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

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.

Love in Classical Literature – ONLINE

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Tutor: Deborah Day
Mondays from 13:30 to 15:30
2nd Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Romantic love won and lost, patriotic love and wider, more spiritual love both fascinated and inspired, as well as frustrated and tormented ancient readers and writers as much as they do modern readers. In this course we will study selections of Greek, Roman and mediaeval authors, all in English, those famous, such as Catullus, Propertius and Vergil, and those with less familiar names. This class will be held on Zoom.

Poetry Appreciation

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Tutor: Mark Steinhardt
Mondays from 13:00 to 15:00
21st Sep 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

The Tutor distributes carefully assembled sheets of poems and leads and invites discussion. That’s it! He steers a middle course between the annoyingly obscure and banal versifying (trees and children are nice; life is what you make it). It’s democratic, revealing and sometimes emotionally powerful. It works for those with considerable experience of poetry and those with none.

Poetry Appreciation 9/11

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Tutor: Mark Steinhardt
Mondays from 13:00 to 15:00
9th Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

The Tutor distributes carefully assembled sheets of poems and leads and invites discussion. That’s it! He steers a middle course between the annoyingly obscure and banal versifying (trees and children are nice; life is what you make it). It’s democratic, revealing and sometimes emotionally powerful. It works for those with considerable experience of poetry and those with none.

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.

Dangerous Women: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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Tutor: Margaret Norwich
Tuesdays from 13:30 to 15:30
3rd Nov 2020
£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!

From Camera Obscura to Camera Phone

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Tutor: Tony James
Wednesdays from 09:45 to 11:45
4th Nov 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Photography has been with us for over 140 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 capacity to convey the atmosphere of an event with more than its factual detail.

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.

Some Less Familiar Classical Sculpture – ONLINE

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Tutor: Deborah Day
Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30
21st Oct 2020
£7.00 per 1 weeks term.

This talk will consist of a small selection of 20 relatively unknown pieces of classical sculpture, most of which can be seen as modern casts in the museum at Cambridge University Classics department. Do you know how to identify a ‘barbarian’ face? Where might you see an ordinary mortal on a large-scale piece of ‘divine’ sculpture? No previous knowledge needed.

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.

Cambridge: Town v. Gown

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Tutor: Honor Ridout
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
17th Sep 2020
£48.00 per 5 weeks term.

Eight hundred years of conflict: that’s one view of the relationship between the University (and its colleges) and the town of Cambridge. Often antagonistic, occasionally violent it’s true, but sometimes town men became students and college employees and on a daily basis there were often cordial relationships. From the mayor kneeling in submission, to the colleges seeking planning permissions, it’s a rich history to explore, which also has a national perspective.

Work: 500 years of Toil

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Tutor: Honor Ridout
Thursdays from 13:30 to 15:30
5th 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!

Reading Old Handwriting

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.