Gresham College Revisited

Today we held the fourteenth annual Lord Mayor’s Gresham Lecture given by The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of the City of London and attended by 500 people. Back in 2009, I created the idea of the Lord Mayor’s Gresham Lecture, first given by Nick Anstee in 2010, based on a simple idea: the President of an academic institution should provide an annual academic lecture. I was thrilled to be giving it myself for a change, for many reasons, including:

  • As a Honorary Life Fellow (2017-) and former Fellow (2009-2013), Trustee (2008-2020), member of the Gresham Committee (City Side – 2013-2021), and member of the Joint Grand Gresham Committee (2013-2021), I am clearly a big supporter of our ‘Tudor Open University’;
  • As Lord Mayor I have the honour of being President of Gresham College ex officio;
  • Having given some 29 full lectures as Mercer’s School Memorial Professor Commerce might seem a lot, but add in another eight full lectures as a Fellow, plus over 30 symposia, and quite a few special events, so this was yet another chance to try and get a lecture right.

My aim was to provide an academic backdrop to this year’s Connect To Prosper theme, thus it was entitled, “Connect To Prosper – The Power Of Networks”.

Cities are networked networks of connectivity and information sharing. They create, often indirectly, communication, transportation, commercial, and intellectual networks.  For the City of London, expanding and changing networks develop its strengths. Over 40 learned societies, 70 higher education institutions, and 130 research institutes surround the City of London, creating a network of knowledge connections among science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and finance.  In this lecture, I drew upon Z/Yen and my more than two decades of research into smart and financial centres worldwide.  

I explained how the 2023-2024 Mayoral theme: “Connect To Prosper”, with its emphasis on multi-disciplinary networks, hopes to link forces to advance, just a bit, a few solutions to global problems. The talk was followed by a discussion with Professor Julia Black, Professor Mark Birkin and Professor Michael Batty, whom I thank most sincerely for some excellent contributions.

The Gresham College website has the full lecture.

If, like me, your preference is a print transcript with slides here.

Or watch on YouTube: