The continuing education program offers special interest and educational courses with a difference focusing on art, archaeology, culture, history, science, literature and writing, music and life skills.

Tue 13 Feb 2018 - Wed 04 Apr 2018

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
13 spots remaining.

The Crusades are among the most important events in world history. As well as discussing themes of religion, society, warfare, and culture; meet outstanding historical individuals such as Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Peter the Hermit, and Baldwin the leper king of Jerusalem.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: An introduction to and overview of the Crusades.
  • Topic 2: The first Crusade.
  • Topic 3: The Holy Land and the crusader states. Crusading memoirs and primary sources.
  • Topic 4: The third Crusade: Richard and Saladin.
  • Topic 5: The fourth Crusade: the sack of Constantinople.
  • Topic 6: Crusading in the Thirteenth Century: Saint Louis and the emperor Frederick II.
  • Topic 7: The Knights Templar and the military orders.
  • Topic 8: The Crusades in literature and in the western consciousness: Walter Scott's the Talisman. The Crusades and popular culture: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, you should:

  • have a greater appreciation of historical and cultural differences, and of human nature
  • have an increased understanding of the complex relationship between the past and the present
  • have a greater awareness of how we moderns see ourselves in relation to the past.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in history.

Wed 09 May 2018 - Wed 27 Jun 2018

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
12 spots remaining.
Fall in love with Shakespeare! Discover a rich understanding of the plays, verse, imagery, characters and lines of Shakespeare that your teenage self never appreciated. Looking at selected plays and sonnets, delve into the depths of story-telling, and discover the beauty and power of language.

Course outline

  • Topic 1 - The play’s the thing: Shakespeare and us.Three ways to kill the Bard. Bear baiting or bard bewitchment?
  • Topic 2 - Let’s hear a play: love and death and everything in between. Talking pirates or Original Pronunciation.
  • Topic 3 - Catching the rhythm: magical forests and love potions. Green-eyed monster and wonder of wormwood.
  • Topic 4 - Riding the rhythm: language and character. Forget the Method. War on theatre: Plague and Puritans. 
  • Topic 5 - Shared lines: in love and in crimes. Star-crossed lovers. Astrology and alchemy. 
  • Topic 6 - Scottish play: atmosphere, apparitions and atrocities. The world is out of joint.
  • Topic 7 - Revenge and mercy: Hamlet and Shylock in conversation. No gentle rain from heaven.
  • Topic 8 - If music be the food of love: music, dancing and sonneteering

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should:

  • learn how and why Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets in his unique way
  • cultivate a love and enjoy for speaking and reading Shakespeare lines.

Who should enrol

Anyone with an interest in re-discovering and loving Shakespeare, or with a passion for decoding the Bard in the theatre context. 

Thu 08 Feb 2018 - Thu 29 Mar 2018

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
16 spots remaining.

Ensure your family history is preserved. Discover the techniques and principles of oral history to record and preserve individual and community life-stories and experiences. Oral history offers an immediate and individual perspective on historical events which cannot be found in written or official sources. Start your family chronicles today.

Course outline

Oral history is a central technique for recording and preserving individual and community life stories and experiences, which has been developed and used since the early twentieth century to provide detailed and intimate portraits of life as it is experienced. It offers an immediacy and individuality of perspective on historical events which cannot be found in written or official sources.

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of oral history, as well as technical issues - such as how to prepare and design oral history interviews and projects. It will involve some hands-on practical exercises to support budding family and local historians and all those who wish to gain a personal in-depth understanding of the real lived experience of people around them, so come prepared with some ideas for interviews you would like to undertake.

Background reading in oral history theory will be recommended for those who are interested, however as inspiration, you may like to download and listen to some key oral histories in the National Library of Australia. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • understand the relationship between traditional historical documents and oral history
  • understand oral history theory and technique
  • to plan, design and undertake oral history interviews.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in history and re-telling stories.

Tue 08 May 2018 - Tue 26 Jun 2018

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
16 spots remaining.

Medieval culture is a fascinating paradox. Some aspects are compelling because they seem so alien, yet you will find notions of individualism, spirituality, emotional intensity, and even romantic love that you'll recognise as being strikingly modern. Join us on a journey through the medieval cultural landscape.

