For over a century, there has been a rather curious and unique public lecture event happening every Saturday evening at the University of British Columbia (UBC).


From its humble beginnings in 1916, the Vancouver Institute (VI) has been holding free public lectures presented by locally, nationally and internationally recognized, distinguished scholars and notable industry professionals alike from UBC and beyond.


Spanning several decades now, the VI lectures’ collection (made available by the UBC Library in partnership with the VI) is steadily growing in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository. This one-of-a-kind mixed collection of audio and video materials is a fine testament to the historical, scientific, technical and academic knowledge, expertise and wisdom accumulated by the VI speakers over the years.


The VI lectures’ collection is teeming with a wide range of scientific, archaeological and other intriguing discoveries to philosophical musings and historical biographies to politics, policies and opinions to advanced technologies in education, medicine, and just about everything else in between.


This treasure trove of knowledge consists of novel, creative and innovative ideas and notions to the hard-knock school of lessons learned through good (and, at times, not so good), old-fashioned trial and error. Since then, the array of topics presented by past and current VI speakers were, and still are to this day, all-engaging, funny, illuminating, candid and as inspiring as ever.


A round of applause is due to Green College at UBC for its administrative management of the VI lectures over the years and transferred seamlessly over to the new Global Reporting Centre on January 1, 2018.


Another round of applause goes to University Archives for digitizing the vast majority of the VI lectures, the individual materials are continuing to be digitized and made openly accessible in the VI lectures’ collection in cIRcle via UBC Library’s Open Collections portal.


While waiting for upcoming VI lectures, below are some past and present VI lectures to watch now online anytime and anywhere:


The next 50 years in engineering


Gold or dross — The romantic past and future potential of B.C.’s mineral wealth


The golden age of astronomy


Ecological reserves in British Columbia


An evening with Mary Hemingway


Life under the sun: The past and future of solar energy


Artists in medieval workshops


Observations and photographs


Virginia Woolf: a personal portrait


Einstein — the man and his work


The coinage of Athens and the ancient world


The mystique of the detective story


Byzantine archaeology: a city revealed


Leonard Cohen: “The only tourist in Havana”


Dogs and people: The history and psychology of a relationship


Dealing with SARS


Journey of the Blue Whale


Digital Dumping Ground : The Global Trade in Electronic Waste


The Human-Animal Bond : Our History With Dogs


Desert Dust and the World’s Environments


Hammering the Klavier : Beethoven’s Earthshaking and Bone-crushing Masterpiece


Media Ethics on the Digital Frontier


Bug Shells and Butterfly Wings : New Materials Inspired by Nature


Stroke : New Evidence on Prevention and Recovery


Cheap : The High Cost of Discount Culture


Let Them Eat Dirt : Raising Children With Their Microbes


Bee Time : What Can We Learn from the Demise of Bees?



As part of the Vancouver Institute Lectures Series, Green College presents a “Richard III: The Resolution of a 500-Year-Old Cold Case” by Dr. Turi King.

Dr. King is a Lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology at the University of Leicester. Her work over the years has combined genetics with archaeology, history and geography. Her PhD award-winning research in genetics examined the link between British hereditary surnames and the Y chromosome. She has continued her work on the Y chromosome and surnames, and has been leading a project examining the genetic legacy of the Vikings in the north of England. As well as leading the international research team involved in the DNA identification work of the remains of Richard III, she is also leading the project carrying out the whole genome sequencing of Richard III which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of genetic fingerprinting at the University of Leicester.

This event took place on March 12, 2016.

Select Articles and Books Available at UBC Library

Buckley, R., Morris, M., Appleby, J., King, T., O’Sullivan, D., & Foxhall, L. (2013). ‘the king in the car park’: New light on the death and burial of richard III in the grey friars church, leicester, in 1485. Antiquity, 87(336), 519-538. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00049103 [Link]

Dockray, K. (1997). Richard III: A source book. Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton. [Available at Koerner Library – DA260 .R54 1997]

King, T., Fortes, G., Balaresque, P., Thomas, M., Balding, D., Delser, P.. . Schurer, K. (2014). Identification of the remains of king richard III. Nature Communications, 5, 5631. doi:10.1038/ncomms6631 [Link]

Markham, C. R., Sir, & Project Gutenberg Online Catalog. (2011). Richard III: His life and character Project Gutenberg. [Link]

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