Ref: C2524987

The course explores a literary journey of far places inspired by stories and imagery of the spice and silk trades and places associated with them. The three key texts are Mr Selden's Map of China by Timothy Brook - a non fiction book about a rare map of China ; Samarkand by Amin Maalouf which re-imagines the life of and inspiration behind the poetry of Omar Khayyam; Amah and the Silk Winged Pigeons by Jocelyn Cullity. The tutor will also provide excerpts from Journeys Along the Silk Road. Poetic Journeys edited by Kusheal Poddar and links to the British Museum Treaasures and Macclesfield's Silk Museum.

Course aim

To explore literature, poetry and artefacts associated with the spice and silk trades through three key texts. Discussion and reading will be interwoven with PDF's and You Tube links supplied by the tutor.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Have a better understanding about the role that the silk and spice routes play in authors' imaginations past and present.
  • Explore and share with other students the results of my research on the Silk and Spice Routes
  • Appreciate the enduring appeal of Omar Khayyam
  • Come to a view about the impact that the spice and silk trades have had on my life

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Students should aim to buy or borrow at least two of the three texts

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet



As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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