Workshops

Workshops on a range of topics in the arts, sciences, and current affairs are generally offered every two weeks at Knox College at the University of Toronto. The workshops are led by member-facilitators, and topics are researched and presented by the members of the class.

 

 

2019 / 2020 WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS BEGIN BELOW

Want a version of the workshop descriptions that you can print? Click Here

 

Two Weeks at a Glance

 

Workshop Space Availability

Workshop Dates

Week 1 Workshop dates are the weeks beginning:
Mon. Sept. 9, 23, Oct. 7, 21, Nov. 4, 18, Jan. 6, 20, Feb. 3, 17, Mar. 2, 16

Week 2 Workshop dates are the weeks beginning:
 Tues. Sept. 17, Oct. 1, 15, 29, Nov. 12, 26, Jan. 14, 28, Feb. 11, 25, Mar. 10, 24

Workshops listing:

Adventures in Canadian Art – New Offering in 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Thursday, 10-12, Week 2. – Space available for new members    
 
This workshop examines a number of art forms – painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media in Canada – from which participants may choose to make their presentations. We will be highlighting artists from the West, the Maritimes, and Quebec, from Maude Lewis, to Stan Douglas, to Paul-Emile Borduas. We will also look at lesser known but amazing artists such as David Altmejd, Paraskeva Clark, and Bertram Booker. There will be discussions about Canadian political art, about comparing Inuit Sculpture to Picasso and to Giacometti, about Street and Public art, and about issues facing Canadian museums. We hope to have guest speakers who are artists and curators, and perhaps a field trip to a gallery.

This workshop examines a number of art forms – painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media in Canada – from which participants may choose to make their presentations. We will be highlighting artists from the West, the Maritimes, and Quebec, from Maude Lewis, to Stan Douglas, to Paul-Emile Borduas. We will also look at lesser known but amazing artists such as David Altmejd, Paraskeva Clark, and Bertram Booker. There will be discussions about Canadian political art, about comparing Inuit Sculpture to Picasso and to Giacometti, about Street and Public art, and about issues facing Canadian museums. We hope to have guest speakers who are artists and curators, and perhaps a field trip to a gallery.

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Architecture and More: Squares That Made History

Biweekly, Thursday, 2 – 4, Week 1. – Space Available for New Members 

This workshop will focus on famous public squares like Red, Tiananmen, Tahrir, Trafalgar, Nathan Phillips, or Piazza Navonna and new ones to discover. We plan to examine the architecture as well as their historical, social, and political significance. A suggestion list will be provided (or you may choose your own) and each participant will be asked to prepare a 20-minute illustrated presentation followed by group discussion. Throughout the workshop we will explore the importance of public squares, how they have changed over time, and what the future holds for them.

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Bauhaus: The Long Influence of a Short-Lived Utopia – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Wednesday, 10 – 12, Week 1. – Space available for new members         

Bauhaus, the school of art and design, was founded in Germany a hundred years ago, in 1919, and was shut down by the Nazis in 1933. It aimed to rethink art in the industrial age. In its brief life it produced a dazzling array of experiments in the visual arts, building, and furniture design – and, even, theatre and dance. Pulling away from the horror of WW I, the Bauhaus had utopian ideas about a fusion of art, industry, design, and craft. It profoundly influenced the design of the buildings we live in and the design of the things of everyday life. Under the early leadership of architect Walter Gropius, the movement included many architects, artists, and designers such as Mies van der Rohe, Wassily Kandinsky, and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. Members may choose to present on one of the many well-known personalities attached to the movement and on its influences in our lives today.

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Books on Books: Writers and Readers – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Wednesday, 2 – 4, Week 1. – Space available       

At our first workshop we will discuss Alberto Manguel’s Packing my Library: an elegy and Ten Digressions (2018). In each subsequent workshop we will investigate the work of one writer who explores what Manguel calls “the art of reading”. When appropriate, presenters may consider the biography of the writer in question and are encouraged to reflect on their own reading history as they analyze the book of their choice. A comprehensive bibliography is provided which will include some relevant novels – in case presenters want to read alternative works. A schedule of presentation topics will be posted in early June.

