openDemocracyUK

Weekend of debate shows renewed interest in Raymond Williams

Raymond Williams is bouncing back – and to prove it, there has been special interest in the twenty-third annual residential weekend of the Raymond Williams Foundation.
Niki Seth-Smith
17 January 2011

Raymond Williams has been receiving fresh attention of late – and reflecting this trend, special interest has been shown in the twenty-third annual residential weekend of the Raymond Williams Foundation.

The residential event, in the first weekend of May, will discuss The Spirit Level and its argument that ‘more equal societies almost always do better’, informed by Williams' ideas and works.

While the long-running series, organized in affiliation with the Workers’ Education Association, has in the past been dominated by the older generation, a recent surge of interest in Williams is reflected in this year’s course attracting a younger crowd.

Held at Wedgwood College, near Stoke-on-Trent, the event will include a key-note lecture by Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, while Tristam Hunt MP will deliver a follow-up talk on ‘The Idea of Equality’. Themes in other sessions include 'The City of Stoke on Trent – a case-study' and 'Poverty and Development in Nepal'.

Debates will take their cue from Williams’ prescient writing on ‘the major benefits of the new (interactive) technologies’ (Towards 2000, 1983), tapping into old and new media resources. 

In 1968, Williams said of that year of student revolt:

‘The corresponding societies, The Hampden clubs… the co-operative circles,  the mechanics institutes, the WEA, the labour colleges; we can learn more  now from these, about the crisis in education, than from the more formal established institutions…’

The Raymond Williams Foundation aims to be one of those groups able to reflect on events and affect change through debate.

For more details on the event, and how to book, go to the Raymond Williams Foundation website.

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