Raymond Williams and ‘useful education’: a critique and a celebration

This year’s Raymond Williams Memorial lecture marks two special occasions in the 2021 calendar – 100 years in the history of Learning and Work Institute with the foundation of the British Institute of Adult Education in 1921, and the Centenary of the birth of the novelist, cultural critic and socialist intellectual Raymond Williams. For this occasion Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University delivered the Raymond Williams Memorial lecture online. Including a  special welcome from Kirsty Williams, MS, Minister for Education.

The event was organised in partnership with The Open University in Wales.

Professor Tim Blackman explored Raymond Williams’ views on education, which he saw as about making a democratic society. At a time when different approaches to vocational and academic education are emerging across the UK’s four nations, he used Raymond Williams’ ideas on the mutuality of human relationships to argue for education in colleges and universities to combine humanistic and technical learning opportunities.

During the lecture Professor Tim Blackman said:

“Education is a lifelong universal need and we should put as much investment into its coverage, methods and technologies as health care.”

“We need education for what Williams calls a way of life. The necessary task is what way of life to choose.”

Following the lecture we were joined by panellists, Maggie Galliers Chair of Learning and Work Institute, Mark Jones Principal at Gower College Swansea, 2020 Inspire! Adult Learner of the Year Emma Williams, Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University and Kirsty Williams MS, Minister for Education.

The lecture is available for viewing below: