LALL offers a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year.
Upcoming offerings are listed below. Be among the first to know about upcoming offerings by signing up for our email list.
A selection of past offerings are also included below to highlight some examples of LALL programming.
Our lives are replete with changes that indicate a time of transition. These changes can happen suddenly and unexpectedly or slowly and over a long period of time. Every change begins with an ending that invites us to enter into a journey of transition. This often paradoxical journey provides the opportunity to explore our losses, while we evaluate, reorient and redefine our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, even our body and spirit.
In this 4-week series, we will explore the varied nature of transitions, which we encounter throughout our lives. Together, we will examine how we move through endings and find ourselves shifting into new territory as we emerge from dealing with our loss and grief. Tools and strategies are offered to facilitate this journey. We will also create time to share stories and listen to one another deeply. While grief and mourning that accompany loss are painful, they may also be mysteriously hope-filled when we navigate transitions with awareness and courage.
Martina C Steiger, ThD, Professor Emeritus at Holos University Graduate Seminary, is a 2013 graduate of the Master of Science program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University in New York. Her work as life coach, educator and facilitator as well as Spiritual Director and Narrative Medicine Practitioner centres on stories, the stories that shape individual experiences and relationships. In her role as Spiritual Care Facilitator at Hospice of Waterloo Region, she guides reflective workshops for staff, volunteers and the general public on how facing our own mortality invites us to live life more fully.
Almost all coverage in the West presents the ongoing war in Ukraine as a morality play, with Russia as pure evil and NATO as pure goodness. Unfortunately, that explains very little about how we got to this place of open war in Ukraine; nor does it adequately address developments in Ukraine since 2000. This lecture takes a different approach as it outlines Putin's rise to power, and the role that both he and the West have played in shaping modern Russia. Particular attention will be paid to the origins of the current war.
Leonard G. Friesen has been a professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University since 1994 and is a specialist in Imperial Russian and Soviet history. During these years, and until Covid, he made almost annual trips to Russia and Ukraine. Friesen's own roots are from the Black Sea lands and includes his mother, who was born in Soviet Ukraine in 1929.
Handel's iconic masterpiece was a sensational success from the very beginning. In the intervening 3 centuries, it has consistently retained its popularity, although the performance practice has undergone a drastic change. We'll consider how this came about and listen to a variety of recordings illustrating the work's resiliency and enduring universal appeal.
Howard Dyck is the Artistic Director of the Nota Bene Baroque Players & Singers, Artistic Director Emeritus of the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Conductor Emeritus of the Bach Elgar Choir (Hamilton). He is well known across Canada as the former programme host of Choral Concert and Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC Radio. In 2013 he was conductor-in-residence of the Kunming Nie Er Symphony Orchestra in China.
Howard’s international conducting career has taken him to twenty countries on three continents where he has conducted, among others, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir of Vienna, the Mozarteum Orchestra (Austria), the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Obretenov Choir (Bulgaria), the Bach Collegium and Gächinger Kantorei (Germany), the Taipei Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Taiwan), and the State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Russia).
His discography includes: Bach – Missa Brevis in g; Handel – Messiah Highlights (SONY Classical); Verdi – Requiem; Beethoven – Missa Solemnis (EMI); Brahms – Ein deutsches Requiem.
Singers of international distinction who have performed under Howard’s baton include: Sondra Radvanovsky, Nathalie Paulin, Measha Brueggergosman, Suzie Leblanc, Karina Gauvin, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Catherine Robbin, Maureen Forrester, Susan Platts, Daniel Taylor, Richard Margison, Ben Heppner, Rufus Müller, Michael Schade, Gary Relyea, Nathaniel Watson, John Relyea, Russell Braun, James Westman, and Nathan Berg.
Howard has received numerous honours for his musical contributions, both nationally and internationally. He holds honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, and is an Honorary Professor of Music at Yunnan Arts University (Kunming, China). Howard is a Member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. A Waterloo Region Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement Award winner, he was inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
In recent years, he has officiated at approximately 120 Canadian citizenship ceremonies, having sworn in some 6000 new Canadians.
