MCLL Lectures

Fabulous Fridays

Fall 2023 Workshops, Lectures and Outings
Fall registration opens August 1, 2023 at 9 a.m.

Term duration: September 11 – November 20, 2023

MCLL Lecture Program

We offer a program of lectures presented by MCLL members, other lifelong learning groups and faculty members who share their research on a variety of topics. Lectures are Fridays, 10 - noon or 1 - 3 p.m. During the summer term, lectures are on Wednesdays at the same times. They are one-off events and can be attended independently in addition to study groups.

The fee is 10$ per lecture. Attending only lectures does not give access to full MCLL membership benefits.

View the full lecture schedule

Lectures will be offered with one of two types of attendance:

  1. In-person only - Entirely in the MCLL classroom, attendance only in person.
  2. Online only - Attendance is only by Zoom.

When registering, please note the type of attendance for the lecture you wish to attend.

If you plan to attend in-person, please review MCLL’s Covid-19 Classroom Policy


Zoom Anxiety

Because all of the lectures and many of the study groups will be offered online, some of you who do not feel comfortable working with computers might be concerned about your ability to join online Zoom sessions. If you are experiencing Zoom anxiety, please be reassured that MCLL volunteers will do everything they can to help you learn how to join a Zoom study group or a Zoom lecture. If you would like someone to contact you and help you join a practice Zoom session, please send an email request to caring.mcll [at]

How to set up Zoom


Registration and Payment Procedures

  1. Registration for ALL lectures is available here. Scroll down for lecture descriptions.
  2. Instructions on How to Register Online
  3. View your cart in Athena 
  4. What to do if you have forgotten your Athena username or password
  5. There is a $10 fee per lecture payable by credit card.
  6. If you are registered to attend a lecture online using Zoom, the link to access the lecture will be sent the day before the lecture starts. The registration for Friday lectures closes at midnight on the Wednesday before the lecture date. The registration for Wednesday lectures closes at midnight on the Monday before the lecture date.
  7. REFUND POLICY: You may cancel your registration in a lecture, workshop, or outing and obtain a refund until one day after the scheduled date, in case of technical problems, emergency or illness. This should be done online in your Athena account.

MCLL Fall 2023 Outings, Workshops, and Lectures

MCLL Outings

YCLML 693 Maude Abbott Medical Museum – Curated Visit (In person)

Time: Friday, September 22, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Ana Maria Klein
Attendance: In person

The Maude Abbott Medical Museum is located at the Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building of McGill University, at University Avenue between Prince Arthur St. and Pine Avenue. This half hour guided tour will be curated by museum faculty, who will explain and describe not only the museum collection, but the contributions to medicine that Maude Abbott made. Participants will meet at the MCLL entrance and walk to the location.

YCLML 694 McGill University Art Collection – Curated Visit (In person)

Time: Friday, September 29, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Ana Maria Klein
Attendance: In person

McGill University owns a sizable art collection both indoors and outdoors. This walking tour will be curated by university art specialists. Participants will meet at the MCLL entrance and walk over to the campus.

MCLL Workshops

YCLML 695 French-English Conversation Exchange

Time: to be determined by participants
Organizer: Alain Lessard
Attendance: to be determined by participants (one-on-one partnership)

If you want to improve your conversation skills in French, MCLL will assign you a partner from a French-language community organization for seniors who want to improve their English. The two partners will arrange between themselves when and how they will meet (in person or otherwise) for one hour of conversation per week, alternating between French and English. Many participants enjoy this activity because, in addition to practicing a second language, they find it interesting to converse with people from a different background.

MCLL Lectures

YCLML 697 Éric Dupont on Songs for the Cold of Heart (In person)

Time: Friday, September 22, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Éric Dupont
Attendance: In person

Meet the author of the Quebec novel, Songs for the Cold of Heart. This work of more than 250,000 words was born from a simple anecdote told by the author's father. Éric Dupont has woven a story that spans a century by collecting countless life stories. In this lecture, he explains how the first version of the novel underwent significant transformations to arrive at its final version, shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

YCLML 698 Santorini: An Artist’s Palette, A Gem of Nature (Online)

This travel tour is brought to you by the Cummings Centre

cummings logo

Time: Wednesday, September 27, 11:00 a.m.
Tour Guide: Kathrin Vogel
Attendance: Online

From the cobalt blue of the roofs and the sapphire Aegean, to the pristine white of its buildings and the black of its sand, Santorini is a gift to the senses. Let our guide, Kathrin, treat you to a live, virtual walking tour of this most recognizable isle at sunset, at its most spectacular best. We’ll wander from the blue-domed church in Oia, with its charming, winding streets and white-washed houses, to the island’s caldera of the dormant volcano Thera, amid the spectacular landscapes it left behind, all the while learning about local life there.

