Tuesday, 17 June 2014

*Does working-class education have a future?*2nd August 2014

*Does working-class education have a future?* 2nd August 2014

A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade
union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education
lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity
magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council

GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA

*Speakers: *

  • *Marie Hughes *South West TUC Regional Education Officer
  • *Trish Lavelle *CWU National Education Officer
  • *Becca Kirkpatrick *Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity
  • *Shan Maidment *TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College
  • *Carole Vallelly *GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor
  • *Nigel Costley, *Secretary, South West TUC
  • *Dave Chapple, *Bridgwater TUC
  • *Ian Manborde, *Ruskin College
  • *Richard Ross *London Metropolitan University
*Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited:
please register in advance if possible, make cheques  out to “Bridgwater
Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1
Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. 

Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail davechapple@btinternet.com 

10.30am  registration tea and coffee*
11'00am: welcome: Vicki Nash, Somerset NUT and President Bridgwater TUC*
 First session: Chair, Andy Newman, GMB, White Horse (Wiltshire) TUC*
*Speakers: Marie Hughes, Trish Lavelle, Dave Chapple*

Second session: Chair, Glen Burrows, RMT, Bridgwater TUC*
*Speakers: Nigel Costley, Shan Maidment, Richard Ross*


2.40pm  Third session: Chair: Richard Capps, PCS, vice-Chair South West
*Speakers: Carole Vallelly, Ian Manborde, Becca Kirkpatrick*
*iscussion including conference follow-up*

*4pm: Close of conference*

The last few generations have seen, overall, both a crisis and decline in
the general field of what used to be called working-class education.
Despite substantial government Union Learn funding, now of course under
severe pressure, and some impressive internal trade union shop steward
programmes, the subsidised and ‘liberal’ ‘adult education sector where many
of us learned the theory and practice of socialism has almost disappeared.
*This conference is a ground-breaking attempt to address this crisis,
asking these questions amongst many others:  would the internet have
destroyed adult ‘liberal’ education without any government cuts? Do any
trade unions educate their members for socialism or merely effective trades
unionism? Can a volunteer/community-led strategy restore cuts to Union
Learn and adult evening courses? *

What about the left-wing political parties, including Labour and the
Greens? What are the strategies to restore a once-thriving Independent
Working Class Education as part of the workers’ emancipation project? Do
TUC courses succeed in teaching solidarity between workers in different
unions? Could local trades councils play a new educational role?

*These of course are only a few possible ways of approaching our conference
subject: make sure you raise yours! Our speakers will all, hopefully, give
us personal reflections of all their years teaching workers, as well as
their own ideas for future education campaigns. *

Bridgwater GWRSA/Railway Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater rail station at
the east end of Wellington Rd. Car parking in adjacent station car park.
Bridgwater station is served by an hourly train service throughout the day,
arriving from Bristol at 40 minutes past the hour and from Taunton at 15/20
minutes past the hour. Bridgwater is also easily accessible from the M5
motorway with two junctions: north (Dunball/Junction 23) and south
(Huntworth/Junction 24). The GWRSA/railway club itself is one of the
national network of railway clubs which in themselves are an important part
of working-class history-they were funded by the employers, and so can be
understood both as social concession or dangerous palliative.  However, you
will find the Bridgwater GWRSA a friendly, thriving but last-surviving
local working class club. We look forward to seeing you on 2nd August 2014

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