Like so many other businesses and events, Hot Docs has shifted its programming online amid the COVID-19 crisis. That includes the spring edition of the cinema’s popular Curious Minds Speaker Series, which is moving ahead in a new digital lecture format that can be streamed worldwide. 

Beginning May 18, Hot Docs will offer four six-week courses led by former University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science assistant dean Dr. Peter Harris, food historian and award-winning podcaster Dr. Laura Carlson, music historian Dr. Mike Daley, and Toronto Star society columnist Shinan Govani. Each video lecture will be accompanied by weekly interactive Q&As, allowing participants to further engage in the themes covered that week. 

Registration is open now and costs $49 for the series. 

Here are the courses available: 

The Age of Upheaval

Dr. Peter Harris delves into the upheaval of the post-war 1920s and ’30s, and the impact it had on Berlin, Paris, and New York City – from Manhattan speakeasies and Weimar salons to Art Deco design houses and trailblazing science labs. 

Meals That Changed The World

Learn about six meals that changed history, including King Tutankhamen’s final feast and John F. Kennedy’s biggest White House dinner. Dr. Laura Carlson will explain how food has influenced decisive moments throughout history and how the dishes served at these famous feasts were shaped by the technology, politics, religion, warfare, and art of the time.  

The Folk Music Revival

The urban folk revival of the 1950s and ’60s will be explored in this course from Dr. Peter Harris. He’ll begin by tracing the genre’s early roots before highlighting the songs and careers of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Ian and Sylvia, and other ’60s folk icons.

The Royal Family

Love Royal gossip? This is the course for you. Shinan Govani will break down the modern history of the House of Windsor, showcasing its most colourful personalities, most opulent traditions, and its juiciest scandals.