By Bhavana Gopinath –
September is back-to-school time – not just for kids, but for grown-ups too. Imagine a fun school where the courses are not necessarily related to your profession, where you can go learn for its own sake, to satisfy your curiosity about new things or interesting issues. What would you like to do: Learn how to fundraise? Understand the basics of podcasting? Arrange a fall centrepiece for your table? Paint a still life while sipping a glass of wine? You can do all of these and more – just check out the new lineup of interesting programs offered by the Westboro Brainery at their relaunched website at westborobrainery.ca.
The Westboro Brainery, supported by the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, was inspired by the Brooklyn Brainery and the Rochester Brainery in the United States. It aims to provide short and inexpensive capsules of knowledge in a wide range of subjects usually not found anywhere else in Ottawa. Passionate instructors make their presentations to a small group in a convivial setting. Each topic is usually covered in a single two-to-three hour session, so clients’ commitments (whether time-related or financial) are minimal.
Sarah Banks, the new coordinator for the Westboro Brainery, points out that it offers “curated, dynamic, intellectually stimulating, yet fun and quirky courses. The quick bursts of learning provide an immediacy of satisfaction and a nourishing mental snack.”
The revamped website and programming is only the beginning of the Brainery’s exciting plans for the future.
“Ottawa is undergoing a creative boom right now,” says Banks. “There is a base of thinkers, doers, entrepreneurs, and artistically inclined people. There is a thirst for learning. Westboro is home to many people who appreciate what learning can bring to their lives.”
Banks wants to reach out to this audience to help shape the Brainery’s offerings. The Brainery is listening to clients for ideas and expertise for future programs, and for constructive feedback about instructors’ performances.
With its finger on the pulse of Ottawa, the Brainery will hone its offerings based on audience interests. The programs could vary in scope from food (say, making buffalo mozzarella), to crafts (like woodworking), to pop culture (for instance, deep analysis of Paul Simon’s lyrics). A recent outreach initiative via social media provided several sample program recommendations — including modern embroidery, local history (particularly the LeBreton flats), winter survival skills, and notable writers and artists.
The Brainery also needs passionate and knowledgeable instructors. Prior teaching experience is a plus. To the extent possible, clients will evaluate teachers on performance.
To learn more about the Westboro Brainery’s courses, or to share your expertise through its programs, go to westborobrainery.ca. Get the latest updates at facebook.com/westborobrainery, or via Twitter @westborobrain.