Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Guest Lectures

Reflecting Warwick’s unique approach, our Summer School offers an enjoyable programme of interactive guest lectures with eminent figures from the public and private sector.

The talks are delivered in a variety of formats including conversations, debates and panel discussions which provide excellent opportunities for you to engage with the speakers and other students. The speakers that come to the Summer School cover a range of topics to broaden your education, insights and views, and allow you to ask questions and debate the topics they discuss.

2023 Guest Speakers

Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce is Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). She was previously Director General for Economics at the UK’s Business Department and Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service. Before that she was Partner at the accounting and consulting firm KPMG after senior economic positions in banking and the oil sector. She is Visiting Professor at King’s College London and Birmingham City University, a Fellow and Council member of the UK Academy for Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists and a Companion of the British Academy of Management. She is co-founder of GoodCorporation, a company set up to advise on business ethics. Her books include: “Greekonomics: The Euro crisis and Why Politicians Don't Get It”; “It's the Economy, Stupid- Economics for Voters”, with Ross and Urwin; “Redesigning Manufacturing”, with Nielsen and Beverland”; ‘Why Women Need Quotas ‘; and “Women vs Capitalism”. Her latest book, ‘”How to be a Successful Economist” with Ross, Birdi and Harwood was published in late 2022 by Oxford University Press.

BAFTA-winning Immersive Media Specialist, Catherine Allen

Catherine Allen is most well known as a UK leading expert in immersive technology - expanding the audience and creator base of the medium whilst advising on responsible use of this emerging technology. Her work has played a significant role in informing policy - with a current focus on helping shape VR and AR’s inclusion in the UK’s Online Safety Bill. This work has been recognised through an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick. Catherine’s approach is innovative yet heavily audience-centric and down to earth. After working on the BAFTA-winning iPad app Disney Animated, Catherine led the creation of two of the BBC's first virtual reality experiences in 2015 - 2016. Finding VR an incredible artistic medium, but with a frustratingly narrow audience, she founded Limina Immersive in late 2016; a VR events and research company dedicated to bringing immersive tech to broader audiences. Limina ran cultural VR events across the world to a total of over 15,000 audience members. Catherine has continuously shared findings about audience needs back with universities and the sector in the form of reports, consultancy, seminars and workshops. She has authored several seminal public reports that have influenced policy, for instance the Immersive Content Formats for Future Audiences report, for Innovate UK and Digital Catapult. Her public engagement work includes expert op-eds, comment and analysis on immersive tech to outlets including Radio 4's Today programme, The Sunday Times, Bloomberg, British Vogue, Wired Magazine and The Guardian.

CEO of the Active Hands Company, Rob Smith MBE

Two years into Rob’s Mechanical Engineering degree at Warwick University his life was unexpectedly altered after a spinal cord injury from a cliff fall accident -resulting in reduced function in all four limbs. Determined to still achieve all his life goals he set about getting on with his new life with the added challenges of a permanent disability.

Rob’s path to CEO of Active Hands has spanned a wide field of activities, experiences, and ventures. He has travelled the world extensively as a backpacker in a wheelchair. He has been internationally competitive at two disability sports including a world tour for wheelchair rugby and winning world cup marathon gold as a T52 wheelchair racer for Paralympics GB. As well as a competitive sportsman he has also always been an entrepreneur. Previous to Active Hands, he set up and ran a successful corporate events business. From humble beginnings, Active Hands has grown to be a world leader in design and manufacture of products for those with reduced hand function.

Rob has been recognised a number of times with awards for his Business, entrepreneurial and disability related activities. These include winning the Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur award, three entries in the yearly top 100 disabled influencers power list, A Board of Trade Exporting award and in 2020 he received an MBE in the Queens honours list for services to international trade and people with disabilities.


Previous Speakers

Previous talks:

  • Economic Growth and Happiness Equalization
  • Journey to the Olympic Games
  • Thinking About Inequality
  • Why Nations Fail?
  • The NHS: Can it Survive?
  • Building Entrepreneur Country – for the future from the future.
Opeyemi Otaniyi
The guest lectures were definitely engaging and the speakers were top in their respective fields.
Opeyemi Otaniyi (Nigeria)
Yanfeier Li
I never imagined I would communicate with a Nobel Prize winner face to face.
Yanfeier Li (China)

2022 Guest Speakers

Labour and Cooperative MP and Seema Malhotra

Seema Malhotra is the Labour and Cooperative Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston and Shadow Minister of State for Business and Consumers. Her primary policy interests are in the economy, business, and equalities. She has been a member of the influential House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the European Union and its successor from 2016-2020. Seema served as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2015-2016. She founded and chairs a local charity Hounslow’s Promise focussed on education attainment, social mobility and employability. From 2014-2015, she served as Shadow Home Office Minister for Preventing Violence against Women and Girls where she led on aspects of the Serious Crime Bill for Labour. Seema also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology APPG Entrepreneurship and APPG on Mortgage Prisoners. Prior to entering Parliament, Seema was a business and public service adviser working with the video game and film industries. She has over ten years’ experience with leading firms Accenture and Price Waterhouse Coopers. She is on the Executive of the Fabian Society, a national think tank, and is the Founder and President of the Fabian Women’s Network.

Entrepreneur and Chief Tea Mixologist, Krisi Smith

Krisi is a 'Chief Mixologist', Author, Creative Director and Co-founder of Brighton based tea company, Bird and Blend Tea Co. Starting nine years ago in her mum's back bedroom Krisi, along with her partner Mike Turner, have built their brand to be the UK's most loved independent tea blenders. They employ over 100 people across their 15 sites nationwide and at the heart of Krisi's approach to business is a strong commitment to putting people first, creating fantastic customer experiences and having fun along the way. This talk will be particularly interesting to any aspiring entrepreneurs and if you have a chance to visit Brighton, do pop into Krisi's first Bird and Blend Tea shop on the iconic North Laine during your trip!

England Blind Football Team Captain, Owen Bainbridge

Owen Bainbridge is a proud member of the England Blind Football Team and has collected over 80 caps so far for his team, winning silver and bronze medals at tournaments across the world. Due to congenital glaucoma, Owen had minimal sight in one eye, before going totally blind when he was seven. However, despite his disability, he was brought up with a love for football, and during his A-level studies, became involved with blind football. Blind football is five-a-side, with sighted goalkeepers. The ball contains ball-bearings to make it rattle, and the skill and fitness levels have to be seen to be believed. Owen made his first appearance for England in a victory against Germany when he was 20.

Owen has combined studying sports massage with building up his tally of England caps and he continues to develop his skills both on the massage table and on the football pitch, adding nutrition to his business repertoire. In this talk, Owen will share his individual approach to business and how communication is key to leadership and success. Being captain of his country, he knows how it feels to lead under pressure; a key skill for any business owner.