Puzzles have been a part of popular culture for many centuries, but their role during the pandemic have been exacerbated. What are puzzles really; do they really provide a boost of brain benefits and well-being or are they just a plaything for mere moments of pleasure? This lecture will provide a brief introduction to a historical overview of puzzles while gaining insights into history and the art of solving; truly understanding why they have stood the test of time. Why should we bother deliberately trying to challenge ourselves by solving puzzles? Puzzles tease our brains, but do they provide any brain benefits, or even stave off brain degeneration? This lecture will explore new ways to integrate puzzles into your lives in ways not imagined before.
Stacy A. Costa is a Ph.D Candidate at the University of Toronto in Curriculum studies, Teacher development & a collaboration in Engineering Education. In this role, she researches advancing Knowledge Work within Education innovation to understand student’s argumentation and understanding of complex problems. She is an enigmatologist and Ted Talk Speaker. As a public speaker, she has presented to various groups (Menza, Toronto Public Library, University of Toronto) on topics such as: the Importance Puzzles for the Brain, puzzles and problem-solving in Education, and the role of puzzles in our everyday lives. As a puzzle designer, she has created work for The Toronto Star, Kellogg’s Cereal & The Government of Ontario. She also is actively pursuing research on puzzles and the brain.
Have you ever wondered what makes a map 'work'? And how come (almost) all of us know how to read the 'language of maps' and decipher such a stark abstraction of reality? In this fun lecture packed with visuals, I will take you into the world of maps. We will examine how maps are used - as well as misused for disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation.
Michael Imort received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Ever the geographer, he took the long way to get there, studying at Brock, York, Waterloo, and Freiburg, Germany, with stints in the Arctic, Hawaii, Mali, and Zaire (now the DR of Congo), and a teaching appointment in an English castle—not to mention the days when he worked as a lumberjack or ran a bookstore. When the time came to get serious, he joined the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he currently is an Associate Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography. Originally trained as a forest scientist with an interest in fire ecology, he soon became interested in the human side of environmental problems. Today his research interests include environmental ethics and the many ways in which representations of landscape are used and abused for political purposes.
This brief lesson will describe why some people commit multiple murder. We will differentiate between serial killers, mass murderers and school shooters. The childhood and common characteristics of serial killers will be discussed. We will also explore what causes a person to start shooting people from a hotel room or why some young people shoot their classmates. There will also be a brief introduction to profiling.
In the 1880s photographers began to promote the use of the camera to determine placing in sport, predicting there would never again be a tie or dead-heat. Today, advanced photo-finish systems divide the second into 10,000ths yet ties and dead-heats remain common from local races to the Olympic Games. How can this be? This lecture offers a history of the photo-finish as both a technological and human problem. It explains why, despite more than a century of technological advancements, we are no closer in 2022 to eradicating the dead-heat than we were in the 1880s. And it also explains why we won’t stop trying.
Dr. Jonathan Finn is a Professor of Communication Studies. He teaches and researches in the fields of visual communication, sport studies and surveillance studies. He is the author of Capturing the Criminal Image: From Mug Shots to Surveillance Society and Visual Communication & Culture: Images in Action. His most recent book is Beyond the Finish Line: Images, Evidence and the History of the Photo-Finish (McGill-Queens 2020) and he is currently studying self-tracking technologies in health and fitness.
Everyone's got a story, but it's not always written down. In this talk, Dr. Tanis MacDonald will talk about methods of writing from life experience, the new cultural appetite for personal essays and memoir, and why creative nonfiction is so popular.
Tanis MacDonald is the author of Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female and six other books. Winner of the Open Season Awards for Nonfiction, she is originally from the prairies and is now Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She hosts the podcast Watershed Writers.
In the eighteenth century, it seemed the British public were drowning in gin. The powerful and cheap intoxicant stirred up public fears about poverty, vice, and how drinking could spell ruin to a population. In this talk I will examine this social panic, explain how it came to be, and what it tells us about drinking cultures.
Amy Milne-Smith is Associate Professor of History at Laurier. She is a specialist in Victorian British culture and gender history and has written books on the gentlemen’s clubs of London and madmen in Victorian England. She also teaches a popular course on the history of alcohol.
