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"Crisis? What Crisis?" View details

The issue of “Brexit” has stimulated – or exposed – fundamental divisions in the political, social, regional make-up of the United Kingdom. This course will cover a selected range of British political crises which provoked deep political and social divisions at the time and which often had profound consequences for the nation. In most cases the issues they raised are still relevant today. They will be considered in their own right but will also be used to access the wider context in which they occurred. They will be approached chronologically. The methods employed will include segmented powerpoint presentations and discussion of the themes identified, as well as the usual class interaction.

"Middlemarch", the great Victorian Novel, by George Eliot View details

Join us as we read and explore one of the greatest novels in the English language: George Eliot's "Middlemarch" written between 1871 and 1872. The writer depicts life in a provincial town with insight and humanity rarely surpassed in English Literature. The Oxford World Classics edition will be used and copies will be available for loan, or buy your own copy.

“Gardening - Appreciation: Humphrey Repton and the Picturesque View details

This course will examine the next phase in the story of garden history in Britain, following the development of the landscape garden throughout the eighteenth century. Humphry Repton was the self appointed successor to Capability Brown, but his ideas and designs differed quite considerably and much of his success was due to his brilliant marketing tool of the 'Red Book'. The cult of the Picturesque was an important philosophical, as well as artistic phenomenon in the 1790s, often expressed through poetry and essays, and it had a direct influence on garden design. Once again, history, literature, landscape art and garden design combine to paint the picture of this fascinating subject.

10 Great Directors View details

It's not necessarily about who is the greatest or most sensational as we explore a selection work from directors who produce films either audiences know and love and/or made a lasting mark on the world of cinema. Likewise we also explore films from directors to watch now and in the near future as well as a one or two we may’ve overlooked in the past. In each case, what are their running themes and styles – do some remain the same whilst others continually evolve? Suitable for beginners and returners.

1066 and all that - Herefordshire from Alfred the Great to Henry I View details

Herefordshire was one of the few areas of Midland England that avoided the Viking raids. It was annexed as part of Alfred’s kingdom and ruled by his daughter Aethelflaed. Hereford itself became a ‘burh’ –a fortified town – and subsequently a new shire was established as an area of tribute around it. This flourished until the Norman Conquest when Herefordshire became a militarized zone, intensively covered in earthwork castles, as the Normans set-out to annex Wales. This situation is reflected in Domesday Book (1086), which provides a unique portrait of the social and economic state of the region and suggests the framework for a discussion of the church and the revival of urban life. These issues will all be discussed and illustrated in this course.

1387-1485. England in the drama and change from Medieval to Early Modern Society View details

Art, expansion of printing and with it literature, magnificent architecture and painting, a century of glorious achievements yet at the same time one of frequent turmoil as rival claimants and their supporters engage in deadly conflict for the ultimate prize; the throne. The course considers not only the unfolding dramas between 1387 and 1487 when battle finally catapulted the Tudors onto the throne, but also lives and achievements in all walks of society as the people of our towns and villages move from the medieval to early modern England.

19th and 20th Century Nordic Composers View details

This 10-week course will chart the rise of the "Northern Lights" of the Nordic national musical traditions which emerged during the 19th and 20th centuries. The diverse composers encountered will include Alfvén, Stenhammar and Rosenberg (Sweden); Nielsen and Ruders (Denmark); Grieg and Svendsen (Norway); and Sibelius and Rautavaara (Finland).

2020 Your Best Year Ever Taster View details

Students will be introduced to planning tools to help them identify what they would like to achieve in 2020.

20th century German History: Bismarck to Hitler View details

Germany: the former 'problem child' of modern European history. The country was late to unify but then its size, economic strength, geographical position (and arguably a sense of inferiority) threatened the stability of post-Napoleonic Europe. Germany was at the heart of the two great conflicts which consumed Europe in the first half of the C20th with the problem of 'what to do about Germany' then forming a central characteristic of the Cold War era. We will see how politics developed in Germany and how this fed into international relations. We will also explore economic, social and cultural developments in this country of great contrasts. An issue for consideration will be why the post 1945 democratic, peaceful Germany failed to develop in the earlier period, much to the disadvantage of both Germany and Europe as a whole.

20th century Japanese Literature View details

This course will explore the richness and diversity of Japanese literature, and illustrate why it deserves to be much more widely read in the West. We shall note how literature has negotiated with traditional culture and historical circumstances and how new identities have been formed.