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. There must be a minimum of 12 students for each course to run.

Click on the Tutor’s name to go to their biography.

Tolstoy's War and Peace

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Tutor: Fiona Lucraft
Mondays from 10:30 to 12:30
7th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

A discursive course on one of the greatest novels ever written. Study each of the book's volumes in turn, following the development of the characters and their stories through text and screen. Examine Tolstoy's form, structure and style. Consider Tolstoy's controversial theories and portrayal of 19th century history. Explore how the novel relates to Tolstoy's life and times. Reading War and Peace in advance of the course or each session is recommended.

Fiction by Prize-Winning Writers

Tutor: Sharon Priestley
Mondays from 13:30 to 15:30
7th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED. On this discussion-based course, we analyse excellent literary works by women who have won major writing prizes. We begin with the innovative Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter, who won the James Tait Black award. Next, we consider Man Booker Prize-Winner Margaret Atwood, whose latest novel, Hag-Seed, was influenced by The Tempest. Finally, we will discuss short stories from Runaway by Alice Munro, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

London: 'All that Life can Afford'

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Tutor: Honor Ridout
Mondays from 13:30 to 15:30
7th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

This is the large view of 18th Century London – from the 1680s to the 1820s, from the Essex border to Kensington and Chelsea in the west, it includes Government, law, commerce and trade, culture and recreation, the lives of the very wealthy and the miserably poor. Our sources of information are prolific: newspapers, the Old Bailey reports, paintings, cartoons, letters and journals, novels, pamphlets and broadsheets. This course will attempt to taste them all.

In the News

Tutor: Stephanie Garrett
Mondays from 10:00 to 12:00
7th Jan 2019
£110.50 per 12 weeks term.

THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED. This course will focus on what is often termed ‘current affairs’ and the processes through which events are labelled as ‘news’ by the new and old media. Each session will focus on a current news issue. Discussion will be central to this course, as will additional regular contributions of discussion topics from participants. Expect lively debate and the expression of contrasting views!

The Long Playing Record

Tutor: Stephen Barnard
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
8th Jan 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED. From the late 1940s onwards the long playing record changed home entertainment forever. Everything from classical concerts to musical shows could now be enjoyed whenever one wished, in sublime sound quality on unbreakable discs. LPs rapidly became artistic expressions in their own right, while album design evolved into a new art form. In this course we examine the colourful history of the LP, from the pioneering thematic albums of Frank Sinatra to the LP’s re-invention by the Beatles and others. How did the LP become the must-have cultural object of the post-war years?

Remembering The Beatles

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Tutor: Stephen Barnard
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
26th Feb 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

The Beatles were much more than just four young rock musicians. They transformed not just the sound of popular music but the way it was created and marketed, turning it into a multi-million dollar industry. In this course we take a cool, critical look at what made the Beatles and their music so different, dynamic and durable. What did their phenomenal international popularity tell us about life in the 1960s, the culture and lifestyle of the baby boomer generation and the emergence of a new counter-culture?

The Story of Astronomy

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Tutor: Christopher Woolston
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
26th Feb 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

In this course we will trace the development of Astronomy from prehistory to the modern day, examining in detail the achievements of the Ancient Greeks, the discovery in the Scientific Revolution that the planets orbit the Sun, and the progress since then in the use of telescopes, spectroscopes and space probes which led to our understanding of the size, structure and origin of the Universe and of the processes taking place in the stars.

Burning Too Bright: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
8th Jan 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

A classic but controversial masterpiece, this is a story of tempestuous passion, unsettling desire, dreams and betrayal, set on the bleak and windswept moors, cleverly told and haunting: please join us to take as close a look as we dare!

Diamonds & Sparkle: Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
26th Feb 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

An opportunity to revisit his enchanting but subversive story of love, attraction and intrigue within the British aristocracy in the 1940's, with characters so memorable and so finely drawn, that a kiss and a shiver became the most popular charade even at royal parties, for years to come! The perfect read: bright, sparkling and tender!

Introduction to Arabic Language and Alphabet

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Tutor: Wafa' Tarnowska
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
26th Feb 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

Arabic is the official language of 22 countries, the native language of 200 million people and the liturgical language of 1 billion Muslims. This course will introduce you to the Arabic Alphabet and teach you how to write your name in Arabic. It will also focus on key phrases and simple conversation using Modern Standard Arabic, much easier to learn than Classical Arabic. MSA is understood across the whole Arab World and is used by the media and television.

