Free university course being run in Knowle West

University committed to taking courses out to local communities

Main image: Adult learners taking a University of Bristol course. Picture courtesy of University of Bristol.

For some adults going back to learning can be a bit daunting – but University of Bristol is working with The Park to bring courses out into the community.

It’s about giving residents a chance to experience academic study in a familiar and friendly environment – and by dipping their toes in the water it may mean they choose to go on to study further.

The university’s life long learning courses are aimed at people from all backgrounds and with all levels of experience.

Their latest offering starting at The Park Centre on 6 October is A Look at Literature. It’s a free eight-week course helping students develop their skills in literary criticism with the support of a tutor – which has already been run with great success in the past.

Not far to travel – The Park Centre is the venue for a University of Bristol course being run in the community.

Xanthe Swift from The Park says: “We are really pleased to be able to run this course again in collaboration with Bristol University. People who have attended the group in the past have told us how much they enjoyed looking at a wide range of stories and poems in such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.”

Director of Part-Time Programmes at the University, Dr Marie-Annick Gournet, says: “…By bringing this university course to local communities, we hope to engage participants with an enjoyable and enlightening course, and create new opportunities for further development.”

The University was founded as a University College in 1876, with 238 evening students and 99 day students, and has provided lifelong learning – in various forms – to people in the city and region ever since.

Dr April Gallwey, Lecturer in English Literature and Community Engagement, University of Bristol explains: “We are committed to running free and inventive ‘taster’ courses with local residents, in the city of Bristol, to give adult learners the opportunity to experience what it’s like to study the humanities at university level.

“Our teachers relish teaching these courses and many of our participants have gone on to study part-time at university as a result of taking part.”

Knowle West resident Liam Dillon attended the last literature course at The Park and says he enjoyed going back to learning again.

Knowle West resident Liam Dillon who has taken the A Look at Literature course at The Park in the past.

He says: “I took English lit courses in the 90s and have always enjoyed reading, but some of the details around structure and style had slipped away in the many intervening years.

“This class was a great way to get a refresher in a friendly, pressure-free way. There were no exams; just weekly reading that wasn’t at all taxing followed by a friendly discussion about the subject matter that felt more like a book club than anything that should cause anxiety.

“There was also a good mix of experience levels in the class – and it was interesting to hear what people approaching some of the material for the first time thought of it – as well as getting the deeper interpretations that the tutor provided.

“The months in the run-up to the class had been extremely isolating and the class got me talking to people in a safe way again.”

A Look at Literature takes place at The Park Centre in Daventry Road from 6 October to 1 December on Wednesdays from 6-7.30pm. To book your place email english-lifelong@bristol.ac.uk or call 0117 928 8924.