Celebrating 100 Years
To mark the 2021 Centenary of Williams’ birth the Raymond Williams Foundation is proud to support a special programme of activities with the aim of reintroducing some of Williams’ key ideas to contemporary publics.
Through the development of a set of new, freely accessible, resources and by supporting collective dialogue about the contemporary relevance of Williams’ work the Centenary programme aims to foster a renewed public understanding of the ‘long revolution’ today. The Raymond Williams Foundation supports what Williams termed the ‘Long Revolution’ towards ‘an educated and participating democracy’ through its involvement in adult education and collective community-based learning.
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'Culture is Ordinary' Project
The 'Culture is Ordinary' project initially emerged from discussions with Welsh colleagues about how to mark the 2021 centenary of the birth of Raymond Williams. Financed by the Raymond Williams Foundation and Arts Council Wales, the first outcome of this project is a 17 minute film.
Culture is Ordinary - film
This 17 minute film focuses on ways that culture is interpreted and practiced by groups of young people in contemporary Wales. Directed by Colin Thomas and created by Cardiff-based artist Tom Goddard with new music by Cardiff musician Kiddus Murrell, currently working at Tŷ Cerdd, the film is available here in English and Welsh
Film premiere and panel discussion event at the Wales Millenium Centre
'Culture is Ordinary' was premiered as part of the Festival of Voice on 7 November 2021 at the Wales Millenium Centre. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with representatives of the youth groups featured in the film, including Yusuf Ismail from Unify; mixed media artist Amber Forde; Kiara Sullivan from Valleys Kids; and Nirushan Sudarsan from Butetown Matters. The discussion was chaired by Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive Officer of Literature Wales and was followed by a Q & A involving members of the audience. A recording of this panel discussion and Q & A is available here.
Raymond Williams Centenary ‘explainers’
Produced in a variety of formats the ‘explainers’ are a new, freely accessible, set of resources that introduce a variety of key concepts from Raymond Williams’ work to contemporary publics.
The explainers have been created by a range of people, from Wales, England, USA, Canada and Argentina, who share an interest in Raymond Williams and who responded to an open call for an RWF grant to take this work on. Working against the backdrop of Williams’ Centenary, the aim of the new explainers is to help renew interest in Williams’ work and promote and renew public discussion about its contemporary relevance.
Consider the Sheep
Question what seems Natural
When Raymond Williams looked at sheep, he saw whole complicated
histories, human and other-than-human, intertwined together, for
better and for worse. He found himself wondering about these histories: why were the sheep there? Where did they come from? Who brought them there, who kept them there, and who—or what?—was there before? In doing this, he was following a key principle of Marxist philosophy —something we can all do: question what seems natural.
Raymond Williams - The Hand and the Map
A short animated video explainer introducing Raymond Williams' views on community, communications, technology, education & culture. Plus a complimentary accompanying PDF document with references and additional remarks.
There is a Welsh version here https://youtu.be/RmfcpbQFJF0
Ted Parry, Tad Davies, Garmon Thomas
Raymond Williams in Latin America
A graphic essay
A video-podcast by TyPA Foundation, based in Argentina, that explores how Raymond Williams’ ideas circulated throughout Latin America, how they found meaning in contexts very different from the one in which they were originated, and how they continue to be central today when thinking about the potential of cultural spaces and cultural agents to transform the societies in which we live.
More information about TyPA Foundation: www.typa.org.ar/en
The Spanish version of the Explainer can be found here https://youtu.be/24MuXHPuPdA
Resources of Hope from the Archive
An Introduction to Raymond Williams
A podcast documentary by Phil O'Brien of the Raymond Williams Society, featuring archive material from the Williams family archive. Those interviewed include Stuart Hall, Richard Hoggart, Terry Eagleton, Raymond Williams, and Joy Williams.
Raymond Williams and the Popular Press
Paul Richards explains how Williams approached the modern media, why he opposed the centralisation and concentration of media ownership, control and production, why his work calls for more a democratic media and what his work says to us today.
Raymond Williams and the Media
An interview with Professor Martin Conboy
Paul Richards talks to Professor Martin Conboy of Sheffield University about links between Williams' work on the media and the some of the more wide-ranging ideas Williams' had about the long-term development of society and culture.
Politics of Modernism
Against the New Conformists
A discussion of Raymond Williams' posthumous work Politics of Modernism, investigating the relationship between the cultural traditions and cultural foundations of modernism, as well as the current possibilities for new, confrontational ways of life.
Radical Thoughts Podcast
Social Purpose in Adult Education
What is education, and in particular, adult education for?
In this explainer we are concerned mainly with the idea of social purpose in adult education, and especially with how Raymond Williams understood it. By this we mean the ways in which education contributes to society. This includes ways in which education helps us to relate to one another effectively, to understand how our society works, to understand our rights and responsibilities as citizens, to work with one another to build our communities and to confront challenges together such as climate change and inequality.
There is a document and two videos two videos on this theme
Adult Learning Wales
'What Raymond Williams means to me' series
As part of the Raymond Williams Foundation’s activities to mark Williams’s Centenary, this series of short films and text features makes available a series of recent interviews with a variety of people who have been touched in different ways by Williams’s work.
