"I was interested in the Cities and Society course because I found urban life fascinating, alluring and, well, dizzyingly complicated. I took the course in an effort to better educate myself on how academics, activists and theorists have come to understand the city and how it, in turn, has come to shape human behaviour.
Having not come from an academic background I had worried the course might have been too dense and opaque. From the outside, academia can sometimes seem like it speaks its own - inaccessible - language. However, the same could not be said of this course. What we studied was underpinned by sociological heavyweights and ideas that stand up to intellectual rigour. And yet by making big, abstract topics accessible, we were able to express ourselves in a way that made academia, and the rich ideas within, open to more people. This directly fuelled the discussions in classrooms and during seminars which were both stimulating and one of the joys of this course. There is also a heavy emphasis on complimenting the book work with a boots-on-the-ground approach to research. This mix allows for space on the course to put theory into practice.
This is a compassionate course. The lecturers are both interesting and interested. It is a supportive environment for people to develop their skills and broaden their understanding of the city around them. Since graduating, I have had a keener eye for how the city around me operates and a better understanding of the wider social factors at play that come to shape how people might behave and act the way they do. Your eye is sharpened to injustices in the city and in how the city comes to be shaped into the form it is today. I have found this invaluable in my work as a filmmaker and a researcher."