New brochures out now for Autumn 2018

Our new course brochures for Derby and Chesterfield are now available!  If you have attended a course with us in the last year then you will be getting a copy through the post very soon.  In the meantime you can download the brochures here:

WEA Derby & Derbyshire brochure Autumn 2018

WEA Chesterfield brochure 2018

If you’d like us to post one to you, please use the contact form to send us a message with your name and address, and we’ll get one sent out to you.

Enrolment is open to WEA members now – if you have a membership number you can enrol by phone on 0300 303 3464.

Enrolment will be open to everyone from Monday 11th June 2018.

We will be updating the website with full course details for Autumn over the next few weeks, so watch this space!


WEA Derby Branch presents: An evening with Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra.jpgWe are delighted to welcome Faber published poet and Radio 4 Poet in Residence Daljit Nagra to speak at our first ever WEA Derby Branch event hosted by Derby QUAD.

Daljit has published four books of poetry with Faber & Faber, the latest being British Museum, which will be available to purchase at the event.  He is a Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Brunel University London, and presents Poetry Extra, a weekly programme on Radio 4 Extra.

There will be a poetry reading with Q&A, plus a workshop with Daljit for anyone who would like to learn more about writing poetry.

Wednesday 4th July 2018

Workshop: 4.30-6.00pm | Poetry reading/Q&A: 7.00-8.00pm

followed by book signings after 8.00pm

Venue: QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby DE1 3AS

Cost: £8.00 standard, £7.00 concessions, £6.00 for WEA/QUAD members

The workshop is free for those who book a ticket for the talk, however places are limited.  If you would like to book for the workshop only, the cost is £5.00.

To book a ticket, contact Derby QUAD on 01332 290606 or call into the box office.  Please show your WEA membership number to qualify for the discount.

Beautiful artwork by WEA students

womenswork-tableclothStudents at Women’s Work in Derby, working with WEA tutor Liz Blades on an art and crafts course have, amongst other things, produced this tablecloth that the organisation will now be using to cover their stall when they attend events, displays and meetings. The students used various art, printing and stitching techniques they have learned on the course.

Derby Book Festival events hosted by WEA Derby

WEA Derby are pleased to announce that we are hosting some of the events for the Derby Book Festival in June 2016:

Roman Derbyshire by Mark Patterson

Derbyshire was the geographical centre of Roman Britain. Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton and many places in the White and Dark Peaks hosted forts, farms and industries, including home-grown Derbyshire Ware pottery, all connected by numerous Roman roads.  Tales of lost antiquities and legends about those left behind when the Romans withdrew are also part of the story told by journalist Mark Patterson, whose earlier book, Roman Nottinghamshire was shortlisted for the Current Archaeology Book of the Year.

Monday 6 June 2016
at WEA, The Mill

2 – 3pm


Vaughan Williams: Composer, Radical, Patriot by Keith Alldritt

At this event, Keith Alldritt will be in conversation with Janet Tennant about his latest book, Vaughan Williams: Composer, Radical, Patriot.
Based on extensive research into the unpublished papers of Vaughan Williams in the British Library and other collections, this biography gives a detailed account of the long life and career of one of Britain’s greatest composers.
It shows how historical events such as the Boer War, the two World Wars and the Depression of the thirties, as well as his interest in history and literature, influenced the life and music of Britain’s greatest symphonist.   It is also the first book to assess the importance of the love affair which he entered into late in life.

Saturday 11 June 2016
at WEA, The Mill
11am – 12noon


John Whitehurst by Maxwell Craven

John Whitehurst FRS (1713-1788) was an important figure in the English Enlightenment, a man who lived for 40 years of his life in Derby and one of the founders of the celebrated Lunar Society, established with Erasmus Darwin and Matthew Boulton in 1765. Yet his reputation has been overshadowed by later colleagues: Josiah Wedgwood, James Keir, James Watt and Joseph Priestley. Although a clockmaker by calling, Whitehurst was an important pioneer of modern geological science, of factory design, meteorology and domestic appliances. Beyond the Lunar circle his close friends included the painter Joseph Wright ARA and the architect Joseph Pickford.  This book places Whitehurst firmly back where he belongs, at the core of the Enlightenment and in the vanguard of the Industrial Revolution.

