Swansea University - Abstracts

Crynodebau / Abstracts: Damcaniaethu Cymru / Theorising Wales

Abstracts of papers, arranged in alphabetical order by author

There will be simultaneous translation for all Welsh-language papers.

Jane Aaron, University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg

‘Gwlad y Meirw Byw: Llên Gothig Gymraeg’

Yn y papur hwn, defnyddir theorïau seicdreiddiol, ôl-drefedigaethol, Marcsaidd a ffeminyddol i ddadansoddi enghreifftiau o len Gymraeg sy’n cynnwys agweddau Gothig. Dadleuir fod syniadaeth Freud ynghylch ‘dychweliad y darostyngedig’ yn berthnasol iawn i rai o’r testunau aflonydd hyn a’r ysbrydion sy’n cerdded trwyddynt. Fe fydd gweithiau gan T. Gwynn Jones, Saunders Lewis, Islwyn Ffowc Elis, Angharad Tomos a Mihangel Morgan ymhlith y testunau a drafodir yn y papur.

‘Land of the Living Dead: Welsh-Language Gothic Literature’

In this paper, psychoanalytic, postcolonial, Marxist and feminist theories will be used to analyse exemplary Welsh-language literary texts which include Gothic aspects. The paper argues that Freud’s concept of the ‘return of the repressed’ is particularly relevant to some of these haunted texts and the ghosts which walk through them. Works by T. Gwynn Jones, Saunders Lewis, Islwyn Ffowc Elis, Angharad Tomos and Mihangel Morgan will be amongst those discussed in the paper.

Sally Baker, B.J. Brown & E. Williams, Bangor University / Prifysgol Bangor [WITHDRAWN]

‘The Accumulation and Reconversion of Symbolic Capital in Twentieth Century Y Fro Gymraeg’

This paper presents findings from an ongoing body of work, utilising Bourdieusian theory to advance new understandings of the cultural history of Y Fro Gymraeg, with an emphasis on gender. Here, we use the biographical narratives of twenty-five men and women who grew up in the so called Welsh language area (Y Fro Gymraeg) in the mid-twentieth century to develop and extend Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic capital. Participants identified religious Nonconformity as central to their childhoods, commenting on the democratic and egalitarian ethos of their chapel communities, leading to a generalised respect and support for people in the community as a whole. Chapel life, supported at a national level by Eisteddfodau, provided a forum for the generation and reproduction of culture, language, literature, poetry and music, as well as a sense of shared history which was itself valorised. Thus, whilst it was hard for participants and their families to acquire economic capital in an area where major industries such as quarrying and farming were in decline, the religious, musical and literary activity represented a form of cultural capital in which communities were often very rich. It enabled participants to imbue their practice with symbolic value and contrasted with what they saw to be the overly hierarchical and authoritarian structure of Anglican Christianity.

The flourishing of culture, and the accumulation of cultural, religious and spiritual capital could be converted into recognisable spiritual capital in various ways, perhaps through national recognition in Eisteddfodau or bible study competitions, or via the acquisition of educational qualifications and attendance at university among the rising generation. The particular habitus of these communities, analogous to the Welsh concept of buchedd, enabled community and chapel activities to be infused with importance and imbued with value in a way which could be ‘converted’ into more widely recognised and accredited symbolic capital. Success in the education system, for example, was widely acknowledged to involve a debt to other members of the community and family, and a sense that one had gone to university on behalf of others as well as oneself. This process of accumulated labour to generate cultural capital and them convert it to symbolic capital was perhaps particularly acute because of the depressed economic conditions and the limited avenues available to gain economic power directly.

Audrey L. Becker, Marygrove College / Coleg Marygrove, Detroit

‘From Wales to South Korea: Imagining The Mabinogi in Film and Video Games’

The medieval text that we call the Mabinogi challenges its modern readers. From the indeterminate meaning of the word “mabinogi,” to its disorienting, serpentining narratives, these medieval Welsh prose stories have, according to Patrick Ford, “…been slighted more than most works of medieval literature in the matter of criticism.” In the introduction to his 1977 translation, Ford continues by acknowledging, “…there are good reasons why they have been ignored.”

Here we are, just over thirty years after Ford’s important translation and—fueled by a cultural revival in medieval fantasy literature—the Mabinogi is receiving some overdue recognition both from within academia and from outside the ivory tower. Selections from The Mabinogi are beginning to appear in anthologies of British literature marketed to undergraduate students in survey courses; concurrently in pop culture, the Mabinogi has migrated to the digital environment in multiple iterations. We appear to be having a Mabinogi moment.

This paper will discuss the knotty intersections between three contemporary re-visions of the medieval Welsh text, The Mabinogi. Two of these contemporary re-visions were created by Welsh production companies. The first is Derek Hayes’s 2003 live-action/animated film based on The Mabinogi. The second re-vision is a video game from Welsh Arberth Studios entitled “Rhiannon: The Curse of the Four Branches” (2008) The third iteration of The Mabinogi (and the only version to have achieved global popularity) comes via the world of on-line gaming. A role-playing game popular throughout Asia and released in North America in 2008, the Mabinogi, judging by Google hits, is known less as a literary text and more as an MMORPG—a “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.”

I will argue that the labyrinthine and strange narrative features of the four “branches” of the medieval Mabinogi are uncannily suited for animated film, video games, and for the interactive role-playing environment. Drawing on scholarship of animation, video-games, and pop culture medievalisms, this paper will compare the representations of “Otherworlds” and Welsh identities in film and videogames.

In all three of these visual Mabinogis, animation enables a modern interaction with an imagined Welsh Middle Ages; in all of these versions, flesh-and-blood (and, yes, there’s a lot of blood) human beings assume a medieval (or medieval-ish) identity within an animated environment. The Mabinogi has moved from literary text to performed text; the Mabinogi has moved from Wales to Korea to North America and—through possibilities created by the Internet era—has become a familiar title across the globe. As it makes this move, however, the meanings of the Mabinogi change radically.

