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.




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:

Europe Between the Wars: 1919 – 1939 – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Friday, 10 – 12, Week 1 – Workshop full  

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), 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.

Find out more

Events of the Week

Weekly, Friday, 2 – 4 – 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 presentation of each event by the member who suggested it, and then by discussion.

Find out more

Indigenous Voices: Artists, Authors, and Activists – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Tuesday, 12 – 2, Week 1 – Space available for new members 

Indigenous voices in the arts and in politics are increasingly compelling in the 21st century. Do we hear their call for recognition of their social, legal, and economic rights? This workshop will focus on Indigenous Canadian voices (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), but will also take selected looks at voices from Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. The intersection between the arts and politics will be a central theme. Some of the individuals we will look at are: artists Kenojouak Ashevak and Alex Janvier, authors Thomas King and Tanya Talaga, activists Arthur Manuel and Cindy Blackstock, legal advocates John Borrows and Murray Sinclair, filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, and others in a variety of creative fields. Participants will be expected to make a 20 – 25 minute presentation on a topic chosen from a list provided by the facilitators, or of their own choosing. All will be encouraged to share articles relevant to the course, but there will be no assigned weekly readings.

Find out more

Jazz Appreciation

Biweekly, Thursday, 2 – 4, Week 2 – Workshop full 

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.

Find out more

Jazzical – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Tuesday, 10 – 12, Week 2 – Space available 

There has been a fusion of jazz and classical music which began in the 20th century and has continued to our day. A list of composers who attempted this melding of styles and forms include the following: Debussy, Ravel, Darius Milhaud, Stravinsky, Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin, Richard Rogers, Duke Ellington, Nicolai Kapustin, John Adams, Gunter Schuller, and William Bolcom, to name some of the more prominent.

The perfect source book is The Rest is Noise, by Alex Ross, the music critic for the New Yorker. This work is a masterful history of 20th century music which is clearly and gracefully written and can guide presenters in their quest for material for the class. Googling the topic will find all sorts of resources on YouTube.

Find out more

Leo And Mike – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

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

Leonardo Di Vinci and Michelangelo, the quintessential Renaissance men, co-existed in the Medici-Borgia ambience of the times, but they didn’t get along. One dressed and lived lavishly; the other guarded every penny. One was a Master of Revels who became a painter, inventor, designer, and architect. The other, a sculptor, became a painter, a favourite of popes, and he, too, became an architect. Both designed and built city defences.

As each member of the workshop makes a presentation, we’ll explore the life stories, designs, creations, and brief verbal duels of these two central figures of the Renaissance.

Find out more

Man Booker Winners (1968 – 2019) – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

Biweekly, Friday, 10 – 12, Week 2  – Space available for new members

Do you enjoy engrossing yourself in a great novel? Please join us as we explore some of the best from the list of the Man Booker Prize winners. Participants are asked to read the 11 books chosen and then base their presentations on either an author or a novel. Authors include Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Julian Barnes and Michael Ondaatje.

Find out more

Memoir Reading and Writing

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

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.

Find out more

Mesopotamia: From Babylon to Iraq – New Offering for 2019 / 20

Biweekly, Wednesday 12 – 2, Week 2  – Space available for new members

As “the cradle of civilization”, Mesopotamia has endured 3500 years of dynastic struggle. In Babylon they built Hanging Gardens and Hammurabi enforced his code of law; during the Golden Age of Islam Baghdad became a world centre of science, culture, philosophy, and invention. In modern Iraq, the discovery of oil has presented a new challenge. Rival powers, including ISIS, have wreaked havoc on civil society, and U.S. intervention has only stirred the pot. Inextricably tied to the modern nations of the Middle East, Iraq’s population is one of the most diverse in the world, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Yazidis, Armenians, and Mandaens. This workshop will focus on today’s Iraq since its formation in 1920, but it will also explore its rich history and culture. Participants are expected to prepare one 20 – 30 minute presentation and participate in the discussions.

Find out more

Music Appreciation: Celebrating Virtuosi of Keyboards and Strings

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

Who were the greatest keyboard or string players of all time?  (Even the experts differ in their choices.) How did they touch the minds and hearts of their listeners in ways other highly talented musicians did not? Did this make them ‘virtuosi’? Or was it something else? Will we ever decide exactly what it was?Join the discussion as we investigate the lives and talents of those who have replaced Liszt or Paganini as ‘greats’. Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, and Jana Bouskova are just a few who come to mind – and you may add your own suggestions to our list. Discover the stories behind our virtuosi, and enjoy hearing their special musical gifts as you combine a biographical profile of your chosen instrumentalist(s) with videos or CDs demonstrating their artistry.

Find out more