2017 Open Days recordings

Watch our 2017 Open Days recordings

The 19 talks below were recorded at our 2017 Continuing Education Open Days, which took place 1-2 September.

The Victorian and Edwardian development of East Oxford

Liz Woolley

Until the mid nineteenth century the land south-east of Magdalen Bridge was mainly open fields up to the villages of Cowley and Iffley. Enclosure in 1853 led to rapid development and within fifty years 2,500 homes had been built, attracting college servants, skilled artisans, labourers and what the local vicar Father Benson described as ‘the ignorant and rambling poor’.

Great Churches of Medieval Europe

Keith Hasted

Building the great cathedral and abbey churches of medieval Europe took an outstanding commitment of resources, combined with remarkable technical achievement. Concentrating on mainland Europe the focus is on examples that illustrate key stages of architectural development between the 4th and 15th centuries

Is Chinese the most difficult language to learn?

Zhao Huiqui Godfrey

Is Mandarin Chinese really the most difficult language to learn? Try the PRC approach (Pronunciation, Recognition & Character writing): Part 1: Key to learn to pronounce a Chinese character: Pinyin & tones; Part 2: Key to recognise Chinese characters: pictograph & radicals; Part 3: Key to Chinese character writing: strokes (game: to pull apart a Chinese character); There will be 10-15 minutes question and discussion time.

The Universe in your Hands

Stephen Johnston

From the medieval Islamic world to Renaissance Europe, Dr Stephen Johnston of Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science presents some key astronomical devices from the collection and shows how time and space, and even life and death were captured in beautifully portable instruments. With a chance to handle the universe yourself.

House and Garden: how the Victorians invented the ideal home

Rosemary Yallop

The enduring British idea of ‘Home’ which we recognise today was to a large extent forged during the Victorian era. The idealised middle-class home was a haven from worldly concerns where family members could cultivate a virtuous life. These aspirations were reflected in styles of architecture, the new idea of the suburb, the rise of gardening as a genteel pursuit, and the appearance of new periodicals to direct popular taste.

Five decades of ground-breaking archaeological research by OUDCE

David Griffiths

All teaching and learning at Oxford, including in the Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE), is founded upon new and innovative research. This talk will illustrate the extent to which Continuing Education archaeologists have been at the forefront of developing archaeological research at Oxford, especially in landscape approaches. Beginning with the ‘glory days’ of British Archaeology in the 1970s, it will follow our progress through a series of major projects in Oxfordshire and beyond, culminating in the work we do today.

What is ISIS, what is its ideology and how to defeat it?

Farhang Jahanpour

**We apologise for the technical difficulties we had with this lecture. We are hopeful of presenting it again later this year, and re-recording it. If you'd like to be notified when this talk takes place, please email events@conted.ox.ac.uk

ISIS’s sudden emergence in Iraq and Syria, later spreading throughout the region, has given rise to the greatest wave of refugees since the Second World War. ISIS has also committed some of the most outrageous terrorist acts in the world. The lecture will discuss the origins of the movement, the Sunni-Shia split, the countries that have been implicated in its rise, and the ways to undermine its ideology.

Archbishop Laud and the architecture of Oxford in the 1630s

David Clark

Archbishop William Laud (1573-1645) was President of St John's College, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. In the first role he was responsible for commissioning the Canterbury Quad at St John's - one of the most remarkable architectural settings in Oxford. As chancellor, one of his aims was to remove the university's non-religious functions from the church of St Mary the Virgin, and in doing so created the new Convocation House and rebuilt the south porch of the church. This talk will be an intorduction to these architectural achievements.

Reasoning Critically

Marianne Talbot

Reasoning enables us to acquire knowledge, to persuade others, and to evaluate their arguments – but only if we reason well. Dip your toe in the water: learn to analyse arguments and recognise common fallacies.

The dilemma of loyalty: Elizabeth I and her Catholic nobles

Janet Dickinson

The English reformations resulted in significant alterations to the religious identities of those who lived through this period of dramatic change. This talk will focus on the most powerful and wealthy group in society – the nobility – and consider their response to the advent of Protestantism and the expectation that they would change their beliefs to hold onto their positions and to royal favour.

Preparing for Study

Yasmin Khan

What kind of skills do you need to study effectively as a part-time student? Interested in how to manage your time, or how to take notes? Come along and learn about the skills you already have, and how you might improve your study skills to make the most of the courses we offer.

India and Partition

Yasmin Khan

The 1947 Partition of South Asia, and the creation of the new states of India and Pakistan, has continued to generate controversy and debate to this day. On this 70th anniversary of the event, we will reflect on the partition and its aftermath.

English Cathedral Architecture - St Paul’s to the Present Day

Keith Hasted

From St Paul's to St Edmundsbury via Westminster, Liverpool, Guildford and Coventry, the Reformation did not end cathedral building in England. We will investigate the architectural response to expanding congregations - both Anglican and Roman Catholic.   

Health and the headline news: the good, the bad and the outright ridiculous

Carl Heneghan

A lot of news is made up of health claims, some of which is obviously ridiculous; but there is no doubt, news is a big drawer for readers: 5% of all google searches are for health claims, and so the plethora of big hitting health headlines continues. The question then is “What strategies do you use to assess evidence in  news headline?” to tell the good from the bad, the truths from the untruths and the interventions you should do something about and those you should ignore.

Introduction to Philosophy

Marianne Talbot

Take an ultra-quick romp through the four main pillars of philosophy - knowledge, reality, logic and morality – and try your hand at being a philosopher.

How to be an Art Detective

Janina Ramirez

Dr Janina Ramirez, Art Historian and BBC presenter, will explore the ideas behind her podcast the Art Detective. Can artworks be witnesses of the past, and if so, how do we listen to what they have to tell us?

Encounters between the West and the Middle East: Confrontation or coexistence?

Farhang Jahanpour

The West and the Middle East have had continuous encounters with each other for thousands of years. As the cradle of some of the earliest civilizations in the world, including the Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Arab and Ottoman empires, and as the birthplace of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Middle East has exerted a great deal of influence on the rest of the world. The lecture will examine the nature of those encounters, especially during the past few centuries and the rise of militant Islam during the past few decades.

'Influenced now by nothing but the most mercenary motives' - Jane Austen's Money

Sandie Byrne

Austen's nephew stated that his aunt 'wrote for her own amusement'. Money, he said, 'though acceptable, was not necessary for the moderate expenses of her quiet home. Above all, she was blessed with a cheerful contented disposition, and an humble mind; and so lowly did she esteem her own claims, that when she received 150l. from the sale of ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ she considered it a prodigious recompense for that which had cost her nothing'. Austen's letters tell another story.

What Were Tudor Monarchs For?

Janet Dickinson

The Tudors are remembered for courtly magnificence and for initiating far-reaching changes to society and religion. But what did it mean to govern a sixteenth century country? This talk will consider the practical requirements of monarchy and the extent to which they were fulfilled by the kings and queens who took the throne, from Henry VII’s unexpected victory in battle at Bosworth Field in 1485 to Elizabeth I’s long reign and death without an heir in 1603. 

Local history: how to do it!

Liz Woolley

Have you ever wondered why the church is at one end of your village, rather than in the middle? Or what was on the corner of your street before that ugly block of flats was built? Are you investigating your family history and would like to know more about where your ancestors lived or the community they were part of? Being a local historian is rather like being a detective – great fun – and enables you to see an area in a new light.