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UPCOMING EVENTS

Gain perspective on significant moments in history. Learn about people and cultures from around the globe. Prepare for your post-career life. Investigate the latest break throughs in science and technology.

LearningLife offers a high level of academic learning taught by outstanding faculty and community experts at world-class university. Costs range from $15-$160, depending on the number of sessions offered and their length.

Once you register, you become a member of the Learning Circle, which entitles you to discounts on future courses and events. Visit the Discounts page for full details on this and other discount programs.

Sign up for the LearningLife e-newsletter to receive timely alerts about upcoming events.

Courses and Events Listing

Art and Design

Renaissance Lives: The Men and Women Who Made the Modern World
From Michelangelo, Borgia, and Montaigne, to Cervantes, Machiavelli, and Elizabeth I, this course surveys the incandescent figures of the 15th and 16th centuries whose achievements defined the Renaissance and helped shape the world we now recognize as our own.

Pablo Picasso: His Life and Art
At seven, Pablo Picasso was already completing masterful compositions. He left art school in his teens not because he had nothing more to learn, but because his teachers said they had nothing more to teach him. By 20, he was already a household name in Paris and well on his way to beginning the Modernist movement. Join us for this comprehensive look at one of the pre-eminent painters of the 20th century.

Taiko Drumming: History and Hands-On
LearningLife is bringing the noise (and beauty)! Join us for this one-day immersion as we delve into the compelling history of Japanese drums (taiko), a dynamic modern art form that joyfully blends martial arts, driving rhythms, and expressive physicality. And, yes: participants will get their hands on those beautiful drums.

The Stories We Carry
This is a course for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and telling their story with care. This means, with attention to craft and a desire to not just relate, but to reach and delight readers through the power of story.

Familiar Faces: Photographing Family and Friends
Births, graduations, weddings, reunions--these are some of the celebrations documented in family photo albums. Whether it's a leather-bound portfolio or an electronic folder, the most important task is to honor and record the event. And yet, so often these images don't turn out as well as we'd like, and the subjects appear more like cardboard cutouts than anything resembling our favorite aunt or long-lost cousin.

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Encore Transitions

Encore Transitions Series: Preparing for Post-Career Life
What might your meaningful post-career life look like? What are your preferred routes for getting there? Will you have enough income? Will you want or need to continue working? How will you maintain a sense of purpose in your daily life? Encore Transitions is a pioneering series of courses designed to help you create pathways and prepare for a successful post-career life.

Encore Transitions: Launching Your Future
Whether it involves work, family, health, lifestyle, or where we call home, some form of encore transition is an inevitable part of life. But how do we prevent these changes from imposing themselves on us and instead, take positive action that allows us to steer our own ship and make our own choices? This course will help you take the daunting leap from thought to action.

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History and Society

Renaissance Lives: The Men and Women Who Made the Modern World
From Michelangelo, Borgia, and Montaigne, to Cervantes, Machiavelli, and Elizabeth I, this course surveys the incandescent figures of the 15th and 16th centuries whose achievements defined the Renaissance and helped shape the world we now recognize as our own.

The Philosophy of Aging
From infancy and childhood to old age and the possibility of an afterlife, this immersion explores aging from many points of view. We will compare the chronological, biological, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of aging, and ask questions such as, why is old age honored in some, but not all cultures? What are the responsibilities that come with age? What do children owe their parents and vice versa?

Unfriending Al-Qaida: The Rise of a Post-Bin Laden Internet Generation
Join Jarret Brachman, an internationally renowned counterterrorism specialist, to learn about the current state of Al-Qaida and how some of its members are using social media to wage a war amongst one another. From #greenbirds to #blackflags, Brachman will give you an insider's look at the movement's online spaces, products, and conversations. He's not called a "laptop James Bond" for nothin'.