Saturday 11 June 2016
at WEA, The Mill
2.30 – 3.30pm

Please see for details on how to book for these events




WEA tutor’s new book – Bonnie Prince Charlie

BrianStone-BonniePrinceCharliePopular WEA tutor, Brian Stone has had a new book published: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highland Army In Derby.

About the book:

On 4th December 1745, the ragged highland army of Bonnie Prince Charlie entered the elegant Georgian market town of Derby on their way to London. It was to be the high water mark of the Jacobite Rebellion. What happened there on the following day arguably determined the course of British history forever.

Brian’s book examines a much-neglected aspect of the ’45 Rebellion and explains why the Prince and his men decided to retreat to Scotland thus ensuring the failure of the rebellion and the death of the Jacobite cause. It also looks at the prospects of the rebels if they had decided to march to London and what might have happened if they had reached it. The book contains much new and unfamiliar material, particularly on the behaviour of the rebels in Derby, derived from eyewitness accounts and contemporary newspaper reports – some of it previously unpublished.

This book is a major new work on the Jacobite invasion of England and overturns previous historical assumptions about the decision of the Council of War to abandon their attempt to regain the crown for the Stuarts.

Brian Stone, is a retired solicitor, historian, author and WEA tutor. He frequently teaches for WEA Derby and has given talks for WEA Nottingham.

His next talk in Derby is:  A Terrible Beauty is Born – The Easter Rising 1916′  at The Mill, Lodge Lane, Derby DE1 3HB on Saturday 23rd April 2016 at 10.00am-12.30 pm. The cost is £5. Everyone welcome.

WEA tutor reads her poetry

You are welcome to attend the launch and signing of Mice That Roared: Linked Short Stories, and Napoleon Solo Biscuits by WEA creative writing tutor Deborah Tyler-Bennett on Saturday 28 November, 11.30-2.00 upstairs at WH Smith in Loughborough.

There will also be a reading from both these books on Sunday 20 December at Debbie Bryan’s shop, St Mary Gate, Lace Market, Nottingham (time to be confirmed.)

Forensic psychology talk and WEA Derby Branch AGM

WEA Derby Branch Committee invites you to a talk

What is forensic psychology?

given by

Christian Perrin

PhD Researcher: Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct Research Unit: Nottingham Trent University

A brief introduction to the field of forensic psychology during which we will seek to clarify what a forensic psychologist does and how this rather mysterious field of study benefits society, looking at some key areas such as the identification, detection, and treatment of crime and criminals.

Wednesday 11 November 2015 at 2pm

WEA, The Mill, Lodge Lane, Derby DE1 3HB

Followed by the

WEA Derby Branch

Annual General Meeting

 Nominations for Officers, members of the Committee and any other business should be received by the Branch Secretary at the WEA Office by Tuesday 3rd November

Everyone is welcome

Derby WEA trip to Liverpool

On Wednesday 17 June 2015 the Derby branch of the WEA went on a day trip to Liverpool.

We arrived at Albert Dock where there was time for some sightseeing and lunch. In the afternoon we split into two groups, one for a tour of the Walker Art Gallery led by tutor Bob Moulder, and the other for the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals, led by tutor Rod Pearson. The weather was typically British for much of the day, but brightened up just in time for leaving.

Everyone who was there had a great time! We are hoping to arrange more trips like this one. If you would like to join one of our courses the Autumn programme will be available from 1 July.

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Don’t miss the Derby Book Festival, The Salon, and the new brochure!

There are lots of exciting things happening in Derby this spring, so don’t miss out:

The Derby Book Festival takes place around Derby city 31 May-7 June 2015 and they have many events that you may find interesting. For a full programme visit their website.

During Inspiring Derby week 22-28 June, WEA Derby are putting on a Salon on the topic of Idleness: Virtue or Vice?

