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  Zooming Through the Autumn
               On-line Courses
   September 2024 ~ December 2024

Payment 2024
Your Zoom Season Pass
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In order to make "Zooming Through the Autumn" on-line term as flexible as possible, we are again offering a single payment "season pass" which will entitle you to join any or all of the autumn sessions below. The Autumn Zoom Season Pass costs just £20 for members or £30 for non-members*.


* To pay for the lectures as a non-member select the arrow in the white box opposite to this text, then on the drop-down menu select the non-member price of £30, next select "Buy Lectures" and follow the prompts.


Note:- The non-member price of £30 means you get the Autumn Zoom Season Pass and Guild Membership, entitling you to member discounted prices for all our other autumn and spring term courses (both Zoom and Venue) until the end of April 2025.


After receipt of payment you will receive a joining invite to each individual session which contains a session ID, password and internet link.

Note: These invites are usually sent out on the preceding day of each course.

Anchor 1
The Middle East Mandates
Tutor: Alan Sennett

3 Mondays 23rd, 30th September & 7th October 2024

10.00 am - 12.00 pm

The British and French Mandates in the Middle East formally began just over a century ago and lasted for 30 years.  Modern Palestine-Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq were all shaped by decisions taken by the two European nations.  These three sessions ask why Britain and France were present, how their interests initially shaped the Mandates and how resistance and changing realities created profound problems leading both powers to withdraw.  We will look at how the Mandates were governed, consider in which ways Zionism, Arab resistance, events in Europe during the 1930s, war and the Holocaust were all instrumental in shaping the history of the modern Middle East.

(1)  Lines in the Sand – How the Mandates came about.

(2)  Resistance – Revolts in Iraq, Syria and Palestine, 1920-1939.

(3)  Endgame – War, Holocaust and Imperial Retreat, 1940-48.

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Segregation & Porgy and Bess
Tutors: Andrew Jones and Steve Millward

Wednesday 16th October 2024

1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

The rise of segregation in the American South – Andrew Jones

Slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War in 1865 but the ordeal of the black population was far from over. Many became sharecroppers, tied to the land as before. From the 1890s, their misery was compounded by the rise of segregation and their exclusion from the ballot. In every case, facilities for the black population were inferior to those provided for the white population. This system lasted until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s”.


Porgy & Bess – Steve Millward

Set in a 1920s tenement in South Carolina, George Gershwin's Porgy And Bess is a landmark of twentieth century opera. While vividly reflecting the day-to-day drama of contemporary African American life, its themes of yearning, love and betrayal are universal and timeless. Expressive and dramatic, the work also succeeds in getting to the heart of contemporary African-American experience.

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Where did Tolkien Come From? - The Genesis of English Fantasy Writing
Tutor: Kevin Harrison

Monday 21st October 2024

1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is one of the highest-selling books ever, and nearly 50 years after his death the Tolkien industry has become a great juggernaut, spawning new books, films and television programmes. In this talk I try to find out where this remarkable phenomenon came from. I look at a few of the details of Tolkien’s life, to find out what were the things within his own experience and interests that led to his writing his works, which were private writings for decades before their publication. I look at the literary influences, acknowledged and unacknowledged, which may have helped shape both his themes and his style. And I look at some of the other writings, broadly within the fantasy genre, of the same period, in the spirit of Amazon’s “Readers who bought this also looked at…” I do not, however, look at his literary heirs and imitators: that would be the stuff of another talk.

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J R R Tolkien 1892-1973

TuckerFTW, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
Tutor: Rosemary Broadbent

2 Wednesday afternoons

30th October 2024

1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

The six ‘Brandenburg Concertos’ are among Bach’s best know works, but it is easy to miss their oddness.  We owe their existence to a job application which came to nothing, and their survival to a dedicatee who may never have heard them.  Through them, we can picture Bach working with the musicians he knew best at what was probably the happiest time of his life.  They also amply demonstrate Bach’s consummate skill and his ever-inventive imagination.


Part One – Concertos 1, 2 and 3

Part Two – Concertos 4, 5 and 6

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Suffragette City
Tutor: Steve Millward

Monday 11th November 2024

10.00am - 12.00pm 

This talk will look at the Manchester people, places and organisations that featured in the suffragist/suffragette movement from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.  Naturally, the Pankhurst family feature prominently, but there were many other women who contributed enormously to the ultimate success of the movement – but who, in some cases, are in danger of being forgotten.

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Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, Leader of the Women's Suffragette movement, is arrested outside Buckingham Palace while trying to present a petition to King George V in May 1914.

Vaughan Williams & Verse: A 150th Anniversary Celebration
Tutor: Rosemary Broadbent

Wednesday 23rd & 30th November 2022

1.30 pm - 3.30 pm 

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in October 1872, and his 150th anniversary year is an appropriate time to celebrate one of his many achievements: his great sensitivity to setting English verse to music.  Art song of the nineteenth century had been dominated by German and French composers and their native poetry.  Vaughan Williams was a gentle advocate of all things English – although broad-minded enough to take lessons from both Max Bruch and Maurice Ravel.  His experiences as a collector of folksongs had an indelible effect on the sound of his music for the rest of his life.


The first session (Wednesday 23rd November) will explore the solo songs of his earlier years, centering on the ever-popular Songs of Travel (1901-1904), The second session (Wednesday 30th November) will examine the composer’s atmospheric setting of Shakespeare in the Serenade to Music (1938).  This work, borne out of the friendships of a long musical life, also sheds light on a philosophical tradition in music which travels back via Shakespeare to Renaissance Italy and even to Plato – yet it remains quintessentially English.

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