M5S 1W4

Academy members please enter TARTU through the Event Space entry around the corner at
#3 Madison Avenue

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

Workshops listing:

Democracy And Conflict Resolution – New For 2020 / 2021

Biweekly, Monday 2 – 4, Week 2   – Fall term only to begin with
space available

The workshop will cover a number of subjects including addressing the tensions within a democracy (populism, protecting the interests of minorities, intolerance etc.), the mechanisms for moving from dictatorship to democracy (e.g. Poland, Spain, Iraq, and The Gambia) and the safeguards needed to minimize the risk of democracies sliding into dictatorships.

Using ideas from Conflict Resolution theory and practice, conflict remediation at the international level, as well as reconciliation within nations (e.g. Rwanda and South Africa) will be examined. The role of outside intervenors such as UN, NATO and ‘coalitions of the willing’ will be included in the discussion.  

Each participant will be expected to make a 20-minute presentation on a topic such as ‘Does Proportional Representation Enhance Democracy?’; ‘Is Singapore the Model for Democracy in Asia?’; ‘The UN’s R2P (Responsibility to Protect) Doctrine’; and ‘What Went Wrong in Venezuela?’

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Disruptive Technologies And Their Impact On Our Future

Biweekly, Wednesday 2 – 4, Week 1 – Fall term only
space available

We are living in an era where technological change is occurring at a rapid pace and is impacting the way we live now and will impact the way we live in the future. In this workshop, we will examine some of the disruptive technologies that are being developed and their potential impact. Topics will include, but are not limited to, the Internet of Things (IOT); drones; assistive technologies; the Cloud; artificial intelligence; renewable energy; autonomous cars; healthcare technology; 3D printing; advanced robotics; mobile internet; voice-based personal assistants; and gene editing. For each session, an overview of the technology will be presented in the first hour and the second hour will focus on the potential impact of the technology. No prior knowledge of any of the technologies is required.

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Documentary Film

Unfortunately, the University has terminated our previous arrangement with the Media Commons at the Robarts Library. Despite a dedicated search by Doug Wilson, he has not been able to find a suitable alternate location. As a result, at this time, we are not able to include the Documentary Film workshop in our schedule for the upcoming year.

We intend to reintroduce it in the line-up for 2021/2022.

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Economist Readers

Weekly, Thursday  10 – 2, Weeks 1 and 2
space available

This group will meet to extract the wit and wisdom in politics, business, finance, culture, literature and science from this influential international journal. Subscription copies can be delivered by mail (phone 1-800-456-6086) or electronically ( At each session, the group selects about eight articles and the discussion is begun with a brief introduction by the person proposing each article.

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Equality and Inequality

Biweekly, Thursday  2 – 4, Week 1 – Fall term only to start with
space available

“Inequality is the defining challenge of our time,” said President Obama in December 2013. ‘Equality’ and ‘Inequality’ are words used every day but what do they mean? Are they mutually exclusive? Both will be considered in their broadest sense and not solely in monetary terms. The workshop will look at authors as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Piketty. Each participant will be expected to make a 20-minute presentation on a topic. The focus will be on breaking EQUALITY and INEQUALITY down into ‘bite- sized’ manageable issues such as universal basic income, education, employment, race, dignity, social mobility, income and wealth.

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Europe Between The Wars

Biweekly, Friday  10 – 12, Week 1
space available

Europe during the 1920s and 1930s experienced great highs and lows. Radical ideas and changes were unleashed in politics, economics, and society, many with unexpected and sometimes devastating consequences. It was also a time of modernization and experimentation in the arts (visual and plastic arts, music, literature, architecture, film, fashion) and in science, medicine, and technology. Women started to come to the fore and the world changed, dramatically and permanently. In this workshop, we will explore the actions, ideas, trends, and innovations of these tumultuous decades, and the people behind them, sharing insights and discussing how they affected and were affected by each other. Participants will present and discuss the person, group, or innovation of their choosing.

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European Voices: Contemporary Fiction – New for 2020 / 2021

Biweekly, Wednesday, 10 – 12, Week 1
Workshop Full

“Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.” George Steiner

Are you ready to break out of your literary bubble by listening to some new voices? This workshop will focus on recent European literature, mostly in translation, and will introduce some great books from writers you may not know. You will be asked to choose 12 books from a list of authors spanning the continent, such as Hellgrimur Helgason (Iceland), Donal Ryan (Ireland), Maylis de Kerengal (France), Pajtim Statovci (Finland), and Elif Shafak (Turkey). The expectation is that everyone will read all the selected texts. Each participant will prepare a presentation on the book or author of their choice. Of special interest is the role and art of the translator.

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Events of the Fortnight

Biweekly, Friday   2-4, Week 2
space available

This workshop is focused on discussions of current events. Members suggest topics of interest; they are expected to be aware of events reported in the various media and to come prepared to discuss them. Each session will begin with a listing of the proposed events of interest, followed by a short introduction of each event by the member who suggested it, and then by discussion.

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For the Love of Birds – New for 2020 / 2021

Biweekly, Monday 12-2, Week 1
space available

Gain a greater appreciation and understanding of birds from many different perspectives. Learn about the importance of birds; the migration of birds; how they understand and adapt to their world; the evolution of birds; the impact of climate change on birds; bird extinction; famous ornithologists such as Audubon; birds in literature and art; and why birding is so popular.   Each participant will be asked to prepare a 20-minute presentation on a topic related to birds followed by group discussion. A suggested list of topics, with articles and references, will be provided.

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Giller Prize Winners – New for 2020 / 2021

Biweekly, Friday 10-12, Week 2
space available

Now known as the Scotiabank Giller Prize, this jewel of a Canadian literary award is 26 years old and honours an author of a novel or short story collection published in English the previous year. Among the distinguished list of 26 winners we will be discussing are these authors and their work: Rohinton Mistry, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden, and Esi Edugyan. Each participant will present on either the author or their winning book.

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