Shining Armor: Stories of the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages was one of the most violent times in English history (see: The Rack or Chair of Torture), yet also one the most beautiful and influential eras in literature. The ideas and tropes that originated from these narratives still resonate with readers and audiences today. How? Join us for a romp with fair maidens, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and a dragon-slayer (or two) and find out.

Slainte! A Condensed History of Ireland Through Traditional Food, Music, and Song

The music of Ireland has long ignited people's imaginations and who better to share that music than Irish button accordion master Paddy O'Brien and traditional singer Erin Hart? In this festive run-up to Saint Patrick's Day, you'll survey the history of Ireland through its music, as you taste your way through the culinary traditions of that small but storied isle.

Gender, Love, Intimacy: Sexuality Across the Lifespan
Let's just put it out there: your sexual education is incomplete. Many of us do not receive more than a rudimentary sexual education, one that covers contraception and disease in a cursory manner. In this timely course, we'll underscore how sexual health and well-being is important across the lifespan and learn to appreciate the different ways we are, and become, sexually healthy.

The American Indian in Minnesota
The American Indian history most of us learn as schoolchildren is founded on a European perspective. This comprehensive course focuses on the history and culture of American Indian people in the state of Minnesota, particularly the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and Dakota, from the initial contact with Europeans, reservations and boarding schools, to the many facets of contemporary indigenous life.

A Conversation with George Latimer: A Life in Politics
George Latimer served six terms as mayor of St. Paul, arguably doing more to reimagine and redefine the city than any mayor before him. Join LearningLife for this special seminar during which Latimer will discuss, with typical wit and bravado, his life in Minnesota politics (and what Minnesota politicians still have to learn).

Religion and Modern American Politics
The United States is a country that guarantees freedom of worship for all and forbids government from establishing religion. So how is it that issues related to politics and religion have intersected, again and again, since our nation's founding? This course explores this perplexing relationship using four illustrative subjects from our nation's past and the present day.

In the Shadow of War
Even after it has ended, war continues to cast shadows over all who are touched by it, either directly or indirectly, and this course will focus on two novels that examine war's aftermath. Structured like a monthly book club, two sessions will be dedicated to Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng's, The Garden of Evening Mists, and the final session to Canadian author Frances Itani's, Deafening.

Dan Brown Meets Dante: A Descent Into Two "Infernos"
Authors Dan Brown and Dante may not appear to have much in common. But don't be so sure. Structured like a book club, this course will focus on Brown's novel, Inferno, and compare it with the first part of Dante's The Divine Comedy. As you descend into two Infernos, you may discover that the human preoccupations of the late Middle Ages are no different from our own.

The Risible, Ludicrous, and Serious History of Laughter and the Sense of Humor
Anthropology, literature, and language history, these are just a few fields that allow us to reconstruct the changing functions of laughter over time--from a perfectly humorless spasmodic cough to the reaction aroused by the most subtle of jokes. Learn about this salient characteristic of Homo sapiens: the history of how and why we laugh, and what it meant and now means when we say someone has a sense of humor.

Genomes: Understanding The Body's Ancestry
It's complicated, but grasshoppers and elephants are built from the same arrangement of just four chemical bases. How? A little (and huge) thing called genomes. In this fascinating seminar, participants will discover the amazing world of ancestry and genomes and how they hold the key to what makes you you.

Discovering Stem Cells
This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about stem cells: their biological properties, what they do, how they work, what they can be used for, and more. We'll also explore the ethical and social issues surrounding stem cell use.

Dogs: The Class
Lassie, Lad, Rin Tin Tin, Snoopy...we love our dogs! They save us from burning buildings, comfort us in times of distress, and drop all manner of gifts at our feet. We even sent one to space (Laika, if you'll recall, in 1957). In this course, you'll discover all you need to know about dogs, from evolution to behavior to training. Woof!

Archaeology in Minnesota: The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region
The history of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is not all fur traders and Father Hennepin, though those topics are important in their own right. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Dakota and other native peoples led a thriving, unspoiled existence, the evidence of which is still present. Join us for this fascinating glimpse into the archaeological prehistory of Minnesota.