Celebrated for his creative writing as well as his theoretical and critical work, Professor Eagleton has kindly provided this heartfelt personal memoir as a contribution to the Raymond Williams centenary commemorations.
Professor Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of English Literature within the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He obtained his PhD at Cambridge where he was a student of Raymond Williams, and went on to become the youngest Fellow of Jesus College since the eighteenth century, before moving to Wadham College, Oxford in 1968.
The Williams Family
Interview PARTS 1-9
In this interview with Dr Sharon Clancy, the Williams Family share memories of their father Raymond Williams and their mother Joy, covering a range of subjects including, class, war, education, religion, Marx and the Lady Chatterley Trial.
This interview has been split into 9 parts for quick and easy access to specific areas of interest. Click the links below to access the different parts.
PART 1 - On their father Raymond Williams and their mother Joy click to watch
PART 2 - On his views on Marx click to watch
PART 3 - Lady Chatterly Trial and being a Fellow click to watch
PART 4 - Language skills & foreign students click to watch
PART 5 - War, Wales, education and religion click to watch
PART 6 - Their mother's family, the Korean war click to watch
PART 7 - His novels and his writings click to watch
PART 8 - Politics, Adult education, Miner's strike click to watch
PART 9 - Views on class click to watch
The Williams Family are Merryn, Ederyn and Madawc. (Ross - Merryn's daughter is there for information)
Dr Kim Howells
Dr Howells has written this very personal memoir of time spent in the company of Raymond Williams.
Dr Kim Howells was MP for Pontypridd between 1989 and 2010. He was educated at Mountain Ash Grammar School, Hornsey College of Art, and the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, and was employed as an official with the National Union of Mineworkers between 1984 and 1985. Serving as a minister in successive Labour governments between 1997 and 2009, he also chaired the Intelligence and Security Committee. This is a history which put Dr Howells in an ideal position to write the foreword to the 2011 Library of Wales edition of The Volunteers, a novel by Raymond Williams set in the area around Cardiff and industrial south Wales.
Prof Linden West & Dr Sharon Clancy
Discussion PARTS 1-3
Prof Morag Shiach
Prof Morag Shiach was the last postgraduate student to be supervised by Raymond Williams at Cambridge University and is now Professor of Cultural History at Queen Mary, University of London. In 1988 Morag was instrumental in setting up the appeal, to which many people in Cambridge contributed, which was used to set up the Raymond Williams Memorial Trust to continue Raymond Williams’s work in adult education.
The interviewer is Prof Mary Joannu.
Prof Jeff Wallace
In this interview with Professor Jeff Wallace, who has been influenced by the work of Raymond Williams and is a co-founder of the Keywords journal; he shares his views and understanding of Williams' work.
The interviewer is Dr Jan Huyton.
Dr Cilla Ross & Dr Sharon Clancy
Conversation PARTS 1 & 2
John Barnie has written this memoir about how Raymond's novel 'Border Country' has influenced his life. He interviewed Raymond for Planet magazine shortly before his death in 1988. John is a poet and essayist from Abergavenny. He taught for a number of years at Copenhagen University before returning to Wales to work for the political and cultural magazine Planet: The Welsh Internationalist as editor.
He is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and essays, many of which are concerned with the environment and the natural world. His work has been translated into Italian, Danish and Estonian. A collection of essays, The King of Ashes, was awarded
a Welsh Books Council Prize for Literature.
A blues guitarist, he has performed in a number of blues and poetry bands, including the bilingual Y Bechgyn Drwg/The Bad Boys, and the trio Hollow Log.
His published works include a memoir, Footfalls in the Silence (Cinnamon Press) and a collection
of poems, Wind Playing with a Man’s Hat (also from Cinnamon).
Prof Mary Joannou
Mary Joannou is Emerita Professor at Anglia Ruskin University now attached to the Labour History Research Unit. This personal memoir describes how Raymond Williams touched the lives of three mature students at Cambridge University, the shock on hearing of his unexpected death, and the foundation of a memorial fund which eventually evolved into the Raymond Williams Foundation.
Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru politician and community activist, talks about what reading Raymond Williams has meant for her life and her politics. Leanne speaks of the importance of community, aspects of Welsh identity and language, and the message of hope she takes from Williams. The location of the interview is a Barry Sidings Country Park at the foot of Mynydd Gelliwion. The park was developed on land previously used as railway sidings where coal was loaded from the nearby colliery to be transported to the docks. The river Rhondda can be heard flowing in the background, and the flow of traffic can also be heard. This park is a real border location between rural and urban, a very fitting location to talk about Raymond Williams's work.
Joseph Boughey is a life member of the Raymond Williams Foundation and was a trustee between 2011 and 2020. Joseph has continued to maintain an interest in the work of Raymond Williams and recently presented a stimulus at a Philosophy in Pubs symposium on Red and Green, Ecology and Politics – discussing Williams’ work in this area. This short piece written for the Williams centenary foregrounds what Joseph perceives to be Williams’ careful focus on the use and meaning of words and some of their political implications.