Course outline

  • Topic 1 - Latin and vernacular literature: the Middle Ages and the western literary canon
  • Topic 2 - The vernacular epics: The Song of Roland
  • Topic 3 - From epic to romance: Arthurian romances and the quest for the Holy Grail
  • Topic 4 - Salvation and emotion: St Anselm and the worship of the Virgin Mary
  • Topic 5 - Theology and romance: Peter Abelard and his love letters to Heloise
  • Topic 6 - Medieval literature and the afterlife: Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Topic 7 - Medieval literature and this life: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
  • Topic 8 - Medieval thought in modern literature: Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, you should have:

  • a greater awareness of historical and cultural differences
  • an increased understanding of the relationship between the past and the present
  • an increased appreciation of western literature.

Who should enrol

Anyone with an interest in history.

Wed 21 Feb 2018 - Wed 21 Mar 2018

18:00 - 20:00

5 Sessions
13 spots remaining.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: To Kill a King : Hell’s whisperings or a just cause. (Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Richard III).
  • Topic 2: Cakes and Ale: the roads to salvation. (Morality of a mortal coil. Twelfth Night, Henry IV).
  • Topic 3: Poison in your ear: (Hamlet and Othello in conversation).
  • Topic 4: To Tame a Woman: Hell of a Romance. (The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing).
  • Topic 5: Lost and Found: The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. (Twelfth Night, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale).

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should learn more about Elizabethan views of heaven and hell, of fall and redemption. The course includes insights into plague and puritans and their role in the death of theatre. You will also find out why romantic love does not stand a chance in hell.

 Who should enrol

Anyone with an interest in re-discovering and loving Shakespeare, anyone with a passion for decoding the Bard in the theatre context.

Tue 20 Feb 2018 - Tue 13 Mar 2018

18:00 - 20:00

4 Sessions
13 spots remaining.

Concentrating on its archaeology, discover the heritage and development of Irish culture from the prehistoric period through to the 16th century. Examine a range of sites - from megalithic tombs and ring forts through the introduction of Christianity and its many monasteries, to the invasions of the Vikings, Normans and Cromwell’s armies. Question the role of the ‘Celts’ in the development of Irish Culture and discuss whether the Celtic myths are merely that of pure myth - with the Irish developing their own identity which originates in the distant past and did not rely on the arrival of people from central Europe to create the image that is so commonly displayed today. 

Course outline

Topic 1: The first settlers and early farmers
When did the first people inhabit Ireland? We will discuss the arrival of the first settlers, hunters and gatherers, and how they developed into simple farming yet were capable of building massive megalithic monuments. These monuments are common across Ireland and famous throughout the world. Newgrange, Knowth, the Hill of Tara and Carrowmore are just a few of the sites we will visit during this discussion.

Topic 2: The arrival of metals and the impact of trade
From stone age beginnings, the Irish quickly adapted to the use of metals and their metalworkers were able to produce some of the most beautiful pieces of art from this period around 3,000 years ago. We will examine the archaeological evidence and see how these people once lived.

Topic 3:  The introduction of Christianity
St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is credited with this achievement however Christian missionaries were present well before his birth.  This session will examine the evidence of early Christianity and discuss how it changed the course of Irish history.

Topic 4:  Invaders from abroad. From its distant past to more recent history, the Irish have been at war with one another as well as from enemies from abroad.  We will look at how the ‘invaders’ impacted on Irish culture and where its impact can still be seen today - these include the Vikings, Normans and the British.

Who should enrol

Anyone who enjoys archaeology or history.

No dates are currently scheduled.

This epic course will examine the ways in which the past is presented to us in movies. The course is based on the idea that movies have played a major role in the construction of our idea of the past.

Course outline

Film, Fact, and Fiction: While the course will mainly consist of watching and talking about movies, it will also compare movies with written histories and with historical novels, and with real events as far as we can know them.

  • Introduction, mythology, and Ancient Greece
  • Rome and the Dark Ages
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Tudor period
  • The Age of Reason and the French Revolution
  • Imperialism
  • The Great War
  • The Second World War

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should have an increased appreciation of history, movies, and the modern historical imagination.

