WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: Gillian Davies loves her role as lecturer at U3A Sunshine Coast.
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: Gillian Davies loves her role as lecturer at U3A Sunshine Coast.

Expect the unexpected at U3A

TALKING to Gillian Davies requires you to take a deep breath, nod your head a lot and then just sit back and try to take it all in.

Gillian is one of the lecturers at Sunshine Coast University of the Third Age. She teaches design and architecture history and to say she loves her subject is a mighty understatement.

Although it sounds like a high-brow subject, Gillian makes it sound like high-end entertainment.

"Design and architecture history can be about anything," she says at break-neck speed.

"It can be about a dress, a photograph, jewellery, architectures, a building - after all, a building is only a large object. It can be about materials, plastics, textiles, furniture."

Gillian said she made sure her lectures were fun, even though her presentations could include more than 100 photographs and plenty of information.

"I like to break down the knowledge, the narrative," she said. "I don't like to be high-falutin about it. I might even sing and dance during a lecture - I am Welsh, we sing a lot!"

Gillian, who is 68 and retired from academic work 10 years ago, had a long career teaching in the US before moving to the Sunshine Coast, where she has found her retirement niche at U3A.

"I tried to play golf but I was very bad at it, failed completely," she said.

"I thought this golf thing is not working and I didn't like the (atmosphere) at the club.

"When I saw all the courses available at U3A, I couldn't believe how gorgeous they were. I wanted to be part of it. I put my hand up to give lectures.

"I am an educator. I don't like hierarchy and I don't like people who are not willing to share their learnings.

"I make my lectures fun. I do a lot of preparation and it is hard work, but not compared with what it used to be like before the internet.

"I used to have to go to the library and spend hours. Now I enjoy (lecturing) so much. It has brought all the knowledge I have to the forefront of my mind. It's been like getting on a horse and galloping again.

"The people at U3A are lovely. It is my greatest joy."


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