Alice Roberts to deliver keynote speech on ‘Morals without religion’ at annual national non-religious Convention in Leicester

Scientist, author, and President of Humanists UK, Alice Roberts, will deliver a keynote speech on ‘Morals without religion’ at the annual national non-religious Convention to be held in Leicester this weekend.

The three-day Convention from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 June is hosted by the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people, Humanists UK. Speakers include: President Alice Roberts; geneticist Adam Rutherford; journalist and Labour peer Joan Bakewell; author of the No Insiders programme Andrew Moffat; comedian Ed Byrne; classicist and author Natalie Haynes; and many more.

The Convention will explore humanist perspectives on a variety of issues including human rights, state funding of religious schools, relationships and sex education (RSE), the state of religion or belief in the UK, eradicating anti-LGBT bigotry, good mental health, and more.

It will tackle social issues including humanist approaches to death and dying, loneliness, and how Humanists UK pastoral carers are making a difference in hospitals and prisons across the UK. It will also hear from people who have left high-control religions, exploring their journeys as apostates.

Humanists UK President Alice Roberts will give the keynote address on Sunday on ‘morals without religion’ and will share the story of Margaret Knight and how her experience of daring to express a humanist perspective on education was shockingly familiar to Alice’s own experience.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: ‘Our annual Convention will bring together a stellar line-up of speakers including scientists, celebrities, campaigners, and philosophers, all of whom will be bringing a humanist perspective to some of the most topical issues being discussed today.

‘Around 52% of the British population is non-religious and we know there is a growing appetite within this cohort who want to hear more humanist thinking on issues such as human rights, education, secularism, ethics, science, and more. The programme at our Convention covers many of these important issues which we hope everyone will find enjoyable and thought-provoking.’

Highlights from the programme include:

Scientist, author, and Humanists UK president Alice Roberts on ‘Morals without religion’: ‘In 1955, Margaret Knight presented two talks on the Home Service, on this very theme. Knight’s philosophy is just as relevant today – with faith schools proliferating and the Church of England extending its power and influence in state education. And for Alice Roberts, the extraordinary backlash experienced by Margaret Knight when she dared to express a humanist perspective on education is shockingly familiar.’

On being human: an evolutionary humanist journey by Humanists UK patron Adam Rutherford: ‘Darwin cemented our position on evolution's tree, an animal begotten not created. He also acknowledged that we are special, a conundrum of evolution, capable of such beautiful dreams (and horrible nightmares), but biologically no different from all creatures. Science has chipped away at human exceptionalism – we are special, but all animals are too. What emerged in the last few tens of thousands of years in our forebears was the expansions of our minds, with art, culture, tools, sex for fun and a whole host of behaviours that we associate with being human. All of this was predicated on our unique desire to share information. We, nature's most paradoxical animal, are a species of teachers.’

Author of the No Outsiders programme Andrew Moffat on inclusive schooling, and ending segregation and intolerance in schools.

Director of the British Institute of Human Rights Sanchita Hosali on ‘The Human Rights Act threatened.’

President of the British Polling Society John Curtice on ‘Navigating a polarised society.’


For interview requests with speakers or to request a press pass for the Convention, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07 393344 293.

The LGBT Humanists Conference and the Humanists Professionals Conference will also be held as part of the Convention. The main Convention will be held at Athena, Queen Street, Leicester LE1 1QD. and will also feature a gala dinner on the Saturday evening.

The Humanists UK convention moves around the country each year and last year was held in Newcastle.

For a full list of speakers at the Convention or to find out more, visit

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.