5 p.m. | Enjoy Oktoberfest inspired appetizers while you mingle with fellow members of the Laurier community
5:30 p.m. | Keg tapping – All attendees are invited to enjoy a drink from the keg or grab their preferred beverage from the bar
6 p.m. | Oktoberfest: The History of Germany’s Most Famous Festival Lecture with Professor James Skidmore (see lecture details below)
7 p.m. | Enjoy an Oktoberfest dinner with all the fixings – including schnitzel, potato salad and apple strudel!
Oktoberfest: The History of Germany’s Most Famous Festival Lecture with Professor James Skidmore
Professor Skidmore will describe how the original Oktoberfest, a horse race held in 1810 to mark a Bavarian royal wedding, grew into a festival celebrated throughout the world. The festival’s history reflects not only the history of Germany, but also the history of German migration in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to explaining some of the most common practices and oddities of Oktoberfest, Prof. Skidmore will also reflect on what it means to celebrate a German festival in Waterloo Region, a community whose connections to Germany are less prominent than they once were.
James Skidmore is Director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, a research institute at the University of Waterloo, and a long-time LALL instructor.
The Grand River, a Canadian heritage river, was formed by the remnants of the Wisconsin Ice Age thousands of years ago. Indigenous people have travelled and lived in the area of the Grand River watershed for hundreds of years.
On Oct. 25, 1784, Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Québec, on behalf of King George III, signed a decree that granted a tract of land, six miles (10 kms) wide on either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth, to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), also known as the Six Nations, in compensation for their alliance with British forces during the American Revolution (1775–1783).
On Feb. 5, 1798, this land was parcelled out in six large blocks to specific purchasers. These later developed into towns that still exist today: the Township of Dumfries, Waterloo Township, Waterloo County, Pilkington Township in Wellington County, Woolwich Township in Waterloo County and Nichol Township in Wellington County.
This lecture and subsequent bus tour will explore the natural history of the Grand River watershed from Waterloo to Elora and Fergus, including the Elora Gorge.
Learn about the early people, such as Augustus Jones, Joseph Brant, Robert Pilkington, William Gilkison, Adam Fergusson, James Webster and William Wallace, who had a vision to settle this area.
Discover the importance of other early personalities, such as Dr. Abraham Groves, Charles Kirk Clarke, David Boyle, the Beatty Brothers, John Connon and others, who influenced the business and political life of the area.
A visit and presentation will be made to the Wellington County Museum and Archives, a National Historic Site and the oldest remaining House of Industry in Canada. It was built in 1877 as a "Poor House" or place of refuge for the poor, homeless, and destitute people in Wellington County.
Note: There will be multiple stops throughout the bus tour where participants will need to get on and off the bus, with limited walking. It is recommended that participants consider their own mobility when registering.
The cost of the course includes:
Warren Stauch is a life-long resident of Kitchener who has a keen interest in the geography and history of the Waterloo Region and the Grand River watershed.
Warren earned an honours BA in Geography at Waterloo Lutheran University in 1968 and then a MA in Geography at Wilfrid Laurier University in 1978. After a year at Althouse College of Education in London, ON, Warren taught Geography for 30 years in three high schools before retiring in June 1999.
In 1967, Warren was asked to be a step-on guide for the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and has been leading bus tours of the local area for the past 51 years.
In retirement, Warren has taught interest courses for seniors at the Laurier Association for Life-Long Learning in Waterloo. In addition to bus tours, Warren also does local historical walking tours, and presents slides shows on a variety of topics.
Warren has been married to Martha, a retired Language teacher, for 48 years, and volunteers in the community and sits on a number of boards. He is a Board member on the Grand River Conservation Authority and chair of the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation.
Warren has been the recipient of a number of awards and honours. In Jan. 2017, he was the recipient of the Mayor’s Community Builder Award for the City of Kitchener.
Imitation is a time-honored way to understand more deeply and get more proficient at any art or skill, whether it’s cooking, painting, dancing, composing, acting, or designing clothes. Beginning chefs start by following a recipe closely, and then eventually, as they get the technique down, they add their own flare to the dish. The same is true for writing. By carefully examining how accomplished writers work, by copying what they do, we become better writers!
In this course, we will explore poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction by first imitating the masters to create our own masterpieces.
Christin Taylor is the author of two books. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Sojourners. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University of Los Angeles and is currently completing her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric at University of Waterloo. In addition to writing, Christin has taught composition and creative writing since 2006 at universities and colleges across North America. To read more about Christin and her writing, visit www.christintaylor.com.
