Day School: William Morris - designer, poet and socialist

Ref: C2226835

When Morris was dying, one of his doctors diagnosed his disease as "simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men." Today, most people think of Morris as a masterful and hugely influential designer, and a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. During his lifetime, he was also regarded as a major poet, and a ground-breaking translator of Icelandic sagas. In the 1880s, he became a committed revolutionary socialist and was a major influence on the further progress of British socialist thinking, well into the 20th century. Many socialist intellectuals and important trade unionists looked to Morris for their inspiration. Of course, he came from a privileged middle-class background, but does it matter if he seems to have been a bit of a champagne socialist? Come the revolution, we'll all be able to afford the products of Morris & Co....... A truly extraordinary character.

Additional information about this course

Session ends at 4pm as 1 hour lunch break is included.

Course aim

An introduction to the life & works of William Morris (1834 - 1896). Poet, craftsman, designer, and socialist. Described, on his death, in an Icelandic newspaper as "a great freedom lover, a dedicated socialist and a most outstanding man.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe the extraordinary range of Morris's activities.
  • assess the importance of Morris in the world of design.
  • explain the significance & influence of Morris as an early British socialist.
  • describe how his "News From Nowhere" brought together so many of Morris's reflections on society.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • There will be ample opportunities to discuss the issues covered, both in open discussion, and through some small group work.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • It would be useful to bring a laptop or tablet. The tutor will create an online resource (a Padlet) to enhance the resources available.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • These are recommended as the best studies of Morris: E.P. Thompson William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary (originally 1955) Fiona MacCarthy William Morris (1994)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Day School: William Morris - designer, poet and socialist

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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