The Aquaponics Solution
The demand for food struggles to keep pace with the world's ever-increasing population, but the rise of local, sustainable food systems offer several solutions, including aquaponics, a system of growing plants in water that has been used to cultivate aquatic organisms. Join an environmental scientist as he discusses two sustainable and economically viable models for aquaponic food production in Minnesota.

Pablo Picasso: His Life and Art
At seven, Pablo Picasso was already completing masterful compositions. He left art school in his teens not because he had nothing more to learn, but because his teachers said they had nothing more to teach him. By 20, he was already a household name in Paris and well on his way to beginning the Modernist movement. Join us for this comprehensive look at one of the pre-eminent painters of the 20th century.

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Literature and Reading

Shining Armor: Stories of the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages was one of the most violent times in English history (see: The Rack or Chair of Torture), yet also one the most beautiful and influential eras in literature. The ideas and tropes that originated from these narratives still resonate with readers and audiences today. How? Join us for a romp with fair maidens, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and a dragon-slayer (or two) and find out.

In the Shadow of War
Even after it has ended, war continues to cast shadows over all who are touched by it, either directly or indirectly, and this course will focus on two novels that examine war's aftermath. Structured like a monthly book club, two sessions will be dedicated to Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng's, The Garden of Evening Mists, and the final session to Canadian author Frances Itani's, Deafening.

The Native Woman in Literature
From the doe-eyed princess on your tub of creamy butter to the inarticulate Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, the American imagination has proved stubbornly unimaginative when it comes to the portrayal of Native women. In this book club, we'll read the work of three Native women who are leading a re-examination and renaissance of the Native woman in literature.

Mistress of Myself: Three Essential Novels by Jane Austen
Ah, the importance of reading Jane Austen! Whether you are new to Jane Austen or have enjoyed revisiting her novels through the years, this is the book club for you. We'll read and explore three of Austen's most beloved works, discuss her legacy as a writer, and explore the continued relevance of her social critiques.

Dan Brown Meets Dante: A Descent Into Two "Infernos"
Authors Dan Brown and Dante may not appear to have much in common. But don't be so sure. Structured like a book club, this course will focus on Brown's novel, Inferno, and compare it with the first part of Dante's The Divine Comedy. As you descend into two Infernos, you may discover that the human preoccupations of the late Middle Ages are no different from our own.

The Stories We Carry
This is a course for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and telling their story with care. This means, with attention to craft and a desire to not just relate, but to reach and delight readers through the power of story.

rss link icon

Living Well

The Philosophy of Aging
From infancy and childhood to old age and the possibility of an afterlife, this immersion explores aging from many points of view. We will compare the chronological, biological, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of aging, and ask questions such as, why is old age honored in some, but not all cultures? What are the responsibilities that come with age? What do children owe their parents and vice versa?

America del sur: Regiones, Vinas y Vinos
Join sommelier Leslee Miller on this active armchair trip from Chile and Argentina to the coastline of Patagonia and Uruguay, where you'll sip and learn about the grape varietals and world-class growing regions of South America--one of the fastest growing wine regions in the world.

Gender, Love, Intimacy: Sexuality Across the Lifespan
Let's just put it out there: your sexual education is incomplete. Many of us do not receive more than a rudimentary sexual education, one that covers contraception and disease in a cursory manner. In this timely course, we'll underscore how sexual health and well-being is important across the lifespan and learn to appreciate the different ways we are, and become, sexually healthy.

Encore Transitions Series: Preparing for Post-Career Life
What might your meaningful post-career life look like? What are your preferred routes for getting there? Will you have enough income? Will you want or need to continue working? How will you maintain a sense of purpose in your daily life? Encore Transitions is a pioneering series of courses designed to help you create pathways and prepare for a successful post-career life.

Encore Transitions: Launching Your Future
Whether it involves work, family, health, lifestyle, or where we call home, some form of encore transition is an inevitable part of life. But how do we prevent these changes from imposing themselves on us and instead, take positive action that allows us to steer our own ship and make our own choices? This course will help you take the daunting leap from thought to action.

Body/Mind Bootcamp
The path to whole health is not an arduous, painful one; instead, it is a quiet, often joyful journey of self-discovery that begins with the concept of mind-body-spirit awareness. In this one-day, "be-well bootcamp," we'll discover the simple tools needed to keep our bodies and minds in shape and ready to transport us on the next leg of our journey.

The Risible, Ludicrous, and Serious History of Laughter and the Sense of Humor
Anthropology, literature, and language history, these are just a few fields that allow us to reconstruct the changing functions of laughter over time--from a perfectly humorless spasmodic cough to the reaction aroused by the most subtle of jokes. Learn about this salient characteristic of Homo sapiens: the history of how and why we laugh, and what it meant and now means when we say someone has a sense of humor.

The Brain: Understanding Injury and Trauma
What happens when the brain, that endlessly complex and fascinating organ, the one that makes us us, becomes damaged or compromised? In this course, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of injuries and illnesses of the brain, as well as the current advances in research and treatment.

Being Human
The fundamental question that has transfixed humankind for centuries is: who am I? Our quest to understand our existence encompasses journeys through faith, science, and philosophical inquiry. In this unique course, participants will seek, search, and ponder the question of what it means to be human.

The Stories We Carry
This is a course for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and telling their story with care. This means, with attention to craft and a desire to not just relate, but to reach and delight readers through the power of story.

Familiar Faces: Photographing Family and Friends
Births, graduations, weddings, reunions--these are some of the celebrations documented in family photo albums. Whether it's a leather-bound portfolio or an electronic folder, the most important task is to honor and record the event. And yet, so often these images don't turn out as well as we'd like, and the subjects appear more like cardboard cutouts than anything resembling our favorite aunt or long-lost cousin.

rss link icon

Science and the Environment

Gender, Love, Intimacy: Sexuality Across the Lifespan
Let's just put it out there: your sexual education is incomplete. Many of us do not receive more than a rudimentary sexual education, one that covers contraception and disease in a cursory manner. In this timely course, we'll underscore how sexual health and well-being is important across the lifespan and learn to appreciate the different ways we are, and become, sexually healthy.

Genomes: Understanding The Body's Ancestry
It's complicated, but grasshoppers and elephants are built from the same arrangement of just four chemical bases. How? A little (and huge) thing called genomes. In this fascinating seminar, participants will discover the amazing world of ancestry and genomes and how they hold the key to what makes you you.

Discovering Stem Cells
This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about stem cells: their biological properties, what they do, how they work, what they can be used for, and more. We'll also explore the ethical and social issues surrounding stem cell use.

The Brain: Understanding Injury and Trauma
What happens when the brain, that endlessly complex and fascinating organ, the one that makes us us, becomes damaged or compromised? In this course, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of injuries and illnesses of the brain, as well as the current advances in research and treatment.

Being Human
The fundamental question that has transfixed humankind for centuries is: who am I? Our quest to understand our existence encompasses journeys through faith, science, and philosophical inquiry. In this unique course, participants will seek, search, and ponder the question of what it means to be human.

Dogs: The Class
Lassie, Lad, Rin Tin Tin, Snoopy...we love our dogs! They save us from burning buildings, comfort us in times of distress, and drop all manner of gifts at our feet. We even sent one to space (Laika, if you'll recall, in 1957). In this course, you'll discover all you need to know about dogs, from evolution to behavior to training. Woof!

Archaeology in Minnesota: The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region
The history of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is not all fur traders and Father Hennepin, though those topics are important in their own right. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Dakota and other native peoples led a thriving, unspoiled existence, the evidence of which is still present. Join us for this fascinating glimpse into the archaeological prehistory of Minnesota.

