golden lectures project

Wessex Area decided to mark the Golden Jubilee of The Arts Society in 2018 by initiating an Area wide project aimed at introducing older students in local schools and colleges to The Arts Society’s accredited lecture programme. The aim was that the lectures would help provide young people with a deeper understanding of the visual arts and to complement the practical aspects of the art curriculum.

The project was jointly and fully funded by the Area, local societies and a grant from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund.

Over 70% of Wessex Societies agreed to participate in this project which has meant 15 lectures across the Area during the year, attended by a total of more than 1000 students.

The lecturers have been wonderful in adapting their lectures to audience members who are slightly younger than those at regular lectures of The Arts Society.

Our Golden Lecturers have been:


  • Lynne Gibson
  • Linda Smith
  • Brian Stater
  • Ian Swankie
  • Barry Venning
  • Valerie Woodgate

Amongst the variety of topics covered have been 20th Century Paintings and Sculptures, Women Artists (particularly relevant in the centenary year of women’s suffrage in Britain), Photography, Picasso’s Guernica and Grayson Perry.

All the students and staff have been enthusiastic and have acknowledged how interesting and thought-provoking the lectures are. Comments have been that the lecture was 'enthralling', the students 'loved every moment...didn’t want it to end' and felt the lecturer 'was talking to us as equals rather than talking down to us, giving us the feeling of inclusivity in the art world which...can be exclusive and elitist'.