Retirement is Opportunity
This programme offers the opportunity to explore a variety of interesting subjects and make new friends.
The class meets Tuesday mornings at 10am. There is a tea and coffee break at 11am followed by a short question-and-answer session and discussion before finishing at 12 noon.
Tuesdays, 10am to 12 noon: Students’ Union, Rehearsal Room, 2nd floor
Semester 1: 9 weeks beginning on 10 October 2017
Semester 2: 9 weeks beginning on 23 January 2018
Course fees for one semester: £45
Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World
Dates: 10 October 2017
Taught by: Faith Jones
The natural world is under a lot of pressure from human activities. How are ecosystems reacting to these pressures?
An army of biologists are looking to answer this question. This talk will discuss what tools and procedures we use in the search for answers, as well as some of the key results. Learn about how and why the natural world around us is changing and how this might influence the ecosystem services we rely on.
Ancient, Mediaeval and Early Modern Bibles, University of St Andrews Special Collections
Dates: 17 October 2017
Taught by: John Gallagher
When we think of the Bible today, we think of neatly bound printed editions that sit on our bookshelves, in hotel room drawers or on church pews and lecterns. The history of the Bible as a book, however, is much scruffier than this. The Bible did not always circulate in the complete format that we are familiar with today, but as individual books or groups of books, in scroll and manuscript format. Only later did the idea of the codex, the book format which we are familiar with today, emerge.
In this workshop, we will explore the textual history of the Bible and its development as a book by examining a variety of material from the University of St Andrews Special Collections. The Bible collection of the University of St Andrews is comprised of over 1,600 volumes, including Hebrew scrolls, ancient Greek papyrus, mediaeval Latin Bibles, Gospel books, Psalters, private mediaeval devotional texts known as Books of Hours, the Qur’an, the famous Geneva and Luther Bibles from the Reformation, and examples of early modern Old Church Slavonic and Greek Bibles. Working closely with these impressive examples of historical biblical texts, this workshop will piece together the complex but fascinating history of the Bible.
Linocutting and Woodcutting
Dates: 24 October 2017
Taught by: Hilke MacIntyre
Artist Hilke MacIntyre lives in the East Neuk making linocuts, ceramic reliefs and paintings and has contributed illustrations to various cultural events in the area. She will talk about the history of linocutting and woodcutting and inform about technical aspects like materials, tools, the printing process and printing with multiple colours. She will also give an insight into working as a printmaker and setting up a printmaking studio. The talk will be accompanied by examples of her own work and the work of other artists.
Dates: 31 October 2017
Taught by: Vicky MacKenzie
John Ruskin (1819–1900) was one of the most influential thinkers of his time, best known as the author of Modern Painters, The Stones of Venice and The Seven Lamps of Architecture. In the second half of his career he turned his attention to social reform, and his writings contributed to the establishment of the National Trust and the modern environmental movement. What’s less well-known is that this towering intellectual suffered a tragic heartbreak in middle-age, which led to a series of mental breakdowns.
This talk will trace the course of Ruskin’s life, from public success to private grief, and consider what Ruskin’s life and works have to say to us today.
How Moments Matter... Cultural Variations and Our Personal Timeframe
Dates: 7 November 2017
Taught by: Rosemary Anderson
Is your ‘time’ my ‘time’, or their ‘time’? We often think of our own ‘time pattern’ as being the norm, and are amused, baffled, or downright annoyed when we encounter another culture’s habits and practices. What are some of the differences, and why do they occur? How do we learn 'time'? How have our own attitudes and priorities changed over the decades, for good or ill? This talk aims to examine just how important the ‘moments’ are in all our lives, and how we can unwittingly lose them in an ever faster world.
Dates: 14 November 2017
Taught by: Very Reverend Dr Ian Bradley and guests
As part of Interfaith Week, the Very Reverend Dr Ian Bradley and a multi-faith panel will discuss the similarities and differences between their religions. They will highlight some of the many ways in which their religions currently cooperate and look to identify some common goals on which they can continue to work together in the pursuit of a more harmonious world.
The Roots of Al-Qaeda
Dates: 21 November 2017
Taught by: Yannick Veilleux-Lepage
This lecture will provide a historical look at al-Qaeda from its origins up to the September 11 attacks. Exploring a series of interweaving events such as the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the first attack on the World Trade Center, the course will explain the historical, political, religious and cultural factors that led to the creation of al-Qaeda and inspired its members to execute the 9/11 attack. The lecture also considers the concept of terrorism as a form of political violence and explains the legacy of al-Qaeda for other terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State.
Reading the 18th Century Letters
Dates: 28 November 2017
Taught by: Kimberly Sherman
Does love conquer all? This lecture will provide an entertaining look into the private lives of British-Americans in the 18th century. Using examples from love letters and personal correspondence written by young men and women in the British American colonies, we will explore the ins and outs of how to land a marriage partner: financial concerns, parental approval, and social standing. Ultimately, attendees can decide to what extent romantic love triumphed over pragmatic choice in the 18th century.
Ship of Gold – The SS Central America
Dates: 5 December 2017
Taught by: Neil Cunningham Dobson
The SS Central America was a United States Mail Steamship Company side-wheel steamship launched in 1852. The ship was in continuous service on the Atlantic leg of the Panama Route between New York and San Francisco during the California Gold Rush era. She was caught in a hurricane and sank on 12 September 1857. The SS Central America was carrying a large consignment of gold for commercial parties. Because of the large quantity of gold lost with the ship, public confidence in the economy was shaken, which contributed to the Panic of 1857.
