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

Contemporary Film B

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Tuesday; 12:15 pm – 2:15 pm
via Zoom ***Workshop Full***

Welcome to all Film Fans! In each session we jointly choose two contemporary films. Each member is then expected to view and rate them, based on a set of criteria developed by the group, as well as their personal enjoyment. This has been a lively workshop where members are never at a loss for discussion. Members will take turns introducing the films, but everyone should come prepared to discuss them.

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Contemporary Quebec

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Thursday; 12:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Location: TBD

How well do we, in Ontario, understand our next-door province – its cultural richness; its views on immigration; its sensitivity to language and identity; its nationalist aspirations; its approach to managing climate change; the many differences between Montreal and its regions? Do we know and listen to its voices in popular culture, art, film and literature?

This workshop will explore today’s Quebec in its multiplicity and distinctiveness – a province with a vibrant culture, diverse population, riveting politics and determined secularism – a province often misunderstood by its fellow Canadians.

Participants will be asked to research and prepare a presentation on one of the topics from the exploration framework we’ve developed which may evolve, particularly from the lens which the October 2022 provincial election will provide. We hope to include some outside presentations as well. Participants do not have to understand French to enjoy this workshop as all the recommended resources, sources, websites etc. are in English, supplemented by some in both languages.

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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: TBD

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: TBD

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: TBD **  WORKSHOP FULL **

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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Four Film Directors **CANCELLED **

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Monday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: TBD

This Workshop will focus on the work of four thought-provoking film directors: Robert Altman (American), Alfred Hitchcock (British-American), Kathryn Bigelow (American) and Jane Campion (New Zealander). Films that raise interesting social, political or relationship issues will be chosen. Two films will be discussed at each Workshop and all participants are expected to have viewed the films ahead of time.

Some films are available on Kanopy, but most will require a rental fee (typically $4.99) as they are only available through such streaming services as Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube or Prime. Participants will choose from a set list of films on which to do a short presentation designed to stimulate discussion. This list will be circulated as soon as registration for the Workshop is confirmed by the Academy.

Please note that while it is anticipated that the Workshop will be held in person in Tartu, one or two sessions in early 2023 may be via Zoom due to facilitators’ commitments.

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Jazz Appreciation

Bi-weekly; Week 2; Thursday; 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: TBD

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
via Zoom

Inspired by Neil Oliver’s book The Story of the World in 100 Moments, this workshop will explore the moments in history that shaped the world in significant ways. Moments like the day Darwin set sail on the Beagle; Hitler was rejected from art school; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed; Facebook was launched; Gutenburg got the loan to build his printing press; and Mohammad heard the voice of an angel. The possibilities are practically endless.

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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