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Autumn Payment

  Zooming Through the Autumn  

               On-line Courses

September 2020 ~ December 2020


Soviet Russia on Film:  Monday Lectures
Tutor: Alan Sennett

Monday 28th September & 5th October 2020

11am - 3pm  ( with a lunch break)

Russia on film.jpg

Lenin said that cinema is the most important of all the arts.  This course looks at politics and society in the Soviet Union from the Revolution to World War Two using illustrations from Russian cinema.  We make use of clips from documentary and feature films, including the work of the masters of Russian cinema, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko and Vertov.  How did they capture Russia in revolution and promote an image of the new society?  Can we trace the trauma and ultimate betrayal of this revolutionary dream through the history of Russian cinema of the 1930s and 1940s?  How did Soviet film propaganda function?  Why were revolutionary artists often victims of Stalinism and how did some offer resistance through the medium of film?

This course has been completed

All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away - "The Sixties" an Exploration of Events and Music
5 Thursday Lectures
Tutors : Frank Vigon & Steve Millward

Thursday 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th October  10am - 12pm


There are some times in history when society makes not an evolutionary change, but a seismic shift.  “The Sixties” is a journey back to a decade that changed society, politics and culture irrevocably.


Using a range of multimedia we shall visit the collapse of Government brought about by a sexual scandal involving a Cabinet Minister, the ripples of which were to extend to the very destruction of political deference and the shaming of the “powers that be”.  A devastating assassination of a youthful young President whose legend extinguished his potential failings.  De Gaulle said "Non" and “Events dear boy events” took their toll as the Empire slipped away.

Youth was discovered to be marketable and the sixties really began to swing.  Meanwhile across the world as Empires fell Civil rights start as a dream, beginning a long and painful journey which has yet to end.


The explosion of creativity that engulfed the 1960s was exemplified by its music – innovatory, adventurous, wild and frequently wonderful.  Youth culture had been denigrated during the 1950s but now influenced not only the arts but society as a whole and even national politics.  At its core was pop and rock, but jazz, folk and classical music were sucked into the maelstrom.



In the music section of this series, we will explore each year of the decade in turn, monitoring all the major trends as we go.  At times it will be a roller-coaster ride but we will try to evaluate the music on its own terms as well as looking for harbingers of the future.  The series will be illustrated by photographs, records and video clips.

Week 1 - Events:  Rock Around the Clock

               Music: We have lift off.  1960 and 1961

Week 2 - Events:  "Please Please Me" - Mop Heads, Youth culture & Credit cards

               Music: Something in the Air  1962 and 1963

Week 3 - Events:  "The Isle is full of noises" - Political upheaval and sudden death

               Music: Changing Times   1964 and 1965

Week 4 - Events:  "One of your Guys did it" - Kennedy Assassination the great unsolved

               Music: Love and Haight - 1966 and  1967

Week 5 - Events:  "I have a dream" - Civil Rights in an unequal society

               Music:  One great leap - 1968 and 1069

This course has been completed

Volcanoes:  Monday Lecture
Tutor: Pete Webb

Monday 12th October  1.30pm - 3.30pm

Volcanoes occur in many parts of the world, but they do not occur at random.  This talk shows how volcanism is related to plate tectonics, demonstrates with videos the various types of volcanic activity and discusses the risks faced by communities that live in volcanic regions.  Pete Webb did his PhD on the volcanics of the Kenya Rift Valley and has visited several volcanically active regions.

This course has been completed

The Art of Medieval Constantinople (c800 - 1200) ~  Monday Lecture
Tutor: Birgitta Hoffmann

Monday 19th   10am - 12pm.

During the High Middle Ages Constantinople was a byword for wealth and an arbiter of taste.  While much of this was destroyed during the Fourth Crusade, the surviving art and crafts document a culture that revelled in colour and picture – but not in sculpture.  From the churches in Greece to Armenia, Constantinople created a vision of heaven on earth lavishing material and designs on their architecture, while remaining deeply conservative in their taste.  We will be looking at the surviving examples from the period in architecture, icon painting, but also in the everyday craftsmanship.

This course has been completed

Byzantine ceramics.jpg

© G dallorto

The Art of Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade (1200 - 1480) ~ Monday Lecture
Tutor: Birgitta Hoffmann

Monday 26th October  10am - 12pm.

After the Fourth Crusade Constantinople and its surrounding provinces faced a huge challenge in rebuilding their empire and churches in a world that had changed.  Western and Turkish influence was everywhere, but so was a deep need to stay true to the spiritual roots of the Empire, in a world where money and resources were in short supply.  Consequently,  after the Fourth Crusade, the character of art and architecture changes.  Less of the striking gold and purple of an earlier period and more blues and greens, as well as more intimate perception of space and perspective, but also an often more emotional treatment of long-established  motifs. 

This course has been completed

Writing History & Fighting History: Churchill as a Historian & Manchester At War in World War 2. 
Tutors: Kevin Harrison & Tim Cockitt

Monday 2nd November:   1.30pm - 3.30pm

Kevin Harrison - It is a pity that Hitler has not read English history, he would then know what fate has in store for him (WSC, 1940).  Politics dominated Churchill’s life.  He had a vast ‘hinterland’: other interests and occupations that ensured a more balanced and healthy view of life: painter, racehorse owner, bricklayer, convivial travelling companion, journalist and historian.  History was of central importance to Churchill: it helped to provide him with an income for most of his life and, what’s more, a sense of destiny for himself and for the British people – a vital element in the existential crisis of 1940. 