Steve Blandford, Stephen Lacey, Ruth McElroy & Rebecca Williams, University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg

‘Portrayal, Nation and Welsh contemporary landmark drama’

Issues of representation and portrayal and their links to national and regional identity continue to be widely debated. Whilst the BBC Trust’s recent King Report reviewed the BBC's network news and factual coverage of the devolved nations of the United Kingdom, work on representations of Wales within fictional productions is rare. Furthermore, studies of Welsh audiences, or responses to portrayals of Wales, is sporadic at best. However, examination of such issues is perhaps more timely than ever given the BBC’s recent decision to relocate drama productions such as Casualty from Bristol to Cardiff as part of the corporation’s strategy to move production to the regions of the UK, and its apparent desire to create a centre for creative and cultural excellence which has a first-class drama production base in the capital city.

In response, this paper offers some tentative findings from a research project into such issues, taking as a case study the recent BBC Wales’ productions Doctor Who and Torchwood. It examines, through a range of methods, the reception of such contemporary landmark dramas, focusing primarily on empirical audience data generated through questionnaires and focus groups. Indeed, the paper will consider what portraying Wales and Welshness actually means, given the nation’s various geographical, cultural and language divides. The paper offers analysis of a range of audience responses from viewers who responded both positively and negatively to the success of such landmark programmes, considering a range of issues including the pleasures of seeing familiar locations on-screen, responses to the changing reputation of BBC Cymru Wales, the multiple identities which Welsh viewers possess, and issues of ‘authenticity’ in portraying Welsh life and culture.

As the proposed paper will argue, such issues are pertinent given the ongoing debate over the status of both English and Welsh-language broadcasting in Wales, the movement of more dramatic production from London to the regions, and arguments over whether BBC Wales’ recent successes with shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood are positive for the country’s position as a producer of quality television programming.

M. A. Kevin Brice, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘White, Welsh and Muslim - a minority within a minority: constructing a demographic and socio-economic profile’

According to the 2001 Census there are almost 22,000 Muslims in Wales (0.75% of the total population of Wales). There is a popular consensus that Muslims are a homogenous group and that the ‘Muslim community’ can be simply equated to the Asian ethnic groups. In reality the ‘Muslim community’ is a diverse mix of ethnicities and Muslims are the most ethnically diverse religious group in Wales.

The 2001 Census revealed that over 1,500 people of White British ethnicity declared themselves to be Muslim in Wales (approximately 7% of the Muslim population of Wales). Of these “White British” Muslims, approximately 75% were born in Wales – giving over 1,000 White Welsh Muslims. As Wales is not a country well known for having an indigenous White Muslim population, this figure could be taken as an indicator of the number of “White British” people who have converted to Islam.

In this paper I shall attempt to construct a demographic and socio-economic profile for White Welsh Muslims in order to gain a better understanding of this group. The profile for White Welsh Muslims will be compared to that of the White British/White Welsh ethnic group in general and the Muslim population as a whole. I will also consider the distribution and settlement patterns of White Welsh Muslims within Wales as I suggest that these may provide new insight to the public discourse on segregation and separation that has in recent years focused negatively on the Muslim community.

Mary Chadwick, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Aberystwyth

‘Walking Conundrums: Riddles, Masquerades and National Identity in Late Eighteenth-Century Wales’

A “Welsh-man is a Jest, as all the World account him a Living Pun, a walking Conundrum, and a breathing Witticism.” So wrote William Richards as he described his travels through the British Isles in the seventeenth century. It is unlikely that the riddlish “Taphies” to whom Richards referred were of the social standing of the Griffiths, a North Wales gentry family whose archive is held by the National Library of Wales. As I argue in this paper, however, Richards’ metaphors are applicable to the Welsh gentry of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, most notably to their experiences and expressions of national identity.

Handwritten riddles found in the Griffiths’ archive indicate the popularity of solving and composing conundrums amongst this family and their social set. The quantity of riddle collections published in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, and Jane Austen’s well-documented enjoyment of word games, illustrate that the Griffiths were following the fashions of British popular culture. I examine the ways in which riddles are appropriated from English sources by the Griffiths and their acquaintances who, typically of their class, exhibit both Welsh and English characteristics and influences.

The discourses of postcolonialism resemble the lesser-known theories of riddling. Postcolonial studies of Wales focus on the unstable nature of the geographical and cultural boundaries between Wales and England and examine writings from Wales “according to postcolonial paradigms of hybridity, which emphasize constantly shifting transcultural production” (Bohata, 2004). Riddle theorists, meanwhile, draw attention to the ways in which word games play with the slippage of language, or the instability of the boundaries inherent in the categorizations at work in any given society, arguing that “riddles make a point of playing with conceptual borderlines and crossing them for the intellectual pleasure of showing that things are not quite as stable as they appear” (Kongas Maranda, 1971).

The Griffiths’ letters and creative scribblings illustrate a family who defined, or categorized, themselves and their feelings of national belonging as Welsh, English or British according to the specific situations or circumstances in which they found themselves. By combining these two theoretical perspectives, I examine the ways in which the family’s shifting expressions of nationality correspond to the multiplicitous nature of their linguistic games, arguing that such an approach informs our understanding of the national allegiances of the Welsh gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Bethan Coombs, University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg

‘ “I make no apology for this excursion into Celtic twilight. I like it in there.” An exploration of the use of Welsh myth, folklore and fairy tale in the work of Alice Thomas Ellis.’ 

This paper will examine the function of Welsh mythology, folklore and fairy tale within specific novels written by Alice Thomas Ellis. Texts considered include The Sin Eater (1977), The Birds of the Air (1980), Unexplained Laughter (1985), A Welsh Childhood (1990), and Fairy Tale: A Novel (1998).

I will argue that Wales, as is presented by Ellis, becomes a liminal space, a place where taboos, denied in other cultures, may flourish, thereby suggesting that Wales is a natural home for the ‘other’, in particular the feminine. Ellis calls upon Welsh mythology and folklore to establish an apparent psychical bond between specific female characters and Wales, regardless of the national identity attributed to the character. I posit that such ambiguous treatment of national identity reflects the underlying function of Ellis’s inclusion / allusion to Welsh mythology in her work, where the indirect usage of Welsh mythology and folklore suggests that the existence of Wales as ‘Wales’ is itself an ambiguous concept.