Who should enrol

Anyone interested in history, film and in how we think about the past.

No dates are currently scheduled.

Join us in discovering the mysteries and wonders of Mesopotamia - the cradle for the world's great ancient civilisations; Sumeria, Babylon and Assyria. Now long dead, we owe these civilisations a cultural debt. Many of the basic principles of mathematics and astronomy were invented in Mesopotamia, and some English words can even be traced back to its languages.

Course outline

  • Part 1: will constitute an introduction to the physical geography, chronology (including how it has been established), languages and writing of ancient Mesopotamia. 
  • Part 2: will concentrate on providing a chronological survey of Mesopotamian history from the Neolithic revolution about 10,000 years ago in the surrounding Fertile Crescent until the Sassanian era prior to the Islamic conquest. Topics to be discussed include: the rise of agriculture and civilization in the region, the Sumerians, and the brilliant Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations. Emphasis will be given to how textual sources, both those derived from archaeological excavation in the region and the Classical Greco-Roman authors, as well as the Bible, have been used to reconstruct this history
  • Part 3: will be concerned with a summary of some of the most important sites that have been the subject of archaeological excavation in Mesopotamia and the adjacent regions of modern Syria, which was culturally interlinked to the Euphrates-Tigris plain. The sites studied will include: Babylon and Nineveh, which were capitals of the two great civilizations - the Babylonians and Assyrians, respectively - and Ur, Mari, Ebla, Ugarit, Dura Europos, and Palmyra, which represents a cross-section of Mesopotamian civilization from 3000 BC until the early Christian centuries, and are of importance in regards to historical studies of Mesopotamia.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should:

  • appreciate the importance of written sources in the reconstruction of history
  • understand the chronology of ancient Mesopotamia and how it was been established
  • know the different languages that were spoken in the ancient Near East and the scripts with which they were written
  • understand the role of Akkadian as a lingua franca in the 2nd millennium BC (Amarna period) and likewise Aramaic in the 1st millennium BC
  • appreciate the importance of the expansion of Assyria in the 1st millennium BC and its replacement by the Neo-Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar
  • know some sites that were either significant in the history of the region, or simply through the findings of archaeology have proved significant.

Who should enrol

Anyone desiring an introduction to the history and culture of ancient Mesopotamia.

No dates are currently scheduled.

From Segovia to Toledo, Córdoba to Sevilla and the extraordinary Alhambra in Granada, the archaeological remains and spectacular architecture that can be seen in Spain today reflect a turbulent history of invasion and conquest. Ideal preparation for travellers, this course explores Spain's history from its origins in the deep past, through the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Visigoths in the 6th century to the golden age following the expulsion of the Moors in the 16th century.

Outline

Session 1 - Invaders and Traders

From the beginning of the Iron Age through to 700AD, Spain was colonised by a diverse range of peoples moving from central and Mediterranean Europe.  The Phoenicians came to trade timber for the valuable metals of the Iberian Peninsula, Celtic influence came from the north and the Romans came to the aid of the Greek traders and stayed on for over 500 years.  Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths took control of most of the country.  Sites discussed include Numancia, Italica, Tarragona, and Barcelona.

Session 2 - Kings & Caliphs

This session will trace the rise and fall of the Muslims in Spain, from the fall of the Visigoths early in the 8th Century through the main period of the Christian Reconquista in the 13th.  Discussion of sites will not only include the famous cities of Toledo, Cordoba and Sevilla but will also draw on valuable archaeological evidence from lesser known pockets of rural Spain including frontier castles and battle sites.              

Session 3 - Reconquista

From the early skirmishes to the final siege of Granada, this session will examine the Christian actions as they slowly began to take back their lands in 730 until the last Muslim rebellion in 1568.  We will look at the rise of the cult of St James (Santiago) and the rise of the Christian kingdoms in the north including Leon, Castile, Navarra and Asturias.

Sessions 4 - 1492 & beyond

From the Alhambra and other sites of the Kingdom of Granada, we will discuss the final Muslim kingdom of the Nasrids.  Focus will then move to the archaeology of Spain from 1492 and the imprint in both Spain and the Americas left by the Catholic Monarchs and their descendants which led to the Golden Age.