The Aquaponics Solution
The demand for food struggles to keep pace with the world's ever-increasing population, but the rise of local, sustainable food systems offer several solutions, including aquaponics, a system of growing plants in water that has been used to cultivate aquatic organisms. Join an environmental scientist as he discusses two sustainable and economically viable models for aquaponic food production in Minnesota.

rss link icon

World View

Renaissance Lives: The Men and Women Who Made the Modern World
From Michelangelo, Borgia, and Montaigne, to Cervantes, Machiavelli, and Elizabeth I, this course surveys the incandescent figures of the 15th and 16th centuries whose achievements defined the Renaissance and helped shape the world we now recognize as our own.

The Philosophy of Aging
From infancy and childhood to old age and the possibility of an afterlife, this immersion explores aging from many points of view. We will compare the chronological, biological, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of aging, and ask questions such as, why is old age honored in some, but not all cultures? What are the responsibilities that come with age? What do children owe their parents and vice versa?

Unfriending Al-Qaida: The Rise of a Post-Bin Laden Internet Generation
Join Jarret Brachman, an internationally renowned counterterrorism specialist, to learn about the current state of Al-Qaida and how some of its members are using social media to wage a war amongst one another. From #greenbirds to #blackflags, Brachman will give you an insider's look at the movement's online spaces, products, and conversations. He's not called a "laptop James Bond" for nothin'.

Shining Armor: Stories of the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages was one of the most violent times in English history (see: The Rack or Chair of Torture), yet also one the most beautiful and influential eras in literature. The ideas and tropes that originated from these narratives still resonate with readers and audiences today. How? Join us for a romp with fair maidens, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and a dragon-slayer (or two) and find out.

Slainte! A Condensed History of Ireland Through Traditional Food, Music, and Song

The music of Ireland has long ignited people's imaginations and who better to share that music than Irish button accordion master Paddy O'Brien and traditional singer Erin Hart? In this festive run-up to Saint Patrick's Day, you'll survey the history of Ireland through its music, as you taste your way through the culinary traditions of that small but storied isle.

America del sur: Regiones, Vinas y Vinos
Join sommelier Leslee Miller on this active armchair trip from Chile and Argentina to the coastline of Patagonia and Uruguay, where you'll sip and learn about the grape varietals and world-class growing regions of South America--one of the fastest growing wine regions in the world.

The American Indian in Minnesota
The American Indian history most of us learn as schoolchildren is founded on a European perspective. This comprehensive course focuses on the history and culture of American Indian people in the state of Minnesota, particularly the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and Dakota, from the initial contact with Europeans, reservations and boarding schools, to the many facets of contemporary indigenous life.

Religion and Modern American Politics
The United States is a country that guarantees freedom of worship for all and forbids government from establishing religion. So how is it that issues related to politics and religion have intersected, again and again, since our nation's founding? This course explores this perplexing relationship using four illustrative subjects from our nation's past and the present day.

In the Shadow of War
Even after it has ended, war continues to cast shadows over all who are touched by it, either directly or indirectly, and this course will focus on two novels that examine war's aftermath. Structured like a monthly book club, two sessions will be dedicated to Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng's, The Garden of Evening Mists, and the final session to Canadian author Frances Itani's, Deafening.

Genomes: Understanding The Body's Ancestry
It's complicated, but grasshoppers and elephants are built from the same arrangement of just four chemical bases. How? A little (and huge) thing called genomes. In this fascinating seminar, participants will discover the amazing world of ancestry and genomes and how they hold the key to what makes you you.

Discovering Stem Cells
This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about stem cells: their biological properties, what they do, how they work, what they can be used for, and more. We'll also explore the ethical and social issues surrounding stem cell use.

