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Study Days

In addition to our 12 week courses we also hold regular, one-day cultural events consisting of a series of short talks on a particular theme that are led by experts from within the University. 

These days tend to focus on a broad range of topics and issues surrounding a subject or person, and consist of a series of short talks led by experts from within the relevant department.

Discussion and debate are essential to the success of study days, so we like to keep the groups small and informal to encourage interaction - book your place early to avoid disappointment!

Study Days

Laurence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia and the Revolt in the Desert

To mark the centenary of Sharif Hussein’s forces seizing the Ottoman port of Aqaba on 6 July 1917, the fourth Great War study day focuses upon the Arab revolt against Turkish rule, and the role of archaeologist turned soldier, T.E. Lawrence.  The ‘revolt in the desert’ is placed in the context of French and British intervention in the Middle East, notably the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration; the consequences of which still resonate throughout the region known then as the Levant.  Recreated in spectacular style by David Lean in the epic Lawrence of Arabia, the capture of Aqaba opened supply lines from Egypt to Allied forces operating further north in Transjordan and Greater Palestine.  This effectively ended any lingering threat of a Turkish attack on the Suez Canal.  By examining General Allenby’s successful offensive east of Suez in 1917-18, we can assess the military significance of Lawrence’s contribution – to what extent does the legend match reality?  Before convincing Prince Feisal and other tribal chieftains to rise up Lawrence’s involvement in the Middle East was primarily as a scholar, prompting consideration of how pre-war archaeology disguised great power interest in the crumbling Ottoman empire.  Examining Lawrence before and after the First World War offers an additional perspective on continuing conflict in the Middle East and his close connection with Southampton Water.  In the 1920s and 1930s, a very public retreat from fame saw the writer of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom assume a fresh identity not once but twice, as a ranker in the Army and then the Royal Air Force.  Extended service in the RAF led to a final posting in Hythe, where Lawrence worked on the British Powerboat Company’s latest rescue launches; weekends were spent at Cloud’s Hill, his Dorset cottage, or socialising in London with the likes of Churchill or Shaw.  Since his death in 1935 popular interest in Lawrence and the revolt in the desert has never waned; fuelled by fresh revelations about his private life, and an urgent need to comprehend the creation myth upon which Saudi Arabia’s unbending monarchy claims its legitimacy.  This study day recognises our continuing fascination with ‘El Laurens’, and his place in the violent and crisis-ridden history of the Middle East over the past one hundred years. 

StartEndPlaces LeftCourse Fee 
01/07/201701/07/2017[Read More]
Image of a historical scribe

The Nature of Artworks

The Nature of Artworks


Reflecting on the varied types of artworks present us with a series of puzzles and questions about their nature. Intuitively, we distinguish between art forms that have a single instance, for example paintings and carved sculpture, and repeatable art forms that have many instances, such as pieces of music and novels. But whereas singular artworks are plausibly thought of as ordinary material objects (i.e. the painted canvas) repeatable, repeatable artworks seem to transcend any single material object or any collection of them. So what kind of thing are repeatable artworks and how are they related to the ordinary material world? Other questions include


  • Should we think of repeatable artworks as being discovered by artists or created  by them?
  • How do artworks change over time; what is the relation between these artworks and their different versions?
  • Why is it that some repeatable artworks (cast sculpture and etchings) can be forged in a way that others (literature and music) cannot?
  • What is the relation between a literary artwork and its translation? What is lost, if anything, in translation?
  • Do these questions have any import for the aesthetic value of artworks?




Dr Giulia Felappi

Professor Chris Janaway

Professor Aaron Ridley

Dr Lee Walters


StartEndPlaces LeftCourse Fee 
20/05/201720/05/2017[Read More]
Women in Firm

Women and British Film

Since the 60s, British cinema has been lauded by critics and awards ceremonies for films that fit into the genres of social realism or costume drama. Films like Kes (Ken Loach) or Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson) or, a bit in between, The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo). Some of the most internationally popular British films of recent times have been helmed by women: Mamma Mia, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, Bridget Jones’s Dairy, directed by Sharon Maguire, and even Fifty Shades of Grey, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Women directors have also created important social realist films, like Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcather, and significant costume dramas, like Amma Asante’s Belle. This study day will explore the role of women filmmakers in British film. We will discover and discuss key films by critically lauded directors, but also consider women screenwriters, documentaries by women, and British films by women immigrants. Though the numbers of women working in British film are disproportionately low, women have been central to the ongoing vitality of British cinema in a global age.

StartEndPlaces LeftCourse Fee 
06/05/201706/05/2017[Read More]

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