During Adult Learners' Week 2012, over 2,000 events took place across England, inspiring and encouraging adults to take up learning.
Here are some of the highlights of activities that took place during the Week in May 2012.
For the latest information about Adult Learners' Week:
Work and Community Learning Day
Held at the museum of Liverpool and coordinated by MerseyLearn, this event attracted over 150 visitors with break-out sessions, talks about trade unions and basic skills sessions, as well as exhibits from a whole host of learning providers and interactive stalls.
North East Regional Awards Ceremony
The Ceremony celebrated the fantastic achievements of North East Learners. BBC’s Sharuna Sagar presented the winners with their awards and each award winner shared their learning experiences, highlighting how learning had provided them with hope and direction at times when challenges and obstacles seemed insurmountable. The transformative power of adult learning was in evidence all across the room and provided inspiration and motivation to everyone to continue learning throughout their lives.
South West Regional Awards Ceremony
Nominators, Nominees, Winners and their guests attended the Awards Ceremony on Weston Pier to celebrate their achievements. It was a fabulous evening and truly inspirational! All the South West National and Regional Winners attended and they and the South West Nominees received their certificates from celebrity speaker Cheryl Baker. Cheryl did a speech and a rendition of ‘making your mind up’.
'Stories of the Tyne' Event
Organised by the WEA and taking place on the ‘Pride of the Tyne’ ferry, passengers spent an afternoon travelling up to the mouth of the river and through the industrial landscape to the outskirts of Newcastle. A range of experts in Tyne history, from retired shipyard and fish quay workers to volunteers from Segedunum Roman Fort and Bedesworld shared their knowledge and memories of living and working on the river.
East of England Regional Awards Ceremony
The Ceremony took place at the prestigious Air Space Conference Centre at Duxford Imperial War Museum. Outstanding individuals and a learning project, as well as regional and locally sponsored winners were presented their awards by Susie Fowler-Watt, BBC TV Look East Presenter, along with a representative from sponsoring organisations. Attendees were entertained by the rhythmaires, a 12 piece musical group who are part of the Peterborough U3A group.
Yorkshire and Humber Regional Awards Ceremony
The Awards Ceremony was held at Leeds Arts Gallery, hosted by Rommi Smith, former Parliamentary Poet, who shared some of her thoughts about learning being like the spark and roar of fire and helped guests to create a collective poem! Emmerdale actress, Kelli Hollis, came along to research her storyline about a mum struggling to overcome her own difficulties with reading and was inspired by the learning journeys of this year’s award winners.
South East Regional Awards Ceremony
Welcomed by the Museum of London and hosted by Simon Beer from NIACE - with help from NIACE's Chief Executive David Hughes and the BBC's Eleanor Gloster - learners, nominators and their friends, family and other supporters come together to celebrate this year's national, regional and locally sponsored award winners. Great entertainment was provided by singer Georgina Parnell, who is also currently an adult learner from Canterbury Christ Church University.
Adult Learners' Week 'learning through a lens' Photo Competition Reception
The first Adult Learners’ Week Photo Competition Reception was hosted by the Leicester People’s Photographic Gallery, on Thursday 17 May. The event attendees included local councillors, as well as entrants who had submitted the top nine shortlisted photographs and their guests. The top three winning photographs were unveiled, after a speech from Chris Minter - Head of Adult Skills and Learning Services at Leicester City Council - and the winners were presented with a certificate and photographic vouchers.
London Regional Awards Ceremony
Learners, nominators and other supporters came to the Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Museumof London and NIACE's Simon Beer to celebrate regional and locally sponsored award winners. Four MPs also attended to present awards and give messages of support to learners about the value of adult learning. Entertainment was provided by a choir of learners from SCOLA.
Midlands Regional Awards Ceremony
Taking place at Devonshire Place in Leicester, the Ceremony celebrated the achievements of adult learners across the Midlands. Guests were entertained as dancers from Studio 79 performed a lively Bhangra set. Professor Carl Chinn hosted the ceremony and encouraged the winners to share their learning experiences. “I, like many others I suspect, had no intention of saying anything … but ...we all got quite carried away with ourselves!” Barbara Keenan, Award Winner.
Silk Painting Open Day in Merseyside
Taking place at the L30 Community Centre, guests and local residents were able to view an exhibit of learners’ work from silk painting classes. The event also included drop in taster sessions and an opportunity to try different techniques for applying paint to silk, as well as being able to have a go at painting this lovely silk Adult Learners’ Week banner.
Adult Learners' Week Parliamentary Reception
The Parliamentary Reception was hosted by the co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, on Wednesday 16 May. The lively event attracted a range of peers, MPs and key influencers. Guests had the opportunity to meet previous Adult Learners’ Week award winners, and talk to them about the real difference adult learning has made to their lives.
Adult Learners' Week Policy Conference
Held by NIACE in partnership with The Open University, the conference explored challenges and approaches to widening participation in adult education. Speakers from business and education outlined their visions for the future and guests heard about policy developments from Rt Hon John Hayes MP – Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong learning, Rt Hon Gordon Marsden MP – Shadow Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning and Baroness Margaret Sharp of Guilford.
Adult Learners' Week National Awards Ceremony
Hosted by TV Presenter Philippa Forrester, the ceremony celebrated the achievements of learners and projects from across the country. Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also attended and presented awards to winners. Guests were inspired by the remarkable stories of this year’s award winners as they offered their words of advice and encouragement. A message of support was also received from Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister who stated that "Adult learning is part of this country's life-blood.”
Adult Learners' Week Launch, Merseyside
Held at the Museum of Liverpool, this was a must for music fans wanting an insight into the music industry. Attendees heard former member of the Liverpool band ‘The Christians’, Henry Priestman’s experiences of the music business - starting in 1975 when he joined Liverpool Art College in order to form a band, through to his current solo career. Henry explained how he wrote two of his biggest hits - Ideal World and Forgotten Town – and showed video footage of film, TV and adverts he has composed music for.
Park and Read in Cambridge
Launched from Trumpington Park on 12 May 2012, Park and Read in Cambridge ran through the seven days of Adult Learners’ Week and included the five Park and Ride sites in Cambridge and the Longstanton bus station of the new Huntingdon to Cambridge Guided Busway. Local Authors, Rosy Thornton and Mary Nichols, attended the launch. Quick Reads books were available at the bus stations and on the buses for individuals to read on their short journey into the City Centre and World Book Day titles were given away to the public using the Park and Ride facility.
Stratford Fire Station's Yoga Session
F21 Stratford Red & Blue Watch celebrated Adult Learners’ Week with a yoga session instructed by Amy Bishop-Culpeper from Blue Watch Stratford, who is in her second year of “Inner” Yoga teacher training. The image shows Firemen and instructor Amy performing Vrksasana, commonly known as the ‘tree’ pose, carried out in Stratford Fire Station’s recreational room.
Midlands Regional Award Winners' Day Out
Midlands Award Winners were treated to a special event, organised by Regional Coordinator - Jo Knight, at Birmingham’s science museum, ThinkTank. After meeting and discussing each other’s learning journeys the group visited the museum’s fully equipped laboratory where they explored accessing their own DNA. The group were also given a private showing in the Planetarium of a film entitled ‘Extreme Climates’ before accessing the rest of the Museum Galleries.