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.

Wed 09 May 2018 - Wed 27 Jun 2018

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
10 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 03 May 2018 - Thu 21 Jun 2018

06:00PM - 08:00PM

8 Sessions
8 spots remaining.

Teacher: Dr Beatrice Bodart-Bailey

Japan’s geographical position as a string of islands positioned along the coastline of a large continent, yet divided from this continent by dangerous currents, shaped its history and culture. So did the hundred active volcanoes dotting the islands, frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, the fertile volcanic soil, the heavy monsoon rains and the typhoons that destroyed invading armies in past centuries and still cause havoc every year. Using an abundance of visual material this course will survey Japanese history and culture from its beginnings to the early 20th century with due consideration to its geographic and climatic features.

  • Topic 1: Introduction: the geographic and climatic features. Where did the first people on the island chain come from? Jômon culture and its fantastic pottery.
  • Topic 2:  A new wave of immigrants: rice cultivation, mega tombs, mirrors, swords and a female ruler.
  • Topic 3: The formation of central government. The introduction of Buddhism and the role of Shinto. New cultural streams from the continent.
  • Topic 4: The founding of the imperial capital of Kyoto. The refined culture of the aristocracy. The rise of the samurai: recruited to serve the emperor, they usurped his political authority; setting up their capital at Kamakura they created new cultural norms.
  • Topic 5: Internal strife and the arrival of the Christian missionaries. A Japanese embassy to Rome. Artistic and cultural gains from the encounter between East and West.
  • Topic 6: The unification of the country, the sword hunt and formal creation of the samurai class. The Tea Ceremony: its political and cultural significance. The establishment of Tokugawa rule. Persecution of Christianity and the closure of the country.
  • Topic 7: Two and a half centuries of peace, the growth of the mega city of Edo (Tokyo) as administrative capital, the flowering of popular culture and the arts (haiku, kabuki, woodblock print, etc.), the extraordinary ruler mocked as the Dog Shogun and the changing role of the samurai. The Dutch and the impact of their presence in Japan.
  • Topic 8: The natural disasters of the 18th and 19th century, the opening of Japan, the end of shogunal rule: the young Meiji emperor as figure head of the modern state. The political and cultural impact of contact with the West and the ensuing frantic pace of modernization.

 Learning outcomes

 Upon completion of this course, you should:

  • appreciate how the environment has shaped the culture and history of Japan
  • understand to what extent China, Korea and the West impacted on the culture and history of Japan
  • be aware how frequent natural disasters shaped religious believes and philosophical tenets in Japan, differing from those of other countries
  • know the difference between Buddhism and Shinto and the political role played by these two religions
  • have some appreciation of the role of Christianity in Japan
  • know about the origins of samurai culture and the role it played over the course of Japanese history
  • be aware of how the position of Japanese women changed over the course of Japanese history
  • understand how even after the so-called closure of Japan, cultural exchange led to advances in science and the arts in Japan and the West
  • appreciate how under the infamous Dog Shogun, laws were promulgated some of which appeared in the West only 200 years later
  • have learned about the life in perhaps the largest and most densely populated city in the world, twice the size of London in the pre-modern period.

Who Should Enrol

Anyone desiring to understand and appreciate the history and culture of Japan.

Tue 16 Oct 2018 - Tue 20 Nov 2018

6 pm - 8 pm

6 Sessions
20 spots remaining.

The New Kingdom was the period of Ancient Egyptian history when the pharaohs marched forth from the Nile Valley and conquered an empire. Egypt was at its zenith, ruled by a succession of powerful pharaohs who commanded respect from nearby states. Goods obtained via trade, together with tribute and booty, flowed into Egypt, leading to an increase in wealth of both the pharaoh and temples. However, tensions existed within this seemingly mighty edifice, at least partially reflected in the Amarna period. The Hittite state proved a worthy adversary, engaging in both conflict and treaty with Egypt. We will examine the opulent pharaonic state and the international world of the period.

Course outline

The Late Bronze Age of the eastern Mediterranean region was one dominated by powerful states, of which the most important was New Kingdom Egypt. The pharaohs of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties succeeded in creating a powerful and wealthy nation-state, and through military conquest came to rule much of Syria-Palestine and the adjacent lands to the south of Egypt.  Other major states of the period, such as Hatti (the kingdom of the Hittites), Assyria, Babylonia, Mitanni and the Mycenaean Greeks, were largely independent, although they all acknowledged the magnificence of the Egyptian kingdom.  This was a world interconnected by trade and diplomatic relations.   However, around 1200 BC this complex world collapsed, an event that marks the end of the Bronze Age.  Many sites were destroyed, while whole states such as Hatti and Mycenaean Greece vanished from the pages of history. This is also the time when the Classical Greeks set the Trojan War, a conflict that saw the end of the city of Troy. 

Topics covered include:

  • Background issues – historical sources, chronology, writing systems and language. 
  • The origins and major features of the Egyptian New Kingdom together with a survey of the pharaohs of the XVIIIth, XIXth and XXth dynasties.  Emphasis will be placed upon the imperialistic expansion of Egypt into the Near East and up the Nile into modern Sudan.
  • The Amarna period, and what it may tell us about tensions within the Egyptian state.. 
  • Brief outlines of the other major states of the period that interacted with Egypt – the Hittite Empire, Mesopotamian powers, Mitanni and the Mycenaean Greeks.  The international character of the period is high-lighted by the Amarna letters. 
  • The end of the Late Bronze Age – the collapse of states such as Mycenaean Greece and the Hittite Empire, the decline of Egypt, and the appearance of the Sea Peoples in the eastern Mediterranean.  The theories that have been proposed to account for the end of this stable era are discussed.
  • A look at the possible historicity of the Trojan War against the fabric of the end of the Late Bronze Age.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you learn:

  • to appreciate the importance of written sources in the reconstruction of history 
  • understand how the chronology of ancient Egypt has been established 
  • the division of the history of ancient Egypt into three ‘kingdoms’ and intervening periods when centralised power was lacking
  • the rule of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period
  • the major pharaohs of the New Kingdom (XVIII, XIX, XX dynasties) and their achievements
  • the expansion of New Kingdom Egypt both south into modern Sudan and north into the Levant (Syria/Israel/Lebanon)
  • the role of Akkadian as a lingua franca in the 2nd millennium BC 
  • of the likely turbulent times that accompanied the reign of Akhenaten (Amarna period)
  • that modern molecular techniques have been used in efforts to identify mummies and reconstruct the history of the end of the XVIIIth dynasty. 
  • of the clash between the Egyptian New Kingdom empire and that of the Hittites 
  • The decline of Egypt and the arrival of the Sea Peoples 
  • The collapse of civilisations around 1200 BC

Who should enrol

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

No dates are currently scheduled.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

No dates are currently scheduled.

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.