Twinned towns share culture, sights and knowledge during Bay Campus tour

‌Swansea University welcomed Twinning Association members from Mumbles and Hennebont, near Lorient in South Brittany, France, to its new £450m science and innovation Bay Campus this week (Wednesday, September 7).

Thirteen guests from the historic market town of Hennebont, including its Mayor Mr André Hartereau and his wife Marguerite, undertook the visit during their annual exchange with members of the Twinning Association of Mumbles.

Hennebont’s Mayor was excited to learn about the University’s magnificent Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, and how it has been developed.

Mumbles-Hennebont Twinning He said: “There are interesting academic parallels between Swansea and our local city of Lorient. Much like Swansea University, the University of South Brittany, which has a campus in Lorient, places special emphasis on innovation, for example developing new technological platforms using high-performance materials, as well as on cutting-edge research, partnerships with industry, and technology transfers.”

French speaking staff and students from the University’s College of Engineering were among those who welcomed the guests to the University during the visit, which included detailed Engineering talks, as well as a tour of Engineering Central, the School of Management, the Bay Library, the student accommodation, before ending the visit at the Campus’ iconic Great Hall for lunch.

Bertrand Rome, from Brussels, a PhD student specialising in Materials Engineering, said: "I really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experience of my first year as a PhD student at Swansea University with both twinning associations."

Dr Sam Rolland, from Rennes, Brittany, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, said: “It was great to have the opportunity to contribute to the community’s cultural exchange. As a Breton myself I felt involved from both sides; and I really enjoyed the interaction and how our visitors engaged with what we do in the College of Engineering.”

David Townsend Jones, Chair of the Twinning Association of Mumbles, said: “It’s a real coup for us to have arranged a tour of the new Swansea Bay Campus for our guests from Hennebont. Also, for many of us locals it is a long-awaited chance to see the new campus at close quarters and not just as a distant new presence on the far side of the bay!”

Hennebont – or Henbont in Breton – a historic market town of some 15,000 people, has been twinned with Mumbles since 2004. The Mumbles–Hennebont Twinning Associations celebrated their 10th anniversary last year.