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Press release

  • 20 August 2004
  • Adult learners turn over a new leaf for autumn

    As school leavers prepare to take up their places at the University of Sussex this autumn, a growing number of adults, including those with no previous experience of higher education, are signing up for a taste of student life - and there's still time to join them.

    As part of Sign Up Now (4-10 September), a national campaign to encourage adult learning, the University's Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) is holding drop-in sessions on Wednesday 8 September from 12.30 to 2.30pm in the Education Development Building coffee bar, at the University's Falmer campus, and on Saturday 11 September from 11am to 2pm in Brighton Museum's main entrance.

    These sessions will provide the opportunity for people to get information and advice on courses starting this autumn and to find out about support offered to adults who are returning to learning.

    For many, this does not mean committing to a full-on degree. There are a host of short or part-time courses that can inspire new interests - or uncover previously hidden talents that may well lead to further study.

    Dr Katherine Storr, 69, was recently awarded her DPhil by the University of Sussex - having originally taken up a part-time course in Women's Studies for something to do when she retired from teaching. "The Women's Studies certificate caught my eye, but I was very hesitant at first - I thought it would be sure to include fashion, cooking and make-up, which was not what I wanted," she says. "I soon realised how wrong I was! Women's Studies enabled me to verbalise my own life in a way I couldn't otherwise have done."

    She went on to take a part-time BA in Cultural Studies, an MA in Contemporary History and her DPhil, which saw her researching the roles played by civilian women during and after World War I. Katherine says: "Many people might worry about fitting study into an already busy life, but you will find a way of doing it. And most importantly, don't let age be a barrier. Studying is actually easier as a mature student because you bring more experience and knowledge to it."

    As well as intellectual stimulation, CCE students agree that their lives have been enriched in other unexpected ways, such as gaining confidence, making new friends, or deciding on a career change or new professional challenges.

    In addition to women's studies and cultural studies, subjects on offer include art history, life history, literature, ecology, geology and local history. People involved in the popular activity of researching their family history may be interested in the Life History Work certificate - the only one of its kind in this country. Students researching the life histories of others can help to illuminate the lived experience of an otherwise forgotten past. The certificate offers practical training in documentary and biographical research, oral history interviewing and multimedia production.


    Notes for editors 

    For more information, please call 01273 877888 or visit

    A photo of Katherine is available on request

    Sign Up Now week is organised by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), who can be contacted on 0116 204 4200.


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