The Meaning of Evolution

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
8th Jan 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

The story of Evolution is one of the most exciting – and accessible – in the entire history of scientific discovery. In the 150 years since 1859, we find that things as different as DNA and fossils all tell the same breathtaking story, of species coming and going and of relationships spanning millions of years. Getting a handle on how Evolution works is a deeply satisfying experience.

Dip Your Toes into Ancient Greek

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Tutor: Deborah Day
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
8th Jan 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

Study an ancient language from scratch, a language which produced so much beautiful and profound literature still read and seen performed on stage today. You will start with the very basics - the alphabet itself, so you need no prior knowledge. You will soon be learning the nuts and bolts of simple sentences and within a very short time will be moving on to short stories.

International History since 1900

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Tutor: Michael Williams
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
9th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

Have you ever wondered how the world got into its current state? This course addresses that question. It looks at international history – the history of relations between major powers – over the last century. It begins by explaining how Europeans came to dominate the world. Then it examines how Europe tore itself apart in two World Wars, leading to the Cold War world dominated by two superpowers. It concludes by looking at the dramatic changes over the thirty years since the end of the Cold War.

The Self-Portrait in Art

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Tutor: Sarah Burles
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
16th Jan 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

We live in the age of the “selfie” where smart phones and social media allow us to instantly create and share images of ourselves but this fascination with the ‘self’ is nothing new. This course will discuss the genre of the artist’s self portrait and look at works by artists such as Masaccio, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya, Courbet and Frida Kahlo. The last week of the course will be a visit to Kettles Yard in Cambridge. Please note this course starts on 16th January 2019, not 9th January as stated in the brochure.

Music in Film

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Tutor: Christopher Budd
Wednesdays from 10:30 to 12:30
27th Feb 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

Come and explore the development of music in film from the earliest silent movies to the present day. Join composer and writer Christopher Budd to look at the work of many great film composers — with clips from King Kong, Once Upon a Time in the West, Psycho, Jaws, The Third Man, The Day The Earth Stood Still, 2001:A Space Odyssey and more — and to discuss how the music works. How can we ‘read’ it? How has it changed? How is it created? No prior knowledge is required, just a love of music and film.

The Bible

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
10th Jan 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

What is the point of the Bible? A disparate and self-contradictory collection of writings that come from another time and another place which has no relevance to our digital, world. Its claims about the origin of the world and ourselves are completely bogus and, it has been used to justify war, oppression, misery and poverty. This course will look at how the Bible came about, how it fits together and how it may speak or not speak to us today.

Gnosticism

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
28th Feb 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

The discovery of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures in 1945 has revolutionised our understanding of early Christianity. This course will look at the significance of that discovery and how it affects our understanding of the Bible. We will look at the outlines of Gnostic philosophy and glance at some of the controversial claims found in writings such as The Gospel of Truth, The Interpretation of Knowledge and The Wisdom of Jesus Christ.

Gardens in Literature: Victorian, Edwardian and Onwards

Tutor: Twigs Way
Thursdays from 13:00 to 15:30
10th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 8 weeks term.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS COURSE IS CANCELLED. From the sooty sparrows and dusty trees of Dickensian gardens to the floral magnificence of Charlotte Yonge, novels of the Victorian era played on their reader’s keen sense of gardens as social indicators whilst Edwardians stressed sensuality amongst the lilacs or childhoods spent in Secret Gardens. The coming of war brought the Glory of the Garden and poetry of death and rebirth, balanced by the humour of Saki and the gentle satire of Beverley Nichols. NOTE: This is a stand alone course and students do not have to have attended the autumn course.

Women Gardeners

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Tutor: Andrew Sankey
Thursdays from 10:00 to 12:00
10th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

A course that redresses the balance and the fact that men generally held the upper hand in garden design. A detailed look at some amazing women gardeners and their influence upon the English garden. To include Gertrude Jekyll, Ellen Willmott, Norah Lindsay, Vita Sackville- West, Beth Chatto, Margary Fish and Rosemary Verey.

Lipreading Classes

Tutor: Louise Reed
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
11th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

THIS COURSE HAS NOW BEEN SPLIT INTO TWO SHORT COURSES.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.

Lipreading Classes 1st half

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Tutor: Louise Reed
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
11th Jan 2019
£55.25 per 6 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.

