Public Lecture Programme (PLP) - Important Information

Please read the following information before applying to the Public Lecture Programme

At present we are no longer running events on campus so the below information is not currently relevant.  Therefore, please refer to our online events page for information on how to apply to the LSE Online Public Events Programme.


The Public Lecture Programme (PLP) is a series of lectures that usually take place on Monday – Thursday evenings in term time in the LSE’s largest venues (Peacock Theatre, Old Theatre, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Hong Kong Theatre, Auditorium, Shaw Library, PAN G.01) supported by the Events Office.

They are advertised through the event leaflet, posters around LSE campus, LSE events website, via email to our large subscription list, as well as via Facebook and Twitter.

The majority of events consist of a talk given by a main speaker (introduced by a chairperson), followed by a question and answer session involving questions from the audience. Although this has been the general format for lectures, there are lots of alternative formats which can be considered, including discussions and film screenings. All LSE public events must, however, include a Q&A session with the audience - this is integral to the events programme.

Events which are taken on as part of the PLP are branded using specially designed PLP adverts, posters and backdrop slides along with LSE pull up and pop up banners, an events lectern logo and a LSE tablecloth (if stage set up requires one). There is scope of course for the hosting academic unit/s to be recognised at the event as part of this branding. 

LSE’s public events are by definition open to all, including to the media whose attendance is important to the School's objective of raising its profile externally. By default, media representatives are not only welcomed at events but allowed to take part in the Q&A. The LSE Media Relations Office handle media registration for Tier A events only and those who register are allocated specific seats. They can also deal with media queries and liaise with the speaker’s media team, if applicable. Your speaker should be made aware of these events are open to press and are therefore 'on the record'. If there are any queries about this, please get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity.  With regards to Tier B events, any press enquiries will be forwarded to the departmental contact organising the event.

Please note that regardless of media attendance or whether an event is made available as a podcast or video after the event, with mobile phones and other recording devices in such common use, and given the popularity of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, events can never be considered ‘off the record’ as it is likely they will be recorded or reported in some way by the audience and end up in the public domain. Your speaker, or their office, should be made aware of this right at the start of the planning process.

The service offered by the Events Office is divided into two tiers, based on the complexity of the event. Tier A events would be the most high profile/high security/high complexity events and these would be ticketed and fully supported by the Events Office. Tier B events are those which would be more straightforward to organise, with no security or ticketing, and will receive a more hands off advisory service, but which still delivers the main things Departments valued from the previous PLP model.

Purpose of PLP

The PLP is a key part of the ‘public face’ of LSE. The purpose is to position LSE at the centre of debate in all areas of the social sciences. LSE research is relevant to the real world, rather than an ‘’ivory tower’’ and these lectures aim to enhance the School’s reputation for intellectual, challenging ideas and discussion with a broader public audience.

Factors to be taken into account when assessing an event for inclusion in the programme:

  • Potential PR benefit to the School (eg articles in national press, prestige connections with speakers, event for ‘hosting’ of particular guests)
  • Would the event help to develop the brand of the School Public Lecture Programme?
  • Does the event relate to LSE research and expertise?
  • Who would attend and the popularity of the event
  • Cost

Impact at LSE

The School strongly encourages departments and research centres to think about ways in which to fully exploit the opportunities which public events offer to promote LSE academics and their research.

Please consider 

  • When putting together panel discussions ensuring that an LSE academic is included.  Alternately you could invite an LSE academic to act as a respondent at events with external speakers.
  • Briefing the chair to mention relevant LSE academic research in his introduction to the event or the Q&A session (without turning the introduction into a mini lecture).
  • When tweeting about upcoming events, refer and link to relevant LSE research.
  • Consider using the opportunity to brief external speakers (particularly for example policy makers) on relevant LSE research and think about who else within the School it would be useful for them to meet, for example in the green room before the event or at a dinner/reception following the event.
  • Ensure you invite academics from other LSE departments to attend the event, whose research and expertise would be relevant.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the PLP

Strengthening our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is one of LSE's 2020 strategy priorities. You can see full information on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at LSE here.  Others include education, and leading globally in social science. LSE's intention is proactively to establish a culture that allows us to:

• Gain access to, and represent a more diverse pool of talent among staff and students

• Enhance the School’s engagement with new audiences and stakeholders, both in the UK and internationally

• Continue to improve the diversity of our governing body.

Speakers of world standing from the realms of politics, finance, civil society and current affairs as well as academic life visit LSE to deliver lectures and seminars on subjects of wide topical interest. Many occasions in the resulting rich programme of events are open to LSE students, staff and alumni, as well as to the thousands of visitors who attend from outside LSE each year. This programme of events is something which adds great value to the LSE staff and student experience, and is a vital component of LSE’s engagement with the outside world.

As a global educational institution which encourages people to “Join the Global Debate” it is appropriate that the School actively addresses the issue of equity, diversity and inclusion in our events programme.

