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:

Reading Through Race, Racism, And Resistance

Biweekly, Tuesday, 10-12, Week 2 – Room 1 – Space Available

This workshop will explore issues of race, racism and resistance through fiction and non-fiction by writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Toni Morrison, Austin Clarke, Arthur Manuel, Eden Robinson, Leanne Simpson, Richard Wagamese, Wayson Choy, and Kamal Al-Solaylee. The reading list and schedule will be established in June 2018. Each participant will be invited to select one of the readings to present to the group. Everyone is expected to do all the reading.

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Science of Happiness

Biweekly, Wednesday, 12-2, Week 1 – Room 1 – Workshop Full

What does it mean to be happy? What makes people happy? Is there a science to happiness? Why are some people who face huge obstacles happy while others who seem fortunate are miserable? Can we apply research-based methods to our lives and be happier? We will explore various topics as they relate to happiness, including positive thinking, stress-reduction, authenticity, mindfulness, meditation, exercise, nutrition, volunteering, social interaction, medication and neuroscience. Each member will research and present on a topic of their choice and we’ll then follow with a discussion as a group.

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Socio-Political Feature Films

Biweekly, Tuesday, 12-4, Week 2 – Room 5 – Workshop Full

Feature films are an excellent way to highlight current and historical social and political issues in order to inform and arouse a broad public. This workshop aims to stimulate thought and discussion through such films. We will view the films together, giving the opportunity for immediacy of reaction to the issues. Before viewing, one participant will briefly introduce the film, its director, actors, the making of the film, etc. After viewing, a second participant will address issues the film raises. Both presenters will suggest discussion questions. All films will be subtitled to assist hearing. Examples of films viewed in 2017-18 were Doctor Strangelove (1964) and I, Daniel Blake (2016).

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Stand-up Comedy For Seniors

Biweekly, Thursday, 12-2, Week 1 – Room 1 – Workshop Full

Back by popular demand! We’ll use stand-up comedy and laughter to help us cope with the challenges of aging. The first hour will focus on a different stand-up comedian, using videos and discussion to analyse their comic styles. In the second hour, participants will present several joke ideas they have written at home, dealing with aspects of getting older. Over time, they’ll develop a short stand-up comedy routine, with Michael’s help. At the end of the program, the group will do a show of this material for the Academy, likely as one of the Spring Talks. (No memorization is required)

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Understanding Canada’s Arctic

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

This workshop will further explore some themes from last year’s “Who Owns the Arctic?”, and set off in new directions. It will focus on each of Canada’s Arctic regions and consider such subjects as historical development, geography, climate change, economic development, language, education and the arts. As well, it will look at international matters such as defence, environmental protection, and transportation. Participants will explore some of the challenges facing the peoples of the Arctic and the issues that the governments and NGOs must address. They will also have the opportunity to discover the many good news stories in this still little-known region. Participants will be asked to make a presentation on one of the topics suggested by the facilitators, and will also have the opportunity to choose their own topic of interest.

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Unusual Museums III: The Search Still Continues

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

Who knew that so many unique, off-the-beaten-track and even oddball museums still exist? Participants from our first two Unusual Museums workshops have continued to discover and add to our list of intriguing new possibilities for further investigation. Whether devoted to clocks, herring or the daredevils who went over Niagara Falls (all Canadian examples), or something else entirely from anywhere in the world, make an unusual museum your new best friend, then spend approximately 20 minutes telling us about it. You might be surprised what you discover about both the museum and the people who created it!

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Web of Natural Science

Biweekly, Thursday, 12-2, Week 1 – Room 5 – 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. Source material will include Scientific American, Discovery Magazine, Science News and The New Scientist.

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Whither Democracy? – NEW

Biweekly, Friday, 10-12, Week 2 – Room 5 – Space Available

The spread of democracy to many countries in all parts of the world has been a relatively recent and uncertain historical development. Authoritarianism has been the default condition for most of mankind in the past and persists in the present. This workshop will explore the meaning of democracy, both in theory and practice. It will attempt to understand the conditions that produce and sustain democracy as well as those that threaten it. The workshop will focus on case studies based on a diverse number of countries in today’s world. Everyone will be asked to make one 20-25-minute presentation and actively participate in the discussions. Was Churchill right that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”?

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Windows On The World: Contemporary Travel Writing – NEW

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

Delve deeper into the cultural and geopolitical issues of our world as seen by such accomplished travel writers as: John Berendt, Bruce Chatwin, Will Ferguson, Robert D. Kaplan, Dervla Murphy, Andrew Solomon and Paul Theroux. Everyone is asked to read one book for each workshop, participate in the discussion and do one presentation. There will be two presentations each meeting: one on the book and one on an issue arising from the text.

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