RWF banner




Fountain and Front Wortley Hall

WHERE NOW? – a post-election review

Friday to Sunday 15th -17th May, 2015
From 4.00pm onwards on Friday to 2.00pm Sunday
at stunning Wortley Hall, near Sheffield

This Raymond Williams Foundation (RWF) residential event will follow the pattern of successful discussion-based weekends at Wortley Hall ( and other venues over recent years.

Keynote speakers:
Nathalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party on Green Priorities… (Sat, 2.15pm)
Hilary Wainwright, Co-editor of Red Pepper; Fellow, Transnational Institute
on The Tragedy of the Private – The Potential of the Public (Sat, 11.30).

Small group discussions will be held throughout the weekend on a number of themes, following through from the keynote lectures but also, maybe, including: Displacing Neoliberalism (from the Kilburn Manifesto); Migrant Communities; 'The super-rich and Chavs – 'class' revisited'; What now for women?; Nations and Communities in these Isles; Syriza; RW's Keywords: 'Representative', 'Ecology', 'Public' and 'Private'; Centre-right and Extreme-right perspectives …; PiPs methodology – training; Digital democracy; Education – a 'comprehensive' review: whatever happened to Lifelong Learning?

Plus late night music and poetry...

The RWF AGM will take place at 5.00pm on Saturday

All-in (subsidized) fee - only £104.00pp, includes en suite bedroom, all meals, refreshments and all sessions. There will be a few bursaries available for those in receipt of benefits. Non-residents welcome, including key-note lecture attendance. Fee pro rata, depends when you come and go.. Ask for details.
Phone: Derek Tatton 01538 528178

This event organised with or links to: Philosophy in Pubs (PiPs); WEA; Discussions in Pubs (DiPs); Sci-bars; U3A; OU and openDemocracy….

To book for this course

R S Thomas:  Destinations of the Heart?

RS Thomas

Residential course open to all at
Wortley Hall, Wortley Village, near Sheffield
S35 7DB

Friday - Sunday 13– 15 March March 2015

Through reading and discussion we will try to make sense of (and enjoy) a life in poetry scanning the Twentieth Century (1913-2000). Bring you own selection from his immense output on topics including Welsh landscape and people, nature, God and the universe

Course tutor: Derek Summers is an experienced tutor and poet. He ran a very successful weekend in 2014 on Dylan Thomas. His own publications include an anthology with the late Michael Foot, The Foots and the Poets (2010) and a recent collection of poems entitled 'brevities'. He is active in poetry circles in Oxford.


From 17.00 hrs on Friday 13 March - Arrival and registration.

Dinner 18.30

From then Study Sessions will last about 90 minutes, with opportunities for course members to introduce poems or writings about Thomas.
Break times and meal times will be confirmed but are likely to be: breakfast 08.30; coffee 11.00; lunch 13.00; afternoon tea 16.00; dinner 18.30.

Heading home on Sunday after lunch…

Pre-course Reading....

R.S Thomas, Selected Poems, Penguin 2003

Byron Rogers, The Man Who Went into the West, The Life of R.S Thomas , Aurum 2007

Key extracts will be available on Powerpoint or handouts.

Special fee (subsidized by RWF grant): £120.00 pp (all-in, with en suite bedroom)

Maximum enrolment = 15

Enquiries: Tel 0161 477 9376 or 01538 528178

To book for this course


21st Century Democracy - Participation Now

Wortley Hall

There was a hugely positive response to this latest Wortley Hall experience.   Click for full evaluation...

Raymond Williams Foundation (RWF) residential based on OU/openDemocracy Participation Now project (see websites for details) at stunning Wortley Hall, near Sheffield
Fri-Sunday 28 – 30th November 2014.
From 4.00pm onwards on Friday to 2.00pm Sunday.
Participants can arrive at Wortley Hall, S35 7DB, any time from 2.30pm onwards

This special programme will follow the pattern of successful discussion-based events at
Wortley Hall ( and other venues over recent years.

Key-note Lecturers: Dr Nick Mahoney - OU/oD project co-ordinator , Department of Politics and International Studies - will signpost Work in Progress & OU online learning potential...

Sharon Clancy - former Head of Community Partnerships, Nottingham University and currently researching radical adult education in residential colleges, on Public Engagement and the Big Society

Dr Lisa Mckenzie - Fellow, Department of Sociology, LSE on Social and Democratic Exclusion on Estates in Bristol and Nottingham

More info and to book this course



Shallowford House

See the full exciting programme for 2014-15 here

The total cost of each course, including full board and lecturer's fee is £230.00.
Please contact Gerald Seaman for more information and to make a booking.



Every year, WMC Literature organises six weekends of discussion and study, under the guidance of a tutor. Each weekend may be attended as a stand-alone course.

Typically, a weekend concentrates on one or two books which have been read in advance. The tutor brings information about authors, context and themes, and a tutor-led discussion follows.

The course begins late on Saturday afternoon, with a second session after dinner. There are two further sessions on Sunday morning, with a break for coffee, and the course concludes with Sunday lunch.

