Special Interest Courses

The following courses are all run by highly qualified tutors and lecturers. Some of them have taught or are teaching for The Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education or other Institutes of Further or Higher Education or the WEA. Students are encouraged to take an active part in learning through class discussion and reading. Some tutors may give students the option to do written work but this is entirely at the tutor’s discretion and there may be a marking fee payable directly to the tutor. Other than for Creative Writing, written work will NOT be compulsory on any course. A syllabus and book list may be provided by the tutor prior to the start of the course. 

Autumn 2020

History of Art Teatime Lectures with James Willis – ONLINE

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Tutor: James Willis
Mondays from 16:00 to 17:00
14th Dec 2020
£35.00 per 5 weeks term.

Join James Willis, local artist, art historian and author for an entertaining and informative series of mini lectures on masterpieces from the world of art history. Each talk will look in detail at a pair of contrasting art works or art movements with a gallery of related images accompanied by James’s usual enthusiastic knowledge and interest. These special fundraising Settlement Zoom lectures will be live and recorded. They will last approximately one hour and will be held online using Zoom.

Arts & Crafts Gardens

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Tutor: Andrew Sankey
Mondays from 13:15 to 15:15
14th Sep 2020
£93.00 per 10 weeks term.

In the late 19th Century the revolutionary Arts & Crafts Movement extended into the garden to create a unity of house and garden; and in doing so gave Britain some of its greatest gardens. This course will explore all the important gardens of the Arts & Crafts garden period; including Rodmarton Manor, Wrightwick Manor, Kellie Castle, Standen, Snowshill Manor and various Lutyens / Jekyll gardens. Ideas, designs and favoured flowers of influential figures of the movement will be explored and illustrated.

The Mirror & The Light

Please call to book this course

Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
15th Sep 2020
£57.50 per 6 weeks term.

The Wolf Hall trilogy has been the literary sensation of our time! Hilary Mantel has taken us back into the court of Henry VIII to consider some of the most fascinating and mystifying episodes in English history as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s boy who became the King’s Chief Minister. The much-anticipated publication of The Mirror & The Light completes the trilogy magnificently. Please join us to reflect on a familiar period in our shared history, newly illuminated by a contemporary writer at the height of her powers.

Classical Physics and Quantum Physics – ONLINE

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
4th Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

With the mechanics of Newton, modern Physics appeared to have arrived at last. But in the opening decades of the 20th century those certainties were shaken to their foundations. This course, for the mathematically-innocent, will give you a taste of the weird logic which governs the world of sub-atomic particles. THIS COURSE WILL BE HELD ONLINE USING ZOOM.

Secrets and Lives; The Enigmatic Story of Bletchley Park

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Tutor: Alan Marchant
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:30
23rd Sep 2020
£60.00 per 5 weeks term.

This course is the story of the 10,000 people who saved countless lives by intercepting and deciphering millions of encoded enemy messages. Who were these codebreakers? How did BP become this unique code-breaking factory? What methods and epoch changing machines were invented? What part did Letchworth play in breaking Enigma? How did these breakthroughs influence so many key events of World War Two and beyond?

An Introduction to Nietzsche – ONLINE

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
5th Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Nietzsche is one of the founders of modern philosophy. He moved away from big books to short ones, full of scintillating aphorisms rather than elaborately worked out arguments. Focusing on Thus Spake Zarathustra, this course will explore some of his main ideas as well as they influence they have had. THIS IS AN ONLINE COURSE AND WILL BE HELD ON ZOOM.

Everyday Building Types – Some More Building Types

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Tutor: Madeline Edmead
Thursdays from 10:00 to 12:00
17th Sep 2020
£93.00 per 10 weeks term.

The sort of building we access everyday often have a long and interesting history. What were shops like in earlier centuries? How did the first railway stations develop their architectural style? We will trace the evolution of these building types as well as factories and theatres, and discover the origins of types of buildings that we are still familiar with today.

Work: 500 years of Toil – ONLINE

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Tutor: Honor Ridout
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
12th Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

For our forbears life was often tough – working hours were long, conditions often dangerous (no ‘health and safety’) yet our prosperity rests on their labour. What do we know of the people whose lives were under-recorded? What did they do, and how was it rewarded? We’ll look also at the unpaid and the voluntary, the essential toil that kept families and society going. It’s not all gloom – work can be rewarding and even fun! THIS COURSE WILL BE HELD ONLINE VIA ZOOM.

