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

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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 (March)

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Tutor: James Willis
Mondays from 16:00 to 17:00
8th Mar 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: 8 March, 15 March, 22 March, 29 March, 12 April, 19 April and 26 April 2021.

American Music in the Great Depression – ONLINE

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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 held online using Zoom.

Economics for Beginners – ONLINE

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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. This course will be held online using Zoom.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience – ONLINE

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

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED. 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.

Classical Sculpture: How to View and Enjoy It – ONLINE

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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. This course will be held online via Zoom.

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

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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

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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.

Royal Residences Beyond the Capital – ONLINE

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Tutor: Katherine Alcock
Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30
26th Feb 2021
£35.00 per 5 weeks term.

In this five-week lecture series historian and Blue Badge Guide, Katherine Alcock, will share with us the stories of royal residences beyond the capital. We’ll hear about sumptuous palaces past and present, defensive castles, and country retreats. Providing a combination of art and architecture with royal history, whilst also serving to highlight places to visit once the pandemic lifts, this course can be taken as a follow-on to the ‘Journey Through the Palaces’ course run last half-term, or as a stand alone course for those who want to know more about these splendid locations. This course will be held online via Zoom. This course will be recorded but the recordings will only be available for a limited time afterwards.

Summer 2021

Children’s Classics – ONLINE

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Tutor: Sharon Priestley
Mondays from 14:00 to 16:00
12th Apr 2021
£100.00 per 10 weeks term.

On this course, we have the pleasure of reminding ourselves of some childhood favourites—in poetry and prose. First, we read nursery rhymes, nonsense rhymes and words to jump rope songs to get a flavour of what children in the past enjoyed. Then, we read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and consider the text as well as illustrations. Next is The Secret Garden, (1911) and is one of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s most popular novels. Third, we have Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s The School at the Chalet (1925) , the first entry in one of the most popular British school-story series ever. Swallows and Amazons (1930) by Arthur Ransome inspired countless children to read exciting and enchanting adventures. Enid Blyton introduced four special children and their dog to readers in Five on a Treasure Island (1942) and the subsequent series of novels was hugely successful. Finally, we read another popular modern children’s classic: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) and see if we can determine what prompts readers to love it or hate it. Join us and find out! This course will be held online via Zoom.

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!

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
21st Apr 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.

Business Boost with Julia Heffer of BE Creative

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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.