We meet at Shallowford House, a pleasant rural location, 5 miles from Stafford and 3 miles from Junction 14 on the M6. There are 25 bedrooms, mainly en suite, meeting rooms and bar.  Shallowford House, Shallowford, Stone, ST15 0NZ


2014-2015 PROGRAMME

13-14 September 2014                                                        Tutor: Nick Seager


Saturday evening film: The Beggar's Opera

We will look at two key works from the golden age of English satire. Both had immediate political targets, but the satire is by turns particular and general, savage and gentle, misanthropic and reformative. Join us to explore how satire worked in Georgian England.

1-2 November 2014                                                      Tutor: Jerome de Groot


This session will look at satire and strategies of humour in some key eighteenth-century writers. In particular we will be look at the bleak misanthropic verse of Jonathan Swift, the sparkling wit of Alexander Pope, and Laurence Sterne's comic masterpiece Tristram Shandy.

6-7 December 2014                                                            Tutor: Nick Bentley


To mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth this weekend will discuss some of his most famous works as well as some of his less well known. The sessions will focus on Under Milk Wood, with close reading and listening of selected passages, and some of the shorter poems from across his sparkling but evanescent writing career.

10-11 January 2015                                                           Tutor: Derek Tatton


Saturday evening film: Shakespeare in Love

Not required reading, but recommended: Shakespeare – The Biography Peter Ackroyd and/or 2 novels The Secret Life of William Shakespeare J. Morgan; Dark Aemilia S. O'Reilly.

The paradox of Shakespeare, known throughout the world yet much of his life is still a mystery. We will use close reading to engage with the Sonnets and what they say about their author. Is it necessary for us to have knowledge of Shakespeare's life and times to fully appreciate the Sonnets?

14-15 February 2015                                                    Tutor: Kate Walchester


Mansfield Park (1814) by Jane Austen focuses on the upbringing and romantic adventures of Fanny Price. Central to the plot is the theatrical performance of our other text for the weekend, Lovers' Vows (1798), by Elizabeth Inchbald. This weekend focuses on the themes of romance, theatre and social status.

21-22 March 2015                                                             Tutor: Nick Bentley


During this weekend we will look at the multicultural and cosmopolitan nature of contemporary Britain as represented in Zadie Smith's NW and poetry by Kay, Johnson and Nagra. Topics we will consider will include migration narratives; the multi-ethnic make-up of Britain; experiences of racism; and the literary language used to express cross-national identities.


Dr Nick Seager is Lecturer in English at Keele University. He works on literature from 1660 to 1830 and has published essays on Bunyan, Defoe, Swift, Richardson, and Goldsmith. He is the author of The Rise of the Novel: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Currently he is working on a book called Daniel Defoe and the History of Fictional Form and an edition of Samuel Johnson's Life of Mr. Richard Savage.

Dr Jerome de Groot teaches English Literature at the University of Manchester. He works on the 17th Century and modern British fiction. He is the author of Royalist Identities (2004), Consuming History (2008) and The Historical Novel (2009).

Dr Nick Bentley is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Keele University. His research interests include post-war British fiction, postcolonial writing and literary theory. He is author of Martin Amis (Northcote House, 2014); Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2008); Radical Fictions: The English Novel in the 1950s (Peter Lang, 2007); and editor of British Fiction of the 1990s (Routledge, 2005). He is currently working on a guide to the literary criticism of contemporary British fiction (Palgrave, 2015), and a book on the representation of youth subcultures in post-war and contemporary British fiction.

Dr Derek Tatton has taught adult courses for the WEA, Cambridge, Keele and the OU; was Warden/Principal at Wedgwood Memorial College from 1979, organising and teaching WEA/Keele Tutorial Literature weekends until his retirement. Since then, he has continued a similar involvement as Administrator of the Raymond Williams Foundation.

Dr Kate Walchester lectures at Liverpool John Moores University. She is author of 'Our Own Fair Italy': Nineteenth Century Women's Travel Writing and Italy 1800-1844 (Peter Lang, 2007), as well as a number of essays on travel writing and nineteenth-century women's writing for journals such as Nineteenth-Century Contexts and The Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies. She is currently finishing a book on nineteenth-century women travellers in Norway (Anthem Press), Gamle Norge: Nineteenth Century British Women Travellers and Norway.


Saturday Arrival and tea from 4 pm. First session 4.45 pm. Dinner at 6.30 pm, followed by the second session, after which the bar will open.
Sunday Breakfast 8.30 am. Third session  9.30 am. Coffee 11am. Fourth session 11.20 am. Lunch 1.00 pm.

Residential rate: £95 – includes tuition, tea, dinner, bed, breakfast, coffee and Sunday lunch.
Non-residential rate: £74 – as above but without bed and breakfast.
Deposit: £30 per weekend, non-returnable. Balance due 4 weeks in advance.

Please send deposits for the 2014 weekends by 1st August and for the 2015 weekends by 6th December.


Anyone needing a grant may apply to the Raymond Williams Foundation. A simple application form is available from:

If you have any questions, contact Maggie Washington,

phone: 01538 751848, e-mail:

For booking form click