The Center for Life and Learning:
   Midday Lecture Series

These lectures are open to all 60 and older to enjoy, but registration for each is required. Each lecture costs $5.00 for members and $10.00 for guests.

Our Midday Lecture Series brings experts from the Chicago area to enrich our annual curriculum. These programs will be geared towards current trends in the media, science, health, political science and many other topics. These lectures are open to all 60 and older to enjoy, but registration is required.

For information about our noon-time lecture series, contact Sue Hakes at 312.981.3389.

Cents and Sensitivity: Class and Conscience in the Gilded Age

Career Changers in the Kitchen: Beginning Anew in a Restaurant

Poetry: A Reading


Cents and Sensitivity:
Class and Conscience in the Gilded Age

Monday, January 27
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Led by Annie Morse

$5 for CLL members / $10 for guests

Register online here

At the end of the nineteenth century, vast fortunes were made by American entrepreneurs, innovators, industrialists, and the notorious “robber barons.” The dazzling material culture of the era allows us to consider how wealth drove artistic production and gave us an enduring taste for “conspicuous consumption.” As these fortunes grew, reformers struggled to provide protection for child laborers and rights for working men and women. Join us as we explore the end of one century and the stirrings of a new era.

Annie Morse is an independent curator and educator. She is interested in the way that individuals and groups participate in American culture, civil society, and politics, and the differences and intersections among these engagements. An adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, she will curate an upcoming project titled "An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman," opening in September 2020 at the Chicago Cultural Center. She is a Friend of the Society of Smallness and volunteers with the Newberry Library and CCRx, a creative reuse center serving Chicago teachers.

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Career Changers in the Kitchen: Beginning Anew in a Restaurant

Monday, February 24
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Led by Sara Livingston

$5 for CLL members / $10 for guests

Register online here

Restaurants are only partially about food. The creation of an impeccable guest experience, is, of course, the daily focus at serious restaurants. However, any given restaurant is in fact a microcosm of complex social webs, challenging moral and logistical decisions, and intense teamwork. A restaurant team is often a motley crew, offering a diversity of perspectives that can be enriching or cause interpersonal conflict. One of the most interesting trends in the restaurant industry is the notable presence of career-changers who can feel underprepared in their technical abilities yet provide an invaluable perspective for innovation in food, systems, and management. I will discuss noteworthy aspects of kitchen culture from a newcomer’s perspective while addressing trends and potential for innovation in the industry.

Sara Livingston is a sous chef focusing on ingredient sourcing and organizational systems at Gather restaurant in Lincoln Square. She graduated from Denison University with degrees in Sociology/Anthropology in 2013 and taught high school Spanish in Gary, Indiana for two years through Teach for America. She was a Peace Corps teacher trainer in Ecuador for two years where she simultaneously completed her culinary degree. Sara began her work in the culinary field through a combination of restaurant stages (externships) in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina before returning to her home in Chicago in 2019.

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Poetry: A Reading

Monday, March 16
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Presented by Richard Jones

$5 for CLL members / $10 for guests

Register online here

To prepare for National Poetry Month in April, Richard Jones will join the CLL for a Midday Lecture on all things poetic. There will be a generous reading from his poetry and a conversation about creativity and the making of poetry.


Richard Jones is a poet whose many books include Stranger on Earth and The Blessing, which won the Society of Midland Authors Poetry Award. He has published in Poetry magazine and in poet laureate Billy Collins’ Poetry 180, appeared on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” and has given readings at home and abroad, from the Art Institute of Chicago to Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Professor of English at DePaul University, he publishes the literary journal Poetry East, which he founded in 1980 and has edited for forty years. His lifelong mission as a curator of poetry is to champion art that is accessible and universal. As Poetry magazine says, "Richard Jones is a poet of the heart."

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For more information about the Center for Life and Learning, contact Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386), Director of the Center for Life and Learning.