We are delighted to bring you the WEA's award-winning lecture series.

Don't forget to visit this page regularly to find information on new lectures as they are added to the series.

How do I register to attend?

To register to join a lecture, click on the link beside your chosen lecture and complete your details (you will need your membership number handy).  You will then be sent by email a link and password for the lecture which you should access a few minutes before the lecture start time and enter the password when prompted.

Note: You will need a PC, laptop or tablet with speakers (a webcam and microphone are not essential).  A guide to using our Zoom software can be found here.

There is also a short video made by Zoom on how to join a Zoom meeting here.

You can access further support from the Zoom Help Centre.

The lectures now come with live subtitles to make the series more accessible to those with hearing difficulties.  Specific guidance on how you can control whether you see the subititles (or otherwise) on your own device is available in your weekly 'Membership update' email every Thursday morning.






Thursday 20th January 2022 - 5.00 - 6.00pm **FIRST LECTURE OF 2022**

The virtuous sidekick: celebrating the steadfast friend in literature, with Clare Jackson, WEA tutor

In this lecture, we will explore a vital character throughout literature - the hero or heroine's loyal companion. What is their literary purpose? What are the challenges a writer faces in creating this figure? How much does the steadfast friend reflect the audience or reader and their times? Comic, tragic and sympathetic, we’ll consider a range of these ‘virtuous sidekicks’, exploring why they are so much more than they initially seem, and why they so often do a disappearing act!

To register, click here


Thursday 27th January 2022 - 5.00 - 6.00pm

Discover the 'scented visions' of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, with Dr Christina Bradstreet, The National Gallery

Scent played a significant role in Victorian painting. In the Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Millais, Rossetti, Waterhouse and others, figures of daydreaming women are shown smelling flowers, putting on perfume, making potpourri, performing magic, dancing among incense fumes, reposing by censors or swooning amid intoxicating fragrances.

Yet the importance of the motif of scent in Pre-Raphaelite painting has been almost entirely overlooked. Many mid-late Victorian notions about smell – such as that smell is disease, rainbows radiate the scent of a meadow after rain, or that highly-perfumed flowers are asphyxiating – seem outlandish today. Join National Gallery expert, Dr. Christina Bradstreet to learn how these and other largely forgotten ideas about smell can enrich our understanding of paintings in surprising ways.

To register, click here


Thursday 3rd February 2022 - 5.00 - 6.00pm

China under communism 1922-2022: from international plaything to global superpower, with Michael Lynch, WEA tutor

Following shortly after Chinese New Year, this talk will trace the history of Chinese communism, from its beginnings in the 1920s through to its present formulation under Xi Jinping. Taking in World War 2 and civil war (1937-1949), Mao Zedong’s revolutionary People’s Republic of China (PRC) (1949-1976), Deng Xiaoping’s equally revolutionary reversal of Mao’s policies (1978-1997), the PRC’s emergence in the 21st century as the world’s leading superpower, and Xi’s arrival as the new emperor of China, we will explore the main political, cultural and economic aspects of Chinese communism during the period.

To register, click here


Thursday 10th February 2022 - 5.00 - 6.00pm

Family history: what's it all about?, with Jackie Depelle, WEA tutor

Since the introduction of the BBC’s television series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, family history has received major media exposure. With the addition of a ‘House Through Time’, house history has also increased its profile. But, these subjects along with local history have been studied for very many years. The availability of material online, including the widely anticipated 1921 census due to be released in the New Year, has made worldwide research possible, but just what do family historians do and how do they do it? Join WEA tutor Jackie Depelle to build a skeleton tree, add leaves and discover lives that demonstrate every ancestor matters and has a place in history!

To register, click here


Thursday 17th February 2022 - 5.00 - 6.00pm

Pink or blue?: the socialisation of gender, with Rachel Turner, WEA tutor and Gender Studies Masters student

Have you ever thought about why the colours pink and blue are associated with female and male identity?  We are conditioned from birth to behave in a certain way acceptable to society’s binary norms but what impact does this have on self-identity within the gender continuum?  Join us to discover the history of gender association with colours such as pink and blue, and the Pride rainbow.  We’ll look at the significance of the rainbow, widely used to represent the LGBTQI+ community and explore the symbolism behind it.

To register, click here


The last four member lectures are posted below: for our full archive of over 50 lectures, click here.


Have a very woolly Christmas!: hand-made Christmas ornaments - **recording to follow soon** - download the materials list and guide here, and forthcoming courses by the speaker here.


The planet Mars - download the Q&A, useful links for further information and forthcoming courses by the speaker here.

A talk about rhythm

Who is that Mr Putin? - we were unable to record the lecture but you can download the summary presentation here, and the Q&A and details of forthcoming courses by the speaker here.

Our earth: the history of plate tectonics - download the Q&A and useful links for further reading/information.

The lease of these: a Japanese story - download the list of books & films referenced.