Arts & Humanities

By Gemma Creagh - Last update

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There has never been a better time for part-time and casual historians, writers, sociologists and philosophers. The amount of information now available through media such as the Internet, TV, and print, means that it is possible to locate information on practically any topic. It is hardly surprising that conversations on the Boer War or the later works of Dickens are no longer exclusively the preserve of crusty old deans in the backrooms of universities; you are just as likely to hear a learned conversation on the arts and humanities down your local.

A Background in Arts & Humanities

Potential writers will be interested in the many courses available such as Creative Writing and Journalism. Writing is about far more than talent alone; there are many techniques to be learned in both fiction and non-fiction. A class will give structure to the development of your skills; and the feedback provided on your work, from the tutor and classmates, provides a major advantage over working alone, with nothing to bounce ideas off other than the walls of your bedroom.

In recent years, history has really caught the imagination of the general public. History-related TV programmes are some of the most watched, and history books are consistently in the non-fiction bestseller lists, battling it out with the latest autobiography by a 21 year-old footballer/glamour model. Evening courses in history are therefore very popular, and indeed are more preferable than TV shows and books because they provide an opportunity for debate. In adult education, students do not leave the knowledge they already possess at the door. Classes are also available in more specialised branches of history such as archaeology and local history.

Your Creative Options

Classes in art, music or literature appreciation are not just for people who wish to have loud and long-winded conversations at a dinner party. The teachers are not there to tell you how to feel about a piece of work, rather they inform the students about fascinating hidden or alternative meanings and provide relevant background information. Anybody who is researching for a book or thesis will find a course in art history/appreciation a rich source of material, while casual students will enjoy the simple pleasure of intellectual enlightenment for its own sake.

The arts and humanities have always helped humanity understand and interpret the world around them. Other examples of the various approaches to this task include:

  • Philosophy – tries to examine how we perceive reality, and considers concepts such as existence, morality, nature, truth and knowledge itself.
  • Sociology – looks at the social processes, interactions and rules that humans construct around them as members of groups, institutions and civilisations, and tries to determine ways of improving how we live.
  • Geography – studies the distribution of people around the globe, and how they interact with their environment.
  • Theology – describes the investigation of the nature of gods, especially in relation to human experience.

Courses in the arts and humanities will also benefit your work performance. Most industries – business, law, education, media, etc. incorporate aspects of the humanities. Apart from the direct benefits, a night course will also develop your capabilities of critical thought, problem-solving, writing, and researching.

Courses in these exciting disciplines can be found in the following pages.

Gemma Creagh

Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist. She was born in Cork, lives in Dublin, and studied in Belfast & Galway, where she graduated from NUIG’s Writing MA. She has penned articles for national publications and is the editorial assistant for Film Ireland Magazine. Gemma was the writer and co-producer of the five-part comedy ‘Rental Boys’ for RTÉ’s Storyland. Her short films have screened at festivals around the world.
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