Wimmera to experience first 'pop-up' university

File photo
File photo

WIMMERA residents will have an opportunity to learn from world-class professors and lecturers as part of a pop-up university initiative.

La Trobe University will take 17 professors, lecturers and PHD students to Warracknabeal for a weekend in June.

COMMUNIversiTY is a joint venture of La Trobe University and Rural Northwest Health, with the support of Wimmera Primary Care Partnership.

The program is an initiative of the Seasons of Wellness campaign, which a number of Wimmera organisations will launch next month.

Project facilitator Jane Farmer said the two-day program on June 13 and 14 was a unique opportunity for the region to hear from world-class professors and lecturers.

‘‘It is rare to attract a world expert to speak in a rural town, but we are bringing a whole team of them,’’ she said.

‘‘The subjects are diverse and the opportunities to engage with professors about interesting new knowledge are immense. It’s open to everyone.

‘‘There is a bubbling cauldron of information that people from all walks of life will be able to absorb and use regularly.’’

Professor Farmer said topics to be covered in lectures and workshops included soil and gut microbes, poetry writing, rural Australian literature, Mallee history and community inclusion.

‘‘Importantly though, the academics want to involve everyone in the community in learning new things and asking questions,’’ she said.

Rural Northwest Health chief executive Catherine Morley said she was thrilled to provide such a unique opportunity to the region.

She encouraged people of all ages to take advantage of the one-off initiative.

‘‘There is plenty for everyone, but I can see the lecture on microbes being a big winner,’’ she said.

‘‘The lecture covers how microbes affect us all, but especially the effect they have on our farmers and gardens.

‘‘A few of the subjects are health-oriented and we consider the whole project to be a healthy lesson for the community.’’

A dinner and panel session on the future of health and wellbeing challenges of rural communities will be part of the event on Saturday.

Christine Bigby, Stephen Begg and Rachel Winterton will head the panel.

Professor Bigby specialises in social inclusion of people with an intellectual disability.

Dr Begg is a senior population health and epidemiology lecturer, while Dr Winterton is researching in Yarriambiack on the social aspects of ageing in rural areas.

Ms Morley said dinner tickets were $50 and people could call Sharon Murphy on 53961200 to book.

The lectures and workshops will be at Rural Northwest Health’s Warracknabeal campus.

Entry for each session is a gold coin donation.