Reading Old Handwriting – ONLINE

This course cannot be booked online. Please call the office.

Tutor: Kate Thompson
Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00
1st Oct 2020
£30.00 per 5 weeks term.

– ONLINE COURSE – Students of local history often find it difficult to go back earlier than the 18th Century, due to the unfamiliar handwriting of documents. This short online course will introduce different writing styles (in English) to enable them to feel confident when reading documents from the 16th Century onwards. It will be a practical course with lots of examples of documents to work from, using common types of material such as wills, inventories and letters. To book please email: [email protected]

Introduction to Psychology

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Tutor: Lesley Kelly
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:30
25th Sep 2020
£93.00 per 8 weeks term.

Ever wondered why people act the way they do? Want to understand what influences and motivates their behaviour? What impact do childhood experiences play and what could I learn? By learning about the human mind and behaviour you are able to have a greater understanding about your own and other’s thoughts, feelings and actions. The course is a mix of information and practical activities in a friendly, relaxed and fun environment, there are no academic demands.

Spring 2021

Plant Hunters

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Tutor: Andrew Sankey
Mondays from 13:15 to 15:15
4th Jan 2021
£95.00 per 10 weeks term.

An introduction to the men who forded rivers, climbed mountains, and faced danger and death in their quest to bring back wondrous plants to Britain from the four corners of the world. The course will include The Tradescants, Joseph Banks and Kew Botanic Garden, David Douglas, William Lobb, Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson, and Frank Kingdon-Ward.

Dangerous Ground: An Introduction to Noir Cinema

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Tutor: Tony Venezia
Mondays from 19:00 to 21:00
11th Jan 2021
£93.00 per 10 weeks term.

Characterised by expressionistic visuals with fatalistic plots, this course will look at the history of noir in Hollywood and beyond tracking the genre’s contexts and development. The first half of the course will focus on film noir’s classic period in the forties and fifties. The second half will look at how noir has been transformed and disseminated via neo noir styles from various New Waves, through New Hollywood, retro-noir, concluding with 21 Century global iterations.

American Music in the Great Depression

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Tutor: Stephen Barnard
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
23rd Feb 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

The economic depression that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929 exposed the USA to unprecedented mass unemployment and business breakdown. In this course we examine how the social and political turmoil was reflected in the music of the time, from the dust bowl ballads of Woody Guthrie to the chin-up tunes of the early talking films, from the big band boom to the ‘new deal’ spirit of Aaron Copland. How important was the entertainment industry in holding a highly polarised nation together? This course will be taking place in the Settlement but may be moved on to Zoom if Covid restrictions change.

Heroines of the Middle East

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Tutor: Wafa’ Tarnowska
Tuesdays from 13:15 to 15:15
5th Jan 2021
£57.50 per 6 weeks term.

This course is about 25 amazing women who lived and still live in the Middle East and who have changed the world with their bold vision and courage. From Shahrazade, to Cleopatra, to Amal Clooney you will discover story tellers, slave girls, queens and princesses, Sufi mystics, doctors, writers, journalists, singers, painters, rebels, social activists and human rights lawyers. You will understand how these strong independent female role models from the Middle East definitely belong to the “MeToo” Movement.

Dangerous Women: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
5th Jan 2021
£57.50 per 6 weeks term.

Edith Wharton won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for this novel, an evocative portrait of desire and betrayal in the sumptuous golden age of old New York, where society people dread scandal more than anything else. Newland Archer is torn between duty and passion. His plans for a society wedding to shy, lovely but determined May Welland are compromised when he meets her cousin the Countess Olenska, an exotic and beautiful femme fatale, and falls deeply in love with her. New world manners clash with European sensibilities and culture in this sharp study of New York society in the years before, during and after the Great War. It’s a powerful story too!

