Workshops

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.

Workshop Space Availability

Workshops listing - by category

Workshops listing - Alphabetical:

Opinions B

Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Wednesday ; 10am – 12pm

Term 1 via Zoom; Term 2 Tartu (tbc)     Space available

This version of Opinions will meet at Tartu at the earliest opportunity, but until then will meet via Zoom.  Once in Tartu, there will be no concurrent Zoom.  Members who wish to enjoy Opinions via Zoom only should enrol in Opinions A”. 

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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Reimagining CanLit: New Writing, New Views

Bi-weekly – Week 2 – Friday – 10am – 12pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Workshop Full

This workshop challenges the notion and maintenance of a particular CanLit canon—one that is too dated, too white and “too closely monitored by powerful gatekeepers”. Does it reflect the country we live in today?

We will read recent books (fiction, memoir, possibly a play) by Canadians who are also steeped in the heritage of other countries for a fresh perspective on Canada. Some of the twelve authors on the reading list are Dionne Brand, David Chariandy, Ian Williams, Samra Habib, Souvankham Thammavongsa, and Zalika Reid-Benta.

Each participant will select one of the readings to present to the group. Everyone is expected to do all the reading and be prepared to participate in the group discussion.

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Scams And Scammers

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

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space available

In this workshop, we will explore the fascinating world of scams and scammers in the real and digital worlds, both past and present. Some scammers are infamous and have been prosecuted, but countless scammers operate without being exposed. Possible topics include bank scams, pyramid and Ponzi schemes, dating scams, phishing, email scams, classic swindles, black widows”, food scams, “reality TV”, rental and real estate scams, as well as any other scams and scammers members wish to research. Members will be asked to present on a topic of their choice. 

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Socio-Political Feature Films

Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Thursday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom (2 hours); Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)      Workshop Full

Feature films are an excellent way to highlight current and historical socio-political issues in order to inform and arouse a broad public.  This workshop aims to stimulate thought and discussion through such films.  In the workshop, one participant will present background information on the film (director, actors, awards won, context from which the film arose, production values).  A second participant will present the issues raised in the film and their possible relevance to the contemporary world. Examples of films viewed in 2020-21 are Incendies (2010) and Bicycle Thieves (1949).

During the Fall Term this will be a two-hour Zoom workshop.  Participants will view the film at home using Kanopy, (available, free, through the Toronto Public Library.)  In the Winter Term, if conditions allow for in-person meetings, the co-facilitators, in consultation with participants, will decide between continuing the same format as the Fall Term, or moving to a 12-4 pm format in which the participants would view the films together, followed by discussions. 

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Sport And Its Influence On Society

Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Monday ; 10am – 12pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space available

Whether you are a huge fan, or couldnt care less, the sporting world affects you. In this workshop we will explore topics such as sports impact on socialization, national identity, economics, race, gender and social inclusion and exclusion.   

We will look at many of the good and bad aspects of sport from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day, asking ourselves questions like Who says competition is bad?, Is sport a mirror of society?, Are nations that invest in sport more successful?, and Has sport replaced religion as the opiate of the masses?’ 

Workshop members are expected to give a 20 minute presentation on their topic and to participate in the discussions. There is no assigned reading list, and a bibliography will be provided. 

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Understanding Ourselves And Others

Bi-weekly – Week 1 ; Wednesday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space available

For millennia, thinkers have developed theories to explain human behaviour. How does personality develop and to what degree can it change?  What is empathy and can it be taught?  How important is early attachment to individual well-being?  We will explore these and other questions in order to better understand ourselves and others. Participants will research and present on either: (i) an idea or concept (e.g. emotions, personality, vulnerability, empathy, happiness, loneliness, attachment, etc.), explaining what it is: its importance, how it varies from individual to individual, and if/how it can change over an individuals lifespan or (ii) the contributions of a significant thinker to understanding human behaviour (e.g. Freud, Carl Rogers, etc.). A list of suggested topics and references will be provided. Please join us on this fascinating journey as we explore what it means to be human.

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Web of Natural Science

Bi-weekly – Week 1 ; Thursday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space available

Our natural world is a web of wonder, beauty and complexity. In this workshop we will take a broad look at natural phenomena through many scientific disciplines. These may include psychology, chemistry, physics, geology, bacteriology and more. We will see that there are many ways in which scientific studies overlap to inform our everyday existence. Each session will focus on an article of your choice, generally from the current year of the journal Scientific American. Other source material may include scientific magazines such as Discovery Magazine, Science News, Science, and The New Scientist.

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Zoom Phenomenon

Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Tuesday ; 2pm – 4pm

Terms 1 & 2 – via Zoom     Space available

This is not a how-to” workshop but an exploration of Zoom history and video conferencing in general; its uses in various fields, and impact on our behaviour. It may or may not be with us in 2022 but we will have had at least a year of experience with it and something we will remember about the Pandemic. Topics will include the technology history & development; psychology of perception as applied in Zoom; the good and the bad, ugly and weird; is Zoom actually a new medium”? There will be opportunities to discuss our own personal experiences and discuss where is Zoom going in the future 

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