In the society of knowledge, learning does not end with formal education but continues throughout life and it does not always have a pragmatic goal. The university professors often have expertise that may be attractive to people with very different interests and backgrounds.
This is the case of Francisca Vives, professor in the Art History Department, which organized a course on Gothic art in Vitoria-Gasteiz from March to June 2015. The participants? Thirty people with personal interest in the topic. It is a predominantly female group that mixes working professionals with retirees or housewives. The course was held at the Faculty of Arts at the UPV/EHU two days a week, in the afternoon (19: 30-21: 00 hours) to accommodate the needs of a diverse group.
The city of Vitoria-Gasteiz has a long tradition of organizing cultural courses for its inhabitants. Francisca has taught other courses in art history in places like the Montehermoso Centre and has come to know different people with interest in the subject. This time, the city's offer did not satisfy those interests and a group of people who knew her from previous courses asked her to organize a monograph on Gothic art.
The course has addressed issues such as the Gothic architecture in England, Gothic sculpture in Spain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, or the arts of colour (linear Gothic, stained glass, miniature, painting...). "The level I teach in these courses is not lower than what I teach at the university," Francisca clarified, while recognizing that "it adapts to an audience that does not have to have previous knowledge of art history."
Enrolment management and organizing the course has not brought her too many problems, since she has received support from Euskoiker for individual billing for each student and administrative procedures.
Moreover, this first course on Gothic art has been a success. The assistants "are delighted" and the organisation of a new course on the Renaissance for October is being discussed. For them, "it is gratifying to go on holiday, visit the Cathedral of Cologne and remember what was seen on the course."
This course exemplifies a type of knowledge transfer aimed at the general public but not at companies. This activity also has a positive effect on society. Its consequence are more educated citizens who can have more fulfilling life experiences thanks to that education. Perhaps in your area of expertise there are groups of people who might be interested in courses outside the regulated area of a degree and postgraduate courses. Go ahead and explore the possibility of organizing courses of your interest.