The annual Spring Conference, organised by the Union’s Education Committee, was hosted by Geraldine and Barrow Cadbury at the Friends’ Institute, Moseley Road for many years and consisted of a day of lectures on a particular theme. Speakers who were considered experts in their field were invited to participate. In the early years, the Conferences tended to be somewhat introspective with themes relating to the Adult School movement and its progress, such as ‘The Adult School in the Life of the Community’ or ‘Is the Union fulfilling its Mission?’. However, from the 1930s onwards, the Conferences began to address subjects which related to wider society, with the aim of providing members with the opportunity to acquire knowledge from experts and offering them a forum for discussion of contemporary issues of the time.
One example of this was the 1933 Conference on Unemployment which concluded that despite the worthwhile efforts being undertaken to help the large numbers of unemployed in this period, what was actually needed was a way of providing the unemployed with an income. As a result of the Conference, the Union established an Unemployment Committee to examine in more depth the causes, extent and effects of unemployment, propose ways of helping and providing paid work to the unemployed and to take any action it deemed necessary.