Sydney’s School of Life, a hub for contemporary philosophy, is opening a new classroom space and bookstore in Surry Hills on April 1.

The School of Life was founded by Alain de Botton in London in 2008 as a space for emotional education, focusing on work and relationships. It launched in Melbourne in 2014 and ran events in Sydney before opening a permanent home in the CBD in 2016. It will now relocate to Surry Hills.

The new venue will include a bookstore, cafe space and an upstairs classroom. “It’s a beautiful, welcoming environment located above not-for-profit restaurant Folonomo,” says the School of Life’s Sydney director, Eleanor Gammell.

The venue will be home to the School’s popular series of How To classes; three-hour sessions on topics including how to make a difference, how to have better conversations and how to find a job you love.

The school’s purpose is to provide a place where “people can explore life’s challenges and have conversations that might be difficult … taking a casual approach”, says Gammell. Topics such as mortality, potential and creativity will be covered.

The special-events line-up is bringing big names from around the world to Sydney.

Gammell’s personal highlight in April is the former Prime Minister of Denmark (and its first female PM) Helle Thorning-Schmidt in conversation with Dumbo Feather magazine’s editor. With a focus on courage and power, the talk will cover Thorning-Schmidt’s current role as CEO of Save the Children. “This conversation will dig deep into the modern search for meaning and how this relates to global issues like the mass movement of refugees,” says Gammell.

Later in April the school will tackle the theme of hope. Chido Govera, Zimbabwean orphan and founder of The Future of Hope Foundation, will discuss her personal story of overcoming extreme adversity.

In the Philosophy Salon series, contemporary philosopher Tim Dean will explore the work of Epicurus over a glass of wine provided by Single Vineyard Sellers.

More information.