Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A new project firms up - launching an introductory course on the history of Australia's New England

For the last few months I have been working on a new project, an introductory course on the history of Australia's New England. While in some ways I need a new project like a hole in the head, this one has the advantage that it pushes forward with some of my major writing projects.

I am trying to do it properly. Delivered through U3A Armidale, it is a full semester course involving 16-18 lectures plus some tutorials.

The first course will run over semester 1 to test interest and develop course ware. I would like to make it available externally - a quick initial market test attracted 35 expressions of interest - but am not sure how to do this easily. Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

If you would like to find out more, this post on my history blog provides further details.


marcellous said...

My father and stepmother were quite into the U3A in Canberra for some years.

Based on that, I had gained the impression thought that a big part of U3A was to get 3A types out and about and socially interacting! Running courses externally or delivering them online rather detracts from that.

Don't mind me. The Zeitgeist could be changing. And you have a diaspora to reach.

But I still have difficulty coming to terms with a "New England" that reaches down into the Hunter Valley.

Jim Belshaw said...

Morning marcellous and thanks. Armidale U3A seems to be rather into courses. This is the program for semester 2 2019.

I am sure that a core aim is just to keep us more ancient ones :( in at least our Zeitgiest! I think that Armidale is a bit unusual because you have a smallish community with many retired academics or people interested in keeping touch intellectually. Of course Canberra is too, but it is a bigger community with different needs.

Interestingly, in email discussions the Armidale U3A Board in reviewing the course, they are all very keen because it is something new, was concerned about my use of the word tutorials because they thought that it would put people off, work against the aim of involving as many people as possible. Too academic, I think. We will work through that. The proposed course is really at two levels, one that requires no knowledge, skills, just interest. A second more professional.

Your comment on New England. I am writing something on this. My practical problem is that with constant shifts and changes in things like Government definitions as well as demographic and cultural change, New England is the only descriptor that describes the area that I am writing about, and then there is confusion.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with marcellous re the dubious claiming of Newcastle as part of New England, but that's a minor quibble in what sounds like a worthwhile project.

I hope these lectures will be made more widely available, perhaps by YouTube subscription? There's a very informative series I'd recommend which greatly increased my appreciation of English history, and which I'd recommend as a model for you Jim.

I've taken the liberty of providing a link for your appreciation:


Jim Belshaw said...

Morning kvd. Sorry for the slow response. I have been up country. I will consult youngest on YouTube, I have been thinking about that, but I fear that Ms Dunk is a bit too breathless for my taste!

Anonymous said...

Oh c'mon Jim - get with the zeitgeist :)

What's not to love about her mentioning the "Baywatch Tapestry" in connection with the Norman Conquest - or, in her companion exploration of Shakespeare, her one line summary of Richard III as "died in a carpark, looking for his horse"?

But the YT channel was a more serious suggestion for you.


Jim Belshaw said...

Grins. I didn't last long enough to get to Richard III. That was quite funny