Come explore the rich history of the Renaissance!
In this course, we’ll revisit the extraordinary legacy of some of history’s greatest creators, and examine the links between them. Starting with a quick introductory survey, we’ll dive into the works of the most important artists and musicians of the time—Donatello, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dufay, Josquin, and more—with an eye toward how the social, intellectual, and political atmosphere of the day was reflected in their magnificence. Some of the topics we’ll discuss:
Dr. Alma Santosuosso is professor emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she taught music history for thirty-three years. She has published six books and several articles on the topics of mediaeval notation and music theory manuscripts, including a three-volume series on Music Theory in Mediaeval Normandy.
What does aging mean to you? Do you consider yourself an elder? What difference exists between “age-ing” and “sage-ing?” What is eldering and how does it compare to aging? And how might your understanding of conscious eldering support your own sense of wellbeing and that of the larger community?
In this multidisciplinary course, we will explore these questions and engage in conversation about their significance in our third act of life. Aging is a natural process of life we tend to celebrate when we are young. When we grow into older adulthood, many of us cherish the gifts and opportunities that are deeply meaningful to us. Along with the joys and strengths that arise, though, new challenges emerge. We may be aware of physical changes and decline. We may feel anxious about our financial situation or anticipate failure of our cognitive faculties. We may struggle with a potential loss of independence. We may be fearful of isolation or loneliness and uncertain when facing loss, illness, death, grief and the realities of our own mortality.
A shift to conscious eldering contributes to our ability to harness our intelligence, courage, resilience, passion and grace to cope well with change and the new complexities that circumstances might provide. Through stories, videos, art and poetry we will journey through a life review in all seven dimensions of wellness. When we confront the challenges and opportunities of aging, we increase and deepen our potential to cope along with our passion and sense of purpose. We then create the space to serve as storytellers, wisdomkeepers and stewards, in short, as “elders.”
This course explores the meaning of “age-ing” and “sage-ing” and its implications for ourselves and the world around us. We will examine a reimagined model of conscious eldering that can serve as a foundation to supporting ourselves and future generations in a sustainable, joyful and purposeful fashion.
Martina C Steiger, ThD, Professor Emeritus at Holos University Graduate Seminary, is a 2013 graduate of the Master of Science program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University in New York. She currently works as a narrative coach, transformative educator and Narrative Medicine Practitioner in private practice. Facilitation of reflective workshops for staff and volunteers at the Hospice of Waterloo Region constitutes a significant aspect of her work.
This course is a new round of the Families in Film series. Previous participation in a Families in Film course is not required.
This year’s theme focuses on the experiences of those who live through conflict and war across the globe. Troubled times can both fragment families and force strangers together, so our theme will include a range of groups living together. Despite the horrors of war, there is love and hope in these films as well as suffering and tragedy.
As in previous offerings in this series, the ﬁlms have been selected from around the world to provide glimpses into other cultural, social, and family contexts. Titles TBA. Each of the four classes will last for three hours, allowing for a brief introduction of salient background, full viewing of the ﬁlm and discussion afterwards.
Professor Emeritus Deena Mandell taught in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work until June 2017. She has been a guest teacher in countries ranging China and Taiwan to Israel, Malta and Ireland. Her research and teaching have focused largely on families in interaction with social systems… and she loves movies.
In this course we will explore the exciting world of science. In each class we will look at a different discipline of science and discuss some of the great discoveries and how they have contributed to our society.
We will look at scientific disciplines that will include psychology, physiology, bacteriology, chemistry, environmental studies and astronomy. We will take a general look at each topic and highlight how these disciplines overlap with one another and influence our everyday life. Each session we will also focus on a current news article that relates to each discipline and you will develop an understanding of how to interpret the scientific findings and the ability share this scientific knowledge with your family and community.
Dr. Marcia Chaudet is an Educational Developer in Teaching and Learning here at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also a sessional instructor at the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo and has taught a range of biology and science undergraduate courses. She received her PhD in Science from the University of Waterloo and focused her research on the role of bacteria in human sugar digestion. Through her research and teachings in the sciences she strives to invoke student’s sense of curiosity in science and question the world of biology that surrounds them.
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