From Gene Kelly to geology: six great courses for lifelong learners

A classic: Singin' In The Rain looks set to be one of the movies studied
14 Aug 2013 @ 5.39 pm
| Education
A classic: Singin' In The Rain looks set to be one of the movies studied
A classic: Singin’ In The Rain looks set to be one of the big screen musicals studied

mix-six-logo-right“A little learning is a dang’rous thing” according to Alexander Pope… and what was true then remains the same today. That is why we at Lifelong Learning would encourage you to drink deeply from the fount of knowledge on offer locally.

There are almost 200 courses on offer starting in October, taking in everything from creative writing and history to psychology and biology, but for this Mix Six, here are some of the more specialist classes which could make you an authority on topics ranging from soil quality to school uniforms.

All of the following are offered as learning for pleasure courses (that means no assessments or exams!) and you can find out more about each, and enrol, here.

A History of Numbers

Photograph: Fotopedia
Photograph: Fotopedia

Numbers are so common that we forget they remain one of the most powerful inventions of abstract thought. We invite you to rediscover numbers and the systems used to represent them, define prime, perfect and amicable numbers, explore why Pi is called transcendental and come face-to-face with imaginary numbers. We’ll also dabble with infinity.

Powered by Rock

Photograph: Fotopedia
Photograph: Fotopedia
From fossil fuels to nuclear power to geothermal energy, we have geology to thank for most energy sources. As arguments over how to power the 21st century seem ever-increasing, 
Powered by Rock: Earth’s Energy Systems will examine Earth’s history to give an overview of the origins, distribution, and future of Earth’s energy sources and systems.

History of Perfumery

Photograph: Wikipedia
Photograph: Wikipedia

Aromatic plants and herbs have been used since ancient times in different cultures for their fragrance and healing power – in History of Perfumery and Herbal Healing we’ll examine the production, commerce and use of aromatics from the ancient world to modern perfumery using research from various disciplines.

How Healthy is Your Soil?

Photograph: Wikipedia
Photograph: Wikipedia

Bring a bag of your own soil! We’ll spend the morning in the laboratory and the afternoon outdoors assessing the factors that determine soil health, with a bit of theory providing the sandwich filling in between. By the end of the day you will understand what makes soil “tick” – and why it matters so much.

American Film Musicals


Mix with music undergraduates and watch key musicals on the big screen for a series of Sunday afternoons – what better way to end the weekend than a double bill? In The Jazz Singer’s Hair: The First Fifty Years of American Film Musicals, there will be Q&A sessions at the end of each film, and the chance to discuss their aesthetic, cultural and economic values.

The History of School Uniform

A classic St Trinian's cartoon, caption: 'Come along, prefects. Playtime over.' © Ronald Searle
A classic St Trinian’s cartoon, caption: ‘Come along, prefects. Playtime over.’ © Ronald Searle

From boaters and blazers to ties and gymslips, British school uniform is iconic and globally identifiable – we’ll chart the development of school uniform from its origins in the charity schools of the 16th and 17th centuries through to the modern day.