Noble Deeds & Hot Baths: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
23rd Feb 2021
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

This charming story of a young girl living with her eccentric family in a crumbling Suffolk castle, poised between childhood and a very adult world, has many admirers! Joanna Trollope has said “I know of few novels that inspire as much fierce lifelong affection in their readers” and fans include Armistead Maupin and J.K. Rowling! This is the first novel by the author of The Hundred and One Dalmations, written when Smith was living in California, and filled with nostalgia for England and the past. Her heroine Cassandra is described by the vicar as “Jane Eyre with a touch of Becky Sharp”: please join us to see if we can kindle and/or celebrate a fierce lifelong affection for her!

Economics for Beginners

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Tutor: Angela Pollard
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
23rd Feb 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

This course is for those who have no economic knowledge but would like some. We will look at basic economic principles such as demand and supply and how markets work. We will consider topics such as how is the price of a bag of sugar determined and what economic ideas lie behind the tax and benefits of the UK economy.

Women Impressionists

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Tutor: Sarah Burles
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
6th Jan 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

The Impressionists were an innovative and radical group of artists whose work took Paris by storm in the 1870s. They reinvented the subject matter of art and how the world was depicted, using new colours and techniques to create paintings of modern life. The group included, from the beginning, women artists. Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Marie Bracquemond and Eve Gonzalès all exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions but how much do we know about them? What and how did they paint? What prejudices did they face as women artists? This course will explore these questions and many more. This course will be taking place at the Settlement but may be moved online should Coronavirus restrictions change.

The Life of Plants

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
6th Jan 2021
£60.00 per 6 weeks term.

There are an estimated 7 million animal species alive today; there are not even half a million plant species. Plants may seem dull in comparison with the charismatic mammals which race across our TV screens, but they have played a far more dramatic role in shaping our world than you might imagine. This course focuses on how Plants, time and again, have managed to get the better of their animal neighbours.

Lipreading Classes

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Tutor: Louise Reed
Thursdays from 10:15 to 12:15
14th Jan 2021
£95.00 per 10 weeks term.

Attending a Lipreading course at the Settlement helps people who are becoming deaf to discover how to cope with everyday life. They will learn to understand body language, the rhythm of speech, facial expression and, of course, the lip movements of a speaker who speaks normally and without exaggeration. This skill requires perseverance and practice, of course, but classes are friendly and there is lots of laughter in them.??

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience – ONLINE

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
25th Feb 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

This book is one of the classics of 20th Century writing. It laid the ground for a psychological approach to understanding religion. James’ interest is not in institutional religion but in the private encounter with the transcendent. During the course of this fascinating work he covers such subjects as aesthetics, philosophy, mysticism and the divided self. All in lovely, clear prose too. This course will be held online using Zoom.

Edward Hopper – ONLINE

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
7th Jan 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

Edward Hopper said he ‘just wanted to paint sunlight on the side of a house’. Indeed his paintings do have a strangely luminous quality. The relationship between nature and civilisation is one of his themes but many critics tend to see his work as a portrayal of loneliness in the modern world; see for example Nighthawks (1942). This course will give an overview of the development of Hopper’s art, show what influenced him, discuss the context in which it developed and argue that it is boredom, not isolation which is his great subject. This course will be held online using Zoom.

Costume in Film

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Tutor: Christopher Budd
Thursdays from 10:30 to 12:30
7th Jan 2021
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Clothes might make the man, but the role of the cinematic costume designer can be crucial in making or breaking a whole film. Costumes can evoke bygone eras, tell us hidden truths about characters, make outlandish otherworldly futures believable, and so much more. Come and explore some great examples from more than a century of cinema history. No prior knowledge is needed, just a love of film.

Classical Sculpture: How to View and Enjoy It

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Tutor: Deborah Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
25th Feb 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

How did the ancient Greeks and Romans strive to show the ideal human form, and with what measure of success? What remaining fine examples of their sculpture can still be found in and around their buildings? How can variety be incorporated into the human figure? We will consider what aspects are fundamental to an appreciation of classical statuary, looking at a selection covering almost 1,000 years.

Its in the Post: Greek & Roman Letters

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Tutor: Deborah Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
7th Jan 2021
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Letter-writing was well-established among the Greek and Roman middle classes by the end of the 4th century BC. Much can be gleaned about their social history, their private passions and grievances, the expectations of the political and ruling classes, and the development of the languages themselves. We will consider private and public letters, those intended for wider literary publication, ‘pseudo-letters’ written much later and mediaeval communications between clerics. All in English.