YCLML 699 Canadian Pacific and the Golden Age of Travel (Online)

Time: Friday, September 29, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Barry Lane
Attendance: Online

The story of the Canadian Pacific Railway is central to Canada’s history. After completing two thousand miles of track linking the Atlantic and Pacific, the company developed fleets of ships on both oceans to expedite travel around the world and, to enhance the travel experience along the railway, constructed castle-like hotels such as the Algonquin in New Brunswick, the Château Frontenac in Quebec City and the Banff Springs in the Rockies.

YCLML 700 The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (In person)

Time: Friday, October 6, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Harald von Cramon
Attendance: In person

Some 50 years prior to the battle of Hastings, when the Normans conquered Britain, they had already started on the path to conquer all of southern Italy including Sicily. They eventually established a highly cultivated, cosmopolitan and tolerant kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily, under their rule which lasted but some 36 years.

YCLML 696 Presentation on the Development of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) from a Haudenosaunee Perspective (In person)

Time: Friday, October 6, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Kenneth Deer
Attendance: In person

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) took 25 years to develop in the UN system, the longest ever for a UN declaration. However, the road to the Declaration took centuries. This presentation will look at the founding of the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, then the Cayuga Chief Deskaheh going to the League of Nations in 1923, the Indian Act, the seminal NGO conference in Geneva in 1977, and the creation of the UN bodies that drafted the Declaration and its final passage in 2007. Then we can look at the rights articulated in the Declaration.

YCLML 701 Urinary Tract Infections Overview (Online)

Time: Friday, October 13, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Leora Birnbaum
Attendance: Online

This lecture will review the epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options for urinary tract infections, considering all age groups.

YCLML 702 Film Noir: Corruption and Body and Soul (In person)

Time: Friday, October 13, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Lewis Cattarini
Attendance: In person

The lecturer will screen the Robert Rossen boxing film starring John Garfield, with screenplay by Abraham Polonsky and cinematography by Wong Howe (1947). After that, the protagonist's struggle between honest ambition and fraud will be discussed as a major theme of film noir.

YCLML 703 Exploring the Moshe Safdie Archive (Online)

Time: Friday, October 13, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Tellina Liu
Attendance: Online

The Moshe Safdie Archive, generously donated to McGill University in 1990 by Moshe Safdie, reflects the long, complex career of the eponymous Israeli Canadian architect. In this follow-up presentation, we will further explore the collection and website, focusing on materials currently at McGill. We will also discuss outreach activities and ways to access the collection, for researchers and the general public alike.

YCLML 704 Cotton Capital and The Guardian (Online)

Time:  Friday, October 20, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Ruth Allan Rigby
Attendance: Online

Dr. Cassandra Gooptar has spent the past two years researching The Guardian newspaper's links to slavery. The Manchester Guardian was founded in 1821, at a time when one industry dominated Manchester – cotton. The Cotton Capital Project explores the discovery that The Guardian newspaper’s founding editor, John Edward Taylor, and at least nine of his 11 backers, had links to slavery, principally through the textile industry. What has been discovered and what is the outcome?

YCLML 705 M.F.K. Fisher: Poet of the Appetites (Online)

Time: Friday, October 20, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Peggy Leech
Attendance: Online

M.F.K. Fisher (1908-1992) is considered by many to have been America’s pre-eminent 20th century “food writer”, but she was much more than that. While she may have been writing about food, she was also writing about love, lust, hunger...John Updike dubbed her the “poet of appetites”, and W.H. Auden said that he knew no one in America who wrote better prose than she did. This lecture will explore the writings of Fisher, including the reading of a few excerpts from her works, one or more short videos and a brief biography of her rather unconventional life. Although her pieces were largely considered to be memoirs, she was never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

YCLML 706 Napoleon Bonaparte - Life and Achievements (Online)

Time: Friday, October 27, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: George Lapa
Attendance: Online

Napoleon rose to power after the French Revolution (1789) and led an extraordinary life as a military leader, statesman and the first emperor of France. He reformed the educational system, developed the Napoleonic Code, abolished the Holy Roman Empire and the Inquisition. He initiated a series of wars until his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders in history; his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. He remains one of the most celebrated and controversial political figures in history. This presentation will review his rise to power, his military campaigns and some of his achievements.