Through her treatment of mythology, Alice Thomas Ellis implies pre-Celtic, pre-Welsh, a-historical indigenes were the original inhabitants of the land, inhabitants who eventually became the characters referred to in Welsh legend, such as the Tylwyth Teg, fairy Kings, Branwen, Rhiannon. Ellis then, presents Wales’s history as a palimpsest of colonising influences. Therefore subsequent claims of national identity, including by the Welsh themselves, become superfluous as partaking in colonial posturing. Within this context, the paper explores ideas of hybridity, of a plural ‘Welshness’ that is fragmented, malleable, transitory and very relevant to contemporary notions of nationhood.

The theory that fairy tales, folklore and mythology originate from the realm of female storytellers (Donald Haase, Marina Warner, Carolyne Larrington et al), together with Ellis’s presentation of Wales as a natural refuge for the ‘othered’ feminine, prompts a consideration of Ellis’s gendered use of Welsh folklore. It can be argued that Ellis implies that the ‘essence’ of Wales is intrinsically subversive of misogynist paradigms (native and colonial) as it is the home of feminine knowledge, storytelling, taboo, a-national and a-historical inhabitants who refuse the imposition of static identities.

Martin Crampin, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies / Canolfan Uwchefrydiau Cymreig a Cheltaidd Prifysgol Cymru

‘Looking for Welsh Art in the Churches of Wales’

The paper arises from the recent AHRC Imaging the Bible in Wales Research Project and considers the nationality of artwork commissioned for churches in Wales during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There has been a great wealth of artwork made for churches, and in some cases chapels and synagogues, since the beginnings of the Gothic Revival in the 1840s. This imagery, in the form of sculpture, murals and stained glass, demonstrates an extraordinary richness and variety that has not been studied systematically before. Often it was commissioned by gentry families and reflected English tastes, and was mostly made outside of Wales.

This trend began to change during the twentieth century and following the Welsh Revival, as more of the artwork was commissioned from artists, designers and architects based in Wales, and in some cases patrons were more sympathetic to Welsh subject matter, in addition to the predominating biblical themes.

More recently, and during a time in which there has been greater social diversity in the patronage of the arts in the church, there have sometimes been emphatically nationalist visual aspects in the artwork, mainly visible in the choice of subject matter.

Studies of the Visual Culture of Wales have often had to deal with the central questions of whether there is something we can call Welsh Art, and if so, what is Welsh art? This paper will consider the ways in which this material can be considered as being part of the tradition of visual culture in Wales, and how its Welsh, or local, nature can be understood.

Rebecca Edwards & Heike Roms, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘ “Welsh Not”: Performing Wales in 1970s Performance Art’

This illustrated paper will consider the emergence of Wales and Welshness as concerns in visual art practice in the late 1970s, with particular reference to the practice of performance art. It will take as its starting point a particular moment in Welsh art history: in 1977 the Welsh Arts Council organised a week-long exhibition of international performance art at the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales in Wrexham. The event, entitled 'How the Past Perishes - How the Future Becomes', was curated under the banner of the Free International University by Caroline Tisdall, then critic at the Guardian. Exhibitors included famous European artists such as Joseph Beuys, Mario and Merz, Jannis Kounellis and Patrick Ireland, among others. The popular press reacted in a predictable way, condemning the venture for its 'shocking waste of public money', and questions were asked of the Welsh Secretary.

The occasion became best known, however, for the (unofficial) interventions staged by locally based Welsh artist Paul Davies, whose 'Welsh Not' and 'Spiral Gag' actions created at the Eisteddfod are widely regarded as 'the inception of a self-conscious contemporary Welsh political art' (S.Hourahane).

The paper will discuss Davies' interventions in the context of the 1977 performance pavilion, performance at the Eisteddfod more generally and the wider arts scene in Wales at the time. It will consider in particular why Wales as a concern in contemporary visual art emerged more than a decade after the the rise of Welsh language activism, and reappraise the legacy of Davies' interventions for Welsh art practice and art history.

Ana Gonçalves, Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies (ESHTE) / University of Lisbon / Prifysgol Lisbon, Portugal/Portiwgal

‘Cardiff through the World’s Eyes: Welsh Identity and Global Culture in Europe’s Youngest Capital City’

Cities worldwide are increasingly concerned about responding to the needs and expectations of more demanding and diversified elites. Through place promotion campaigns and rebranding strategies, they centre their efforts in marketing themselves as unique, attractive and competitive destinations. Culture, consumption and entertainment are foregrounded as keywords to attract national and international visitors, residents and investors. Following this global trend, Cardiff’s local public and private authorities have been focusing on powerful tourism promotional campaigns to change people’s perceptions of Wales and its capital city and to position Cardiff as a leading European tourism destination, by displaying it as a visually appealing site of conspicuous consumption and cultural entertainment.

With the creation of the Cardiff&Co in 2007, a public and private partnership that aims at turning Cardiff into a top five retail destination and a top ten short-break, conference and university destination in the UK, a whole new promotional strategic framework has been outlined. The official visitors’ website for Cardiff (www.visitcardiff.com) has been completely remodelled, a new logo for the city has been created, new promotional videos have been launched, Cardiff Ambassadors’ Programme has been implemented, a new tourism network has been set up, a five-year tourism strategy has been established, and different publications and guides attracting visitors and investors into the city have become visible on the Visitor Centres’ shelves. All these different strategies and campaigns have been capitalising on the visual spectacularisation of the city’s flagship buildings, on its renewed waterfront and undergoing city centre regeneration, where consumption and culture are the key features to attract diverse and affluent international audiences.

