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Australian Stories 1

Terra Australis was a fantasy place in the European imagination long before the voyages of Tasman and Cook. Aboriginal people have been telling dreaming stories about their country and ancestors for perhaps 50,000 years. This course explores some of the most powerful and enduring stories we tell about ourselves and our land, including the Dreaming... [More]

The Victorians: England from 1830 to 1900

This course aims to look at various aspects of Victorian life. Once scorned, the Victorian period is now seen as a one of great vitality and creativity and a time that saw changes that would prove seismic in their effect upon English political, social and cultural life. The great movements such as Romanticism, Aestheticism, Classic and Gothic... [More]

Australian Stories 2: The Outback

Robyn Davidson calls the outback Australia's "mythological crucible". From the early idea of an inland sea, through the disappointment and fear of the "dead heart" to its modern imagining as a place of beauty, mystery and renewal, the outback has been the most powerful symbol in the Australian psyche. After a historical and psychological... [More]

"All the World’s a Stage..." Quoting Shakespeare

The words of Shakespeare are alive. After 400 years people still quote from his famous speeches, for as Ben Jonson said of his friend: “he was not of an age but for all time”. This will be a hands on course where we will look at some famous speeches from a variety of Shakespeare’s plays. We will analyse why the speeches work so well within their... [More]

The Grandeur of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian civilisation has tantalised countless generations. This course is a fascinating survey of the history and society of the world of the Pharaohs, vast in wealth, technology and intellect, yet revering death and built on the forced labour of slaves. It will take you into the lives of the Egyptian people through the remarkable finds of... [More]

Glories of Georgian England: Houses, Gardens, Arts and Patrons

Join our six visits to Georgian England, to see its houses and gardens, not only the houses of the grand but also those of the not-so-grand. We will look at Chippendale who made furniture and Adam who redesigned interiors. At Lady Hamilton and Wedgewood who brought Ancient Greece to the dining table. We will see how ’Capability’ Brown sculptured... [More]

Best Of The Best: Famous Literary Characters

Of all the characters we meet in our reading lives, there are few who become very real to us – so real that we feel we actually know them. In this course we will look at how it is that writers can sometimes achieve this by the way in which they use description, conversation and interaction. This is not going to be a highly academic course, rather a... [More]

Crossing the East-West Divide

This is an historical ‘portrait’ study showing in broad outline the emergence of modern civilisation over the past 10,000 years, beginning in Mesopotamia, spreading throughout Western Asia and across to China and finally, after several millennia of development, flowing across to the West from China and Western Asia to spark the Agricultural and... [More]

Life and Death Matters: Through Philosophical Discussion

Socrates’ unfortunate demise (399BC) left an indelible mark on his admiring student Plato. The dialogues contained in The Last Days of Socrates bear witness to central issues surrounding Socrates’ trial and execution; and what it means to live and die well from a philosophical perspective. The course aims to stimulate and guide philosophical... [More]

Designing Women

This course will explore the lives of six women from different continents, living in the late 19th to 20th centuries. The common thread linking these women is that they all possessed creative talents in their respective fields of art and design. We will trace their lives, assessing their achievements and recognition: Gertrude Jekyll, artist/... [More]