Alumni Lecture Series

We’re excited to announce our upcoming online Alumni Lecture Series: COVID – Stories from the Frontline,  starting on 25 March.

COVID-19 has caused havoc and upheaval in ways no-one could have foreseen. Lives have been lost, the economy has crumbled, and our way of life has dramatically changed. The pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, but it has rapidly become an economic and a social crisis too.

In our spring online Alumni Lecture Series, we welcome University of Reading graduates from diverse backgrounds and industries to share their experiences and expertise on how the global pandemic has changed their sectors.

Join us online as our speakers delve into the impact the global pandemic has had on industries such as the arts, the charity sector, the media and healthcare, and how these organisations have had to adapt to survive during the pandemic.

Asking the difficult questions: Reporting on COVID

Thursday 25 March 2021, 18.30-19.30 (UK time)

As the Science Editor for ITV News, Reading graduate, Tom Clarke (BSc Zoology, 1994), has been at the forefront of reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has experienced this life-changing story first-hand. Tom will share how the pandemic has impacted his working life and will reveal the challenges he’s faced in seeking out the answers to the difficult questions. 

“Watching COVID-19 approach the UK, and then reporting on how it has turned all our lives upside down has been strange and disturbing – and like nothing I’ve ever reported on before.” Tom Clarke

Register here.

Supporting the vulnerable: COVID’s social impact 

Thursday 22 April 2021, 18.30-19.30 (UK time)


  • Alison Peyton (BSc Psychology, 1989), Food Bank Manager, ReadiFood
  • Kirsti Wilson (BA English, 1994), Head of Marketing and Fundraising, Launchpad
  • Peter Norman (BSc Psychology, 1967), Volunteer, Cruse Bereavement Care

“The biggest unknown is how the economy will recover and that will have a knock-on effect on food banks, so we are doing our best to prepare for another wave of increased need.” Alison Peyton

Register here.

Culture shock: How COVID has changed the arts 

Thursday 13 May 2021, 18.30-19.30 (UK time)

As a successful music agent and executive, Emma Banks (BSc Food Science, 1989), shares her experiences of how COVID-19 has impacted the music industry as venues across the sector have been forced to close their doors.

“When you see the smiling faces of the people singing along at a gig – the happy artist who has either realised a dream or seen how much their music means to others – that is what is really special about this job.” Emma Banks

Register here.

Working on the frontline: treating COVID 

Thursday 17 June 2021, 18.30-19.30 (UK time)


  • Gurinder Singh (MPharm Pharmacy, 2012), Lecturer in Pharmacy Practise, University of Reading
  • Dr James Cutlan (BA Economics, 2014), Medical Doctor, Royal Glamorgan Hospital
  • Sadek Alam (Physician Associate programme, 2018), Physician Associate in Surgical Liaison, Royal Berkshire Hospital

“Having the opportunity to care for people at their most vulnerable is a difficult but rewarding responsibility which I’m extremely grateful to deliver. Everyone has been so supportive during the COVID-19 pandemic – it makes me feel proud to be a part of the NHS.” Dr James Cutlan

Register here.

We hope you can join us for these special online events and take the opportunity to pose your questions to our line-up of fantastic speakers.