Stay and study with us on a residential course

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Gladstone's Library is a haven for reading, learning and conversing. Silent study spaces and more lively communal areas in our truly unique setting allow you to make the most of your time with us in whichever way you choose.

We have a variety of residential courses coming up at Gladstone’s Library over the next six months, as always centred around William Gladstone’s core subject areas of theology and spirituality, history and politics, and literary culture. Our courses run with both residential and non-residential options so you can retreat for the length and fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere, or if you live locally you can pop home each evening instead. All courses include meals and refreshments and are a real opportunity to engage with likeminded individuals. 

Read on to find out more about our exciting programme of courses… 

Remembering Slavery

Saturday, 29th – Sunday, 30th April

In 1834 Britain abolished slavery, a defining and celebrated moment in our national history. What has been largely forgotten is that the government compensated slave owners £17 billion (in today’s money) for loss of ‘property’ whilst emancipated slaves received nothing. Nicholas Draper reminds us of the price paid for abolition.

Programme sessions include Britain and Colonial Slave-ownership, Material and Commercial Legacies of British Slave-ownership and The Gladstones and Slavery.

Nicholas Draper is Director of the new Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at UCL. Prior to this he was Co-director of the recent Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership 1763-1833 project, and was a founder member of its precursor, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (2009 - 2012).

Residential prices start from £110, non-residential from £80. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For the full programme, please click here.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Above Us Only Sky: Discovering a God that is all Around Us

Thursday, 18th – Saturday, 20th May

‘Where there is denial there is dysfunction, and the more one’s faith resembles a fairy tale the sooner the clock strikes midnight’

- Robin Meyers

Organised religion is not only in crisis because it is perceived as irrelevant and its adherents hypocritical, but because the language and liturgies of faith posit a God that no longer makes sense in the age of science, or is confounding, even deadly, in its partisan logic. It is often said that we are made in the image of God, but in practice, many of the faithful have made God in their own image.

For millions the patriarch of Heaven is dead, and violence in the name of a deity that has been conscripted for every cause and conflict must be replaced by what Tillich called the ‘Ground of Being’, and Barbara Brown Taylor called ‘The Luminous Web.’ This requires new ways to worship, pray, and be faithful in the world. Atheists are coming out of the closet, including Robin Meyers.

Robin Meyers is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, the Distinguished Professor of Social Justice at Oklahoma City University, the best-selling author of seven books, a widely-travelled lecturer and preacher on behalf of Progressive Christianity, and an award-winning columnist for the Oklahoma Gazette. He has been the Senior Minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC of Oklahoma City since 1985, the fastest growing UCC in the Kansas Oklahoma conference.

This course includes entry to God as The Luminous Web: A Public Lecture with Robin Meyers on Saturday, 20th May at 11.15am.

Residential prices start from £215, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For the full programme, please click here.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Building a Sustainably Creative Life

Friday, 26th – Sunday, 28th May

Michael Nobbs believes that the secret to creative success and a happier life is to pick one simple thing to focus on, something he calls ‘Important Work’, and then to stick with it through life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Over the course of this weekend, Michael will share some of the techniques he’s learnt over the last two decades that have helped him build a creative life and career by focusing on what’s truly important. Explore the concept of ‘Important Work’ and start to unearth where to focus your time and energy in order to build your own sustainably creative life.

The course also includes a screening of 2011 documentary film, Jiro Dreams of Suchi.

Michael Nobbs is an artist, podcaster and tea-drinker. At the end of the 1990s he was diagnosed with ME/CFS, a chronic illness that severely limits how much he can do each day. Over the years, he’s learnt a lot about living the best life he possibly can by accepting what he can’t change and working with what he can. Michael is the author of Drawing Your Life and publishes an illustrated journal of his own life called The Beany. He runs Sustainably Creative, a company that encourages people to live gentle and creative lives, and records the One Thing Today podcast four days a week.

For the full programme, please click here.

Residential prices start from £215, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Genesis Redux: Divergent Readings

Monday, 26th – Friday, 30th June

Three disturbing stories:

Lot and his Daughters (Gen. 19)
Dinah and Shechem (Gen. 34)
Tamar and Judah (Gen. 38)

Like all the Book of Genesis, these three shocking stories represent a theology that is foundational to the theology of Jesus, but only if they are read symbolically with attention to every detail. When interpreted this way, some of the assumptions of the theology and its reliance on the law are challenged and questioned. Deuteronomic theology is the dominant theology of Israel from the late Persian period onward, and it is this theology which Jesus argues with and challenges. Lyn Bechtel, feminist Hebrew Bible scholar, reveals the true meaning of these three truly disturbing stories.