This paper aims, therefore, at analysing Cardiff’s tourism promotional strategies and campaigns and to reflect on the construction of its cultural identity to the world as the capital of Wales. If, on the one hand, there has been a focus on the city’s cultural distinctiveness as the former coal metropolis of the world which has managed to reinvent itself after a process of decline and deindustrialisation, as the capital city of Wales and a representative of Welsh identity and bilingualism; on the other hand Cardiff has been following the same strategies of other cities worldwide boosting itself as an attractive shopping and events’ destination to an eclectic national and international audience of potential visitors, residents and investors. Indeed, this paper will question whether cultural distinctiveness in Cardiff is at the service of this global culture, acting as staged authenticity (MacCannell, 1979), where the city’s identity is fabricated as unique and distinctive to allure the world’s eyes.

Meriel Griffiths, University of Western Australia / Prifysgol Gorllewin Awstralia

‘that fine line / between nation and mental states’ : contemporary Welsh poetry in English and the (de)construction of national identity.

The discussion of national identity has been extensively redefined over the past two decades as globalisation has destabilised familiar modes of belonging and many traditional markers of identity have been steadily eroded. Global communications and electronic media have created online communities and interactive networks which facilitate a continual movement between multiple global, regional and local identities. These technologies have also generated an awareness of the plurality, fluidity and instability of contemporary identity. However, claims that we live in a postnational era of global citizenship where the nation state is in terminal decline have been countered in recent decades by a resurgence of alternative nationalisms, drawing attention to the continuing relevance of, and imperative for, the discussion of national identity. In cultural and literary studies the theorisation of identity has served to make visible many of the underlying assumptions and implications of ‘banal nationalism’ and monolithic definitions of identity which focus on ‘authenticity’ and fixed traits, and have brought to the fore alternative discourses which cut across and inflect the discussion of national identity.

In Wales, as elsewhere, cultural and literary theories have exerted a considerable influence in questioning and deconstructing received ideas of national and cultural identity. Recent critical and theoretical studies in Wales have contributed significantly to the discussion of national identity in Welsh writing in English and have provided a framework for the investigation of important literary themes. While these studies have brought fresh approaches to the critical discussion of Welsh poetry in English, they have also provided important themes and creative approaches for contemporary poets as they seek innovative ways to engage with, and reflect, the pluralism of contemporary Welsh experience. Much recent Welsh poetry in English demonstrates a marked alertness to the ideological nuances of the imagery of roots and belonging, territory and nation, and to the frameworks within which identity is constructed. English-language Welsh poets have increasingly re-engaged with established ‘Anglo-Welsh’ tropes with a deconstructive purpose, bringing a heightened awareness of the ironies and contradictions of national mythologies promulgated by earlier Anglophone Welsh writing. Concepts of Wales and Welsh identity are continually being re-evaluated as poets define themselves and their writing within an international context where their work is in dialogue with, and discussed in relation to, other poets and literatures across the globe.

Simon Hoffman & Jill Morgan, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘The Legal Language of Devolution’

Devolution represents a significant milestone in the development of Wales as a nation: as an expression of social, cultural and political confidence and identity. Proponents argue devolution as a reflection of Wales’ desire for greater self-determination, a process demanded by campaigners and justified by mandate from the people of Wales. Yet devolution is first and foremost a legal settlement. Negotiated by politicians, shaped by officials and constructed by lawyers working within the bounds of constitutional and legal convention, devolution is a legal framework of institutional powers and relations. The limits of the nation’s independence are determined by statute which identifies and delineates Wales’ capacity for self-governance. The Government of Wales legislation provides the structure to introduce policies which reflect the ‘multiplicity of ideas, visions and imaginings’ articulated by Wales’ political representatives on behalf of the people of Wales, its communities and its institutions. This paper will discuss devolution as a legal process and how the language of lawyers serves the purposes of devolution, in particular as expression of political and policy values. Focusing on aspects of social justice and social inclusion – areas in which policy divergence from England is apparent – and the language of policy in these areas, it will ask how legal relationships constructed through the language of lawyers serves to bound the expression of Welsh political identity. It will consider the objectives of politicians in Wales and will ask to what extent these have been achieved and are made distinctive within the framework of devolution. It will argue that within the politics of Wales there is a tendency toward inclusivity, toward social inclusion and welfarism. Drawing on examples in housing, youth crime and criminal justice the article will highlight how the framework of devolution – which governs how policies are put into effect – has shaped the discourse of politicians in Wales, and has blunted the idealism and policy aspirations in these areas.

Gwawr Ifan, Bangor University / Prifysgol Bangor

' “Y Gân i Wella'r Galon”: Cerddoriaeth mewn Iechyd a Lles yng Nghymru’

Mae cerddoriaeth wedi chwarae rhan hanfodol yn hanes a diwylliant Cymru ers canrifoedd. Yn y papur hwn, rwyf am edrych yn benodol ar un defnydd arbennig o gerddoriaeth sydd wedi dod i’r amlwg yn ddiweddar, sef y defnydd o gerddoriaeth i ddylanwadu ar iechyd a lles cymdeithasol. Edrychaf i ddechrau ar ddatblygiad y maes, a’i bwysigrwydd yn y Gymru sydd ohoni. Yna, hoffwn edrych ar y sialensiau sy’n wynebu’r maes yng Nghymru, a sut mae’r sefyllfa yn cymharu gyda gweddill Prydain. Er bod Cymru’n cael ei hystyried fel gwlad y gân, ychydig iawn o ymchwil sydd yn edrych ar bwysigrwydd cerddoriaeth ym maes iechyd a lles yng Nghymru. Er hyn, gellir dadlau fod cerddoriaeth, mewn modd anuniongyrchol, wedi chwarae rhan bwysig yng nghyd-destun iechyd a lles ers canrifoedd yng Nghymru. Mae rhai erthyglau a ymddengys mewn cylchgronau cerddorol o ddiwedd y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg e.e. Y Cerddor, yn cyffwrdd ar hyn, gan ystyried pwysigrwydd cerddoriaeth yng Nghymru o safbwynt rhoi arweiniad ysbrydol, a gallu cerddoriaeth Cymru i ddylanwadu ar natur a chymeriad pobl y genedl.

