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The Long Revolution - towards participative democracy...

Wortley hall

Fri-Sunday 19 – 21st May 2017.
at stunning Wortley Hall, near Sheffield
From 4.00pm onwards on Friday to 2.00pm Sunday.
Participants can arrive at WHall, S35 7DB, any time from 2.30pm onwards


The 2017 Raymond Williams Foundation (RWF) residential will use RW's books The Long Revolution and his later (1983) Towards 2000 (new edition 2015) to review and up-date the analyses of global neo-liberalism, austerity and the post-Brexit situation. We will also engage with the May Day Manifesto, edited by RW, published 50 years ago, with the famous Penguin edition following one year later. The prescience of Williams’ writings will inform the weekend which will also seek to look forward 'towards a journey of hope', within a 'new social movement' embracing the Labour, Women's, Peace and Ecology movements...

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


Discussion. throughout the weekend, in small seminar groups/workshops (up to ten in each) There will also be another Lecture by a distinguished author (details later). On the Saturday evening we will have short presentations on the big screen from the latest YouTube video postings by Yanis Varoufakis, Noam Chomsky, Caroline Lucas and these will be discussed in a plenary session.

Topics for discussion circles may include:-
Brexit up-dates; DiEM25; ; From Occupy to digital democracy - 'The emerging landscape of thought & practice'; Keeping up Momentum… ; Compass, 38 degrees and RWF partnership potential; Scotland and new community engagement; The future of Public libraries; Women and Democracy; Liberty and liberation in Poetry; Trident; Constraints on Democracy; Review of the May Day Manifesto 1967 with proposed up-dates…: Independent Working Class Education – looking back, and forwards; Keywords session/s on Socialism; Representative Democracy; Anarchism; Volunteering; Proportional Representation (PR), including the case now for electoral alliances and pacts.

Notes with references, quotes, and suggested advance reading/watching/listening on the above will be posted on RWF web, from now on..
Broad themes embracing most of the above will be offered for larger group discussions on the Sunday morning.


Discussion Notes....

1)Notes on Anti-semitism here
2) Donald J Trump “Is there a better, more apt description of the incoming Trump administration than 'kakistocracy', which translates from the Greek literally as government by the worst people? Notes here
3) Are we going backwards in terms of girls being judged mainly on their looks?
Notes here
4)Notes on a Progressive Alliance here
5)Notes on "Post-truth: Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016" here
Advance reading(though not necessary) Seeing Reason here
6) Notes on Prostitution here
7) Notes on "Generations" here
8) Notes on "Neoliberalism" here

Recommended Advance Reading....

1) The May Day Manifesto edited by Raymond Williams - there is a free edition here
2) The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava(in Syria)
3)On Tyranny here
4) On Populists here


The provisional programme as at 2 May 2017 here


Given the exceptional nature of this event, we anticipate that it will be fully booked, as soon as promoted and advertised. Even so RWF is subsidizing the special rate charged by Wortley Hall.

All-in (subsidized) fee – only 135.00pp,
includes en suite bedroom, all meals, refreshments and all sessions.
£40pp deposit
with balance payable at least 3 weeks in advance.
Non-residents welcome. Fee pro rata, depends on when you come and go. Phone: 0161 477 9376 to Book

Up to six Bursaries for un-waged in receipt of benefits/students – aged between 16 and 40: £40pp all-in Ask for details. Phone: 0161 477 9376

To Book and Pay for the Residential Course go here

Some tickets (perhaps 90) will be available for the Jeremy Corbyn lecture only, from February 2017.
Advance booking only: Fee £10.00pp (including tea/coffee/fruit juice from 11.00am…). Notice to book the lecture only will be posted in February.

Finiau: Four painters in Raymond Williams’ Border Country


Exhibition of paintings by Joan Baker, Charles Burton, John Elwyn & Bert Isaac
Curated by Peter Wakelin for the National Eisteddfod 2016

Catch the last showing at

CHEPSTOW MUSEUM, Gwy House, Bridge Street, Chepstow NP16 5EZ
November 26 – February 26 2017
Open: Mon-Sat 11-4, Sun 2-4 (closed 25-28 December, 1 & 2 January)

Border Country by Raymond Williams is one of the great Welsh novels. Published in 1960 this influential autobiographical novel explored the changing lives of people on the Welsh borders, in town, village, farm and industrial valley, from the 1920s to the 1950s.

In this exhibition, originally created for the 2016 National Eisteddfod held at Abergavenny but now showing at Chepstow Museum until February 26 2017, works by four Welsh artists, Joan Baker, Charles Burton, John Elwyn and Bert Isaac, all contemporaries of Raymond Williams, have been brought together. They represent a fascinating period in South Wales in the 1930s, 40s and 50s when artists wanted to record ordinary life around them in direct and truthful ways.

