October 06, 2016

Steve Jones, Howard Jacobson and Emma Smith launch new series of Hay Levels

Delivered by leading thinkers from all around the world, Hay Levels is a joint collaboration between the global literary event series, Hay Festival, and the Tata group

Hay Festival unveils the third series of Hay Levels: an inspiring, free series of educational videos starring thought leaders from a range of disciplines, to stimulate students preparing for A Levels with a bank of free educational resources.

Videos will be released fortnightly from October to Christmas the Hay Levels YouTube channel (subscribe here) and shared across social media (#HayLevels), supplementing the growing bank of content already available on line.

Delivered by leading thinkers from all around the world, Hay Levels is a joint collaboration between the global literary event series, Hay Festival, and the Tata group, giving students open access to some of the most renowned experts in their fields.

With over 200 films, 150,000 views and 1,600 subscribers the Hay Levels are proving to be a big success with young people from across the globe; the films have been watched in the UK, USA, Australia, Russia, India, Japan, Brazil and Kenya. 

Covering a breadth of topics from Shakespeare to Geography, the first release of videos includes:

  • Howard Jacobson, Novelist and Man Booker Prize Winner, on The Merchant of Venice
  • Mervyn King, Former Governor of the Bank of England, on Why Banks Fail
  • Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at UCL, on Nature versus Nurture
  • Gareth Williams, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Bristol, on Diabetes
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University on Stem Cells
  • Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Oxford, on Shakespearean Tragedy
  • Simon Horobin, Professor of English, University of Oxford , on Chaucer’s Authorship

And to follow over the coming months:

  • Neil MacGregor, Art Historian and Former Director of the British Museum on the Reformation and the Printing Press
  • Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal on General Relativity and a history of its conception
  • Sarah Churchwell, Professor in American Literature on the Turn of the Screw
  • Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography, University of Oxford on Mapping Social Inequality
  • Jung Chang, Author on History
  • Charlotte Scott, Senior Lecturer in English, Goldsmiths on Nature and the Sonnets
  • Timothy Brook, Professor of Chinese History, University of British Columbia
  • Susannah Gibson, Historian of Science, Affiliated Scholar at the University of Cambridge on changes in how we investigate our world and the History of Science

Now in its third year, the Hay Levels were sparked when renowned mathematician Marcus du Sautoy gave an impromptu masterclass to a group of A Level students on his way to speak at Hay Festival. Subsequently, working with local teachers and students at Hereford Sixth Form College, Hay organisers drew up an ever growing list of subjects to be covered, and Hay Levels was born.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “Hay Festival continues to bring some of the best thinkers and great academics of our day to audiences all over the world, developing an ever-growing community of curious souls who enjoy engaging with ideas and each other. We wanted to share this opportunity with even more people. Hay Levels is the result. We hope they will be widely used and shared and are deeply grateful to these fabulous academics that have supported us so far.”

Dr David Landsman OBE, executive director of Tata Limited, said: “We’re particularly proud of our partnership with the Hay Levels. In Hay’s 30th year, it’s always good to find new ways to take the best of what Hay has to offer to inspire students as they take their A Levels. Just as our businesses rely on technology to serve our customers, so Hay Levels – now being viewed up to 2,500 times per week – is the modern way to learn from the Hay Festival masters across the world.”

Highlights from earlier series of Hay Levels include: Sarah Churchwell on Gatsby; David Crystal on Pragmatics; Marcus du Sautoy on Trigonometry and Logarithms; Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity; Gabrielle Walker on Climate Change; Oscar Guardiola Riveira on Globalisation; and Shahidha Bari on Wordsworth and Coleridge, Germaine Greer on Hamlet, Yuval Noah Harari on Sapiens, Tom Holland on the Rise of Islam, Caroline Lucas on Proportional Representation, Cedric Villani on Differential Equations, Jim Al-Khalili on Nuclear and Particle Physics.

For more information on Hay Levels or Hay Festival, please visit hayfestival.org.