Tim Cockitt – This session will include:-

: a brief look at Manchester in WW1

: the inter-war years and certain                individuals

: the Luftwaffe bombs Manchester

: the Manchester Blitz, and the                 unexpected danger in late 1944

: weaponry produced in Manchester

: the handgun which wasn’t needed.

This course has been completed


Air Raid Damage in Manchester

John Banville ~ 2 Thursday Lectures
Tutor: Creina Mansfield

Thursday 5th & 12th November  1.30pm - 3.30pm.

John Banville, the ‘man who nearly won the Nobel Prize’ (and who might, still) is regarded as a great literary stylist.  The Irish writer published his first book in 1970 and continues to write and publish, both under his own name and as Benjamin Black.  He has won many prizes for his work, including the Booker prize for his novel The Sea.  We shall study The Untouchable (1997)

This course has been completed

The Enigma of Francis Bacon - Down & Out, Up & Down in Soho ~ Monday Lecture
Tutor: Frank Vigon

Monday 9th November  1.30pm - 3.30pm.


“Do you know I am the greatest living British Artist?”

Francis Bacon was a self-taught, self-made enigma who spent much of his time creating a legend that sometimes threatened to overshadow his already shocking and disturbing paintings.  A masochistic self-proclaimed homosexual, whose sexual orientation was central to his art.

He was one of those rarities, an artist who was financially and artistically successful in his own lifetime.  He had easy access to endless supplies of money which he drank, gambled and threw away.  His personal lifestyle was one of self-destructive debauchery in which he believed he did some of his finest work in the aftermath of long nights of hard drinking in a hangover which induced the accidents of his genius.



His work was often based on photographs he cut out of journals and newspapers, including images of Hitler and Himmler as well as his own commissioned specified nude photographs. He saw himself as a figurative not an abstract artist.  But his work which was always dark has been described by art historians as the greatest work since Turner.  This will be challenged in an attempt to understand both the man and his art.

This course has been completed

Feminism in the Time of Coronavirus 
Monday Lecture
Tutor: Valerie Bryson

In this session Valerie will argue that, despite recent changes, women and men still tend to play different roles and have different experiences, both in the home and at work.  This means that the social and economic impact of the lock-down has not been gender neutral; indeed,  pre-existing patterns of inequality, disadvantage and oppression have been deepened.  These negative effects have been most acute for those women whose lives are already particularly hard.  Since the beginning of the crisis, feminist organisations have been active in drawing attention to the problems facing many women, and suggesting ways forward.  However, women’s voices have been largely absent from policy decision-making.

This course has been completed

Monday 16th November  1.30pm - 3.30pm.


Woman Sewing a Face Mask  © Tadeáš Bednarz

The Life & Times of Local 'Hidden Muslim' Mayor, Robert Stanley
Thursday Lecture
Tutor: Christina Longden

Thursday 19th November  10.00am - 12.00pm.  

The life and times of a Victorian ‘Hidden’ Muslim Mayor – Robert ‘Reschid’ Stanley.  Victorian Mayor of Stalybridge, Robert Stanley was one of the first working class mayors in the country.  Born into poverty, this Stalybridge grocer rose to become one of the most highly respected mayors in England.  He witnessed first-hand the Chartists’ call for the vote, the Plug Riots, the Lancashire Cotton Famine, the Bread Riots in Stalybridge and the anti-Irish Catholic Murphy riots in this area.  He was called to Parliament as an expert witness on the introduction of the secret ballot for the working man.  But in 1898, at the age of 69, he converted to Islam, becoming ‘Reschid Stanley’, vice-chairman of the UK’s first mosque.  His great, great, great granddaughter, Christina Longden, has written two books about him, where she unearths why he became interested in ‘a world outside Stalybridge’ and why the family kept his conversion secret for a hundred years.

This course has been completed

Wonders of the Southern Skies: Monday Lecture
Tutor: Ian Morison

Monday 23rd November  1.30pm - 3.30pm. 

A visual look at some of the most interesting objects in the southern skies partly illustrated with images of the Milky Way taken by Ian in New Zealand, which include the constellations of The Southern Cross, Centaurus, Vela and Carina.  It will describe how a super-massive black hole was discovered at the heart of our Galaxy, how observations of Cepheid Variable stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud led to the discovery of the age of the Universe and how a star that disappeared in the 18th century is expected to be the next supernova to lighten our skies.

This course has been completed

Southern Skies.jpg

© Ian Morrison

A Christmas Cracker: Music, Readings and Customs
Tutor: Tim Mottershead

Thursday 26th November  1.30pm - 3.30pm. 

A musical matinee to rekindle the true spirit of Christmases past (just as you would like to remember them!) of seasonal music inspired by carols, bells, music boxes and winter landscapes.

Featuring traditional carols, folk carols, easy-listening seasonal favourites and pop classics, together with timeless favourites, such as White Christmas.  Tim will discuss authors such as Dickens, Hardy and Longfellow, together with anecdotes about customs and traditions.  Stir into the confection a few pieces by Liszt, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky and it all adds up to an extraordinary extravaganza of yuletide treats.

This course has been completed

Nast Santa COL.jpg
Christmas Cracker
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