Small Talk Sessions 2019/2020

Curious British Sports and Other Competitions

Erin McHugh (Brighton, England)

Oxford Cultural Talks (Oxford University Press)

From worm charming to wife-carrying, discover the weird and wonderful competitions of Britain. In addition to these curious competitions, students will learn about traditional British sporting events including cricket, horse racing at Ascot and the Boat Race between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

These are some British competitions
New Zealand

Geoff Stagg (Wellington, New Zealand)

Public Affairs Adviser at the Embassy of New Zealand

by Guillerma Fiallegas
by Susana Becerra Martínez
Haka is a traditional dance in the M­aori culture.

Geoff Stagg, from the Embassy of New Zealand, came to talk to us about that wonderful country. We learnt about new Zealand ́s natural beauty as well as its Kiwi lifestyle and unique Maori culture. It is a relaxing place with a very good quality of life and great for those who want to get close to nature. Its fantastic natural spots are a major attraction for those who love outdoor pursuits. City life is also attractive because of its “livable” cities like Wellington or Auckland.

An Ace up Your Sleeve
Carlos de Dompablo (Madrid)

Social Educator and Street Magician

by Fernando Javier García

Carlos de Dompablo mixes close up magic and social education. He talked about the project he is developing to discover the skills that each person has inside themselves and how to train them. Are you ready to find out about your own ace up your sleeve?

The Rise of Motown Records: How Berry Gordy Jr. Transformed Society
Danesha Garner (Collinsville, Illinois)

Language Assistant at IES Neil Armstrong

by Guillerma Fiallegas

by Paqui Estepa Vela
by Susana Becerra Martínez

Motown Records is an American record label that was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit, Michigan on April 14, 1960. Its name is derived from motor and town, Detroit’s nickname as it was the home of the automobile industry. Motown played an important role in racial integration in the United States with its artists receiving crossover success on radio stations across the country. Motown is known for launching the careers of artists such as The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Gladys Knight and many more. Motown Records has been operating for 6 decades and counting. There is no denying the impact it has had on American society. In 2018, Motown was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

Memories of the Holocaust in Modern Day Europe
Tom Taylor (Liverpool)
by Irene Velasco
Schindler's List

" The Holocaust is the pinnacle of human evilness, the culmination of our lowest point as a species. Eleven million innocent people were systematically murdered, all less than 80 years ago – an event in living memory.

This presentation will take you through my own personal journey through the nadir of mankind. Having studied the Holocaust for many years, including both a degree and a Master’s specialising in the subject, it is a journey that has involved many diverging paths.

I will talk about just some of the key points, those that I think are both most important and interesting. Firstly, a question I am constantly asked, why study the Holocaust? What motivates me, or anyone else, to study something so fundamentally depressing?

Following from that I will look at different aspects of how the event is remembered. The humanisation of those involved is immensely important and I will try to emphasize the very human nature of the event. After that the focus will turn to how it is remembered in different ways and by different societies. This will firstly involve looking at different ways communities – Germany, France, etc. - and the different ways they recall the same event. And after this we will look at some of the more important (or famous) figures such as Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler – and the significance of their legacies.

This will not be a history lesson, and indeed most of what is studied will refer to modern day society rather than the past. "

The Roaring Twenties through ‘The Great Gatsby’
Sara Lázaro Lucena (Madrid)
by Lucy Popa
The Great Gatsby

One hundred years ago, the United States was a country full of economic prosperity, jazz music, luxury, innovation, gangsters, creative writing, never-ending parties and immigration. It was also a time in which many people started to reflect on how wealth, power and individualism were slowly changing the social and human values of the contemporary societies. In this Small Talk session we explored the so-called ‘Roaring Twenties’ by examining one of the most representative and insightful novels written during this fascinating historical period: ‘The Great Gatsby’ by Scott Fitzgerald.

The Facts about Fast Fashion
Marlee Christian (Columbus, Ohio)

Language Assistant at IES Neil Armstrong

by Lidia Corregidor


Do you know where your clothes come from? We all love to shop, but recently more information has been coming to light about the problems with how our clothes are made and what it’s doing to the environment. This talk was about the history, current issues, and future of the fashion industry.

The Human Superorganism
Sari Arponen (Ruokolahti, Finlandia)

She is a doctor specialized in Intern Medicine whose PhD was about epidemics. Lately, she is also specializing in psychoneuroimmunology and endocrinology (MSc, MD, PhD)

by Lidia Corregidor



Dietert, Rodney, The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life.

Anderson, Scott C., Cryan, John F. & Dinan, Ted, The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection.


Every single human being has a complex, often forgotten, organ: the microbiota. The microbiota consists of a community of microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, archaea, and even some tiny little animals. They are all over our body: skin, mouth, gut, genitourinary tract. They benefit from their human host - and we need them and their numerous functions. Humans are for the most part microbial: we contain more microorganisms than human cells. While humans only have about 23000 mammalian genes, we carry millions of microbial genes. The study of the microbiota is the last frontier in Medicine and everyone needs to know how to take care of our microbial part.

Genes and Genealogies: Reflections on our Biological and Social Inheritance

Susanna Manrubia (Madrid)

CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

by Irene Velasco

Are you proud of your last name? Glad to have renowned ancestors? Have you considered whether social traits echo biological inheritance? A scientific examination of this last question reveals surprising answers. You can be almost certain that if a neighbor claims to be a descendant of Charlemagne, you are too. But warn her: most likely, there is no trace of his genes left in either of your genomes!


Creado con imágenes de sefton Marks - "untitled image" • Jeff Griffith - "Horse Race at Tampa Bay Downs" • cheng feng - "untitled image" • Virgil Cayasa - "It’s all about having fun" • sefton Marks - "untitled image" • Barni1 - "maori painted warrior" • Nydegger - "maori men jump" • Jack Hamilton - "Lily, Rosemary, and the Ace of Spades" • Matt Flores - "untitled image" • israel palacio - "Sing your Heart out!" • MARCIN CZERNIAWSKI - "untitled image" • Erica Magugliani - "It was the Vernichtungslager (extermination camp) of the complex. It was the immense camp in which over one million and one hundred thousand people lost their lives, overwhelmingly Jews, Russians, Poles and Gypsies. The victims were taken to the gas chambers immediately after the typical selection of the incapacitated at work on the arrival of the convoys." • Nick de Partee - "Unsplash Photo Walk Portland" • CDC - "This illustration depicts a three-dimensional (3D), computer-generated image of a group of anaerobic, spore-forming, Clostridium sp. organisms. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron microscopic (SEM) imagery. Note that a number of these organisms had assumed a safety-pin, or club-shape, indicating that they had entered what is known as an endospore phase, which is a tougher, dormant phase, resistant to heat and UV-radiation."