London Region of U3As


There are many opportunities for u3a members to engage in various types of learning activity. This page provides a brief introduction to the opportunities and sources of support for learning.

1.Events: one-off learning opportunities can include talks, study days, workshops, summer schools, meetings, conferences, visits, exhibitions, performances and many more. For information about events available to all members of 'London Region of U3As', see the EVENTS page of our website.

2.Enquiry-Lead Learning:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” Benjamin Franklin
“Those who teach shall also learn and those who learn shall also teach” Peter Laslett (a founder of u3a in the UK)

The u3a ethos encourages active participation in shared and enquiry-led learning. The following are three ways to get involved:
2.1 Shared Learning Projects(SLPs):
SLPs are the ‘flagship’ of u3a enquiry-led learning and a great opportunity for members of several u3as to get involved in shared research projects with external organisations for the benefit of the wider community. For further information about SLPs click here: Shared Learning Projects

2.2 Enquiry-led Learning Through Interest Groups
Members of many interest groups undertake research and share their findings, mostly within their group, but sometimes more widely and may result in publication. A lot of groups that you might not suspect of undertaking research are producing some interesting results. See Interest Groups Research for examples.

2.3 Collaboration With Universities, Research Institutes, etc.
u3as across the UK are increasingly working with their local universities, research institutes, and similar organisations to develop mutually beneficial relationships. The prime area for collaboration is research.Collaboration can also take many other forms such as lectures, workshops and study days. Click here for some examples of: University Links.

We are fortunate to have many excellent academic, research and other leading organisations in the London area. We are gradually making contacts but need to be more proactive about raising the profile of u3a and developing opportunities for collaborative projects. If you have any personal contacts or a working knowledge of any relevant institution in the London Region, please contact Jo Livingston or Catherine Ware via the CONTACT page.

External researchers frequently approach u3a when seeking older people as subjects of their research. Current requests from researchers for u3a participants are listed here: External Calls For Research Participants However we also have a panel with over 100 u3a members of London u3as who have volunteered to assist researchers in designing projects that involve older people. This can lead to further collaborative opportunities in research programmes. For further information please contact Jo Livingston via the CONTACT page.
Sources of Support: there are many sources of support for the above forms of learning. Details of the main ones are provided here:

u3a Resources: the Third Age Trust’s website is a useful source of information and support for u3a learning activities.

Subject Advisers: trust volunteers with specialist knowledge who are available to give advice and support in a wide range of subjects.

u3a Research Network: the u3a Research Network brings together u3a volunteers, advice and various resources to support a wide range of research/enquiry-led learning throughout the u3a. In the London area, the following can be contacted for advice about research (enquiry-led learning) via the CONTACT page:
Shared Learning Project Coordinator: Jo Walters
Research Ambassadors: Jo Livingston and Catherine Ware

Sources Online: Sources showcases the variety of experiences, learning and knowledge at the heart of the u3a movement.
Previously issued as a supplement disseminated with the journal Third Age Matters until February 2019, Sources is now primarily an online resource filled by user-generated content.
Each month the articles are archived, but accessible via hyperlinks on the right-hand side of the screen.
Some of the news will also appear in TAM so that it is accessible in paper format.

Sources Archive: this is the online archive to the old-format versions of Sources.

More Time to Learn: learning is the foremost principle of the u3a movement. This booklet More Time To Learn has been written to encourage u3a members to explore all kinds of ways to indulge their curiosity, to work together and to enjoy the process of co-operative learning.

Group Leaders Handbook: brief notes on common practice, produced by the u3a Standing Committee for Education to assist new group leaders.

Getting Involved in Research: this booklet has been written for u3a members who may be interested in getting involved in research, including those who feel they have no research experience. It can also be used as a resource by u3a Research Project Advisers to provide training and guidance. Paper copies of the guide can be obtained free of charge from The u3a Office.

u3a National Research Database: contains records of u3a research whether undertaken by members of the u3a itself, in partnership with an external organisation (as in some SLPs) or where u3a members are the subjects of someone else’s research. External studies of the u3a are also included. The database is easily searched by topic, region, type of research project, and where relevant the name of any partner organisation.

It’s an ongoing task to assemble this material and we rely on members telling us about research that they have taken part in. Check to see if your project has been included and if the details are complete and correct. Please send any information to Jo Livingston, or for Shared Learning Projects contact SLP Coordinator Jo Walters. Both can be reached by their links on the CONTACT page.

Index of the Rare: Arthur Maltby, Deeside & Wirral u3a and Network Chair, has collated the first index of all the unusual U3A interest groups from around the country.

Online Learning:
Virtual u3a (vU3A): anybody can join including people who are working part-time. An important target group for vU3A is older people who are isolated either geographically, through illness or perhaps because of personal commitments (carers, for example).
This is the only U3A existing solely on the Internet.

Trust u3a: started up due to Covid, to bring u3a members together and offer online learning for a small additional fee. Now with over 60 interest groups and still growing.

Do You Know About MOOCS?: many universities and other institutes, both British and foreign, now make available courses and lectures on a huge range of topics which are accessible free of charge via the Internet. These are called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). They can form a good basis for shared learning either as a basis for short courses, or to supplement learning in interest groups. For more information and access to courses click here: u3a Advice on MOOCs.
U3A in the Time of Corona: This is the book arising from the Diary Project and copies can be ordered through the National website. For details see the flyer her: u3a In the Time of Corona. There might be some delay in delivey due to lockdown knock on but if you would like to buy a copy, put your order in now and it will be dealt with as soon as possible.
High Street Research Project – including a brief study of retail history: the presentation given as an online Summer Talk by Peter Cox (North London U3A)on 15th July 2020 is available now. Starting with a brief look at historical influences on the British High Street since the early 1800s, Peter then describes his research and the research proposal which aims to include u3as all over Britain who wish to participate, using a standard methodology. See his prsentation here: High Street Project and listen to supporting audio file hee: HS Audio (skip to 1:01:15 tape time for the actual start).
This is now a National Third Age Trust project. Further information about it can be seen here: National High Street Project