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.


Two Weeks At A Glance

Workshop Space Availability

Workshop Room Assignment



Workshop Dates

Week 1 Workshop dates are the weeks beginning:
Tues. Sept. 11, 25, Oct. 9, 23, Nov. 6, 20, Jan. 8, 22, Feb. 5, 19, Mar. 5, 19

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

Workshops listing:

Indigenous Histories of North America: A World Turned Upside Down – NEW

Biweekly, Tuesday, 2-4, Week 1 – Room 1 – Space Available

This workshop will study the histories of Indigenous peoples of Canada, the USA and northern Mexico, and their interaction with European colonization from first contact until today. The cross-border approach will provide insights not possible with a single-country focus. Participants will be asked to research, prepare and make one 25-minute presentation during the academic year. The topics from which participants can choose will include the expulsion of the Huron-Wendat, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Trail of Tears of the 1830s, Canada’s Indian Act and the USA’s Dawes Act, the land cession treaties and the oppressive assimilationist policies and recent truth and reconciliation efforts. The workshop will include a guest speaker and a field trip.

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Iran: From the Persian Empire to The Islamic Republic – NEW

Biweekly, Wednesday, 12-2, Week 2 – Room 1 – Space Available

This workshop, both for history buffs and students of contemporary affairs, looks at one of the most ancient, turbulent and multi-faceted of the world’s cultures. The history of Persia begins in 550 BC when the First Persian Empire (one of the largest empires in history) was founded, and continues with the subsequent dynasties which led up to the brilliant culture of the Safavids (1501-1722). Persia becomes Iran in 1921 with the start of the short-lived Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979). Our focus will be on today’s Iran (post 1979 revolution), particularly the new Islamic Republic of Iran in today’s world, but we will also explore its rich existing culture. Every participant will be expected to make a short presentation and actively participate in the discussions.

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Jazz Appreciation

Biweekly, Thursday, 2-4, Week 2 – Room 5 – Space Available

The workshop will focus on the personalities who influenced the evolution of this quintessentially American music form. A performer’s recorded performances and dialogue will be used to provide enlightenment on the era and his/her style, ideas and objectives. Each participant will select a personality and prepare a presentation (maximum 15 minutes) to precede a selection of recorded music (30 minutes), leaving time for discussion to follow. No reading is required in advance of sessions. This is an enthusiastic and highly interactive class in which all are welcome, from beginners to those who have enjoyed and absorbed all aspects of jazz for many years.

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Makers Of Modern France – NEW

Biweekly, Tuesday, 12-2, Week 1 – Room 5 – Space Available

The subject of this workshop is the history of France in the century following Napoleon I’s abdication in 1814. During those hundred years the country saw repeated popular uprisings as it moved from autocratic government to become a democratic republic, and Paris served as the world’s cultural capital. Join us to learn about such dramatic events as the 1848 Revolution, the 1871 Commune and the Dreyfus Affair by studying the lives of well-known figures from politics (Louis Philippe, Napoleon III, Thiers); literature (Balzac, Hugo, Zola); art (Delacroix, Courbet, Monet); science (Pasteur); business (de Lesseps); and entertainment (Bernhardt). After choosing their topic, participants will be asked to research, prepare and make a 25-minute presentation. The workshop will include a guest speaker.

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Memoir Writing And Reading

Biweekly, Tuesday, 10-12, Week 1 – Room 5 – Limited Space Available

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 or that of a published memoir. 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 safe and inviting atmosphere. Participants are encouraged to provide constructive feedback to sharers (who request it), as learning from others is a significant component of this workshop.

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Micro-histories: Connecting The Individual To The Context – NEW

Biweekly, Thursday, 2-4, Week 1 – Room 1 – Workshop Full

We anticipate participants in this workshop will be surprised and pleased by the interest they find in history on a small scale – studies of unexpected events, people and places which can both illuminate and counterpoint larger-scale historical accounts. We will read both popular and scholarly texts and articles, and consider how they relate to social history, biography and memoir. A reading list will be provided, with room for choice. One example is The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and How It Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World. Reading and some moderate research will be required for each session.

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Music Appreciation: From Low B’s To High C’s – Exploring the Range Of The Male Voice

Biweekly, Wednesday, 2-4, Week 1 – Room 5 – Space Available

From the pure tones of a boy treble to the dramatic depths of an operatic basso profundo, male voices demonstrate amazing varieties of tonal ranges, emotional possibilities, and power. Daniel Taylor, Placido Domingo, Ben Heppner, Bryn Terfel, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and even The Men of the Deep are just a few of the singers who come to mind as we investigate notable male voices over the last century. Of course, you many add your own singer(s) to our list. Join us as we discover the people and stories behind the voices, and enjoy hearing their special musical talents.

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New Yorker Readers

Biweekly, Thursday, 10-12, Week 1 – Room 5 – Workshop Full

Join the Readers for a lively, provocative, fun, thoughtful and always timely discussion of articles, stories, reviews, poems, cartoons and covers of the New Yorker magazine. Participants choose articles via email in order to identify articles for discussion prior to the meeting, so that they can discuss and express their opinions at the workshop. We encourage different perspectives and lively debates. The New Yorker is available online, by mail or newsstand.

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Non-Fiction: New and Noteworthy

Biweekly, Thursday, 12-2, Week 2 – Room 1 – Space Availablel

This lively workshop examines non-fiction books written in the last few years that draw attention to important issues. Some of the books likely to be read, presented and discussed are: Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson; The Future is History; How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen; The Origin of Others by Tony Morrison; and Could It Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit by Michael Adams. In order to participate in the often-spirited discussions, everyone is expected to read the selected books and make one 20-minute presentation structured to provoke discussion.

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Biweekly, Wednesday, 10-12, Week 2 – Room 5 – Workshop Full

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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