‘Every member a thinker and worker’- notes from 1925 WEA Class


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davEvery member a thinker and a worker: notes from a 1925 social psychology class in Tyneside

Our WEA  Colleagues in the North East recently published this fascinating insight into early WEA courses. It demonstrates that the WEA has always been committed to providing education with a social purpose. We love to encourage our students to develop their critical thinking skills.


Turbulent Times 1918-28

Our recent visit to Tyne & Wear Archives provided a rare insight into the ways that 1920s WEA students responded to the educational activities on offer.

Hidden in a parcel of more mundane documents was a small blue exercise book entitled “Annfield Plain Class in Psychology, Journal 1925-26, 3rd year’.

This was clearly quite an advanced university extension tutorial class. Evidently, there was a class meeting, lecture and discussion each week, and the students took it in turns to take notes in the class journal.

This class was concerned with social psychology and there is evidence throughout that both the tutor, Mr Rutherford, and his students were using a psychological lens to engage with preoccupations of the era, such as the nature of progress and the power of advertising/propaganda. Other discussions dealt with politically charged issues – such as social Darwinism, patriotism and whether there were innate racial characteristics (‘the questions of stock’). These both harked back to the debates of the first world war and were harbingers of the extremist thought which pervaded Europe in the following decade, but the class notes show a critical engagement, taking nothing at face value. Even the contentious ideas of Oswald Mosley and his father were used as examples to stimulate debate.

Additionally, the group discussed what made for a successful WEA class. As the list on the image above demonstrates, the emphasis was on a tutor who could inclusively guide discussions that catered for a wide range of abilities, and a class (“each member a thinker and a worker”) who were willing to participate, absorbed in the topic, and open to others’ opinions.



What we’re up to at the moment


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Currently we are finalising our programmes for autumn 2017.


Our new autumn brochures will be available from late June and our courses will then be available for on-line, secure telephone payment and postal enrolments.

If you’d like to be added to our mailing list and be one of the first to receive our new brochure, please telephone 0115 9628400 and let us have your contact details.

You’ll also be able to view details of all East Midlands region courses here

We are running a number of pre-enrolment events across the region over the summer; details of these will be included in our brochures.

Radcliffe course: 3 Sculptors at YSP


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There are still places on our course starting next week in Radcliffe on Trent


3 Sculptors at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This course consists of 4 indoor sessions 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th of May and a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Saturday 20th May.

The 3 main sculptures to be studied are Moore, Hepworth and Shonibare. The course will also briefly consider: Goldsworthy, Paolozzi and Emin. We’ll preview the new Tony Cragg exhibition at the YSP.

For the trip, the coach will pick up in Radcliffe, we have a guided tour of the outside exhibitions by one of the YSP artists. A room has also been booked for those wishing to take their own packed lunch. Reasonable mobility is required.

Fee: please send two cheques 1 x £30.80 for course fees and 1 x £20 for trip.

To enrol telephone 0115 933 2922

Cheques made payable to WEA Radcliffe on Trent Branch, send with your contact details to Branch Secretary, 8, Granville Cres. Radcliffe on Trent. NG12 2EF

We do have spaces on the coach for the trip and guided tour of Yorkshire Sculpture Park – if you are unable to attend the course but would like to go with us on the trip, please telephone 0115 933 2922

Don’t forget … Kimberley Job Fair


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Today we’re at the Kimberley Job Fair in the Parish Hall in Kimberley.

The fair has been organised by Broxtowe Borough Council and there are many different organisations attending.

We’re there to tell people about our Film Making for Employability course and our ALL project.

Come say-hello

Radcliffe on Trent branch AGM


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The Radcliffe on Trent branch of the WEA invites you to a social evening & AGM

on Wednesday April 26th at 7pm.


This event will be held at The Grange Community Centre, Vicarage Lane,

Radcliffe on Trent, NG12 2FB

7pm – welcome followed by short AGM and then time for refreshments Wine_Glasses and a chat.

Hear about the success of this year’s courses in Radcliffe and what we’ve planned for the autumn term.

Please come along, share an enjoyable evening with us and find out more about the vibrant WEA Radcliffe branch and its friendly committee of volunteers.

World Book Night – 23rd April


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World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency  – a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers.

World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books which takes place on 23rd April each year.

Books are given out across the UK with the focus on reaching those who do not read regularly. Books are gifted through organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters as well as by passionate individuals who give out their own books within their own communities.

What is your favourite book? and why?

One for the family & social historians – unusual Census entry


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cat     An unusual entry from the 1911 Census – Tiddles the cat


Tiddles the cat

And another one – Jim   cat

jim the cat


With thanks to Myko Celland (Twitter @dappperhistorian)  for these interesting Census entries.

WEA Nottingham office closure – Easter


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We’d like to wish all of our students, volunteers, tutors, staff and everyone visiting this site


WEA Nottingham branch office and the main East Midlands regional office at Mapperley Road are closed for Easter from 5pm Thursday April 13th until 9am Tuesday 18th April.

On-line booking  for our summer courses is available over the Easter break.