Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


VIRTUAL: The Orwell Memorial Lecture—Decolonising The Wonder House: Orwell, Empire and the Museum

16 November 2020, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm

orwell lecture

Tristram Hunt, the Director of the V&A, will give this year's Orwell Memorial Lecture on 'Decolonising the Wonder House: Orwell, Empire and the Museum'. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, the director of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, and Thant Myint-U, the writer and historian who established the Yangon Heritage Trust, will respond. We are thrilled to invite you to this first, international Orwell Lecture.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







The Orwell Foundation

You will only be able to access the event if you register for a ticket in the link above. Through your ticket, you will be provided with a link to the Zoom channel five minutes before the event starts.

Ever more combative cultural politics, increasing public debate about the legacies of the colonial past, and movements to decolonise museums and universities are bringing the work of George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling — the anti-imperialist and the imperialist — back into contestation. In the Orwell Memorial Lecture 2020, Tristram Hunt will explore how these two literary giants - and their relationship - can help to frame today’s conversation around museums, empire, and decolonisation. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, the director of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum and Thant Myint-U the writer and historian who established the Yangon Heritage Trust will respond. The Orwell Foundation is delighted to welcome registrations for this first online and international Orwell Lecture.

The Orwell Memorial Lecture

The Orwell Memorial Lecture, given in memory of the author, essayist and journalist George Orwell, has been given annually since 1989 and has attracted notable speakers including Daniel Finkelstein, Kamila Shamsie, Dr Rowan Williams, Dame Hilary Mantel, Robin Cook and Ruth Davidson MSP. Speakers are tasked with discussing any topic 'Orwell might have been interested in'. Originally held at the University of London, Birkbeck and the the University of Sheffield, the Orwell Memorial Lecture usually takes place each year at University College London, home of the UNESCO-registered Orwell Archive, the most comprehensive body of research material relating to the author's life anywhere. The Orwell Foundation is based at UCL's Institute of Advanced Studies. This year, however, the Orwell Memorial Lecture is being held exclusively online for the first time.