Lipreading Classes 2nd half

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Tutor: Louise Reed
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
1st Mar 2019
£55.25 per 6 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.

Topics in Psychology

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Tutor: Lesley Kelly
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:30
11th Jan 2019
£92.00 per 8 weeks term.

What influences the way we think, what we see and how we remember? Take a look at perception, memory, eye witness testimony (are they really reliable?) What are the reasons for criminal behaviour?

Baroque Art - What exactly is it?

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Tutor: James Willis
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
18th Jan 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

This course looks at the style of Baroque art to discover its evolution following the Renaissance to the late flourish of the early 18th century by which time its importance had become outdated. The style, substance and sensibilities of artists including Caravaggio, Rubens and Bernini are explored to find the essence of the period. Highlighting the similarities and differences between Baroque art in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Britain. Painting, Sculpture and Architecture come together to give an extraordinary visual feast to discover whether there is such a thing as a universal definition of this dominant style.

The Neo Romantic Painters - the Mid-Twentieth Century Landscape in Britain

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Tutor: James Willis
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
1st Mar 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

In the middle of the 20th century British artists returned to the English landscape and the works of celebrated artists from the previous century. Between the wars their work appears like an English Renaissance but is surprisingly avant-garde and influenced by the contemporary scene in Europe. From John Nash, Graham Sutherland and John Piper a younger generation of artists take the themes further. Artists including Henry Moore, Minton and Craxton feature to illustrate this fascinating period in British painting. Join us to discover them and the rich variety of work they produced.

Contemporary Short Stories

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Tutor: Sharon Priestley
Mondays from 13:30 to 15:30
3rd Jun 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

On this discussion-based, 5-week course, we analyse some fascinating contemporary short stories that provide snapshots into everyday life. We will read stories by familiar authors and new writers, all of whom have created thought-provoking and excellent short fiction. Come and join us for some stimulating discussions about the rich variety of life depicted in these stories--you may be surprised at what you find! Text: Life: Great Short Stories by Women chosen by Victoria Hislop; some photocopies of stories by men will also be provided.

In the News

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Tutor: Stephanie Garrett
Mondays from 10:00 to 12:00
29th Apr 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

This course will focus on what is often termed ‘current affairs’ and the processes through which events are labelled as ‘news’ by the new and old media. Each session will focus on a current news issue. Discussion will be central to this course, as will additional regular contributions of discussion topics from participants. Expect lively debate and the expression of contrasting views!

Art, Enlightenment and the World - Part 2

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Tutor: Madeline Edmead
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
30th Apr 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

During the 18th century Europe became much more aware of other parts of the world. The new interactions can be seen in the way the arts reflected them. In this course we will explore, among other topics, the Americas and the Antipodes, an area newly explored by Europeans. It is not necessary to have done part one.

Smiles & Tears: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
23rd Apr 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

A daring and powerful novel written by the "other" Bronte sister, concerning an intriguing and mysterious widow and her young son who take up residence in a previously deserted Elizabethan mansion, it was a bestseller in its day! We will consider closely Anne Bronte's style, substance and courage, and perhaps reflect on how much human nature may have changed since 1848?

Angels & Phantoms: Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
4th Jun 2019
£56.00 per 6 weeks term.

In the sequel to her award winning novel Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel returns to the court of Henry VIII to consider one of the most mystifying and terrifying episodes in English history as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's boy who is now the King's Chief Minister. The demise of Anne Boleyn is a story we all know but in this spellbinding account by an author at the height of her powers there is much to surprise, amaze and provoke discussion: please join us!

Power and Persuasion: Propaganda and War Posters

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Tutor: Barry Dackombe
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
23rd Apr 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

A striking feature of the last century was the prevalence of posters to influence, inspire and persuade the public to action. From the memorable “Your Country Needs You” to “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases” style posters, the nation’s hearts and minds were appealed to in order to elicit support. This course will look at a range of posters to analyse their message, contemporary mood and preoccupations as well as artistic achievements to understand the role of propaganda in its historical context.

Walking with History Part 3 (a repeat of the walks done in 2016)

This course is full. Log in to add yourself to the waiting list

Tutor: Anne Rowe
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
24th Apr 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

A series of five walks exploring the multi-faceted history of the Hertfordshire countryside. Topics to be covered during the walks will include settlement history, open fields, commons, parks and the management of woodland and hedgerows. Each walk will be in a different area and will take about 2 hours and cover approximately 2-4 miles, starting and finishing at a point where cars can be parked. Transport for non-drivers between The Settlement and the walk start/end point can be arranged for a small additional charge. A detailed programme will be available in due course.

