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Today we are 12 years old!

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Past Courses

I know some of you organise lectures for the U3A or local societies and are looking for suitable topics and lecturers. Many of our lecturers are available for one off lectures and will be happy to discuss terms with you.

After a lot of requests, we decided to leave the past courses online, so you can see what we have already done, and what the area of general interest of our lecturers is. I hope you approve.

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New exhibition co-curated by our lecturer Anthony Burton

The Elizabeth Gaskell house in Manchester is  showing from February an exhibition on
Elizabeth Gaskell’s Manchester

Elizabeth Gaskell lived in Manchester from 1832 until her death in 1865, a time of huge change and expansion for the city, which raised many challenges for its residents from the coming of the railways and the Free Trade Movement and the Reform Acts to the Cholera and the Cotton Famine on the other.

The exhibition focuses on the Politics, Commerce, Transport, Learning, Churches, the Mills, the Poor, the Shops, Art, Music and Literature.

Anthony is hoping to offer a day school in the Summer term on the topic

The Elizabeth Gaskell House at 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LW

is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11.00am – 4.30pm (last admission 4pm) enquiries: 0161 273 2215 or



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What is Heka? – An introduction to the Course

Joanne Backhouse

fertility-figurine-2 The course

Heka: The Magical Arts of Ancient Egypt

will focus on the concept of Heka (magic) in ancient Egypt. Heka was a divine force imbued in deities, the king and the dead.  It could be used for good or bad, private or state purposes.  This course will focus on two main areas.  Firstly, deities and ritual practitioners (priests and priestesses), this will include the god Heka and and the gods as healers, for example Sekhmet.  Secondly, the course will examine the objects and images created to channel the power of heka, including execration and fertility figurines, amulets, wands and spell books.

sekhmet-figure-3Although much, if not all, of Egyptian art was magical this course will examine images and objects created specifically for magical practice. A broad definition of magic will be used; which is, any activity that seeks to obtain its goal outside the natural laws of cause and effect, will be deemed magical.

This includes rituals in the home, temples and in the funeral realm; most rituals in ancient Egypt used a combination of recitation and action.

The lectures will demonstrate the assimilation of magic, medicine and religion in ancient Egypt and illustrate how magical practice was part of everyday life. As Egyptologist, Robert Ritner said, ‘one man’s magic is another man’s religion’.  The course also presents a rare opportunity to handle and photograph many magical objects from ancient Egypt at Manchester Museum.


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Late Addition to the Course “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them: living on the edge of the Roman Empire

On October 28th, 2016 we are running a dayschool in Wilmslow to address how the smaller neighbours responded to having Rome as an overmighty neighbour. As you can imagine no two people react in quite the same way, and questions of size of the state and the history between Rome and the state/tribe in question played as significant role. After all, while Parthia or the Dacians did have the power to inflict crushing defeats on the Romans, other tribes, such as the Parisi in East Yorkshire would have a lot less options in their response to Rome. However, archaeology has shown that the situation could be very fluid with Iron Age hill forts active within sight of Roman forts, as in the picture here from the XD136BGerman Limes on the Main at Miltenberg in one area, while other areas appear to have been empty of Iron Age populations and there is historic evidence for deportation and genocide.


As part of the dayschool we are happy to announce that Prof Euan MacKie from the University of Glasgow has agreed to come and talk to us about how the residents of the Iron Age Brochs in Western Scotland interacted with Rome and how the archaeological evidence can be used to reconstruct their relationship with Rome.

Prof. MacKie has just finished the final report on his excavations on the Broch of Leckie in Stirlingshire and we look forward to hearing all about his findings.

For more information or to book your course, please visit the course site at

More information on Prof MacKie can be found on numerous sites, including his Wikipedia page.

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How to contact us:

For general enquiries

Birgitta Hoffmann
MANCENT Course Director
55 Broadwalk
Wilmslow, Cheshire

email:    Phone: 0161 300 5532

mobile: 07747 533 070


For bookings or information on individual courses:
Please contact the lecturers listed for the specific courses.