Border Country, which was set in and around Abergavenny (fictionalised as the town of ‘Gwenton’) told the story of a young lecturer who comes home from London to help look after his dying father and in the process remakes connections with the life of his working-class community. It was set on the border of Wales and England, but Williams was interested in other kinds of borders too – between town and village, vale and coalfield, generations, classes, men and women.
Peter Wakelin who curated the exhibition, chose four artists who examined their own surroundings in South Wales as Raymond Williams looked at his – without ‘a false or sentimental note anywhere’. They were all born within a few years of Williams. They came out of the same culture and environment. They lived similar experiences, they saw what he saw, and they too explored boundaries between places, people and communities in south Wales.
In the sixty years that have passed Wales and Welsh lives have changed dramatically. So it is rewarding to see an earlier time and place, vividly conjured up, as these four artists and this writer saw it.
This exhibition is bursting with fascinating works from Brecknock Museum, Aberystwyth School of Art, the University of South Wales, Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University, the National Library of Wales, Newport Museum & Art Gallery and private collections.
Chepstow Museum is the last venue in a short tour following the Eisteddfod, and there is a lasting memento in a beautifully illustrated and informative book and catalogue available at the Museum.

The Museum is staging two special events in association with the exhibition:

Wednesday 1st February 7.30pm
The Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow NP16 5HJ
'Border Country in Paint'
Peter Wakelin talks about the works and the artists selected to complement Raymond Williams' autobiographical novel of 1960 'Border Country' for the Eisteddfod exhibition "Ffiniau" now showing at Chepstow Museum. Peter Wakelin is a writer and curator, specialising in Welsh art and heritage, previously head of Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales, and a director of National Museum Wales.
Tickets £3 (deductable from catalogue bought on night price £6), free tea & coffee

Saturday 18th February 2pm
The Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow NP16 5HJ
Special event to celebrate the exhibition Ffiniau: Four Painters in Raymond Williams’ Border Country
Raymond Williams’ biographer Professor Dai Smith and one of the four artists, Charles Burton, in conversation with exhibition curator Dr Peter Wakelin
Followed by tea and a special viewing of the exhibition at Chepstow Museum
Tickets £4/£3

All tickets can be booked at Chepstow Museum 01291 625981.

Anne Rainsbury
Curator, Chepstow Museum
Bridge Street,
Monmouthshire NP16 5EZ
tel: 01291 625981
Follow us on twitter @chepstowmuseum

Our Museums –
Inspiring a passion for Monmouthshire

Ein Hamgueddfeydd –
Ysbrydoli angerdd dros Sir Fynwy

A 64-page booklet by Peter Wakelin is available at the exhibitions or from Art Works of Abergavenny, price £7.50 including postage:

pile of booksWMC LITERATURE WEEKENDS 2016-17

Continuing a long tradition of Literature weekends, WMC Literature draws people from far and wide for weekends of discussion and study under the guidance of a tutor.

A typical weekend will focus on one or two books which we have read in advance. The tutor brings information about authors, context and themes, and a tutor-led discussion follows. Each weekend may be attended as a stand-alone course.

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 a bar. (Shallowford House, Shallowford, Stone, ST15 0NZ)

You can find the programme and booking form here

A number of places are available for £40 for those aged 18 to 40 thanks to the Raymond Williams Foundation. The Raymond Williams Foundation will also look favourably on anyone outside this age range who applies for a grant to enable them to attend. To apply, contact Jean Lowthian (Phone: 07952 799783 e-mail:

If you have any questions, contact Maggie Washington,
phone: 01538 751848, e-mail:


Picture Beautiful my CountryA literary-historical look at the Potteries from its Victorian heyday to
the post-industrial present

A short public-access course led by
Dr Catherine Burgass at Keele University
(February-April 2017)

Course overview: This course explores literary representations of the Potteries from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will look at fiction, poetry and some journalistic pieces to see how Stoke has been presented, attacked or defended by authors over the period. We will discuss the work of Stoke-born writers such as Arnold Bennett, John Wain and Arthur Berry, along with literary ‘tourists’ – from Dickens to Joanna Trollope, examining the exchanges between these two groups. Lastly, we will consider the development of Stoke’s literary heritage by contemporary writers and its contribution to public perception of the city today. The course will be of interest to local culture vultures, as well as avid readers and writers who wish to explore the region’s literary traditions in greater depth. Teachers of English may also like to learn more about Stoke’s literary history in order to inform and inspire their pupils.



Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation & isolation of modern life.
We meet monthly on Saturday evening.

‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’. William Morris


At Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ 7.30pm Buffet (bring something if you can) 8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm

Travel & Access

Stratford stations & 257 bus Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus Overground: Leytonstone High Rd, turn right, short walk

Disabled access, car park, bikes can be brought in, quiet children welcome. You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown. Meetings open to all - just turn up. Enquiries 0208 555 5248 Free entry: voluntary donations welcome

‘The club is a real beacon of light.’ Peter Cormack