Loading Events
  • This event has passed.


At the core of ‘self’ is the unshakeable certainty of identity. Yet, when challenged, it can prove to be a fragile and fugacious construct. Whilst we may think we know who we are, others are also interested in whether we are who we say we are, and whether who we say we are is who we have always been. However, the personal certainty of identity can often lie in stark contrast to the probability of identity as established by the forensic investigator. Sue M Black will examine how our life’s history can be written into our anatomy and how the forensic anthropologist must learn the language of the biological code to uncover the lives and ultimately reunite the person with their identity.

Dame Susan Margaret Black is a Scottish forensic anthropologist, anatomist and academic. She is Pro Vice – Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University. Her entire career has demonstrated the importance of engagement whether that will be with Government, non – Governmental organisations, the business community, investigator forces, funders, the media or the public. She was the lead forensic anthropologist for the UK response to investigation of the war crimes in Kosovo and has also served in Sierra Leone, Grenda, Iraq in Thailand following the Asian tsunami. She has been awarded two police commendations for her work in helping to secure convictions against perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Sue was awarded an OBE in 2001 for her work in war crimes investigations in Kosovo and in 2016 she was awarded a DBE for her services to education and forensic anthropology. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal Society of Biology and she is the lifetime professor of Anatomy for the Royal Scottish Academy. She has a research portfolio that has secured over £20 million in total support, is the author of 14 text books and excess of 150 peer reviewed publications.

The Atrium cafe will be open before and after the talk. Check our the delicious menu and call 020 7670 2973 or email ri@ri.ac.uk to reserve your table. There will also be a cash bare before the Discourse, where you can relax, meet like minded people with an interest in science, and have a drink.

The dress code for this event is smart (ties optional, no jeans or trainers). Please note, if you are not dressed smartly you may be asked to sit in the gallery.

Please be aware that this Discourse starts at 7.20pm, but all attendees must be seated in the theatre by 7.20pm.

This event will be filmed and on the Ri’s YouTube channel within a few months.