Callout for course proposals in 2015


Would you like to run a course at the Melbourne Free University?

We’re looking for courses to run in 2015, and would love to hear your proposals. If you don’t know much about the MFU, check out what we do and our past courses here, or get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or email and we can send you some info.


Callout to teachers for asylum seeker courses in 2015


Hi there and happy new year!

We’re starting to gear up for another year of courses at the MFU for asylum seekers and need to get teachers on board for the first courses, which will start mid-February (probably on Wed 18 Feb). We need English language teachers and helpers to run the language skills workshops that run from 5.30-6.45pm, and teachers and helpers for courses on either economic or law (or something else you might propose), which will run from 7-8.15pm on Wednesdays.


Recent Courses:

(Special Seminar)

When: Tuesday 25 November 2014, 6.30-8pm

Violence Against Women: Policy, Research and Practice in Prevention
Alison Macdonald, Bob Pease and Ada Conroy
Australia is known as a peaceful country, yet almost 40% of Australian women have experienced violence from a man during their adult life. And while managing risk in public spaces becomes routine for most girls from a young age, for the majority of women who experience violence it happens within their own homes. One Australian woman dies each week as a result of domestic violence, and it is the leading cause of illness, death and injury among women under 45.

However, after decades of protest, lobbying, research and reform, women’s safety is an issue that refuses to remain hidden in the shadows or behind closed doors. Violence against women has been propelled into the limelight of political debate around the world. Public authorities regard it as a human rights disaster and a global “pandemic” having massive implications for public health, economic well-being and political stability in every nation – while for feminists, the liberation of women remains an urgent struggle.

On 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – the Melbourne Free University invites experts from across the policy, research and direct service domains to discuss the progress and the prospects for eliminating violence against women.


When: Thursdays 6:30-8PM starting 6th November

Welcome to the Anthropocene!
Arwen Crawford, Media and Communications (Monash)
Sophie Webber, Department of Geography, (University of British Columbia)
Earth scientists are declaring the advent of a new geological epoch. From the bounteous natural delights of the Holocene we have stepped into the ‘Anthropocene’, an altogether more perilous time for the Earth, humankind, and our animal cohabitators. Nuclear experimentation, mass species extinction, fossil fuel depletion, climate change: human activity is now indelibly imprinted within the Earth’s crust, with our behaviour altering the dynamics of earth systems. Throughout this series we will engage in an inter-disciplinary exploration of the Anthropocene, examining the extent of human impact upon our environment; the relationships between capitalism, industrialisation and modernity; and our potential for salvation or collapse.

(Special Session)

When: Tueday 28 October 2014, 6:30-8:00PM

Toolangi: Tales from the forest
Sarah Rees, Trent Patton and Chris Taylor
Just 60km from the centre of Melbourne, the Toolangi State Forest plays a vital role in regulating the quality and quantity of our water, providing storage of carbon and mitigating bushfire intensity. Harbouring some of the world’s tallest trees, the forest is a last remaining habitat of endangered species including our state emblem, the Leadbeater’s possum. Yet, state-sanctioned logging practices are pushing this delicate eco-system towards imminent collapse.

Why have successive governments failed to protect the irreplaceable Central Highland environment, and what can we as the community do about it? In this special session, a panel of passionate experts and activists share their concerns and invite solutions for the disaster that’s brewing in your local native forests.


When: Thursdays 6:30-8:00PM starting 9th October

Middle East Mediated
Saba Bebawi (journalism lecturer and author at Swinburne University)
Marika Sosnowski (Middle East writer and consultant)
Middle East Mediated gives you the low down on the goss between the Nile and the Euphrates. It asks the questions about the Syrian Revolution, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the intricacies of Lebanese and Iranian politics you’ve been too afraid to ask at dinner parties. It does all this and more by unearthing the real stories of people connected to the Middle East in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways – a beer brewer from Beirut, an un-orthodox Jew, a Muslim ultra-marathon runner, an advocate for Afghan refugees in Iran and many more.

Each week of the four week series features two guests who will each choose a “mediated” item – a tweet, YouTube video, article or an image – to kick off a lively and informative interview that will hopefully demystify the tangled events occurring in the region, taking you behind the news to the stories of ordinary people and their history and experience of this complex, and often misunderstood, region.


When: Thursdays 6:30-8:30PM: 28th of August – 2nd of October 2014

Philosophy and the Divine: God in Western Thought
Ross Pain & Emily Vicendese
God plays an important and fundamental role in many people’s lives. But what sort of role has God played in philosophy? How have philosophers understood notions of God and how have they used notions of God to make sense of the world and of ourselves? And why do so many philosophers today have no role for God in their understanding of the world? In this course, we will take a brief look at different perspectives on God through the ages, starting with Ancient Greece, through to the Medieval scholastic period, Enlightenment rationalism and empiricism, post-Enlightenment existentialism and today’s naturalist worldview. This course offers a fascinating journey through Western philosophical thought as well as clarifying and provoking ideas about God, ourselves and our world.

(MFU for Asylum Seekers)

When: Wednesdays 5:30pm-8:30pm: 3rd September to 8th October

Australian Society and Identity & International Development
MFU Volunteers

Australian Society and Identify: this course will examine different aspects of today’s Australian society, from families, leisure, religion, media and education, to how Australians can influence political change. Lectures are presented by academics in sociology, media studies, gender studies, education and history.

International Develoment: what are the current issues in International Development? Lecturers will have both academic and practial backgrounds in developemnt, and will examine participatory strategies, gender, health, security, migration, institutions, food sovereignty and environmental critiques.

‘Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other’