Transforming How You Think

Through the Lens of Arendt Film Series

Extreme situations, particularly ones of crisis, uncover a person’s true character and values – who they are and where they really operate from.

Through The Lens of Arendt:

  • introduces the powerful ideas of Hannah Arendt for thinking afresh about judgment and their impact on how we relate to others
  • visits the decision-making of three people facing the same situation
  • demonstrates how to use Arendt’s ideas to understand how people think and act differently
  • enhances film watching experience and observational skills

Over four months (six fortnightly sessions), participants will watch four films, engage in a two-hour exploration of some of Arendt’s most powerful ideas and practice their application. There will also be an Ideas Session and a Capstone session.

The Films

Hannah Arendt (2012)

Participants will first watch Hannah Arendt (2012) which focuses on Arendt’s report on the Eichmann trial to get a sense of her way of thinking. They will see a person seeking to understand the circumstances that led ordinary people to do extraordinary things of an ‘evil’ nature.

We will use this film as a springboard to introduce participants to a person of original and independent thought and to some of her key ideas that will be exercised and practiced in the programme.

Eichmann (2007)

The second film is Eichmann (2007) and it will enable participants to start using Arendt’s concepts to understand the phenomenon of ordinary people acting unthinkingly and amorally in organisations.

As we look at Eichmann as a Senior Logistics Manager, Arendt’s ideas around thoughtfulness and judgment will surface and will be contrasted with ‘choice-making’, with which we have daily, if unconsidered, familiarity.

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

The third film in the series is Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005) which, in contrast to Eichmann, shows three young student members of the White Rose group who, at the risk of their lives, distributed leaflets to instruct Germans to resist passively the demands for subordination.

Despite their young age, their experience shows that thinking independently and thoughtfully is an ability open to all and gives you the conviction to act differently.

Bonhoeffer (2013) 

The last film of the series is the four-session video-based study guide Bonhoeffer (2013) about another thoughtful German, Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Unlike his colleagues, Bonhoeffer developed an independent theology which promoted judgment and independent thinking, and led others to do the same,  despite the extreme pressures of his time.

Who will benefit?

  • People wishing to practice independent thinking, go beyond the ‘empathy fad’, and engage in genuine dialogues
  • Those wishing to grow their minds and to better understand people and relationships and explore where they operate from
  • Team leaders responsible for building and sustaining effective teams capable of putting themselves in the place of others


The real-life cases in this Film Club show how people thought and acted differently from each other – some thoughtfully, others thoughtlessly – and allow participants to explore the impact of this thinking. As a result, they will be in a better position to:

  • Sense how their words and actions are affecting people
  • Hold high quality and purposeful conversations
  • Build and sustain effective teams capable of putting themselves in the place of others
  • Build a culture of transparency, responsibility and accountability in their businesses
  • Make independent thinking a habit
  • Make judicious judgment calls
  • Challenge and go beyond fads and buzzwords, e.g. ‘empathy’
  • Foster connections that may lead them to experiment and innovate

Leadership Alumni Experiences

It was a different approach to learning and made me aware of the fact that I wasn’t critically thinking at all.

Susan Steele Chair, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

It gives you an ability to understand others in a new light, and hopefully be able to interact with them in a more positive way.

Jerry Crowley Marketing Manager, CAB Motor Company

I haven’t been in a development programme that used films before. It was non-threatening and offered plenty of space to think and listen.

Tony O’Connor General Manager, Graepels

The team is really knowledgeable and it’s definitely helped me to look at things differently and a little bit deeper.

Brendan Reilly Global Supply Chain Manager, Dell EMC
Read more


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Professor Connell Fanning


Professor Connell Fanning is a business economist with a special interest in the development and application of ideas and the role and use of theories in business reasoning. He was Professor of Economics and Head of the School of Economics for 30 years at University College Cork (UCC). Connell has wide teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and in professional, executive and continuing education programmes.

He also has strong links with the business and external community. He has undertaken consultancy projects for businesses and public agencies, including the European Commission, has contributed to local and national Print, T.V. and Radio media on economic affairs, and has made presentations to a large range of public forums, conferences and seminars. He has published extensively on various themes, including John Maynard Keynes’ macroeconomic and business theory, local entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial renewal, worker management and labour-directed firms, Porter’s clusters theory, nurturing indigenous entrepreneurship and Penrose’s theory of organic growth of the firm.

Connell holds Primary and Masters degrees in Economics from University College Cork, and Masters and Ph.D. degree in Economics from Cornell University.


T:021 4658604

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Dr. Dave Kirwan

Business Management

Dave is Managing Director, Bord Gais Energy Ltd.

Dave returned to the role of MD in Summer 2020. Prior to this, he completed a successful term in the UK as Managing Director of the UK Customer Operations and latterly MD of the UK Home business.

He is responsible for leading the Bord Gais Energy business through the successful sale to Centrica. Prior to the sale, Dave worked in Bord Gais Eireann for 15 years and was responsible for the launch of its Northern Ireland business, firmus energy, the development of the Whitegate power station and the acquisition and subsequent merger of the SWS wind business. Prior to joining BGE Dave worked in power generation sector for ESB/ESBI in Ireland, US and Vietnam.

Dave holds a BE electronics from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, he also holds an MBA and a DBA from University College Cork.


T: 021 4658606

Dr. Assumpta O’Kane

Occupational Psychologist

Assumpta is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist (COccPsychol.).

She coaches, facilitates and advises on leadership and organisational development. She works with individuals and teams to guide the acceleration of their capabilities to meet the opportunities and challenges of modern organisational life. She set up her own practice in 2009 to work with both large corporations and SME’s on their leadership and organisational development.

Her earlier career was as Head of HR & Organisational Development in Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals from 1998-2009; Price Waterhouse Coopers, London and Dublin as a HR Consultant from 1993-1998, and with BDO Binder Hamlyn, London in Graduate Recruitment and HR management 1989-1993. She holds a primary degree from NUI Galway in Pure and Applied Psychology; a Masters in Occupational Psychology from Queen’s University Belfast and a DBA Business Economics from University College Cork.


T: 021 4658606



Not currently on offer as an Open Programme.

Expressions of interest are always welcome.

The Film Club can be co-designed and delivered in-house for team development.

Talk to Us

Want to know if this programme is right for you or your organisation?

We’d love to hear from you.

Phone: 021 4658604 | 05 | 06

You may be eligible for CPD or other recognition for professional standards upkeeping. Contact UCC’s CPD Office for more information.