Explore is open to all. No previous knowledge or qualifications are needed – just enthusiasm and an interest in learning new things. Our Newcastle city centre base provides a lively environment where students can exchange views and socialise.

Where do the classes take place?

Mainly at Commercial Union House (opposite the Tyneside Cinema) on Pilgrim Street. We also use Newcastle Arts Centre and the Lit & Phil.

Do I need to book for an Explore class?

No – Explore members drop in for classes except for a few instances in which we have a maximum capacity. These specific classes are clearly indicated in the Season programme with advice on how to reserve a place.

Who are the tutors?

Highly regarded specialists, many of whom teach at Newcastle’s two universities and for the Open University.
Explore lifelong learning 2016 Green Room adult education
The Green Room - Explore's regular venue
Explore lifelong learning 2016 history class adult education
Explore history class with tutor Maria Goulding (right)

Who runs the Explore programme?

The Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company with an elected board of directors. The Explore programme is currently in its fourth year as an independent organisation. The programme now has over two hundred members.

Try before you buy!

Week One of each season is FREE for everyone - come to as much or as little as you like.

Alternatively, if you have missed the free Week One, you are welcome to try a free taster session.  Get in touch with the office via the Contact page to arrange your free taster.

Our members say :

It's a real godsend on a bad day! Lectures encourage me to go places, read books, find out about things, go to museums and exhibitions which are always much more interesting. I could go on!
Like so many of the members, we applaud the wide variety of material on offer and enjoy delving into areas that take us out of our comfort zone.
Excellent.  I can only attend in Autumn and Summer terms and rarely more than 1 day a week, but still well worth the cost. 
It’s an amazing resource; the level of scholarship of the lecturers is exemplary and the friendliness of staff and students alike is a very pleasant aspect of Explore. I have made many friends in my time there. 
 I particularly value the wide range of topics and the impressive teaching skills of the tutors. I would be bereft without it.

Joining Explore

How much does it cost to join?

A full year's membership of Explore is £325 - this is for a full year's membership (three Seasons) starting in October. 

The fee to re-join Explore for our next term starting in April 2016-17 is £110 - this is for one Season, Season Three.

The fee equates to £11 per taught week or less than a 'proper' coffee per day - excellent value!  

NEW MEMBER OFFER - pay £100 termly in your first year of Explore membership.

Members are asked to pay in advance in order to facilitate administration. 

If you are unable to pay the set fee in advance please contact the directors via and we will endeavour to offer an appropriate payment option.  

Explore lifelong learning 2016 Howick bay field trip adult education
Explore geology trip to Howick coast

Membership form

Click on the button on the right to download a membership form. 

Make your cheque payable to The Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre C.I.C and send it to the following address: 

Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre C.I.C., 
c/o Essell Accountants Ltd, 
29 Howard St, 
North Shields
NE30 1AR

Help with fees

Is there a reduced cost option for potential members with limited means? 
If you would like to join Explore but would be prevented from doing so by financial difficulties, you are encouraged to apply to the S.Y. Killingley Memorial Trust for assistance. Click on the button to find out more about the trust. 
S. Y. Killingly Memorial Trust
Explore lifelong learning 2016 Siew-Yue Killingley adult education (copyright Donald Dixon)

  Siew-Yue Killingley © Donald Dixon

Member news

Health and Safety - emergency contacts

We would like to ask Explore members and tutors to provide us with the details of a relative or friend who we could contact in the event of a medical emergency. This information will be kept securely and used only for the purpose outlined.  

We would like to stress that we are requesting this information in the interests of the safety of our members and tutors but that you do not have provide it if you do not wish to. 

If you would like us to keep a record of an emergency contact please could you download and complete a contact form available below and return it to the Explore office. Alternatively you can collect a form from the Green Room or from the Explore notice board.
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