While it is clear that there is often a lack of meaningful diversity in the top positions – this cannot be an excuse to under-represent exclude women and other groups, including ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, in public debates. As part of the School’s commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, and in the context of our contributions to the public debate, we have a duty proactively to consider how our events can include a genuinely diverse range of voices in discussions.

Following the introduction of this policy, female representation in the School’s public events has risen from 20% in the 2011/2012 academic year to 43% in the 2016/2017 academic year.

With a view to further embedding awareness and hosting a more diverse events programme, LSE has:

• A goal of a minimum 40% of speakers from either gender at School events to be achieved by the start of the 2018-19 academic year. This goal will apply to the School as a whole, and to individual academic units within it.

• The continuation of a formal monitoring system managed by the LSE events office. This will monitor events which are part of the School’s public events programme, and will disaggregate the information by academic unit. The monitoring system also asks for information on other protected characteristics, which will enable policy development on this basis in future.

• A requirement that academic units discuss equity, diversity and inclusion in regards to events speakers at departmental meetings on a regular basis. This is at the discretion of the academic unit, but we would propose it as an agenda item for all meetings when forthcoming events are to be discussed.

• A requirement to ensure that chairs for events which are part of the public events programme are briefed to take questions (and proactively encourage questions) from a balance of those in the audience, including women and minority groups. We encourage academic units to do the same in their own events.

Guidance on inviting high-profile political figures to visit LSE

If you are considering approaching a high profile speaker, please contact the events office as soon as possible. Please bear in mind security costs should be covered by the hosting department so this should be a consideration before inviting such speakers.  Anyone involved in event planning should familiarise themselves with the LSE Code of Practice on Free Speech.  

Visits to LSE by high-profile political figures can require a lot of preparation, to ensure appropriate arrangements for reception, security and so on – especially if the visitor is to make a public appearance. Also, the Director will wish to know about them, for example in cases in which she will try, as a courtesy, to be available to greet the visitor.

Staff or students planning to invite anyone in the following categories should inform the Directorate (, at least 15 working days before the proposed visit:

  • current or former Heads of State- current or former Heads of Government (such as Prime Ministers)
  • current UK government ministers (including the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales)
  • any high-profile political figure whose presence on campus can be expected to arouse strong feelings and responses among the LSE community or the public.

This will enable the relevant staff in the Directorate, LSE Security, Communications Division and the events “risk spotters” network to be informed.

Chairing public event and LSE's Code of Practice on Free Speech

Before you confirm a chair for your event, please ensure you have read LSE’s Code of Practice on Free Speech, specifically 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 on who is permitted to chair a public event. This guidance was updated in 2018. The key point as outlined in the code is that 'events that are open to others than current LSE staff or students should always be chaired by a suitable and experienced figure who is fully familiar with the School, meaning an establish (not visiting) or emeritus member of the LSE academic staff or a member of Council; this may be requested even for a limited access event.’

 The Prevent Duty: events and speakers

The Prevent statutory duty, which came into force for universities on 18 September 2015, does not in itself change the definition of legal free speech. However, it imposes on the School some important requirements in relation to events and speakers. The duty covers not only events and activities on campus, but also those run off-campus – in the UK or overseas – under LSE branding. LSE branding in this context should be taken to mean any branding which closely associates the School with the event.

Further information can be found at Prevent at LSE.

Departmental Contribution

The Events Office wish to assist as many departments as possible with their public events and therefore departments are asked to contribute towards the overall costs. The amount will vary depending on venue, tier and any other factors, and is approximately 65% of the actual costs incurred by our office. To give you an idea of the kind of costs involved, a tier B event in the Hong Kong Theatre would cost around £205, whereas a Tier A event in the Old Theatre would cost around £630.

Please note that any security costs incurred, due to the high profile/controversial nature of a speaker/event, will be passed in full to the department organizing the event. For all events we are required to discuss with you the security risks, and to advise whether a security presence will be required.

If any access requests are made for your event which incur a cost these would also be split with the department. For example, a departmental contribution towards British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation would be around £200.

Inaugural Lectures

The School will cover the logistical costs of inaugural lectures, but this is on the condition that they are promoted (including in the event banner) as inaugural lectures. The School will not cover the cost of videos, receptions, dinners or security for these events. Inaugural lectures, as with all events in the PLP, must include Q&A sessions.

Cancellation of Events

Once accepted onto the PLP programme, any events which are cancelled would be subject to a cancellation charge. This is to cover the costs already incurred by our office in the organization of the event, and also to cover the cost of a steward on the night to inform any audience members who do turn up.

The charge would be 10% of the full costs for events cancelled after having been advertised in the Events Leaflet and before the Departmental Checklist is sent (2 weeks before the event if Tier B/ 3weeks before the event if Tier A), or 20% if cancelled after this point (less than 2 weeks before the event if Tier B/less than 3 weeks before the event if Tier A).


All events in the PLP, whether Tier A or Tier B would receive the following publicity:

LSE Events Website
Lectures in the PLP are listed on the events website, our prime vehicle for events promotion and information. The LSE events web page can have as many as 270,000 hits a month. If your event is taken on as part of the PLP then we will automatically put it on the website. However anyone can advertise any event onto the website by following the process as outlined on the Digital Knowledge Base.