Edrychaf ar rai o’r cyffyrddiadau cynnar hyn sy’n nodi’r pwysigrwydd a roddir ar gerddoriaeth yng nghyd-destun lles cymdeithasol ac ysbrydol, a sut y datblygodd hyn yn nes ymlaen yn yr Ugeinfed Ganrif i gynnwys cerddoriaeth mewn iechyd mewn ysbytai yn dilyn y ddau Ryfel Byd.

Gellir dadlau hefyd fod gwaith rhai cerddorion amlwg mewn ardaloedd difreintiedig ar ddechrau’r 20fed Ganrif e.e. Walford-Davies, yn fodd o ddefnyddio cerddoriaeth i atal gwaeledd iechyd, agwedd hynod amserol o’r maes yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd.

O roi’r maes yn ei gyd-destun gwleidyddol presennol, yn ddiweddar, cyhoeddodd Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru a Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru ddogfen sy’n hyrwyddo’r defnydd o’r celfyddydau mewn iechyd yng Nghymru: Y Celfyddydau mewn Iechyd a Lles: Cynllun Gweithredu ar gyfer Cymru (Mawrth 2009). Er ei fod yn waith allweddol sydd yn gychwyn cyfnod cyffrous yn natblygiad y maes yng Nghymru, un agwedd bwysig sydd wedi ei hepgor o’r strategaeth yw’r galw am ddarpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg ym maes y celfyddydau mewn iechyd. Yn y papur hwn, hoffwn ystyried arwyddocâd cerddoriaeth yn y gymdeithas Gymreig o safbwynt hybu iechyd a lles, gan ystyried yn benodol bwysigrwydd ystyried iaith a diwylliant mewn cerddoriaeth yng Nghymru.

‘ “Healing Harmonies”: Music in health and well-being in Wales’

For centuries, Wales has been regarded internationally as the ‘Land of Song’ and yet, one particular aspect of music that has been ignored until recently, is its use in the context of social health and well-being.

Though a seemingly new and emerging field of scholarship in Wales, music has long been used in both rural and urban communities as a means of promoting health and well-being as evidenced by journal articles from the 19th and early 20th century in Y Cerddor [The Musician] which emphasise the importance of music as a source of spiritual edification and the power of music as a means of influencing the nation’s character.

Likewise, the work of prominent and inspirational musicians in Wales during the early decades of the 20th century e.g. Henry Walford-Davies (later ‘Master of the Queen’s Music’), to promote amateur music-making in deprived areas of the industrial south provided a way of utilising music in order to prevent illness (particularly mental illness and depression).

Seen in the light of current political debate, the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government recently released Arts in Health and Wellbeing: An Action Plan (2009), an official document that encourages and promotes the field in Wales. Despite the noticeable lack of reference to the significance of language and culture in this publication, this paper aims to prove the importance of the Welsh language, culture and traditions of Wales while utilising music to promote health and well-being amongst its people.

 Allan James, University of Klagenfurt / Prifysgol Klagenfurt, Austria

‘Sociolinguistic And Literary Practices of Interlinguality in Late-Modern Wales: Re-Considering A Traditional Hybrid Code’ 

Analysis of the bilingual cultural practices of late-modern Wales have by and large continued a ‘glossodiversity’ as opposed to ‘semiodiversity’ interpretation (Michael Halliday 2007) of the social meanings thus expressed, i.e. maintaining a primary focus on the linguistic code being employed and only secondarily on the linguistic signification of the interlingual texts produced. Also in the cases of literary interlingual practices, often attention is primarily given to the that of Welsh and the that of English being used. Indeed, it is the code-switching that is criterial in the linguistic-literary analysis of the text-based interlinguality of e.g., Christopher Meredith’s Shifts (1988) or the ludic intrasentential code-switching of Peter Finch’s poem Partisan (1997), or the discourse-based interlinguality of Margiad Evans’s ‘pre-late modern’ Country Dance (1932) (as illustrated in Kirsti Bohata 2004: 111-127). It is the choice of Welsh or English – in practice of course where the ‘matrix language’ is Anglophone – that carries/expresses the local and broader cultural semiotics involved. However, in a time in Wales when there are increasingly calls for a less bipolar, less excluding, ultimately less confrontational mode in the cultural analysis of the lingual practices of ethnicity and for the adoption of more multipolar, inclusive and cooperative modes of interpretation of combined Anglophone and Cambrophone expressions of Welshness(es), then an investigation of cultural practices involving naturally occurring mixed linguistic codes would seem to be timely and appropriate. In late-modern Wales, then, the zeitgeist should foster rehabilitation and de-stigmaticisation of codes which are historically hybrid in any case and allow the comfortable integration of bilingual substance in their use. Such a code par excellence is “Wenglish”, the Anglophone code associated with the South Wales Valleys. Indeed, should it not be the case that as the hen iaith is promoted, strengthened and revitalised in the cultural practices of post-devolution Wales, arguably the most ‘Welsh’ of the indigenous ‘Englishes’ , i.e. the ‘english’ in postcolonial terms, i.e. Wenglish, should too be re-assessed, re-evaluated and re-interpreted as a continuously rich medium for Welsh cultural expression? It will be the purpose of this paper to explore sociolinguistic and literary practices of interlinguality as realised via Wenglish, with reference to both the ongoing sociolinguistic research on ‘styling’ and performance via this code (e.g. e.g. Nik Coupland 2007), its recent new structural description (Robert Lewis 2008) and its tour de force deployment in Meic Stephens’s novel Yeah, Dai Dando (2008).

Bethan M. Jenkins, Trinity College / Coleg Y Drindod, Oxford / Rhydychen

‘Theorising Wales and England in the eighteenth century’

The consolidation of the British state during the eighteenth century involved considerable negotiation and renegotiation of identity; not only of what it meant to be Welsh or English, but what it meant to be joined with the Other in an imposed unitary nationality. The conflicts arising from these forces are often to be seen in the ability of both Welsh and English authors to write satirically of their opposite numbers, whilst almost in the next breath uniting withthem in fellow British feeling. Though to modern eyes these might seem to be conflicting positions, at the time they were not necessarily seen as contradictory. Writers’ attempts to assert Welsh parity with other British identities whilst also seeking to be grantedsublimation within a newly-invented, but seemingly historically-grounded, identity foreground the divisions which would later become so fundamental to the problems of Welshness.

