Interim report of on 25th Annual Raymond Williams Event 8-10 May 2013
Another great success with our annual residential !
Click for larger image
More than 90% of the 45 participants submitted written comments with many filling one side of A4. All without exception were positive.
These are some of the general comments : 'This is an incredibly valuable learning experience'; 'I enjoyed every session, learned new concepts and different ways of understanding the familiar'; 'Excellent, as usual...' ; 'thought-provoking'; 'outstanding'; exhilerating'; 'a brilliant residential in a fabulous setting'; '...such an event is essential to my continued well-being'; 'extended my limited knowledge in so many topics'; 'total involvement with friendly folk at meals and in the bar'; 'main speakers knowledgeable and provocative'.
To the question Did you read/listen/view/consult for this event? A least 15 did some considerable reading, including several books in some instances. For example: 'I read all the notes, a couple of RW books and Whoops by John Lanchester. Most read the notes provided in advance. The range of preparatory reading, listening and viewing (mainly Borgen) was impressive. However, there were also these responses: 'No – bone idle! But will follow up on some ideas...'; 'Afraid not... will do in future'; ' I should have read more' .
Improvements, and Issues to be addressed. '...some sessions veered off-topic a bit'; 'difficult to hear at times' (several commented on this); 'no large-print hand-outs';
The Venue: 'wonderful environment'; 'First visit - beautiful setting'; 'ethos great'; 'lovely place, delicious meals, friendly staff'; 'I love Wortley Hall'; 'imbued with the spirit of lifelong learning'.
Future events: 'I like the structure... work our way through other Keywords?'; 'The participatory nature of these events should not be changed'; '...seems to work well as it is'; 'the present format works well for me'; 'more of the same...'.
Examples of the detailed thoughtful comments:
"The two lectures were stimulating – if even only to disagreement in one case... I suggest we make more use of specific texts... One of the great advantages of the discussion at every level was the age and experience of the participants... (in future).. it might be a good idea to home in on one book which is thought to be essential... sections could also be extracted... and discussed."
"These two days were very valuable to me. All the discussions were stimulating and also I met people who are doing things I didn't know about. I discovered new roads of action to explore.
Preparation. 'I read all the papers e-mailed in advance... RW's The Volunteers and re-read some other RW's work. I bought the David Graeber book and read some of it...'
Venue: 'What an amazing place! I did not know about Wortley Hall. The history of its rehabilitation by the unions and co-operative movement is inspiring...'
Future: 'Education is the key... respect for others and co-operation with others is the road to a good life for all... A suggestion .. that we should study the Scandinavian model of government and education. This sounds good. Thinking about the subject before us, I re-read Harold Pinter's Nobel prize speech, which ended:
"I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man."
Notes on the Key-note lecture "Democracy - and the future of political parties" by Chad Goodwin click
Notes on the lecture "Neo-Liberalism, Democracy, and The European Union" by Roger Seifert click. This is quite a large file and may take a minute on slow connections to download.
History in the making...
Tony Dennis has written this draft summary of the history of the RW residential courses.
Tony will welcome any contributions (firstname.lastname@example.org ) from those who have participated in the weekends - and now mid-week - residentials in this series (filling gaps & adding anecdotes, comments, photos, pen-portraits of lecturers, fellow-participants...)
There wil alsol be a work-shop at the 25th Annual Raymond Williams residential 8 - 10 May 2013 on 'oral history' of these events also sifting, evaluating and giving shape to a readable booklet to be published later in the year which Tony will edit. Click
Report & Comments on the residential weekend: "Communications." Fri-Sun 23-25th November 2012 ;
'My first... the whole experience beneficial... rewarding ...opened new doors' ; 'a delight... inspiring a feeling of community... warmth, openness, kindness – let's do it again!' click
Report on the 23rd annual Raymond Williams w/end 6-8 May 2011 at the Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston
Another great success for our annual residential weekend. Feed-back from the 46 who attended the full weekend as students was most positive with a whole string of 'excellent' s including this: "...most stimulating and at times very hard - but that's good".
For the lecture notes by Tristan Hunt click
Report on the 22nd annual w/end at the Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, again filled the College.
These quotes are from the many positive comments:
'Fascinating varied styles of presentation from very formal, even dramatic, to informal/interactive conversational... Excellent'.
'Exceptionally good - this is an annual commitment for my calendar'
'RW w/ends - always excellent'
'First time --- but I'll be back'
'When I say excellent I really mean EXCELLENT'
'I would sleep on the floor ... for this w/end ... in a superb place of learning'
Notes of Keynote lecture The General Election and the Present Crisis by Mike Rustin click
Notes of lecture The Long Revolution and Towards 2000 by Malcolm Pittock click
Notes of lecture Sustainability, Ecology and Williams' Prescience by Tony Dennis click
Notes of lecture Democracy Old and New by Chad Goodwin click
Notes of lecture The Manufacture of Consent by Granville Williams click
Notes of lecture The 1980s Miner's Strike by Granville Williams click