In 1988, the SS Central America was located 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina, at a depth of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet), by the Columbus America Discovery Group acting as agent for Recovery Limited Partnership. Between 1988 and 1991, only 5% of the shipwreck site was investigated. Further exploration of the site was halted for over two decades as lengthy legal battles played out. In April 2014, Odyssey Marine Exploration was awarded the exclusive contract to conduct an archaeological excavation and recover the remaining valuable cargo.
This lecture is the story of the 2014 project. Fife-born marine archaeologist Neil Cunningham Dobson has 15 years’ experience investigating and excavating deep-water shipwrecks in the oceans of the world, has over 40 years’ experience in the marine and offshore industry, and comes from a long line of seafaring ancestors who can be traced back more than 250 years.
State Parks of California
Dates: 23 January 2018
Taught by: Tony Wilson
California is home to some of the USA’s most iconic National Parks: Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Sequoia to name a few. It is also home to a lesser known group of State Parks, equally interesting and majestic. This talk will introduce you to the giant trees of Calaveras, the surreal pillars of Mono Lake, the ghosts of Bodie, and the mega fauna of Anza-Borrego…with sea otters too.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum
Dates: 30 January 2018
Taught by: Rodger McAslan
An introduction to The Scottish Fisheries Museum and the history of the fishing industry it covers, together with the work of the volunteers who assist in it. Also covering the maintenance and operation of the historic fishing boats, such as the REAPER FR958, which are kept in seagoing condition by volunteers both as historic artefacts and for Museum outreach.
Ian Hamilton Finlay's Little Sparta: A Garden Poem
Dates: 6 February 2018
Taught by: Dr Lenia Kouneni
Set in the windswept Pentland Hills at Stonypath, Lanarkshire, some 30 miles south-west of Edinburgh is Little Sparta, the garden of the artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay. Finlay, who died in 2006 at the age of 80, was one of the most innovative modern Scottish poets, artists and gardeners. His art is unusual for encompassing a variety of different media and discourses. Poetry, philosophy, history, gardening and landscape design are among the genres of expression through which his work moves. His artistic vision has been most fully realised in his now famous garden, Little Sparta.
This lecture introduces Little Sparta, recognised across the world as a truly original work of art and discusses its classical allusions. It is a garden of great beauty created out of the most unpromising of landscapes, but it is also a work of art. There are more than 280 artworks contained within the garden at Little Sparta. Images of antique gods are placed alongside models of deadly modern warships, and references to classical mythology and the French Revolution are meant to shock and amuse the visitor, but most of all to provoke him.
A Literary Journey Around Scotland
Dates: 13 February 2018
Taught by: Dr Garry MacKenzie
In this talk we will travel the length and breadth of Scotland, looking at how writers have found inspiration in places ranging from sprawling cities to remote glens and small islands. Along the way we will encounter folk heroes and outlaws, tales of the supernatural, historical events and writing which explores the profound and mystical attachments we have towards the places we know well.
Wartime Defences In and Around Fife
Dates: 20 February 2018
Taught by: Stephen Liscoe
Steven Liscoe from Fife Council Archaeological Unit will present a talk on military defences in and around Fife. Steve will provide a fascinating account of the purpose and development of many defensive structures, illustrating many that can still be seen, and also explain the purpose of the Unit in recording these significant and historical archaeological sites.
School Prints: Fine Art for Children
Dates: 27 February 2018
Taught by: Johnathan Falla
The colourful School Prints lithographs feature of many British primary schools in the 1940s and 50s. Some of the finest contemporary artists, including Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Picasso and many others contributed to this remarkable series which can still be bought today. But who created the School Prints, why and where have they all gone? We shall look at the story of the project and its place in 20th-century British art.
The Tay Estuary: No other river in the world has got scenery more fine, only I am told the beautiful Rhine...
Dates: 6 March 2018
Taught by: Rob Duck
William McGonagall’s doggerel encapsulates what is a truly remarkable estuarine system that receives the highest freshwater discharge of any river in Britain. The Tay, the least developed of Britain’s major estuaries and one of the cleanest in Europe, provides a complex variety of nationally and internationally important environments and habitats between the tidal limit and the sea. In places, these have been substantially modified by human intervention over the centuries, yet the water body still retains an essentially rural character.
This presentation describes the geological formation of the Tay Estuary, its present-day water movements and processes, and provides a glimpse to the future potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise in the area.
Wilderness – Fact or Fiction?
Dates: 13 March 2018
Taught by: Jamie Hinrichs
‘Wilderness’ is a contested term. Is it a truthful topography or an imagined environment? A space or an idea? Our concept of ‘wilderness’ is as an image of untouched nature, the emblem of the foreboding unknown and the rallying cry for conservation movements. Is wilderness a fact or fiction? A transnational trek through the ‘wilderness’ of Scotland and the United States will unpack the term. The ‘fact’ of wilderness will be tramped through via comparisons of the geography, geology, flora, and fauna of the ‘wild’ lands of each nation. The ‘fiction’ of wilderness shall be rambled through via poetic depictions of the ‘wild’ landscapes as penned by famous nature writers. Fantasy or reality, this walk on the wild side is certain to increase your wanderlust.
Memories of Scottish Fishing Music
Dates: 20 March 2018
Taught by: Margaret Hyland
Meg Hyland, a recent graduate of the University of St Andrews, spent one summer as a Laidlaw Undergraduate Intern in Research and Leadership, working on a research project called ‘Memories of Scottish Fishing Music’. She investigated what songs fisher folk sang during their work and how this varied across Scotland. She will be speaking about how factors such as religion, oral tradition, and geographical origin could affect what and why fisher folk sang while fishing, gutting herring, mending nets, and doing other work involved in the fishing industry. The talk will include excerpts of never-before-recorded songs Meg collected in her field work in Stornoway and the East Neuk.