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. 

Spring 2021

From Camera Obscura to Camera Phone: A History of Photography – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: Tony James
Mondays from 10:00 to 12:00
22nd Feb 2021
£50.00 per 5 weeks term.

Photography has been with us for over 180 years and has never been as popular as it is today. This course will trace the development from the processes of Daguerre and Fox Talbot to the current high-powered cameras available to us all on mobile phones. We will look at the contrast between the ability to offer a faithful record of reality and the artistic capacity to convey the atmosphere of an event with more than its factual detail. The debate whether photography is a craft or an art form has raged from the early developments until the present day. All course members will receive links to a complementary five-volume e-book which contains the images studied over the course, along with an explanatory text. This course will be held online using Zoom.

History of Art Teatime Lectures with James Willis – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: James Willis
Mondays from 16:00 to 17:00
25th Jan 2021
£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.

American Music in the Great Depression – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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 held online using Zoom.

Economics for Beginners

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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.

The Life of Plants – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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. This course will take place online using Zoom.

Women Impressionists – ONLINE

Please call to book this course

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, and Marie Bracquemond all exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions while Eva Gonzalès, Manet’s muse, was an innovative artist in her own right. Yet how much do we know about these artists? What and how did they paint? What prejudices did they face as women? This course will explore these questions and many more. This course will be run online using Zoom.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: Gary Day
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
14th 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 – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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. This course will be held online using Zoom.

Classical Sculpture: How to View and Enjoy It – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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.

Introduction to 20th Century History; five people who have shaped our world – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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

These individuals have helped changed the course of modern times for good and for bad. By bringing women the vote and communism to the world, inventing mass disinformation and leading the USA out of Depression, or presiding over Europe’s longest living dictatorship, these five have left their mark. We will follow their lives, their ideas and their place in history. Dame Millicent Fawcett, the Campaigner Vladimir Lenin, the Revolutionary Joseph Goebbels, the Propagandist Franklyn D Roosevelt, the Nation Builder Francisco Franco, the Dictator This course will take place online using Zoom.

Criminal Pyschology – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: Lesley Kelly
Fridays from 10:00 to 12:30
22nd Jan 2021
£95.00 per 8 weeks term.

Criminal psychology is the study of the thoughts and behaviour of criminals. It answers the question: why do criminals do what they do? What shapes their personality, is it a case of personality disorders or life experiences? This 8 week course will introduce you to the psychological explanations of criminal behaviour, take a look at eye witness testimony and offender profiling, examine why people make false confessions finishing with a look at famous criminals and what may have caused them to kill. This course will be taught online via Zoom.

A Journey Through the Palaces of London; Past and Present – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: Katherine Alcock
Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30
8th Jan 2021
£35.00 per 5 weeks term.

In this five-week lecture series, historian and London Blue Badge Guide, Katherine Alcock, will share with us the stories of London’s Royal Palaces; those we know, and those we don’t. We will discuss the history of some of the capital’s best-known landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, whilst also exploring those palaces that once existed, but have long since disappeared leaving only ghostly clues and reminders. We will dive into their history and their architecture, whilst also following the famous faces who occupied them and the ebb and flow of power across the capital. Why did William III give up Whitehall for Kensington? Who had Marble Arch moved, and why? Why does the House of Commons look the way it does? We’ll explore all this, and more. This course will be taking place online using Zoom.

Summer 2021

Dangerous Women: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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

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!

David Hockney – ONLINE

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

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.

Business Boost with Julia Heffer of BE Creative

Settlement Member? Log in to book online

Tutor: Julia Heffer
Thursdays from 19:00 to 21:00
15th Apr 2021
£85.00 per 8 weeks term.

The Business Boost is an 8 week course aimed at elevating your brand by understanding key branding principles and how to apply them for your business. It is perfect for you if you need expert branding advice and feedback to evolve your brand, you are struggling to define your brand colours/fonts and you would like to learn more about getting a consistent look on social media.