On this page you can find details of all our previous courses.


The Business of Being an Author

Dawn Geddes

Writing a book is hard, but making a career out of being an author is harder. During this course, we will explore different ways of getting published, marketing your work online and how to gain publicity in the press. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to give your writing career a push, this practical course will help you succeed.

Naughty but Nice – The Golden Years of Warner Brothers

Matthew Jarron

Of all the studios in Hollywood’s golden age, none had the variety of talent and creativity of Warner Bros. Their films invited picture-goers into a world of gun-toting gangsters, feisty dames, wise-cracking reporters, swashbuckling heroes and a certain carrot-chomping cartoon rabbit. Through a wealth of rare extracts and complete films, this course will explore both great classics and forgotten gems made by Warners in the 1920s, 30s and 40s

The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

“Do Child Abuse Inquiries Make a Difference?”

Alyson Leslie

Alyson Leslie is an expert in child care inquiries and reviews and has investigated the deaths of children and harm to children across the UK for over 20 years. A member of the panel in the recent Jersey Inquiry, she worked with Haringey Council in the aftermath of Baby Peter’s death to see how the lessons learned from the tragedy had been implemented. At the University of Dundee she ran the Fatality Review and Investigation Studies Team considering the process for reviewing child deaths

The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

Global (Un)sustainability, Multi-National Companies and Us – Trying to make some sense of how we got into this mess – and how we might start to get out of it?

Prof. Robert Gray

There can hardly be many issues more critical to humanity and the planet than the growing evidence of global un-sustainability. It is now fairly well established that the principal causes of unsustainability arise directly from humanity and the ways in which we organise ourselves. As we begin to realise that this situation is actually, largely, inevitable, given the way we now do things, the more we see that tinkering at the edges is unlikely to do much good… but there are ways out of this!

Until his retirement in 2015, Rob Gray was Professor of Social and Environmental Accounting at the University of St Andrews. In 1991 he founded CSEAR (The Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research) and worked with a wide range of international and local commercial and non-commercial organisations including collaborations with the United Nations

The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

“Living in a Digital World”

Prof. Chris van der Kuyl

Chris van der Kuyl is an entrepreneur whose expertise combines the start-up, development and market listed business arena in the technology, media and entertainment sectors. Founder, Owner and Chairman of 4J Studios which is one of the UK’s most successful videogame developers and responsible for the multi-million selling and multi-award winning Minecraft Console editions. Minecraft is a global phenomenon and is currently on track to become the most successful videogame of all time.

Chris is a visiting professor of digital entertainment at University of Abertay Dundee and has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Dundee, an honorary Doctor of Business degree from Edinburgh Napier University and Doctor honoris causa from the University of Edinburgh

The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

“Life in the Political Fast Lane”

Iain Luke

In the High tech word the relationship between the citizen and the State is changing at an ever increasing pace. In this talk Iain will review these changes, question the validity of these and speculate as to how these will impact on us all. Can we really make a difference and is apathy a thing of the past?

During an active career in politics Iain, a Dundee graduate, has served at virtually every level of government in the UK from community council to Westminster. He has also experience of governance in a wide range of other related organisations. Teaching initially at Dundee College and then the University of Dundee, he retired last year

The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

Anglo-American accounting and finance: good for business? good for society?

Prof. David Collison

What are the economic and social consequences of traditional accounting practice? This lecture will examine the “varieties of capitalism” and their relevance for the health of society as measured by a range of social indicators. The role of accounting, finance, company law and corporate governance traditions in approaches to socio-economic organisation will be considered. David Collison is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Dundee, having retired as Professor of Accounting and Society in 2015. His research has included aspects of social and environmental accounting, with a focus latterly on international comparisons of societal well-being, and the significance of the values implicit in Anglo-American accounting and finance practice.


The World About Us 2017 – Individual Lectures

“Mirror, mirror in the mind.”

Renato Ammannati

What are mirror neutrons and why are they important? Mirror Neurons were discovered more than twenty years ago by a team of Italian scientists. These neurons are fired both when a person does a particular action, as well as when the same person sees another person perform a similar action. Because of this peculiarity, such neurons are labelled as ‘mirror neurons’. The convergence between the scientific research on human and animal imitation by mirror neurons and René Girard’s theory on psychological imitation made the Indian neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran say that mirror neurons are a discovery of paramount importance, which will do “for psychology what DNA did for biology”.

