Emma Cole visits Forest

The Sixth Form had the privilege to welcome Emma Cole as the first speaker of this year’s Look Out lecture programme on Thursday 15 September.

Emma, who was first diagnosed with HIV+ in 1991, dedicates her time to speaking about living with HIV and in the last 20 years has undertaken over 2,500 public engagements.

During the lecture,  Emma spoke movingly about being diagnosed with the condition and how it changed her life and others around her.

In 2002, Emma launched ‘Positive Voice’ talks, which aim to educate and raise awareness.

Speaking about the lecture, Forest’s Diploma Mr Tom Burnside said: “Emma gave an outstanding talk which was by turns harrowing, enlightening, hilarious and deeply moving.

“The word ‘inspiration’ is sometimes bandied around a bit too much, but Emma is arguably the most inspiring speaker we’ve hosted yet as part of the Look Out lectures.”

Year 13 pupil Jathavi said: “She was absolutely amazing. Funny, serious when needed, understanding and made the topic accessible to everyone regardless of how much they already knew about the subject,” while Dean, also in Year 13, added “Her light-hearted and positive way of approaching a very serious topic made it a very relatable and unforgettable lecture.”

This week’s Look Out lecture was the first of the academic year and students from London Academy of Excellence also joined Forest pupils in the Deaton Theatre.

The lectures are a series of talks which take place fortnightly at Forest and are designed to broaden pupils’ horizons and challenge preconceptions and ideas. The lectures consist of a 45-minute talk followed by a 30 minute Q&A.

Previous speakers have included rapper Akala, Middle East expert Diana Darke, former BBC commentator Alistair Hignell CBE and speaker Shaun Attwood.