Mars exploration, the benefits of seaweed and the history of music are just some of the fascinating topics viewers and listeners can explore through more than 100 free lectures offered yearly by GBH Forum Network. The team of two works with more than 20 universities, libraries and organizations, to give audiences all over the globe access to the world’s foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policymakers and community leaders. “GBH Forum Network is a vast library of information,” Andrew Vanasse, GBH Forum Network digital media producer, explains.

Audiences around the world are tuning in. With more than 90,000 subscribers on YouTube, 55 percent of total viewership — a majority of which are under 45 years old — was from those in the U.S., followed by China, Germany and the United Kingdom.

GBH Forum Network doesn’t shy away from thought-provoking topics, from climate change to global health, migration, voting rights and many other current events. An audience favorite this year was a panel discussion hosted at GBH on gun safety in partnership with Suffolk University. Experts tackled this issue from multiple angles with the intersectionality of mental health, how gun violence affects communities and gun policy.

“Our goal is to provide information that deepens and expands the current conversation,” Frederique Rigoulot, GBH Forum Network digital producer, says. In an after-event survey, Rigoulot recalled that many listeners thanked GBH Forum Network for a conversation that offered multiple approaches to gun safety that are not often mentioned in mainstream media.

Frederique Rigoulot and Andrew Vanasse edit video footage at a table on their laptops
Frederique Rigoulot (left) and Andrew Vanasse (right) record a panel discussion
Annie Shreffler

In addition to hearing different perspectives on important topics, listeners have a variety of options to view these lectures. The pandemic provided new opportunities for GBH Forum Network to grow their audience on multiple channels. GBH Forum Network continues to provide a hybrid model of virtual and in-person events.

Continuation for the hybrid model has also kept lectures accessible to audiences across the U.S. and in other countries. “Instead of attending lectures in-person, people can have these lectures available while they’re cooking their family dinner,” Vanasse says.

Lectures are accessible for people with disabilities. Captions are provided on the videos and ASL translators on stage for some events.

Major support for GBH Forum Network is provided by The Lowell Institute, an organization created to carry out the 1836 bequest of John Lowell Jr., to make free public lectures available to the citizens of Boston and beyond.

Browse the vast array of GBH Forum Network topics here.

Sign up for the GBH Forum Network Newsletter “Good Talks” here.