Speaker Swap

What is Speaker Swap?

Please note, Speaker Swap is currently undergoing a revamp, where we are hoping to offer the database of talks available via the website. During this time, the Swap will not be running as normal, and members will not receive the email each month informing them of new additions to the list.


Speaker Swap is an initiative to swap talks between interest groups in different u3as. This initiative is for u3a members only. 

What we want to do

We want to facilitate contact and collaboration across the u3a movement by providing a platform for groups to share their talks with other u3a groups and to receive a talk or workshop in return.

Zoom meetings have allowed us to break geographical boundaries and will make swapping speakers simple and easy.

The intention is for this to be a reciprocal arrangement so that both groups can access new opportunities and make new connections.

How to get involved

Please complete the Online Form to join the database

Please note that completion of the form means that your details (name, u3a and email address) will be made available to other u3a speakers participating in the initiative. A speakers database will be securely shared amongst all involved so that swaps can be organised.

It is down to you to make contact with other speakers and arrange swaps for your group. 

If you wish to be removed from the database at any time, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will update the database of details on a monthly basis and send out a reminder each month so that you can stay up to date with the latest speakers looking to swap.


Some groups may wish to join up and learn together or share materials. Other groups may want to simply swap speakers without the groups merging.

If u3a groups are nearby and travel expenses are not an issue, you may want to swap in-person, however, we would encourage all swaps to be held with both an online and in-person option to allow maximum attendance. For example, a speaker from Glasgow could be zooming into a u3a group meeting in Cornwall. Some of the Cornwall group could be gathering to watch together and others could join the Zoom from the comfort of their own homes. Please do contact us for advice on running a hybrid meeting if needed.



British History was the first subject to be piloted for the Sweaker Swap initiative, here is what group leader Mike Stringer has to say about his involvement so far:

I have been involved with the Speaker Swap project since its inception, at the time we started, we had hoped the restrictions imposed on us by Covid would have long passed. However, as we all know, that hasn’t been the case! So being involved with this project has helped me keep our History group going.

I’ve been involved in a number of swaps with other groups across the country. In fact, I’ve actually lost count! My group has been lucky enough to tune in with Zoom to a range of talks on topics from codes and cyphers (particularly good for those of us who had been to Bletchley Park) through to how medieval people protected their houses from evil spirits and onto the operations of the volunteer fire service. In return, I’ve given my talk on London’s frost fairs to several groups, it has proved to be quite popular, though it is best done during the right seasons of the year! We have two more talks already lined up for the New Year as part of our Winter programme, we aim to mix paid speakers with talk swaps to ensure variety and to entertain our group.

As part of the project, it has been interesting to speak to people in other u3as and hear how they are coping with Covid and how they run their groups. There is now a healthy number of u3as taking part in the project, and I am hopeful that we will continue to be able to make use of the many talks which undoubtedly already exist across our organisation. If you haven’t already registered to take part, give it a try!

Mike Stringer

Art History is the latest subject to be added to the Speaker Swap initiative, here is what the chair of Newcastle u3a, Catherine Stevenson, has to say about her hopes for the Art History swaps to come and the talks she will be offering:

Art history is an intriguing subject from which we can learn about the past, present and future. In my presentations, I try to capture all of these and illustrate how it encompasses every subject such as history, science, medicine, psychology, geography, religion. I find all forms and styles of art immensely fascinating whether it be from ancient Greece or Picasso or the architecture of the Georgian era or ancient Aboriginal drawings.  

I studied art history and history for a degree and took my interest forward when I became a teacher. For over 40 years, I have continued to study works of art and have integrated many artworks into other interest group topics.

For Newcastle u3a, I lead the Talking About Art, General History and Astronomy interest groups. For Trust u3a, I lead Talking Art and Astronomy and Art History for u3a Communities. During the 6 workshops, I delivered at u3a National Conferences, art and its adaptability played their role. I am also busy delivering talks for national u3a audiences via the Online Events programme. More of these are in the offing!

I am a volunteer for Tyne and Wear Museums for which I act as a tour guide in the museums but I am mainly based at an art gallery in Newcastle where I have delivered presentations, tours and study days for our regional u3a as well as my own u3a.

Catherine Stevenson, Chair of Newcastle u3a

 Complete the Online Form to join the database and get swapping!

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