Understanding the reasons for writing in a language which was foreign to the vast majority of the Welsh – as well as being the last marker of difference for an annexed country – is, I will argue, one of the keys to understanding the interplay of identities through the centuryand beyond.

The focus of this paper will be on the varying ways English and Welsh authors constructed themselves, each other, and Britain through their writing. It will posit that the ideologies of the eighteenth century complicated what remained of Welsh identity post-1536, and were thebasis for the problems of modern national identity in the British Isles. Theorising Britain through the lens of the Welsh experience brings into focus theories of Welshness which continue to be relevant to current thinking.

Allen C. Jones, University of Louisiana / Prifysgol Louisiana

‘Decolonizing the Creative/Critical Divide: Hybridity as Creative Resistance in Dylan Thomas’

Inspired by Harri Roberts’ recent argument concerning hybridity and the body in Dylan Thomas’s work (Embodying Identity), I will apply this argument to Thomas’s creative process. Thomas’s dialectical approach to image creation (“creative destruction, destructive creation”) results in multiple levels of signification, each building on and destroying the one before. This endless slippage of the signifier results not in opacity, but in a system of systems with no stable center. This central absence represents a transgression of the critic/creative divide within the reader. In other words, we are denied in our continual attempt to place critical assessment at the center of the system. Thomas’s work becomes hybrid in the sense that it takes the reader/colonizer’s language and creates a system of its own, an identity which rejects the structuring gaze of the reader. Thomas’s use of romantic tropes is an example of this. Thomas’s “sea” and “stars” are swallowed into such a highly structured overdetermined semiological system that the reader is left reciting the familiar images ashamedly in private without any idea what they mean (see Stewart Crahan’s excellent essay “The Lips of Time”). The contemporary critical climate disallows any impressionistic response to poetry forcing the critic to attempt a decoding of Thomas’s image-systems. This forces us to make abject the pleasure of sound in Thomas’s work. Thus, the very thing at the heart of Thomas’s poems (the sounds/words as well as the reader who originally responded to them) must be destroyed so we can place his work in our realm, the realm of the symbolic/ the Father. Thomas’s success in creating a realm beyond our language, and our violent reaction to this, reveals the power of the colonizing urge in our present critical relationship with poetry. One cannot help asking what we, the colonizers, are left to do. Barthes’ solution to this difficulty was to pursue hybridity in his own work, rejecting the critical/creative divide. I will follow Barthes’ lead and close my essay with a consideration of what it means to respond to Thomas’s work without colonizing it. I will offer to replace the metaphor of the quest (the critic that enters the text and finds a treasured interpretation) with the metaphor of play. As an example, I will show how Thomas’s deconstruction of primal imagery, the result of his dialectical creative process, can work as a model for our own post-colonizing critical approach.

Anwen Jones, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Aberystwyth

‘Playing Wales’

One of the most dynamic spheres of cultural creativity in twenty first century Wales is that of national theatre. In the year 2004, a new era began when the Arts Council for Wales dedicated £450,000 to establish a new Welsh language national theatre company, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. Then, on 9th October 2007, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, now ex-Minister for Heritage, announced that ‘One of the most exciting cultural initiatives in our "One Wales" programme is our pledge to establish an English Language Theatre for Wales. This provides us with a wonderful opportunity to build on the success of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. It also underlines our absolute commitment to developing theatre – and indeed all art forms – in both our national languages.’

On 4th March 2008, Board members were announced and in July, Dr John McGrath was appointed Artistic Director. In March 2010, National Theatre Wales rolled out the first in a national map of thirteen productions to be performed at locations across Wales between March 2010 and April 2011.

All this excitement is infectious but what is the current formulation of Welsh nationalism or nationhood that drives this theatrical creativity? Emyr Humphreys’s The Taliesin Tradition argues that, in the past, Wales has articulated its own sense of distinctiveness by means of cultural activity and creativity. The recent establishment of two new national Welsh theatres suggests that modern-day Wales remains captivated by what Hans Kohn describes as, ethnic nationalism, distinguished by its cultural, collectivistic and organic nature as opposed to civic nationalism grounded in political and individualistic values. Are the two new national theatres practising the past in terms of their articulation and embodiment of Welsh nationhood or are they, in fact, indicative of a change in our understanding of both theatre and nationhood in Wales?

By means of an analysis of the development of a sense of Welsh nationhood and the accompanying impulse to find theatrical expression for it from the nineteenth century onwards, I will argue that the current manifestation of national theatre in Wales demonstrates a new understanding of both theatre and nationhood, in contrast to its nineteenth and twentieth century antecedents. In so doing, I will present the call for the establishment of Wales’s first independent national theatre in 1894 as the onset of a period of progression in which the nation gradually sought out a new sense of nationhood, and understanding of theatre, on a national level, and a new relationship between the two; a relationship defined by characteristics ascribed by J. Hutchinson and A. D. Smith to modern-day nationalism, namely, ‘an interaction of cultural coalescence and specific political intervention’.

Carys Lewis, CEIMA, Faculty of Arts, University of Brest/Prifysgol Brest, Brittany/Llydaw, France/Ffrainc

‘Bibra in Raymond Williams’s People of the Black Mountains: A Hybrid Figure of Postcolonial Wales or “the story almost writes itself”.’

The character of Bibra, an allegorical corporality of an atrophied hybrid space, emerges in Raymond Williams’s final novel as an extraordinary portrait in the gallery of ordinary people represented in this « historical novel of a different kind. » Williams’s incisive intention for People of the Black Mountains to present « a history written very much, as it were, from below » might initially seem to invite the reader to view such characters as representations of the exploited, voiceless classes of history. However, upon closer examination, Bibra deploys a far more complex plurality, one in which the character’s disfigured and distorted body inscribes the identity of a marginal, hybrid being, emblematic of much recent postcolonial discourse.

