In celebration of Humanists UK’s 125th anniversary, Maddy will be talking about the long history and significant influence of humanism in the UK, with a specific focus on the development of the organisation we know today. Humanists UK was formed in 1896 as the Union of Ethical Societies, but the roots of humanism are much deeper, and the ethical societies are just part of the story.
This talk draws on research carried out as part of the Humanist Heritage project, launched in 2019 to uncover and share the lesser known stories that make up the history of humanism in the UK.
Maddy is the Humanist Heritage Coordinator for Humanists UK, researching and writing about the history of humanism to celebrate the organisation's 125th birthday. She has a background in education, museums, and community history, and is also Humanists UK's Wikimedian in Residence.
The Humanist Heritage project will also look at the broader history of humanist thought and activism in the UK. Many of the UK’s leading social reformers, scientists, and artists were humanists, including the poet Percy Shelley, the novelist George Eliot, the naturalist Charles Darwin, the codebreaker Alan Turing, the chemist Rosalind Franklin, along with NHS founder Nye Bevan. Although focused on the UK, it will also touch on the untold histories of others connected to the humanist movement, such as Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt’s close involvement with humanist societies overseas.