Residential prices start from £410, non-residential from £290. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For the full programme, please click here.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Personal Idealism and the Christian Faith

Friday, 30th June – Sunday, 2nd July

Greek philosophy shaped traditional Christian doctrines. But we now understand the world in a very different way and there is a need to look past Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas to new philosophical resources. Keith Ward posits that these resources are to be found in Philosophical Idealism. This weekend will be devoted to showing how this leads to reformulations of Christian doctrines, but not to a rejection of Christian faith.

Programme sessions include What is Philosophical Idealism?, The Dependence of Classical Christian Doctrines on Greek Philosophy, and Faith and Philosophy: Conflict or Convergence? The course also includes a screening of 2015 thriller, Eye in The Sky.

Keith Ward is a leading British philosopher, theologian, priest and scholar. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a priest of the Church of England. Keith was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford until 2003 and Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of many books including Ethics and Christianity, The Concept of God and Is Christianity a Historical Religion.

For the full programme, please click here.

Residential prices start from £215, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Fierce Imaginings – The Great War: Symbol, Memory and God

Tuesday, 4th – Thursday, 6th July

The Great War was a cultural, theological and, of course, human catastrophe. Such was its impact on British public and private life it has set the tone for rituals of remembrance, war poetry and ideas about ‘cultural memory’ ever since.

Using her new book (of the same title) as a guide, Rachel Mann’s course will explore the way the War is with us still, as well as the place of war in Christian, feminist and liberal thinking. Drawing on poetry, history, family memoir and the iconography of remembrance, this course aims to offer an opportunity to examine the Great War’s lasting impact on British and European identities in the shadow of the Brexit Referendum.

Programme sessions include ‘Poppies’: Who is Worthy of Remembrance in Post-Brexit Britain?, ‘Cenotaph’: Do Public Memorials Help us Forget?, and ‘Battlefield’: How does Land hold the Memory of War?. The course also includes a screening of 1997 film, Regeneration.

Rachel Mann has worked as Teaching Fellow in the Philosophy Department at Lancaster University and holds qualifications in Theology and Creative Writing / English Literature. She began writing poetry, liturgy and short stories in the late nineties and has also written feminist liturgical theology, cultural history and is a regular contributor to the Church Times. Rachel has published two full-length books, Dazzling Darkness and The Risen Dust as well as contributing to many others.

For the full programme, please click here.

Residential prices start from £215, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Gladstone Umbrella

Friday, 14th – Sunday, 16th July

A firm favourite of the Gladstone’s Library calendar returns for another year! Whether you’ve grown up with a love of history and Victoriana or you’re an academic with a penchant for the ‘Grand Old Man’, no matter your background, the Gladstone Umbrella is for you.

The course also includes a visit to William Gladstone’s office, The Temple of Peace, in Hawarden Castle.

David Brooks was educated at Bedford School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, of which he later became a Fellow. His doctoral thesis was on Gladstone’s Fourth Ministry, 1892-94, and his published works include The Destruction of Lord Rosebery, 1894-95 and The Age of Upheaval: Edwardian Politics, 1899-1914. For most of his career he has taught in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London.

Offers of papers should be sent to d.r.brooks@qmul.ac.uk.

Programme will be confirmed soon. To view last year's programme, please click here.

Residential prices start from £215, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

Apocalypse Then and Now!

Monday, 24th – Friday, 28th July

Kalyan Dey returns following his successful re-interpretation of John’s Gospel and the writings of Paul to look at the most controversial and misunderstood book of the New Testament - The Book of Revelation.

Kalyan will attempt to liberate this fascinating book from its many crude and frightening misinterpretations. Come prepared to read and discuss!

Residential prices start from £410, non-residential from £290. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For the full programme, please click here.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

A Masterclass with Katherine Angel

Friday, 28th – Saturday, 29th July

Katherine Angel looks at the practice of first-person writing and memoir. How can you write well from your own life? What are the strategies and techniques for good first-person writing? What are the risks involved?

Katherine Angel is the author of Unmastered: A Book On Desire, Most Difficult To Tell. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Prospect, The New Statesman, Aeon, and Five Dials. She studied at Cambridge and Harvard universities and currently holds a research fellowship at Queen Mary, 
University of London.

Residential prices start from £110, non-residential from £80. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For more information or to book, please call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

For residential courses taking place in the second part of the year, please visit our What's On calendar.

Banner image: Steve Williams