Trinity College grounds on a beautiful sunny day

Awarded every five years in the areas of art, law and literature, the Caldwell Lectures were the vision of Colin Caldwell (1913–1989).

Colin Hicks Caldwell entered Trinity College in 1931 as a resident student reading Law. A talented student, and subsequently a practicing lawyer, Colin developed a life-long passion for books, paintings, and porcelain. At the time of his death, the bequest — now known as the Colin Hicks Caldwell Trust — was the largest single gift in the College’s history. It provided, amongst other things, for visiting lectureships that would attract to Melbourne notable international scholars “in art, art history, law or literature”.

Past Lectures

The inaugural Caldwell Lecturer, Professor Benedict Kingsbury, sometime Rhodes Scholar for New Zealand and Professor of Law at New York University, delivered two lectures in 2002 on “Indigenous Peoples, International Law, and Liberal Democracy”.

The 2007 Caldwell Lecturers were Professor Richard J Evans, Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, and Dr David Starkey, CBE, television presenter and Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Dr Starkey’s lecture entitled “The Portrait and National Identity” was presented as part of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Professor Evans’s two lectures were titled “Art and Architecture in the Third Reich” and “Looted Art in Europe 1938–1945 and its Restitution”. The 2007 Caldwell series was significant in fostering collaboration between Trinity College, the School of Historical Studies, and the School of Culture and Communications at the University.

 In 2011 Trinity College supported the University of Melbourne’s Festival of Ideas through the Caldwell Lecturers. Sir David Cannadine, FBA, FRSL, a professor in the  Department of History (Whitney J. Oates Senior Research Scholar) at Princeton University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the  National Portrait Gallery in London, and Professor Linda Colley, CBE, FBA, FRSL, Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton was the Caldwell Lecturer that year.

In 2015 Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, at a public lecture, explored the human rights question: if the good name of human rights has sometimes become distorted and devalued, who is to blame? and later with members of the Family and Law Research Group in a seminar at the Law School: do children's rights matter? Lady Hale outlined the complexities judges encounter in trying to define where legal principles lie across multiple jurisdictions.