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British Empire, The – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Tuesday, 10 – 12, Week 1. – Space available        

Join us to drill beneath the surface of the largest empire in history. This foremost global power staked claims from the freezing tundra of  northern territories to the torrid heat of Africa. At one time it had a population of 412 million people (23% of the world’s population). From the Age of Discovery in the 15th century to decolonization in the 20th, the Empire brought great benefits, but also hid significant darkness. During the workshop, we will explore the legacy of this Empire “on which the sun never sets” in the fields of law, politics, human rights, economics, trade, exploration, culture (music, art and food) and linguistics. With a broad range of subjects from which to select, and no required readings, you will have the freedom to explore in detail any topic that inspires you, and every session will have plenty of time for lively discussion. Each participant will be expected to give a 20-minute presentation.

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Canadian Symbols

Biweekly, Thursday, 2 – 4, Week 2. – Space available

What is the real and surprising truth behind the most iconic Canadian symbols, such as the Flag, Totem Poles, Maple Syrup, Mounties, Vimy Ridge, Tim Hortons, Beaver, Hockey, or the National Anthem? Their history is often contentious and contested. Some symbols have been forgotten; others are being revived, such as once outlawed indigenous cultural practices. Exploring their history serves as a counterweight to blind nationalism or unchecked patriotism but allows also for recognizing their power in shaping how we see ourselves.

With a wide range of subjects from which to select, and no required readings, you may explore in detail any topic that inspires you. Each participant will be expected to give a 20-minute presentation following which there will be plenty of time for discussion. A primary resource is Symbols of Canada edited by Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney, & Donald Wright.

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Celebration of Song

Biweekly, Friday, 12 – 2, Week 2 – Space available       

Songs are a vital part of our lives. First, participants will give presentations on their choice of historical periods of song, composers (e.g., Cole Porter, Jim Webb, and Lennon & McCartney), performers (e.g., Tiny Tim, the Beatles, Mel Torme), or favourite songs. Second, we will sing the songs we discuss. No experience is required – just enthusiasm for singing. We can sing a capella, or with a karaoke machine or with the accompaniment of whichever instruments members of the course wish to play (piano, guitar, accordion, percussion).

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China’s Asian Orbit – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Wednesday, 10 – 12, Week 1 – FULL 

While the rise of China has resulted in a great deal of exposure in the western media, the economic and political development of its neighbours remains relatively unexplored. This workshop will look at some of the 14 countries with whom China shares a land border – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, and Afghanistan. Each workshop participant will choose a particular country for a 20 to 30 minute presentation.

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Cities of the Future

Biweekly, Tuesday, 12 – 2, Week 2 – Space available   

It is anticipated that in 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, a majority of them with more than 10 million inhabitants. Building cities that can accommodate such a large number of people is the challenge for the next 25 years. In this workshop we will look at megacities that have successfully or unsuccessfully dealt with the economic, demographic, cultural and management issues they have faced. We will examine the factors that make a megacity livable and sustainable, and we will discuss the research, competitions and projects around the world that will drive planning and investments in megacities. Participants will be asked to make a 20-minute presentation and to actively participate in the bi-weekly discussions.

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Climate Change – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly,  Friday 10 – 12, Week 1 – Space available  

Climate change has been a major concern for about 30 years. In 2006 Al Gore heightened our consciousness with his film “An Inconvenient Truth”. What has changed? Bring your opinions to this workshop and be part of an exploration of an updated look at the causes, effects, mitigations, and adaptations to climate change.

Presentation topics may include the effects we can see today, anthropogenic causes, tipping points, effects on global economic activities, adaptations and their costs, impacts on human health and the natural world, population migrations, and present-day mitigations.

When do we stop burning fossil fuel? What should we do as Canadians? In the US is it the “Green New Deal”?

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