Working in partnership the WEA and the University of Derby will recreate an 18th century French salon; a forum for genteel, convivial conversation and debate concerning ‘matters of the day’. Our salonnière sets the scene and regulates proceedings. No agenda, no presentation; your participation will shape discussion.

Date & time:       7.00-8.30pm Thursday 25 June 2015
Venue:                The Mill, Lodge Lane, Derby DE1 3HB
Fee:                      FREE
Booking is essential.

Our new brochure with courses for Autumn 2015 is expected in late June. If you want to be added to our mailing list please contact or call the office on 01332 291805.

WEA Derby trip to Liverpool

Join us on a day trip to Liverpool!

Wednesday 17th June 2015

Coach leaving The Mill at 09.00 returning 20.00 (approx.)

An opportunity to visit Albert Dock and to join one of 2 groups lead by:

Bob Moulder – Walker Art Gallery

Rod Pearson – Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals

Cost: £5

Please contact the Derby Office as soon as possible, with payment, if you would like a place:

01332 291805

All other costs subsidised by Derby Branch via your tea and coffee donations

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Beautiful student work from Printmaking workshop

WEA Derby branch held a printmaking workshop on 7 March 2015. Our students really enjoyed the day and produced some beautiful work.

‘It is such a happiness when good people get together – and they always do’

In October 2014 Joan Ting from WEA Adelaide joined Judith Hedley’s Nottingham  course ‘Emma’. Joan was over visiting family and enjoyed sitting in on Judith’s class so much she actually attended 3 times during her stay. Joan spoke enthusiastically to the group of her involvement with Adelaide’s Jane Austen society – which is based at WEA Adelaide;  and since then we’ve discussed the possibility of setting up our own Jane Austen group.

Ideas being floated for the group are:

* A visit to Sheffield Crucible Theatre to see Tamara Harvey’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice ( 14th May – 6th June)

* Talks about Jane Austen in locations across the East Midlands region – Derbyshire/Leicestershire/Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire/Northamptonshire

* Visits to places associated with either Jane or her novels

* A website where we can share all things Austen

* Austen themed food or fashion events

* anything else …

We are currently at the ‘this would be a good idea’ stage and so are inviting anyone who would be interested in such a venture to get in touch – we can then get the ball rolling. Everyone is welcome whether new to Austen or with some knowledge.

If you’d like to be involved or simply kept informed of our progress email Nikki Cleaver at

Are you the exceptional sessional tutor we are looking for?

We think our tutors are pretty special people and our students agree.  We’re looking to add to our tutor panel ready for courses in Autumn 2015. Our tutors are paid an hourly rate and employed on a sessional basis.

If you are a qualified and experienced adult education tutor, passionate about your subject, committed to life-long learning and wanting to engage with students within your local community, teaching with the WEA may be for you.

We are always interested to hear from tutors who can offer courses in the following subject areas: astronomy, current affairs, gardening, geology, history, local history, practical archaeology, international studies, nature studies, practical crafts, conservation, upholstery, very basic car maintenance, contemporary dance or fitness for the more mature. Or other subjects you think our students may be interested in.

We need tutors who:

  • are experienced in teaching adults
  • are qualified/specialist in their chosen topic
  • can lead and motivate a group of students, but at the same time encourage participation and work collaboratively
  • can design and deliver innovative courses that appeal to students
  • are excellent communicators
  • are adaptable and resilient
  • are IT literate and able to fulfil course administration requirements as well as teaching work
  • can build relationships with all types of people, from all walks of life
  • support and apply the principles of equality and diversity in their work
  • appreciate the importance of education with a social purpose

Our national website will give you more information about working for us and what it is like to teach for the WEA. If you want to know more about working for the WEA locally (East Midlands area) and to discuss possible courses you could offer please contact Barbara Stirrup ( by email in the first instance.

Creative writing news from the East Midlands from Debs Tyler-Bennett

It’s a real privilege teaching creative writing and seeing someone’s words and ideas form on the page, whether this is for the first time or whether they’ve been writing and shaping work for ages.

