A century of adult education in rural Wales

Dr Martin Wright

Dr Martin Wright

17 February 2020

One hundred years of adult education in rural Wales will be the subject of a public lecture at Aberystwyth University, to mark the centenary of the University’s Lifelong Learning Department.

In his lecture, A Century of University Adult Education in Rural Wales’, Dr Martin Wright from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University will consider the challenges that the universities serving rural Wales have faced over the last century in striving to provide educational opportunities for all citizens, how the offering has adapted in order to meet changing learning needs and aspirations, and some of the ways in which adult education in Wales can meet the challenges of the future.

Dr Martin Wright explains:  “The universities serving rural Wales can boast more than a century-long record of reaching out to their communities to provide educational opportunities for all to enjoy. Their mission, as defined in the educational settlement bequeathed by the generation that lived through the Great War, was to enrich civilisation through the creation of good citizens. The lecture will examine the ways in which Welsh universities sought to fulfil this mission, and reflect upon the challenges they have faced in so doing.

“It will trace the ways in which social, economic and cultural change have created a constantly evolving array of educational needs and aspirations, and will critically evaluate the ways in which university adult educators have served their communities.  It will present adult education as a fascinating lens through which society may be examined.

“R.D. Roberts, the pioneering adult educator from Aberystwyth, observed in 1908 that adult education was a movement with both an inward spirit and an outward form: ‘The spirit abides and does not change but the outward form changes from one generation to another’. This lecture will explore both the nature of that ‘inward spirit’ and the changes in ‘outward form’ that have taken place over the last century. It will use this historical analysis to suggest ways in which adult education in this part of the world may meet the challenges of the future.”

Dr Martin Wright is a Senior Lecturer in History at Cardiff University. Educated at St David’s University College, Lampeter, he worked for over a decade in adult education in rural Wales. He is author of Wales and Socialism: Political Culture and National Identity Before the Great War.

The public lectureA Century of University Adult Education in Rural Wales’ takes place at 3.30pm on Monday 2 March 2020 in the Old Hall, Old College, Aberystwyth University. Admission is free and a warm welcome is extended to all.

At 1pm on the same day, there will be an opportunity to visit the School of Art printmaking department in the Edward Davies Building, Buarth Mawr, with a chance to view work by students, staff and contemporary printmakers represented in the Art and Crafts Collection.

Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the Department of Lifelong Learning was established in 1919 as the Department of Extra-Mural Studies.  It was the first such department to be established in Wales, and only the second in the UK.

Today, the department offers a wide range of courses from Scriptwriting to Still Life, Plant Diversity to Portraiture, Local History to Living Willow Sculpture, and French to Forensic Psychology.  

To find out more, visit the department’s online pages or get in touch on 01970 621580 / learning@aber.ac.uk.