Skip to main content

Popular Culture degree proves, um, popular

Is popular culture the frivolous fluff floating on the surface of human existence, or the very glue that binds societies together? Well, it’s both, really. You can watch The Simpsons just for laughs or analyse it as a serious social barometer. However you choose to consume it, though, the show sprang up spontaneously without intervention from the Establishment and is not highbrow, so it’s part of popular culture.

Comic Art: this course can make you a pro

Have you always doodled? Do you cover every available piece of paper in ideas, designs and cartoons? Then you have a natural affinity for creating visual images and it might be worth exploring the world of comic art. It might be possible to turn your ‘idle’ doodles into a career as a creative professional. Not paying attention or being bored in school could lead to a fulfilling creative career! While the non-doodlers settle into their jobs as accountants and financial advisors, those who doodled have the chance of really becoming something.

Beyond the selfie: learn (proper) mobile photography

Modern smartphones have a host of software tricks to make photos look better, plus cameras in some models that are as good as dedicated digital cameras. Almost everybody has a good quality camera in their pocket at all times now. But, as the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The technology takes care of a lot of things, like exposure, colour and effects processing, but it does not (yet) point the camera in the right place and compose a scene for you.

Christie’s Education launches new online courses

British fine arts auction house Christie’s was founded in 1766 and its founder, James Christie, was an intimate friend of the painters Gainsborough and Reynolds and the playwright Garrick. Fast forward to 2015 and it is one of the world’s leading auction houses with sales totalling $7.4 billion. Notable auctions have included Elton John’s car collection, a $22 million Qing Dynasty porcelain bowl, a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin, an $80 million Monet painting, the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, and many top works by Picasso, Mondrian, Klimt and Matisse.

Learn from the best: National Geographic photography course

There is arguably no greater repository of outstanding nature and adventure photography than the archives of the National Geographic. The magazine has produced some of the most famous photographs of all time, from Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl to Tim Laman’s Orangutan reaching for figs at the top of a 100 foot tree in Borneo, and many more. Camera manufacturers pay top dollar to have their ads on the back page of NG, because they know the numbers of avid photographers who read the magazine and aspire to produce something approaching the marvels to be found within its covers.

Thinking in yellow: the philosophy of The Simpsons

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, studied philosophy at college. Astute viewers will have noted the many references to philosophy in the show – Homer, for one, is so named as a nod to a great thinker (but he thinks it comes from baseball). Critics have noted for a long time that the show does more than merely play with philosophy. Rather than mentioning clever stuff in passing to show its creator’s erudition, the Simpsons actually does philosophy.