In the present paper, we propose to focus on the metamorphoses that Williams has worked and reworked around Bibra. The character’s fundamental physicality as an intermittent presence/absence, as depicted in her atrophied face, stands as a customary terrain of myth. Indeed, the almost Gothic terror that Bibra’s sunken eye strikes in those who behold her transforms the character into a creature from another world, a kind of fiction in reality, or a representation of all our anxieties embedded in the depths of history. This ambivalent doubling embodies at once a fascination and a repulsion that such marginal creatures never fail to conjure up.

Raymond Williams proceeds to further metamorphose Bibra into a figure of dramatization. If, as Williams stated, « drama is a special kind of use of quite general processes of presentation, representation, signification » (‘Drama in a Dramatized Society’ [1974], in Writing in Society, Verso, 1991, p. 15), then Bibra is subjected to a multitude of transformations. From the hideous being of terror, she becomes almost an icon of beauty, portrayed in the first scene gently slumbering against a wall, a daffodil in her hand. From her status of Black Mountain servant in the household of a rich Romano-British master, she in turn develops into mastery, reigning over her garden with the eye of an expert, empowered by the value of her ordinary culture. Her mutilated face and her roving eye function as a moving camera, the images frozen in the atemporality of a « heavy tiredness ».

Lastly, we intend to explore the character of Bibra against the backdrop of more recent figures of atrophy in Welsh writing. The stunted figure of Bibra might therefore be seen as an allegorical construction of a discourse of invalidity, the numbness of the damaged face translating the allegory of Welsh culture as an abandoned space awaiting new discourses of validity. In postcolonial terms, Bibra might be nothing less than « the difficult encounter with history itself » (Ato Quayson, Calibrations: Reading for the Social, University of Minnesotta Press, 2003, p. 123).

Geraldine Lublin, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘From outsiders to members of the Nation, and back? The Welsh community in Patagonia by the Centenary and Bicentenary celebrations of Argentine Independence (1910 – 2010)’

This paper will focus on the official commemorations of the Centenary and Bicentenary of the first Argentine government to rule independently from Spain (25 May 1810) within the Welsh community in Patagonia, as a point of departure for discussions on nationality and ethnicity in this specific case. It is expected that the diverse nature of both celebrations will provide a productive counterpoint for the analysis of what it meant to be ‘Welsh’ in the Argentine province of Chubut at the turn of the twentieth century and what that label means in the present millennium.

Menna Machreth, Bangor University / Prifysgol Bangor

‘Twm Morys: politiceiddio rôl y “bardd gwlad” ’ *

Nod y papur yw astudio perfformiad Twm Morys o’i hunaniaeth Gymraeg drwy’r persona a ddatblygodd iddo’i hun fel clerwr ac yna yn ddiweddarach fel bardd gwlad. Fy mhrif ddiddordeb yw sut y mae llenorion yn mynd ati i berfformio hunaniaeth y maent wedi dewis ymgysegru iddi – yr hyn y mae’r gyfrol Globalization and Belonging yn ei ddisgrifio fel ‘elective belonging’, sydd yn ôl Mike Savage yn arwyddo ‘belonging not to a fixed community, with the implications of closed boundaries, but is more fluid, seeing places as sites for performing identities. Individuals attach their own biography to their ‘chosen’ residential location, so that they tell stories that indicate how their arrival and subsequent settlement is appropriate to their sense of themselves.’ Bwriadaf ddangos sut y mae creu persona fel bardd neu glerwr ag elfennau swrreal, dychanol ac anghonfensiynol yn perthyn i’w waith yn rhan o brosiect llenyddol a diwylliannol Twm Morys. Drwy’r berfformio’r persona mae’r bardd yn ceisio ailorseddi a dal gafael ar y ‘dychymyg Cymraeg’ fel y’i geilw fel modd o sefyll yn erbyn ‘llygredd’ y diwylliant Eingl-Americanaidd.

Yn ei ail gyfrol, 2, mae Twm Morys yn mynd ati i’w sefydlu ei hun fel bardd gwlad – neu fersiwn ohono - wrth ganu i’w gymuned er mwyn lleisio pwysigrwydd y gymuned honno a’r angen iddi barhau yn wyneb bygythiad y mewnlifiad. Y canlyniad yw ei fod yn gwleidyddoli rôl y bardd gwlad ar gyfer anghenion yr oes bresennol. Dewis gwleidyddol, felly, yn rhannol yw ei ddatblygiad o fod yn glerwr i gyflawni swyddogaeth y bardd gwlad, ac ymateb i argyfwng cymunedau Cymraeg. 

‘Twm Morys: politicizing the “bardd gwlad” ’ (folk poets)

The aim of the paper is to look at Twm Morys’ performance of his identity by studying the development of his persona from a minstrel-like poet to a folk poet. My interest is how writers perform identities which they have adopted – which is described as ‘elective belonging’ in Globalization and Belonging by Mike Savage and signifies ‘belonging not to a fixed community, with the implications of closed boundaries, but is more fluid, seeing places as sites for performing identities. Individuals attach their own biography to their ‘chosen’ residential location, so that they tell stories that indicate how their arrival and subsequent settlement is appropriate to their sense of themselves.’ I intend to show how Twm Morys creates a persona as a poet or minstrel with surreal, satiric and unconventional elements feeding his own cultural and literary project. Through this persona the poet aims to hold on to what he calls ‘the Welsh imagination’ as a means of withstanding the powerful Anglo-American culture.

In his second book of poetry, Twm Morys establishes himself as a version of a folk poet – to sing for his community to give a voice to the importance of his community and the need for the it to survive the threat believed to be posed by settlers in the area who don’t respect the cultural context in those communities. The result is the politicization of the role of the folk poet for the needs of the present. I hope to show how the decision to transform to the role of the folk poet is partly a political decision because it is Twm Morys’s response to the problems facing Welsh language communities.

