Laneway Learning hosts informal, accessible evening classes in a diverse range of topics. We are a not-for-profit community-based organisation that first started in Melbourne in 2012 and has been in Brisbane since 2014 (and has also spread to other cities!).
Our classes are probably unlike any others you have been to. They are affordable, informal and are taught by ordinary people from the local community; florists teach about flowers, scientists about science and bookworms about books. Attending them is less about becoming an expert overnight and more about getting some top tips to take home and practice later.
Come to a Laneway Learning class and you might go away with enough knitting know-how to make your first scarf, an art historian’s eye for a painting, or a killer recipe for chutney. Look at our full list of upcoming classes to see what takes your fancy.
LL Brisbane Team
Laneway Learning Brisbane is run by Natalie Houston. Here is a little bit about her:
How did you get involved with Laneway Learning?
I heard about Laneway Learning from a friend whilst I was staying in Melbourne for a few months and instantly thought how brilliant the whole concept was. I was currently studying Art Therapy so I ended up running a Laneway Learning class about creative expression, and it was such a fun experience! I always thought to myself that once I settled down in a city I would get in contact with Laneway Learning to help run classes. And now that I’m settled in Brisbane I am taking up my own challenge!
What is it about Laneway Learning that appeals to you?
As an Art therapist my passion is opening up spaces for people to think outside the box and explore in a creative way, I also love encouraging people to share their passion. So naturally helping organise Laneway Learning classes in Brisbane is one of my callings! Everything about it appeals to me, the fun social aspect, the quirkiness, and giving people an opportunity to learn new things!
What is your professional background?
After years of social work and having a personal passion for creativity, I ended up approaching the organisation I was working with to establish an arts program for the at-risk youth, I held weekly creative activities in everything and anything creative, and we also ended up producing a stage production to showcase the young talent, about 40 youth were involved and it was a very fulfilling experience.
I then studied Art Therapy at The MIECAT Institute (Melbourne Institute for Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy) and graduated in 2014. I have been involved in numerous projects since then, including a women’s creative therapy group which I ran weekly in Byron Bay.
Over the past few years my travels have taken up a lot of my time, I am now settled in Brisbane and studying a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queensland College of Art.
What other things are you involved in?
I have just moved to Brisbane so I am not involved in too much just yet, student life is my focus and I want to get my hands into Art Therapy practice again, I would like to get experience with younger children, so I will be applying for some volunteer work and jobs in Children’s Hospitals this year. I invited a bunch of friends over the other week to paint on my verandah, that was fun! And I started a netball team with my housemates and neighbours, we’re not bad, we actually made it to finals!
What do you think of the Australian approach and attitude to education?
I think unfortunately the education programs and school systems within Australia are still quite mechanical and academic based, the programs lack inventive ways to learn and engage students, so our attitude to learning is quite tainted by that.
When we think of the word learning a lot of people might think of their degree, of trying to stay awake in lectures, guzzling down statistics and articles which they now don’t remember, and pulling all nighters before exams.
However, thanks to the internet, and Laneway Learning 😉 we are now embracing learning on a new level, we are open to everyday, life long learning from each other. We are also more interested in teaching ourselves things, learning fun new hobbies and ‘DIY’ knowledge because it’s so easily accessible now. Which is exciting! I think that’s also why I’m passionate about Laneway Learning as watching a screen is not really my thing, it’s like Youtube, but in person!
Is there something you wish you knew?
I wish I knew how to play instruments! I have a guitar, but it’s gathering dust in the corner of my room, and I would eventually love to learn the piano as well. I also dream at night of being a ballerina, one of these days I’ll enrol myself into a ballet class, never too late to learn!
Have you ever failed at something at first, but eventually excelled after perseverance?
Yes. Cooking. I used to be a terrible cook, it has taken a long time for me to feel comfortable in the kitchen… I spent many years puzzled by which herbs and spices go with what, it was always a stress, spills all over the floor and something would undoubtedly always go wrong! Now, after a decade of practice, I can whip out a meal in
no time with ease and it tastes great! I absolutely love having dinner parties now, and I always try to create a dessert rather than following a recipe!