The Aquaponics Solution
The demand for food struggles to keep pace with the world's ever-increasing population, but the rise of local, sustainable food systems offer several solutions, including aquaponics, a system of growing plants in water that has been used to cultivate aquatic organisms. Join an environmental scientist as he discusses two sustainable and economically viable models for aquaponic food production in Minnesota.

Taiko Drumming: History and Hands-On
LearningLife is bringing the noise (and beauty)! Join us for this one-day immersion as we delve into the compelling history of Japanese drums (taiko), a dynamic modern art form that joyfully blends martial arts, driving rhythms, and expressive physicality. And, yes: participants will get their hands on those beautiful drums.

rss link icon

Saturday Morning Seminars

A Conversation with George Latimer: A Life in Politics
George Latimer served six terms as mayor of St. Paul, arguably doing more to reimagine and redefine the city than any mayor before him. Join LearningLife for this special seminar during which Latimer will discuss, with typical wit and bravado, his life in Minnesota politics (and what Minnesota politicians still have to learn).

Genomes: Understanding The Body's Ancestry
It's complicated, but grasshoppers and elephants are built from the same arrangement of just four chemical bases. How? A little (and huge) thing called genomes. In this fascinating seminar, participants will discover the amazing world of ancestry and genomes and how they hold the key to what makes you you.

Archaeology in Minnesota: The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region
The history of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is not all fur traders and Father Hennepin, though those topics are important in their own right. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Dakota and other native peoples led a thriving, unspoiled existence, the evidence of which is still present. Join us for this fascinating glimpse into the archaeological prehistory of Minnesota.

The Aquaponics Solution
The demand for food struggles to keep pace with the world's ever-increasing population, but the rise of local, sustainable food systems offer several solutions, including aquaponics, a system of growing plants in water that has been used to cultivate aquatic organisms. Join an environmental scientist as he discusses two sustainable and economically viable models for aquaponic food production in Minnesota.

rss link icon

One-day Immersions

The Philosophy of Aging
From infancy and childhood to old age and the possibility of an afterlife, this immersion explores aging from many points of view. We will compare the chronological, biological, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of aging, and ask questions such as, why is old age honored in some, but not all cultures? What are the responsibilities that come with age? What do children owe their parents and vice versa?

Body/Mind Bootcamp
The path to whole health is not an arduous, painful one; instead, it is a quiet, often joyful journey of self-discovery that begins with the concept of mind-body-spirit awareness. In this one-day, "be-well bootcamp," we'll discover the simple tools needed to keep our bodies and minds in shape and ready to transport us on the next leg of our journey.

Taiko Drumming: History and Hands-On
LearningLife is bringing the noise (and beauty)! Join us for this one-day immersion as we delve into the compelling history of Japanese drums (taiko), a dynamic modern art form that joyfully blends martial arts, driving rhythms, and expressive physicality. And, yes: participants will get their hands on those beautiful drums.

Familiar Faces: Photographing Family and Friends
Births, graduations, weddings, reunions--these are some of the celebrations documented in family photo albums. Whether it's a leather-bound portfolio or an electronic folder, the most important task is to honor and record the event. And yet, so often these images don't turn out as well as we'd like, and the subjects appear more like cardboard cutouts than anything resembling our favorite aunt or long-lost cousin.

rss link icon

View all events by start date

Encore Transitions Series: Preparing for Post-Career Life
Starts: 10/31/2014. Daytime course

Renaissance Lives: The Men and Women Who Made the Modern World
Starts: 11/12/2014. four-session short course

Unfriending Al-Qaida: The Rise of a Post-Bin Laden Internet Generation
Starts: 11/19/2014. two-session course

Encore Transitions: Launching Your Future
Starts: 12/05/2014. Daytime course

Genomes: Understanding The Body's Ancestry
Starts: 12/06/2014. Saturday morning seminar

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Headliners

Because of the timely nature of Headliners, each month's subject and speaker is announced just weeks before the event. See the Headliners page for details on the next event.


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