school. Much to the consternation of her long-suffering accountant, she’s currently looking to grow her empire later this year.

Kemi’s success is all the more surprising considering she had no catering experience before opening her first café having trained originally as a nurse and then a teacher. She attributes her sea change to wanting to make better food for her children before making the “reckless” move to take on the biggest challenge of her life and open her own café. Kemi will talk about what she believes are the key ingredients to growing a successful business, the culinary influence of her foster Irish Grandmother, and how she'd prefer a good Arnold Schwarzenegger film to a self help book any day.

July 28th

Literature: The Influence of Science Fiction on Innovation

By: Jon Turney

The role of the science fiction writer is not only to imagine new worlds, but also the new technology that shapes them, inviting us to wonder ‘if the world contained such wonderful new things, what would life be like?’ Both science fiction and innovation involve narratives that try to open our eyes to the opportunities and hazards of new technologies. But how big an influence has science fiction really had on technology and innovation? Does imagining technologies and societies in which they are used make innovation more or less likely? Easier or harder? And can it help forestall undesirable innovations?

Writer Jon Turney will talk about how we imagine the future of technology through design, speculation, and science fiction and how our views change as we experience the advent of new technologies, and react to an increasing accumulation of images of futures past. He was also examine the similarities between story-telling and technology that allow us to explore the meaning and purpose of innovation.

August 11th

Design: Designing a Greener Future

By: Luke Palmer

Orangebox is a design led business that manufactures high end products to the office furniture sector for the global market place. Quadrupling its annual turnover in turbulent economic conditions over the past decade is something the whole workforce feels very proud of. Its success, although complex to attribute to any one factor has been in part due to the company’s commitment to designing products that minimise their environmental impacts from conception through to end of life ownership – the company recently won an award for their commitment to sustainable manufacturing, which one of the judges described as “truly inspirational”.

A proactive approach to full life cycle thinking has enabled the business to engage with a broad and international spectrum of new clients, clients that are responding to the environmental challenges we all face. Luke’s talk will provide an insight in to the role design plays within a welsh SME that’s focused on doing ‘good’ business.