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University of Oxford: 1-Week "Inspiring Oxford" Summer Courses

Full details including registration are available by clicking here to take you to the University of Oxford’s website.  

Courses can be found under each of the 4 weeks listed below.  Once you have found the course which most interests you, click on the red link for that week and it will take you to the Inspiring Oxford website for details and registration.  At any time in the process, you can CONTACT Hibiscus International for more information.  

WEEK 1: Sun 30 Jun 2024 – 06 July 2024

Artificial Intelligence: An Evolution or a Revolution for 21st Diplomacy?  This course consists of five distinct, but interlocking lectures on AI’s impact on diplomacy, digital embassies, the role of big tech, AI regulation, and future foreign ministries.

Breaking Barriers: Unravelling Feminist Political Philosophy:  This course serves as an introduction to some of the central debates in contemporary feminist political theory. Explore key issues from sex and gender to the more bizarre, daring, and utopian parts of the feminist tradition.

British Cinema in the 21st Century: Industry, Context and Genre:  Examining how British cinema has evolved in the 21st Century, delve into production, distribution, and exhibition sectors. Learn how Cinema, a lens for cultural and social issues, reflects historical and contemporary national identity shifts.

Exploring Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour:  This course delves into psychological functions such as memory and forgetting, learned behaviour and its consequences, Personality, and social behaviour. Students can expect to learn a little about themselves, and quite a lot about human behaviour.

In Search of Time: The Art and Science of the Fourth Dimension:  The eternal fascination of artists, scientists, film-makers and writers alike, we explore the myriad manifestations of humankind’s engagement with time, from scratches on stone to the Theory of Relativity, from art-house cinema to the metaphysical novel.

Italian Renaissance Art: Does it Matter?:  Examine the major revolution in the arts that took place in the period called Italian Renaissance, by looking at works by key artists from Cennino to Michelangelo, and encompassing architecture, sculpture, paintings, drawings, manuals and treatises.

Oscar Wilde and the London Stage of the 1890s:  This course will discuss Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, not just as literary works but as dramas written specifically for the London theatres of the fin-de-siècle.

Queenship in Early-Modern Britain:  How far did the gender of Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots, influence their queenship? Using written and visual sources, we shall consider the impact of sixteenth-century attitudes to women on the early lives and reigns of these three queens.

The Making of Middle-earth: Tolkien and the First Age:  This course examines and discusses Tolkien’s great epics of love and sacrifice, evil and betrayal, and beauty and horror. It is suitable for enthusiasts as well as those looking for an introduction to these lesser known but equally remarkable stories.

Writing Fiction: Getting Started with your Novel:  Many feel that we have a book in us. A short and inspirational course, ideal for getting started. Together we will gather your ideas and plans, and by systematically working through the basics of fiction, learn tools to shape them into your novel.

WEEK 2: Sun 07 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024

17th-Century Dutch and Flemish Art: Rubens to Rembrandt to Vermeer:  Embark on a journey through 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art: Van Dyck & Rubens for grandeur, Hals & Lester for the elevation of the everyday, Rembrandt’s penetrating self-portraits, or Vermeer’s seducing Girl with the Pearl Earring.

King Arthur: From the Middle Ages to the Modern Day:  Who was King Arthur, what is his place in British culture, and why have we spent more than 1,000 years telling stories about him? We will explore the literature and significance of the Arthurian legend, from the Middle Ages through to the present.

Leonardo da Vinci: Art and Knowledge:  This course will look at Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, drawings and notebooks within the interdisciplinary framework of art and science. It will offer a viewing of key drawings in Oxford collections.

Savage Country: Humanity’s Changing Relationship to the Idea of Wilderness:  “Wilderness” often describes natural areas that seem untouched by humans. We will examine this controversial idea and debates about wilderness in a time of environmental crisis, through history, literature, philosophy, painting, and photography.

Strange Disturbances, Cold Embraces: The Victorian Ghost Story:  This course will discuss a selection of classic Victorian ghost stories. We will examine their common themes and motifs, analyse how different writers create atmosphere and suspense, and consider the reasons for the enduring popularity of the genre.

The Gender of Diplomacy:  We will cover historical roles, women’s participation, global impact of gender policies, and future trends in diplomacy. Includes interactive sessions and expert insights ideal for diplomacy, Gender, equality of representation and our changing world.

The Untold Cold War: Stories Beyond the Superpowers:  Challenging traditional narratives that understand the Cold War through ‘East vs. West’ paradigms, our course examines the Cold War through alternative prisms with stories that changed the directions of this ideological and geopolitical struggle.

The World on a Page: An Introduction to Writing Flash Fiction:  Flash fiction is defined as complete stories told in 1000 words or fewer. Join us for a week of writing, learning, experimenting and honing your writerly craft – and discover why flash is the ideal genre for beginners and seasoned writers alike.

Writing Psychological Thrillers:  Beginnings that hook you from the first page, tense, twisty plots and troubled characters that stay with you long after a shock ending: If you’re interested in how to write a psychological thriller, this course is for you.

