With many of us being discouraged from going out, why not catch up on all those interesting lectures you missed in the past?

A number of institutions stream their lectures, and some also maintain an archive off their previous talks.

When you’ve run out of TV box sets to watch, feed the mind as well…


Gresham College

Mix of art, science, politics, music, law and mathematics

They have been putting their lectures online for some years, and often include the transcript and presentation as downloadable files.


London School of Economics and Political Science

Mostly global economics and politics

Many of their free lectures, often featuring quite significant people in their respective fields are available either as video, or podcast.


Royal Institution

Mostly science

They don’t video their main lectures, but the children-friendly Christmas Lectures are on their website.


Royal Society

Mostly science.

They hold regular lectures in their grand building, and post some of their lectures, and also interviews on their YouTube channel.


Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Mix of politics, social affairs, economics and humanities

They offer a range of videos, from topical insights, short educational snippets, animations, and streams of their public lectures.


Royal Economic Society

Mostly financial/economics

A collection of videos of lectures given over the past year.


Online Texts

Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press has made all 700 textbooks currently available in HTML format on Cambridge Core free to access until the end of May. Although at time of writing, that’s offline due to traffic load, so try again later.



Huge resource of mainly very technical documents, but you can search all open access content on JSTOR without a login – there’s more than 6,000 ebooks and over 150 journals. If you do open a paid access account, you can usually download up to 3 documents without paying.


An online publishing platform often used by academics to share presentations and reports – usually by subscription, but they are offering a 30-day freebie via this link – just remember to cancel in a month’s time (or not as the case may be).


The British Film Institute has a huge archive of cinema movies and footage, which is usually a subscription service, but there is a 14-day free trial available.

There is also a completely free selection of shorter films here.


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  1. JP says:

    RI Christmas lectures, how did I ever let them drop off my radar? Thank you encore mæstro, keep safe and the same to we wot reads your output, I might add. See you…by Christmas? Cheers chap.

  2. Wendy Robinson says:

    Thanks Ian, I am at home with 2 children so will be checking some of these out so that our brains don’t entirely turn to mush. This is another site that I would like to explore. https://failedarchitecture.com/ For those interested in London they have a really interesting film up there about the pedway – the utopian project of planned urban walkways that turned somewhat dystopian, you can find it here: https://failedarchitecture.com/the-downfall-of-londons-streets-in-the-sky/
    Good luck everyone, hang tough!

  3. Susan Allen says:

    Really interesting documentary, well worth watching. I was aware of some of those walkways without realising their significance in the grander ‘Pedway’ scheme. As one of the commentators suggests, seek out the more austere and dilapidated ones before they disappear altogether. Too many of them, even when newly constructed, were disorientating and alienated the user. Planners and architects have learned much from the experiences! (I hope!)

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