As a tutor teaching three groups in the East Midlands (Derby, Beeston, and Loughborough), as well as being a published writer of poems and short fictions myself, I’m increasingly struck by how lucky writers are that the East Midlands is such a creative centre, and that their work, should they wish it, has many potential outlets locally as well as nationally.

Recently, Mike Wilson at Loughborough Branch hosted a poetry evening (Not National Poetry Day) which once more acted as a reminder of where creative writing might lead.

I thought I’d share a few of my students successes from the WEA across the region, both to celebrate their work and maybe to encourage those new to writing to have a go at sending work out when they’re ready.  The students mentioned are only a handful of those achieving both personal and national successes with their work.

From Derby, Maureen Neal has had several short works of science fiction and fantasy anthologised, and has performed from these at readings at The Quad.  She was also short-listed for a novel competition, winning a professional critique of her work.  Peter Shanks, an active member of Wirksworth Wordminers regularly performs his work and has poems in the Wordminer’s anthology Upright and Eating Salad, the title of which was taken from one of his pieces.  Also, Joy Revell was commended in the Southwell Apple Poetry Competition. 

Liz Brownhill a member of the Loughborough group has had work displayed recently at an exhibition on World War One in Belton.  I was also thrilled that Liz attended my creative writing workshops for the Heritage Lottery Funded Diseworth and Kegworth World War One project, and that one of her poems from the workshop was chosen to form part of the community play, ‘Till The Boy’s Come Home directed by the Chorus Theatre.  The play (shown over the weekend of the first week of September this year) was really moving, and I was delighted Liz’s excellent poem was part of it.

Many other writers from Loughborough, Beeston, and Derby are being anthologised regularly in magazines (including my own Coffee House), and being placed in competitions, Jonathan Hill winning a prize for his poem on New Walk for a past WEA project.

Stephanie Bowes, another Loughborough student, has had a running series of stories in The Trencherman, the Richard III Society’s magazine.

But it isn’t just literary places where a students work might appear. Much of Brenda Boggild’s work (Beeston branch) is included at events on Anglo-Indian history, while Elizabeth Dodds (also Beeston) uses her writing to depict a Scottish childhood and memorialise changed places.  Robert Howard runs his own Littlehand Press Blogspot, and has just co-authored a fantastic History Guide on the 35 Bus for Travel Right.

Most recently, WEA Beeston’s Jan Norton had her poem ‘Miner’s Welfare’ published by Writers’ Forum, had a short story ‘Bristol Cream’ short listed for The Penfro Book Festival Short Story Competition, and her poem ‘Hiraeth’ was one of two runners-up in the Elmet Trust Poetry Competition.

In fact, these students’ stories demonstrate the great thing about writing, you never know where something will appear, or who will be interested in it.  Some students, like Loughborough’s Roy Kershaw, are working on longer pieces, such as Roy’s memoir, Mother and Me.

And the WEA affects tutor’s work, too. For example, my latest collection of short fictions Turned Out Nice Again from the King’s England Press tells the story of a group of variety performers during the 1940s.  During my research for the book (where all the stories are linked by fake news cuttings and music hall histories) I got in touch with the Max Miller society.  I’m now a member, and write regularly for their magazine There’ll Never be Another.  After a recent reading in Brighton, a woman came up to me who’d worked with the great Max, and told me about her time with him.

This anecdote may not seem to have much to do with the publication and teaching experiences I’ve been writing about, except that my work on variety has informed my writing and my teaching more than I would have thought possible, and I’ve designed several writing exercises for my WEA classes based on it.

So that’s what I’d tell anyone thinking of doing a creative writing class for the first time. You may be nervous of sharing your work with others, and this may always be the case.  But all writers, even the most published ones, are nervous of this.  So I’d say, give it a go and when you’re ready, think of those students who’ve found publication, and send your work out.  Or, even if you’re just writing for family or yourself, imagine a wider public reading your pieces and those pieces will undoubtedly improve (on the other hand, it’s amazing how many published writers begin with a desire to jot down family history).

Writing and creative outlets for it are adventures in themselves, and you never know where something you created will end up!  So, I’d say, get writing, and as the Cheekie Chappie himself would have said, make sure the things you say are snappy!