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Community, Graduate Liberal Studies

Curious 73-year-old joins study tour to explore Spain’s Islamic history

March 27, 2018

From SFU News...

Elizabeth Kidd says she’s terrified of being bored. Keeping her mind active is just one of the reasons the retired art curator has joined an SFU study tour to southern Spain in May.

Organized by SFU’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program (GLS) and SFU Continuing Studies’ Liberal Arts and 55+ Program, the tour will guide more than 40 students from both programs on a journey through Spain’s unusual Islamic past.

Before retiring in 2008, Kidd took more than two dozen courses through the 55+ Program, feeding her passion for history, community cultural development and art. She also completed the GLS program last fall, earning a second master’s degree to add to the MA she received in the 1970s.

“As soon as I retired, I was hungry to do and learn something new. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to undertake next, but in the end, I’ve taken on a lot of stuff,” Kidd laughs.

Aside from pursuing botanical painting and creative writing, volunteering and teaching part-time, she’s an avid traveler who has regularly visited Italy in recent years.

“I’m used to travelling,” she says, “but this study tour offers new experiences and sets of ideas. Doing it within a learning context, with all the books we’re reading, it will be so much richer.”

The tour will focus on an enlightened period in medieval history when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived harmoniously together in Spain, in sharp contrast to today’s ongoing religious conflicts. To prepare, Kidd and her fellow travelers have been assigned readings on Islamic history and culture before meeting regularly to discuss the material.