“Written in my life-blood”: J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings:  An appreciation and critical appraisal of what is often called one of the great novels of the twentieth century. This course will look at the concepts, themes, inspirations, and continuing legacy of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

WEEK 3: Sun 14 Jul 2024 – 20 Jul 2024

Brushstrokes Through Time: Celebrating 200 Years of the National Gallery:  2024 marks the 200th birthday of the National Gallery, London, a temple of Early Modern European art. Explore the themes of tradition and innovation from the Renaissance to the 19th/20th centuries (Leonardo, Turner, Van Gogh, Cézanne etc).

Creative Writing For All:  A practical and discursive creative writing course which encourages students to use their own life experience as a springboard for the creation of original fiction. Absolute beginners and practising writers are equally welcome.

Digital Diplomacy: Adapting to our Modern World:  A week exploring Digital Diplomacy: covers evolution, social media use, ethical challenges, and future trends, with case studies and expert insights. Ideal for all interested in diplomacy, technology and our changing world.

Lewis Carroll’s Oxford and the Surprising Histories of Alice’s Wonderland:  Learn why, 150 years later, Alice is still so fascinating to us. This course will explore the real origins of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s in Wonderland, its hidden histories and kaleidoscopic afterlife.

The Byzantine World: An Introduction to the World of a Legendary Empire:  The course will offer an overview of the political, ecclesiastical, social and artistic history of the Byzantine Empire, the most long-lived empire in the history of the western civilisation.

The Dark Triad: Psychology of Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy:  The Dark Triad- Narcissistic, Machiavellian, Psychopathy- a very specific set of personality traits. Few people would desire or express such traits however they are often seen in leading roles in many areas.

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire:  This course explores the rise and fall of the British Empire: the greatest empire the world has ever seen. It had a tremendous impact on the history of the world and its effects are still felt today in numerous nations, including in the United Kingdom.

Under God’s Wings: Early Modern Religious Upheaval:  This course explores the changing attitudes during the medieval period, by looking at how did the religions of Catholicism, Protestantism, non-conformist Christianity, Judaism, and Islam interacted with each other in early modern England and Europe.

Women, and the Secret War:  Delve into the stirring world of secret agents in World War Two and learn about the extraordinary women of Special Operations Executive. Daring tales intertwine with tragedy to make this subject fascinating and full of interest for those who study it.

WEEK 4: Sun 04 Aug 2024 – 10 Aug 2024

Beyond the Pages: The Brontës in Context:  Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë wrote some of the most distinctive and celebrated fiction of the early nineteenth century. This course explores how they navigated themes such as the supernatural, religion, female empowerment and sexual desire.

High Performance Leadership: Arts to Sports:  High Performance Leadership – the ability to perform at the highest level consistently, repeatably and for long periods of time. Looking at a diverse range of fields, how do the very best leaders manage to do that? What tools and strategies do they use?

Keep on Creative Writing:  This creative writing course is for writers of all levels of experience and is suitable for anyone who has a desire to get their stories down onto the page, and out into the world.

Mini Masterpieces: An Introduction to Short-Form Creative Writing:  This fast-paced, hands-on week gives you a chance to try your hand at four popular and distinct forms of writing: prose poetry, micro-memoir, flash fiction and flash creative non-fiction.

Navigating Global Conversation: The Basics of Intercultural Communication Skills:  This course provides practical tools on how to efficiently communicate across the widest variety of cultural settings, with our focus areas being intercultural communication skills in translation, business and advertising.

Queens Regnant in Great Britain:  This course asks why there were no queens regnant in England or Scotland before Mary Queen of Scots, and then delves into the lives and reigns of some of the best-known and most colourful rulers in British history.

Secrets and Spies: Britain and the Second World War:  Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”, inflatable tanks, the battle in the ether to wargames underground, this course will look at Britain’s Secret War, 1939-1945, deconstructing famous battles and events such as D-Day and the Battle of Britain.

Shakespeare and the Spirits of the Age: Magic, Witchcraft and the Fantastical:  From witches on a blasted heath to magicians on a magical island, magic and the fantastical pervades Shakespeare’s work. This course examines both their dramatic effect, and what they tell us about our human condition.

‘Life, what is it but a dream’ – The Stories and Histories of Dreaming:  Dreams have always fascinated us, inspiring stories in myth, folklore, literature: stories that have changed our understanding of the unconscious. This course explores these stories and histories of dreams in history, literature and science.

Please click here for a full list of all Plenary Lectures. 

Hibiscus International is …

an award-winning travel company with 38 years of experience, offering culturally rich and authentic tours and vacations for curious travellers who seek to explore the world and live life beyond the ordinary. We strive to deliver exceptional travel services in collaboration with local suppliers, educational institutions, foundations, and businesses to help foster an understanding of diverse cultures, promote empathy, and cultivate a global perspective.

Our full-service IATA-licensed travel agency works with individuals, groups, and organizations to deliver weekend getaways, memorable family and friends vacations, milestone celebrations, and off-the-beaten-path experiences around the globe. We prioritize building respectful long-term relationships with our clients based on trust, knowledge, and professional integrity.

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