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. 

Summer 2021

History of Art Teatime Lectures with James Willis – ONLINE (May)

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Tutor: James Willis
Mondays from 16:00 to 17:00
10th May 2021
£50.00 per 7 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. Dates for this series will be: 10 May, 17 May, 24 May, 7 June, 14 June, 21 June and 28 June 2021.

The Great British Songbook

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Tutor: Stephen Barnard
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
8th Jun 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

What do songs as diverse as The Skye Boat Song and Waterloo Sunset reveal about our history and character? In this course we trace how patriotic anthems, folk songs and music hall choruses helped shape our national identity, and how 20th century songwriters brought a uniquely British quality to comedy songs, theatre tunes, wartime ballads and pop lyrics. From Jerusalem to Noel Coward, from Gilbert and Sullivan to Lennon and McCartney, what does our musical heritage tell us about the way we see ourselves?

Dangerous Women: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
13th Apr 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!

Heroines of the Middle East

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Tutor: Wafa’ Tarnowska
Tuesdays from 13:15 to 15:15
13th Apr 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.

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
8th Jun 2021
£50.00 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!

Walking with History Part 4

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Tutor: Anne Rowe
Wednesdays from 10:00 to 12:00
19th May 2021
£50.00 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.

David Hockney – ONLINE

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

David Hockney is the antithesis of the Romantic idea of the artist as a tortured soul whose work is an outpouring of suffering. His paintings have something of the nursery about them, simple, bright, and innocent. Anyone who used his art as a record of the late twentieth and early twenty first century would think that it was the happiest of times. But, as this course will show, there is much more to Hockney that that. This course will be held online using Zoom.

Vincent Van Gogh – ONLINE

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Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
10th Jun 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

Van Gogh, the man and the work, has become so familiar that we have almost ceased to look at either. We don’t see beyond the myth of the tormented genius whose soul blazes out from his canvases. This course will attempt to get to know him a little better by looking at what he says about himself in his letters and also seeing what light they cast on some of his famous and not so famous paintings. This course will be held online using Zoom.

Plant Hunters

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Tutor: Andrew Sankey
Thursdays from 13:15 to 15:15
15th Apr 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.

Great Cathedrals and Abbey Churches of the United Kingdom – ONLINE

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Tutor: Katherine Alcock
Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30
16th Apr 2021
£35.00 per 5 weeks term.

In this five week course, we will examine the history and architecture of some of the country’s ancient sites of worship. Exploring their origin, their style and unique features, and of course telling the extraordinary stories of their changing fortunes; rises, declines, rebirths and rebuilding. Join local historian and tourist guide, Katherine Alcock, as we reflect on the lasting impact these stone sentinals have had on our history and national identity. This course will be held online using Zoom.