Listing in LSE Events Programme
Each term we produce 32,000 event leaflets. We send these out prior to the start of each term. Approximately 9,000 go to people on the events mailing list; 14 000 are distributed through ''London Calling'' to display points in corporate institutions, embassies, think tanks and banks all over the capital; and the remaining 12 000 are distributed on the LSE campus.

You can request your event to be listed in the printed events programme, as well as apply for the PLP, by completing the combined events application form.

Email subscription
Regular email updates about forthcoming events are sent out to our email subscription list of over 65,000 contacts.

Facebook and Twitter
Events are advertised via Facebook and Twitter. We have over 440,000 followers on LSE’s facebook page, and @lsepublicevents has over 53,000 followers on Twitter. All events as part of the PLP will be allocated a Twitter hashtag. If you have a preference for the hashtag please include in the application form below. We also include the speakers’ twitter handles on the event weblistings, so you will be asked to provide this information in your application.

Phone line
During office hours phone calls with enquiries are dealt with by the Events Office. Outside of office hours there is the opportunity to leave a message. Messages are checked daily.

Posters of all PLP events are produced and displayed around LSE. 

Tier A - Logistical support

  • Meeting with Events Office to discuss event logistics after event has been accepted onto PLP. Meeting also set up with LSE Security if applicable.
  • Events Office manages e-ticketing of event – it is possible for the Department to have an allocation of reserved and general seating tickets set aside for guests.
  • Events Office arranges stewarding, AV, Green Room and catering as well as podcast.
  • On the day the Events Office will provide LSE branding in the form of LSE pop up stands, LSE tablecloth, lectern logo and PowerPoint slides which can include departmental logos (and any outside organizations involved in the event); organize stage set up including water, pad and pen for the speaker and chair & AV equipment; arrange any reserved seating for any special invited guests; and a member of events team will be present to brief stewards and remain on campus until the end of the event.

Tier B- Logistical support

For Tier B events there is a greater emphasis on the role of the departmental event organiser, but with help and guidance from the Events Office. 

The Events Office will either put in place or point people in right direction for essential logistical arrangements.

  • Events Office sends a comprehensive checklist to the Departmental event organisers once accepted onto Tier B of PLP. This will list exactly what needs to be done and when, as well as including essential information (Chairperson’s guidelines, Prevent duty), draft schedule, speaker notes, plus contact details for booking in a video if required, template slide and poster they can make use of, suggestion of which rooms to book in for Green Room and link to catering site.
  • The event will be added to a stewarding and AV schedule with standard set up requested unless otherwise specified. The event will also be added to a podcast schedule and Department will be required to confirm permission in order for the podcast to put online. The event will also be added to a booksales schedule and confirmed with Pages of Hackney, if related to a new title.
  • An email will then be sent 2 weeks before event confirming which stewards are working and reminding the departmental event organiser about steward checklist and other arrangements they should be making before the event (i.e. speaker presentations, reserved seating lists). Events Office will print out steward checklists and posters and put together USBs for the steward with the slides if returned to us by 10am on the morning of the event.
  • On the day the Events Office will provide for stewards to take to the events: LSE branding in the form of LSE pop up stands, LSE tablecloth and lectern logo; items for stage set up including water, pad and pen for the speaker/s and chair; CPD registration sheets. Event stewards will bring books over from Events Office to the venue, if applicable.

Department event organiser would need to supervise event (and provide name and mobile number of person supervising for the stewards), arrange any reserved seating and provide stewards with a detailed briefing, including reserved seating list. Department fully responsible for meeting speaker, dealing with any speaker requirements, setting up PowerPoint and getting the event started, as well as overseeing book signings if applicable. Member of Department must stay for full event.

How do I apply?

Please complete the Events Combined Application Form by the deadline.

Deadline for PLP & Events Leaflet Applications

With the combined events application form, the deadline for submiting your application to the PLP and to the events leaflet are now the same.

Michaelmas Term 2020 - 12 noon, Monday 3 August 2020
Lent Term 2021 - Friday 30 October 2020

Once you have submitted your form – what happens next?

The Events Office will confirm receipt of your form and will normally advise you if your application has been successful around 10 working days following the deadline date.

Successful applications will be divided between Tier A and Tier B, as explained above, and you will be emailed to advise you of the next steps. This allows our office to assist as many departments as possible.

If we are unable to include your event in the PLP then the event can still take place as a departmental event. The Events Office can assist with certain aspects such as organising stewards etc. at cost, see the Events Office homepage for some advice.

Please note, due to the numbers of events now organized at LSE and due to limited staff and resources, we are unlikely to take on event in venues for less than 200 and we are unlikely to take on more than 5 events per department per term, so please ensure you submit only the most high profile.

Please also note, due to the number of events taking place during the week and due to limitations of staff we are unlikely to take on events taking place on Friday evenings or at weekends.

If you have any questions, please contact us at