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Tuesday Talks | Valerie Harkness | Online via ZOOM

12 July.7:30 pm-9:00 pm

Tuesday Talks

Valerie Harkness

12th July | 7.30pm until 9.00pm  | £6 | Online


Making the Case for Beauty



In this talk, we will explore the concept of beauty and how access to creativity (whether it be related to writing, thinking or the arts generally) and the power of emotions within us, is  a spiritual experience. Children are experts but unfortunately, they often grow out of their creative habits. Where do those words and those emotions come from when we create ? The words appear to come out of nowhere, and yet they have the power to stir the deepest emotions and the beauty of dreams.   In today’s world where violence and destruction seem to prevail, it is all the more important to seek beauty and to educate and encourage our children in the art of creativity. They will find a world of connectedness where borders don’t exist.  


Valerie will refer to the work of thinkers, artists and writers and she will draw on her own experience as a writer and a teacher.  She will present the preliminary findings of her investigation on writing and spirituality.  If there is time, she will also propose a short activity on creativity which all participants will be invited to engage in.  


Valerie will focus on the concepts of beauty and creativity.  We will address questions such as: what is beauty ? What is it for ? Is it useful and how do we recognize it ?  In Saint Exupéry’s The little prince, something nice is said to be “useful” (“c’est nécessairement utile puisque c’est joli”). Some, like Keats, believe that beauty is akin to truth whilst François Cheng suggests that beauty and goodness are inseparable.  Clearly, beauty and the sublime are out there in nature, and yet they can be found within us like fragments or reflections of a divine entity.  By developing creativity, we can intuitively access a form of beauty within us. The creative process leads to a sort of enlightened understanding of ourselves and of our place in the world around us.  Shared, yet unique to each of us, that understanding can be the basis for a strong desire for a peaceful, harmonious world.


Join us on the 12th of July for this insightful talk.  

Professor Christin Fergusson talks about the Land of Mist at the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre

About Valerie Harkness 

Valerie Harkness is a teacher and a writer.  She has taught and given lectures and workshops in the UK and abroad.  She specialises in languages, theories of learning, intercultural understanding and creativity. She is particularly interested in other cultures and more specifically, in how people can learn from one another.

Valerie has a Ph.D in education. She was a teacher educator before opening and directing an Alliance Française aimed at promoting the French language and culture as well as multicultural events ( such as the Bilingual Lit and Music Event).  More recently, she opened a community school in her area in collaboration with the local theatre.   She is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a Chartered Linguist.

As a poet and a writer, Valerie has had a number of poetry collections published in France and short stories in the UK. She has also contributed to poetry anthologies. She is the editor of an on-line poetry journal (Dailleurspoésie.com) dedicated to French speaking poets from around the world. She has received grants from the French CNL to write about cultural roots and she has taken part in a number of literary festivals and events where she has given readings and workshops.

She is now engaged in a variety of writing, researching and teaching initiatives including teaching across cultures and a research project on mediumship events.

Website :



Latest book :




Valerie’s latest book, Ruban is a correspondence between her and fellow poet Anna Jouy. It is described as:


Two women, poets, enter into a correspondence in poetry form.

The reader, intrigued, picks up the thread, follows it to its source, and listens to that third voice speaking an unknown language.


Original summary in French by Alain Kewes:

Deux femmes, poètes, entretiennent une correspondance de poèmes. Les poèmes de l’une et de l’autre alternés de ne répondent pas explicitement mais déroulent, par-delà les cieux (l’une réside en Suisse, l’autre dans le nord de l’Angleterre, un ruban d’émotions, d’images, de sensations, que le vent fait danser à sa fantaisie.

Au lecteur étonné d’attraper le fil, de remonter aux sources de l’une, de l’autre, ou d’écouter la troisième voix qui parle à travers elles un langage inconnue.  







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12 July
7:30 pm-9:00 pm
Event Categories:


The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
25 Palmerston Place
Edinburgh, EH12 5AP United Kingdom
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The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
0131 625 0700

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