BMVP William Walters public lecture - What can the ruins of an atomic weapons research facility tell us about the multiplicity of secrecy?

6 November 2018, 6.00 PM - 6 November 2018, 7.00 PM

Professor William Walters, Department of Political Science, Carleton University, Canada

Lecture Theatre 2D3, Social Sciences Complex, Priory Road

This presentation focuses on a formerly top secret military and security site in Suffolk called Orford Ness. Located on the easternmost coast of Britain, Orford Ness was for nearly 70 years a place where key weapons, intelligence and surveillance technologies were tested and developed. In the 1950s and 1960s it became part of Britain’s atomic weapons research estate, performing stress testing on the early generations of the atomic  bomb. Today much of the site lies in ruins. It is managed by the environmental charity, National Trust, which manages the site as a place of environmental and historical significance.

Whereas journalism and blogging has often approached Orford Ness as a secret to be revealed this presentation explores the multiple ways in which different actors experience, construct, and use secrecy at this place. It will show that far from being a truth to be uncovered the secrecy of Orford Ness is better characterized as multiple, shifting, and fluid. The presentation will conclude by considering the implications of these findings about multiplicity for theories of power and secrecy.

Followed by a drinks reception.

Free registration recommended.

Contact information

Please visit William Walters' profile page on the Institute for Advanced Studies website to find out about his research and other events during his visit to Bristol

Picture of Orford Ness, taken from