Summer School: A Russian Journey

Ref: C2224183

This course is an introduction to Russia, the land, its people and culture. We shall look at topics such as folk art, music, language and religion, all in a historical context.

Additional information about this course

Please see for more information.

Course aim

An introduction to Russian culture, the Summer School provides a taster of the traditional culture of this vast and fascinating country.

Who is the course for?

The course does not require any prior knowledge, just interest in the subject.

What topics will this course cover

The Russian land and people  Political and physical features of the Russian land  Scythians and Slavs: from nomads to agriculture  The ethnic populations of Russia today Russian music • Tchaikovsky and the 1812 Overture • National motifs in Russian 19th century music • Borodin: Russians and others in the opera Prince Igor Russian folk art  Russian nested dolls  Wood carving  Enamel The Cyrillic alphabet  The origins of the Cyrillic alphabet  Introduction to the recognition of Cyrillic letters The Russian Orthodox Church  Features of Orthodox Christianity  Orthodox Churches  Easter  Christmas The art of the icon  Historical background to icon painting  How icons are made?  Looking at famous icons

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1) Describe basic features of the Russian land, people and their culture 2) Interpret national themes in Russian music 3) Classify several types of Russian folk art products  4) Identify the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet  5) Examine basic characteristics of the Russian Orthodox Church and the art of the icon  

How will I know I'm making progress?

Progress will be assessed by discussions in class as well as in small groups. Students will be examining the topics we study, and also sharing their own experience and interests. The tutor will also be available for individual questions before the classes and during the breaks.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?


Reading and information sources


What could the course lead to?

Students may consider further classes in Russian history or culture with the WEA or elsewhere. Students may also like to take courses about the culture of other nations, or courses about art and music, either with the WEA or elsewhere. Students interested in Russian art may explore more by books, occasional exhibitions in this country and on the Internet. Students interested in Russian music may go to concerts, listen to music on the radio or on CDs, or attend live screenings locally of concerts, ballets and operas featuring Russian music. Students interested in the Russian Orthodox church and the art of the icon may visit Orthodox churches locally, or abroad if they plan a holiday.

Download full course outline

Summer School: A Russian Journey Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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