Report on the Programme 2020 – 2021



Despite the challenging situation with COVID restrictions and lockdowns, we managed to provide a full programme for our members. Our programme consisted of ten lectures which were all delivered on-line via ZOOM. Our lecturers adapted their presentations to the on-line format and presented a varied and interesting selection of topics. Some of our regular speakers were unable to offer talks via Zoom so we had to find new speakers to fill our schedule. Our new speakers were Sam Hayes, Vincent Raymond-Baker, Brigitte Thibaut and Christine Nivet. All lectures were well-attended and appreciated by our members. 

Cedric Cabanne started off our programme in September with a talk about Lyon,”Lyon Ville unique”, referencing its history, geography and the unique character of this ancient and charming town.

Constance Bantman followed with a lecture on equality, “La Parité” in France. She discussed the evolution of women’s rights and outlined the current situation in political, professional, economic and social domains.

Sam Hayes had intended to deliver a programme of French music and Christmas songs with a choir. “Moments Musicaux et chansons de Noel”. The format had to be adapted to suit the on-line Zoom platform which proved to be less suited to member participation. However, the musical presentation was very enjoyable and members learnt a lot about the origins of many of our favourite carols.

Brian Stimpson gave a talk on the art of Cezanne, “Cezanne, l’art du portrait et du paysage”.

He discussed Cezanne’s style and explained why he is considered “The father of modern art”.

Thierry Viennois gave us a talk on the history of France in a very informative and light-hearted way. “L’histoire de France en chansons”. Thierry’s research had provided an amazing variety of songs dating back throughout French history which he used to illustrate the different chapters of French history.

Raymond Vincent-Barker talked about three well known frenchmen. “Trois Francais;  Zidane, Coluche et l’Abbé Pierre”. His pre-conference summary said the talk would be about football, laughter and justice, so there was something for everyone.

Brigitte Thibaut gave a talk on “L’Aquitaine à l’heure anglaise”, in which she explored the long association of the English monarchy in this area and the attractions it still has for the many British people who have chosen this area as their home.

Christine Nivet lived for many years in Chicago and gave a talk on “Limpressionnisme français à l’Art Institute de Chicago”. Christine is extremely knowledgeable on this topic and we were amazed at the wealth of paintings in this museum. Part II of this talk is included in our new programme.

Eric Simon gave a talk on this unique area of France,” L’Alsace et La Lorraine”, which had to adapt its nationality, laws and language as the tide of history swept across its disputed territory.

Emilie Capulet concluded our programme by giving a delightful presentation of the often overlooked musician,” Henri Tomasi, musicien engagé et humaniste”. We heard many of his little-known piano pieces which Emilie has recorded herself, and are available on CD.

During the course of this year we have noticed that the quality of on-line presentation has improved as lecturers themselves become more used to this means of communication.

We regret that some of our former members were unable to join in with Zoom lectures.