Renato studied architecture, urban planning and theology in Rome. A member of the Vatican Commission for the Preservation of Monuments and Works of Art, he worked in Italy and the Vatican State for a number of years. In 2001 he published his first book: Apocalisse. Le cose che stanno per accadere. Linearita e reversibilita del tempo nell’ Apocalisse di Giovanni, and in 2010, Rivelazione e Storia; both attempting to read the Book of Revelation through the lens of the anthropological theory developed by the French scholar, Rene Girard

Beagles and Bulldogs –  Darwin, the Reluctant Evolutionist

Neil Paterson

A look at the life and work of Charles Darwin and how he accumulated and presented the evidence for evolution by natural selection.  The course will consider how evolutionary theory has grown since and finish with a look at the influence of evolutionary ideas in 19th century English literature.

Language Matters – Language is Us

Maria Nella Carminati

An informal introduction to linguistics (the science of language) and some of its sub-disciplines (psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics),  this course offers insights into human language, a highly complex ability we take for granted.  We will consider the basic building blocks of language, how far languages of the world (including sign languages) differ, how languages change, the relationship between language and thought, how children and adults learn language, what language disorders and breakdowns tell us about the human brain,  and attitudes towards language varieties and dialects in society.


Imperial Confrontation – Rome and “Barbaricum” in the North AD 70-400

Tony Cox

These classes will investigate the course and consequences of the Roman occupation of ‘Barbaricum in the North’. Beginning in pre-history Scotland in the Neolithic age, this course will chart the coming into being of the Celtic culture, the arrival of the Romans and lastly the rise of the Picts.

In the Steps of Palladio

Renato Ammannati

Who was Andrea Palladio? Why is he universally considered one of the most influential Renaissance Italian architects?   Palladio spent his life largely within the borders of the Republic of Venice, yet his fame crossed the Alps and spread all over Europe, giving birth to a new architectural movement, Palladianism.  This course will introduce Palladio as a man and as an architect and explore the reasons for the success of Palladianism in Italy, in Europe and ultimately in America.

A Practical Introduction to Life Writing 

Josephine Jules Andrews  

Everyone has a story to tell.  Life writing might most simply be defined as the art of writing from life.  Recent years have seen an extraordinary rise in its popularity, from traditional forms of memoir, biography and personal essays, to blogs, postings on social network sites and tweets. This course will provide an introduction to life writing through examples, practical exercises and discussion of written work. Classes will include voice, genre and types of life writing, using memory, the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction and writing time in memoir.  Suitable for anyone who would like to begin life writing or develop their life writing skills.

Continuing Life WritingFamily Memoir

Josephine Jules Andrews

This is a workshop-based course for more experienced writers or those who have completed A Practical Introduction to Life Writing.  The course is suitable for students who would like to develop and work on family memoir projects through practical exercises and discussion in class.  There will be some overlap with Continuing Life Writing – Personal Memoir.

Continuing Life Writing –  Personal Memoir

Josephine Jules Andrews

This is a workshop-based course for more experienced writers or those who have completed A Practical Introduction to Life Writing and is offered for students who would like to develop and work on personal memoir projects through practical exercises and discussion in class.  There will be some overlap with Continuing Life Writing – Family Memoir.

The World Through Literature 

Various Tutors

Literature is the silent witness to our society, its past, present and possible future. Each week a tutor will select a piece of literature from their chosen genre to interpret and discuss from their own viewpoint and within the milieu of the literature itself  to stimulate discussion, provoke the imagination and awaken a passion for our written heritage.  This course is offered in both autumn and winter and a different reading list will be provided on enrolment for each session. Download the autumn reading list here:

LLD WTL Winter term reading list Jan 2018

Find our more about the tutors for Winter term here:

WTL tutor biographies winter 2018 (2)

Mussolini and Rome

Renato Ammannati

What was life like in Mussolini’s fascist Rome?  Mussolini and his movement left a remarkable footprint on Rome and its inhabitants. This course explores the controversial relationship between the “Duce” and the Eternal City, between Romans and Blackshirts, and checks what legacy Mussolini and his political ideals left in and around Rome.

The First Nation of Britain – Who were The Picts?

Tony Cox

Despite the publication of many new books and research papers, the Picts remain an elusive presence and an enigmatic people. This course aims to deepen our understanding of the Picts, who they were, where they came from and the reasons behind their sudden disappearance in the ninth century.

Shooting Stars – The Films of Anthony Asquith

Matthew Jarron

Anthony ‘Puffin’ Asquith remains one of the greatest yet most underrated film directors in the history of British cinema. This short course will explore his work in-depth, including breathtakingly imaginative silent features (Underground, A Cottage on Dartmoor) gripping wartime propaganda (We Dive at Dawn, The Way to the Stars), superlative stage adaptations (Pygmalion, The Importance of Being Earnest) and his long-running collaboration with writer Terrence Rattigan (The Browning Version, The Winslow Boy).