Art and Archaeology of the Vikings

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Tutor: Lloyd Laing
Wednesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
24th Apr 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

Although often depicted as violent pillagers and looters, the Vikings were major traders, town builders, explorers and artists, establishing colonies in Russia, Iceland and even North America centuries before Columbus. This course looks at the origins of the Vikings, their activities overseas and their dynamic art that impacted on other societies with which they made contact.

The Anglo-Saxon Settlement of England - Art and Archaeology

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Tutor: Lloyd Laing
Wednesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
5th Jun 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

How extensive were the Anglo-Saxon settlements in England? What was their relationship with the native Britons? Was King Arthur a real person? These are some of the questions considered in this course which looks at the impact of the Anglo-Saxons on Britain, their art and culture, in the period up to their conversion to Christianity.

Stunning Structures 1.The Great Exhibition of 1851: The Crystal Palace

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
24th Apr 2019
£10.00 per 1 weeks term.

This is a set of 5 stand-alone lectures about some famous structures which can be attended separately or taken together as a course.

Stunning Structures 2. Gothic Structure: Understanding the Great Medieval Cathedrals

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
1st May 2019
£10.00 per 1 weeks term.

This is a set of 5 stand-alone lectures about some famous structures which can be attended separately or taken together as a course.

Stunning Structures 3. Some Best-Loved Bridges Ancient, Victorian and Modern

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
8th May 2019
£10.00 per 1 weeks term.

This is a set of 5 stand-alone lectures about some famous structures which can be attended separately or taken together as a course.

Stunning Structures 4. The Highest Bridge in the World: The Millau Viaduct

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
15th May 2019
£10.00 per 1 weeks term.

This is a set of 5 stand-alone lectures about some famous structures which can be attended separately or taken together as a course.

Stunning Structures 5. The Structure of St Pauls Cathedral

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Tutor: Tim Parrott
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
22nd May 2019
£10.00 per 1 weeks term.

This is a set of 5 stand-alone lectures about some famous structures which can be attended separately or taken together as a course.

Russians and the Russian Culture in the USSR through the Witnesss Eyes: The Cold War

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Tutor: Marina Burrell
Wednesdays from 10:30 to 12:30
24th Apr 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

What was the life of ordinary people like in the USSR during the Cold War? The course invites you to make comparisons with the life in the UK and discuss to what extent some Western myths and stereotypes reflected the Soviet reality. The course is based on the Tutor’s experience & illustrated with period artefacts, video and audio materials. You will also learn some basic Russian.

The Pre-Raphaelites

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
25th Apr 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

Everyone loves the Pre-Raphaelites. But who were they really? What were they trying to do. And what were the main characteristics of their art? This course will examine the origins of the Pre-Raphaelites, what they were reacting against (academicism) and responding to (photography, evolution), the controversy they caused, and the eventual split between the realists led by Hunt and Millais and the medievalists led by Rossetti and Burne-Jones.

French Impressionism

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
6th Jun 2019
£47.00 per 5 weeks term.

It’s tempting to think that nothing new can be said about Impressionism. Originally intended as an insult, the term has now come to signify a safe and soft focus and view of life in pastel colours. This course will look at the rise of Impressionism, reactions to it and try to analyse the nature of its enduring appeal. In the process, we may find that something new can be said about it after all.

From Cradle to Grave The Victorian Family

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Tutor: Liz Carter
Thursdays from 10:00 to 12:00
25th Apr 2019
£92.00 per 10 weeks term.

We study daily life in a Victorian England from the upper, privileged classes down to the poorest working family. Using contemporary accounts and original documents, we look at customs associated with birth, marriage and death; changing attitudes towards work for men, women and children, marriage and education; improved living conditions and expanding leisure pursuits and examine how new technology, government legislation and changing social attitudes affected the Victorian family from ‘cradle to grave.

Lipreading Classes

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Tutor: Louise Reed
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:00
26th Apr 2019
£110.50 per 12 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.

Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)

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Tutor: Lesley Kelly
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:30
26th Apr 2019
£92.00 per 8 weeks term.

What causes abnormal behaviour? What is it and how can it be treated? Delve into the world of psychopathology, obsessive compulsive disorders, schizophrenia and more.