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Reports on the "Everyday Democratization" project

If we wish to be co-operative, environmentally sustainable, egalitarian or democratic, where are we to go? To address this question the Everyday Democratisation project will shine a light on the growing number of diverse activities now being developed to democratise aspects of everyday life, beyond the sphere of formal politics.

An initial report on progress (Jan 2017)

Scope of the project (Nov 2016)

demfest logo "Demfest" in May 2016 was a success with a big turnout and initial feedback very positive. Report here

This quite detailed report on "Demfest" from "Assemblies for Democracy" makes interesting reading and conveys the enthusiasm felt at the event here


Report on the

RWF Day linked to the RW Society Annual Lecture.
21st Nov 2015 at Ruskin College Oxford

Full report including the Programme here

An RWF Celebration

Steve Samuel is from Merthyr Tydfill - an early leaver from mainstream education; adult education activist and beneficiary who late on became a self-taught digital artist. Steve received a grant from RWF to paint this portrait which was unveiled at Wortley Hall, by Ria Higham, Vice-Chair of RWF.

Rw portrait unveiling TD,RH,DT
Vice Chair Ria Higham unveiling the portrait of Raymond Williams From right to left :Tony Dennis Chair of RWF, Ria Higham Vice-Chair and Derek Tatton RWF Administrator


35 attended the key-note lecture by Laura Swaffield who gave a detailed authoritative account of the current crisis facing public libraries. Despite the 'grim situation' Laura drew attention to continued strong public use and support for libraries. The Chair of RWF paid special tribute to the knowledge and commitment Laura had brought, from London, to our celebration occasion.

Tributes were paid at the start to Clive Edwards, with the newly published booklet honouring his work now added to the Sylvia Pankhurst Library.

16 participated in Alice Corble's seminar circle discussion on RW's still relevant article about libraries and community. Another excellent session. Plans were discussed for RWF's future developments through the library retreat scheme and the new Keywords project.

Late night guitar accompanied singing, plus one man and his voice unaccompanied
drew a tired but appreciative number from the group ...

12.00 onwards Arrival and registration:
13.00 Food and drink available to purchase in the Bar…
14.00 Welcome and introduction to the Sylvia Pankhurst Library Project and potential links with the Working Class Movement Library.
Key-note lecture: The Future of Reading and Public Libraries by Laura Swaffield, Chair of The Library Campaign
15.45 Portrait unveiling
16.00 Tea
17.00 Seminar Circle discussions on the issues, including a seminar led by Alice Corble (Goldsmith’s)on RW’s Library Association article (1966) on The Library’s Relation to Its Community
18.30 Dinner
19.45 Seminar Circle discussions continued, focusing on practical suggestions for the future of the RWF linked project/s.
21.15 Bar and, maybe, some informal music and poetry...

Screening of RW's 'The Country and the City' 26 Sept 2015 in Wigtown

...... we have had a thoroughly enjoyable screening of the film City and Country last night. It was extremely well received by an audience who related to the many issues explored in the film. One member of the audience was so delighted to see the film as her son studied Media at the Caledonian University in Glasgow and the film was, and probably still is, part of the course and he apparently used to rave about it. She now sees why. Another of the audience presented another emotion at the end, coming to me enraged that in 42 years nothing has changed or improved!! I feel an online petition may follow from her !!

Several of audience suggested the film should be re-released and marketed for a current generation or promoted for a television airing again to once more stimulate public debate.


Report on the "Keywords" residential event at Wortley Hall 21-23 Aug 2015

Event Programme - click

Evaluation - click

Report on the "Participation Now" residential event at Wortley Hall 28-30 Nov 2014

Event Programme - click

Evaluation - click

Report on 21st Berwick & District Trades Council Annual Dayschool

25 Oct 2014 in Berwick- on-Tweed. - click

Evaluation of the "War and - Peace RWF weekend" course May 2014

Course Programme - click

Evaluation - click

Evaluation of the "Dylan Thomas Cenenary weekend" course June 2014

Course Programme - click

Evaluation - click


This account of the residential weekends and mid-week courses is work-in-progress

We are hoping that it will be published later this year. Meanwhile:
leaflets and information welcome for the years 1987/8 and for 2005, as will be any
reflections, comments and brief anecdotes from participants.
Please sent to:

click to see report.

Evaluation of the "Ted Hughes and the White Godess" course 11-13 Oct 2013

Course Programme - click

Evaluation - click

Report of on "Politics and the State" course 6-8 Sept 2013

Course Leaflet - click

Evaluation - 'Excellent experience. Thought the format of the course was very good
and perhaps better than the traditional speaker and comments from the
floor...'; read more

Notes on the Key-note lecture by Prof Roger Seifert - Click. This is a Powerpoint file. If you don't have Powerpoint you can download Powerpoint Viewer for free from Microsoft here

Comprehensive notes written by Rose Kay of the whole event. click

Report of on 25th Annual Raymond Williams Event 8-10 May 2013

Another great success with our annual residential !

Group Photo

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 ( ) 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

At the Adelphi Hotel Liverpool

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'
'Brilliant week-end'
'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