YCLML 707 The Canadian and the U.S. Siberian Military Expedition (1918-20) (In person)

Time: Friday, October 27, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Paul Kuai-Yu Leong
Attendance: In person

This presentation examines why Canada, the U.S. (+ others) deployed troops in Siberia near the end of World War ONE (and even after 1920). Do you know there is a Canadian War Memorial in Vladivostok, Russia...and that in 1919, the Royal Bank of Canada had a branch there? Let's discuss this seldom-mentioned chapter of World War ONE.

YCLML 708 Rediscovering Dickens (Online)

Time: Friday, October 27, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Claire Wood and Hugo Bowles
Attendance: Online

Charles Dickens’s stories are world-famous. But, more than 150 years after his death, several texts in his hand remain unread and unknown. This is because they are written in an idiosyncratic type of shorthand. Researchers and members of the public – the “Dickens Decoders” – are working together to decipher these texts for the very first time. What does the shorthand tell us about Dickens’s life and career, and what mysteries remain to be discovered?

YCLML 709 Wool - Repeat lecture (In Person)

Time:  Friday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Beverley Ann Lee
Attendance: In person

This lecture looks at the social, geographic and economic significance of wool in the transformation of cultures, migration patterns, identity, socio-politico hierarchies, laws, divisions of labour, trade, wealth and poverty.

YCLML 710 Carnival, Flooding, Smallpox, and Beaugrand – 1885, Montreal's 'Annus Horribilis' (In Person)

Time: Friday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Robert N. Wilkins
Attendance: In person

The year 1885 started well for most affluent Montrealers. The city's third consecutive January Winter Carnival was a singular success, but it was a dramatic downhill from that point on. In April, historic spring floods and heavy rains inundated the streets of the lower corners of the town, particularly in Pointe-St.-Charles where one man was killed by the rising waters. And if this was not bad enough, an epidemic of smallpox – the likes of which Montreal had never seen — overtook the city. Montreal's new, youthful mayor, Honoré Beaugrand, indeed had his hands full.

YCLML 711 The Aesthetic Connections Between Painting and Cinema (Online)

Time: Friday, November 3, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Eduardo Cabrera
Attendance: Online

Paintings were the movies of the past. Being pioneers of the image, they had deeply influenced the seventh art. Though this influence seems obvious, it can be sometimes breathtaking to recognize a classic painting within the movie we are watching. Homages, inspirational sources, artistic studies, movies can have several types of connection with classics in painting. Let’s have a look into their artistic links and see why their connection is still very prominent today

YCLML 712 ASIA Before, During and After World War ONE (in person)

Time: Friday, November 3, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Paul Kuai-Yu Leong
Attendance: In person

This presentation shows the rise of Imperial Japan's military power... Why the Treaty of Versailles planted a seed for Japan stepping into World War TWO - and the move to Communism in China... The U.S. involvements in China... etc. Let's discuss these important chapters for Asia with worldwide implications.

YCLML 713 The History of Rock and Roll (Online)

Time: Friday, November 10, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Philip Harrison
Attendance: Online

The description is in the title.

YCLML 714 The Franck Report and the Fate of Hiroshima (In person)

Time: Friday, November 10, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Lewis Cattarini
Attendance: In person

How did a group of American scientists in June 1945 try to prevent the nuclear bombing of Japan? This lecture examines the diplomacy behind the Franck Report, including the involvement of Szilard versus Oppenheimer.

YCLML 715 France’s Literary Icons Face a Revolution (Online)

Time: Friday, November 10, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter: Frank Nicholson
Attendance: online

François-René de Chateaubriand, Honoré de Balzac, Alphonse de Lamartine, Alexis de Tocqueville, Alexandre Dumas, Eugene Sue, George Sand, Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Flaubert reacted differently to the sudden collapse of the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe and the proclamation of the 2nd French Republic in February 1848. Some were thrilled at the prospect of greater social justice; some feared a descent into Jacobin-style violence while others were determined to make the new political system work.

YCLML 716 Understanding and Dealing with Hearing Loss - Repeat lecture (In person)

Time: Friday, November 17, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter: Dale Bonnycastle and Debra Fisher
Attendance: In person

Hearing loss is very common, and its impact can be very serious. This talk will focus on understanding hearing loss, its impact and how to cope with it constructively. The presenters are professionals in the field.

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