Workshops are held on a wide range of topics including the arts, science, history, current affairs, and film. Workshops are developed and led by Academy members who are called “facilitators”. Members research and deliver presentations on the subject of their choice, and lively discussion follows.


Workshops listing

Crime, Prevention and Punishment

Bi-weekly; Week 1; Tuesday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
via Zoom

As long as there have been people there has been crime. And as long as there has been crime, there have been victims and societies seeking revenge, retribution, or rehabilitation.

Join us to explore historical, cultural, and controversial topics as diverse as forms of crime, law enforcement, the justice system, criminology, cultural representation of crime, infamous criminals, famous crimes and/or trials, gangs, and organized crime.

With a broad range of topics from which to select the focus of your 20-minute presentation, and no required readings, you will have the freedom to explore in detail anything that inspires you, and every session will have plenty of time for lively discussion.

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Economist Readers

Weekly; Thursday; 10 am – 12 pm
Location: Tartu (G6)

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  by the proposer of each article with a short introduction to the article.  

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Events of the Fortnight

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Friday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: Tartu (G1)

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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Extraordinary Lives: Workshop on Biographies (Books and Films)

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Monday; 10 am – 12 pm
Location: Tartu (G1) **  WORKSHOP WAITLISTED **

Biographies recount the stories of people’s lives, placing events, decisions and actions into context. Typically, their subjects are people who have faced significant obstacles in their lives.

The workshop will focus on biographical books and films that interpret the lives of noteworthy individuals. World leaders, celebrities, business gurus, spies, popes, and heroes will be considered.

Each two-hour session will feature two biographies – preferably one book and one film per session. Each participant is expected to choose either a book or film, and give a brief presentation about their selection at one of the workshop sessions. Participants are encouraged to read the books or films discussed in the workshop. A list of book and film biographies will be circulated and the workshop schedule will be determined in consultation between participants and facilitators. Discussion will typically focus on challenges individuals faced within the context of their times.

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For the Love of Poetry

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Tuesday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
via Zoom

Last year brought to many the power and wonder of poetry. This workshop will be looking at poets from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Emphasis will be on the reading out loud of their work. Participants also will give a short summary of the poets life and work, with the main thrust being to listen and discuss the poetry presented.  

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Jazz Appreciation

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Thursday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: Tartu (G1)

Jazz music is considered to be America’s greatest original art form and is well known for its creativity and innovation. Since its emergence at the beginning of the 20th century, its evolution has been closely woven into the tremendous changes and upheaval in American society.

Our Jazz Appreciation workshop features examples and discussions of various different eras and personalities and how the evolution of jazz has reflected and contributed to those changes.

Each participant is requested to select a musician, personality, or genre and prepare a presentation of approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Examples of recorded music should be provided to share with the group and time allowed for group discussion to follow.

This is an enthusiastic, highly interactive and fun class in which all are welcome from curious beginners to those who have enjoyed all aspects of jazz for many years. Wherever possible, we invite a guest musician to explain and illustrate the role of their own instrument in jazz.

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Key Moments that Shaped the World

Bi-weekly; Week 1; Tuesday; 10 am – 12 pm

Your 20-min presentation on a moment of your choice will focus on the implications of the event. In our discussion period we will also envision how things might be different had the moment never happened.

The workshop promises something for every interest – from science to history to politics. And the discussions promise to be thought-provoking and lively.

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Memoir Writing and Reading

Bi-weekly; Week 1; Monday; 10 am – 12 pm
Location: Tartu (G1)

Memoir, unlike autobiography, is the art of reminiscing about particular events, people and/or time periods in our lives and is becoming increasingly popular. As in previous years, participants will present extracts from their own writing. Ideas/prompts are offered to stimulate writing in class and provide a source for longer pieces. Time will be given to share these explorations in a supportive and inviting atmosphere. Participants are encouraged to provide constructive feedback to sharers (who request it), as learning from others (and from published memoirs) is a significant component of this workshop.

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New Yorker Readers

Bi-weekly; Week 1; Thursday; 10 am – 12 pm
Location: Tartu (G1) ***WORKSHOP WAITLISTED***

Join the Readers for a lively, provocative, fun, thoughtful, and always timely discussion of items from The New Yorker magazine.  At each meeting we discuss 3-4 articles, reviews, stories, poems, cartoons and covers – or anything else that may be found in the magazine. Readers choose the items to be discussed from previous issues (preferably the last 2 or 3), email the details (title, author, issue, page) of the items to the facilitator who relays them to the rest of the class. All are encouraged to read the chosen articles so they can be prepared to discuss them in a thoughtful manner at the next meeting. The person who chose the article leads off the discussion with a five to six-minute presentation – explaining why the article was of interest and posing any questions that were brought to mind.

A very brief summary of the topic is permissible so long as plenty of time is left for discussion. Presenters should assume workshop participants have read the selected articles and there is no need to reiterate their content.

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Opinions A

Bi-weekly; Week 2: Tuesday; 12:15 pm – 2:15 pm
via Zoom. 

Participants will discuss articles taken from a wide range of journals, newspapers, and other sources. Topics should be substantive enough to be worthy of discussion. The group will consider the case made by the author in the light of experience, alternative points of view, and other material that may be offered by the presenter. Participants are expected to read articles chosen for review, take turns introducing an article and starting the discussion, and are encouraged to suggest suitable articles from their own reading.

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