Sarah Morse, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe [WITHDRAWN]

‘Reinhabition and Reclamation: Ron Berry’s recovery of the natural environment and narratives of place’

This paper will examine how in his autobiographical, fictional and non-fictional writing, Ron Berry sought to reconnect himself and his community with what he perceived as his habitat – the Upper Rhonnda Fawr.

His work offers a return to the land, engaging with the social, historical and natural surfaces of the landscape, as well as the subterranean plane. As demonstrated by his excavation and dissemination of the historical narratives of the area, he was a very conscious inhabitant of his area, but was also aware of the metaphoric displacement experienced by others in his community. Despite the evident sense of dislocation in the area, Berry argued that the population of the Upper Rhondda area remained the ‘inheritors of natural and industrial history’, and it is a re-engagement with this inheritance that his work explores and encourages. Indeed, a central concern of his autobiographical work and personal archive is what he perceives as his community’s disturbed interaction with the landscape, the narratives it contains, and the natural environment it sustains.

The paper will explore how Berry’s act of reinhabitation emphasises a concurrent rehabilitation: the recovery of the narratives of industry, the re-establishment of what he terms ‘the dialectic of man and his environment’, and a restoration of the community and landscape he inhabits.

Rowan O’Neill, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Aberystwyth

‘ “Efelychu” fel strategaeth cadwedigaeth: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, Archif Clifford McLucas a fi’

Yn y papur hwn byddaf yn cyflwyno fy mhrosiect doethuriaeth sydd yn seiliedig ar archif yr artist Clifford McLucas. Mae McLucas yn fwyaf enwog am ei waith yn yr wythdegau a’r nawdegau gyda’r cwmni theatr arbrofol Brith Gof. Lleolir archif McLucas ar hyn o bryd yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, Aberystwyth. Mewn cyd-destun proffesiynol, dynodir yr archif fel archif cymysg neu hybrid, hynny yw archif sy’n gymysgedd o ddeunydd traddodiadol a deunydd digidol. O ganlyniad i’r dosbarthiad hwn, byddaf yn rhoi ystyriaeth i strategaeth a pholisi cadwedigaeth ddigidol y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Cadwedigaeth ddigidol ydy’r term sydd wedi datblygu yn y ddegawd ddiwethaf i gyfeirio at brosesu technegol o sicrhau data digidol dros y tymor hir. Yn benodol, byddaf yn ystyried y potensial o ddefnyddio’r cysyniad cadwedigaeth o 'efelychu' fel sail i ymarfer hewristig wrth ymdrin â’r archif. Wrth wneud hynny byddaf yn ceisio archwilio’r berthynas rhwng strategaethau sefydliad diwylliannol a chwestiynau gwleidyddol a hanesyddol sy’n ymwneud â hunaniaeth a lleoliad.

‘ “Emulation” as a preservation strategy: The National Library of Wales, the Clifford McLucas Archive and me’ 

In this paper I will be introducing my doctoral project, based on the archive of the artist Cliff McLucas. McLucas is best known for his work in the 80s and 90s with the performance company Brith Gof. His archive is currently housed in the National Library of Wales where it is consistently referred to in professional terms as hybrid, that is a mixture of traditional and digital materials. Given this designation the collection holds particular relevance to the Library’s Digital Preservation Policy and Strategy. Digital preservation is a term referring to a variety of technical processes intended to secure the long-term preservation of electronic or digital material. In particular I will consider the digital preservation concept ‘emulation’ as the potential basis for a heuristic research practice that could be applied to my work on the archive. In so doing my research will seek to elucidate the relationship between institutional strategies and political historical questions of identity and place.

Huw Osborne, Royal Military College of Canada / Coleg Milwrol Brehinol Canada

‘ “The edge of the familiar”: Home, Exile, and Trauma in Contemporary Gay Welsh Literature’

Contemporary English language Welsh literature by such writers as John Sam Jones, Aled Islwyn, and Roger Williams are navigating the traumatic landscapes of gay Wales. Their work has begun the process of reconciling the speechless terror of gay experience with both a Welsh national narrative that has been rigidly coded in gendered terms and a modern Welsh context that violently destroys queer identities. This proposed paper applies trauma theory to examine the ways in which contemporary gay Welsh writers transform the self through destructive experiences of sickness, disease, sexual abuse, and criminal deviance. Trauma theory’s concern with the “damage done to the individual’s coherent sense of self and the change of consciousness caused by the experience” (Balaev 151) is appropriate for these works depicting selves divided between tortured queer sexualities and amputated Welsh identities. Further, all of these authors explore trauma in the “interplay that occurs between language, experience, memory, and place” (Balaev 150), paradoxically breaking with the Welsh national narrative in order to re-place the gay experience within it. Theorizing gay trauma and Welsh history involves examining how the collective forgetting of gay trauma remains latent within the Welsh national narrative. As Cathy Caruth explains, “For history to be a history of trauma means that it is referential precisely to the extent that it is not fully perceived as it occurs; or to put it somewhat differently, that a history can be grasped only in the inaccessibility of its occurrence” (Caruth 8). The gay Welsh writers that are examined in this presentation bear witness to the unthinkable occurrence of queer Wales.

Liza Penn-Thomas, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘Ken Etheridge's theatre: deconstructing the masculine myth’

This paper takes Ken Etheridge’s early award winning published plays “Underground” and “The Folly of Seithenyn” as the main focus of its attention but its ideas will also draw upon the body of Etheridge’s poetic and dramatic works. This paper will comment on, and engage critically with, issues concerning the negotiation of homosexual identity at a time when it was outlawed, the problems posed by verbalising a marginalised experience, and the vantage point proffered by the resultant dichotomous position of a writer who is simultaneously ‘indigenous’ and ‘alien’.  It will examine Etheridge’s utilisation of mythology and symbol as a tool to negotiate a repressed sexuality when models of self-identity were scarce.  I will further question whether Etheridge’s marginality informed his adopted position of a commentator and outsider in relation to his own community, as we see him highlighting in his theatrical work the realities of social decline, deconstructing the politically idealised masculine myth of the “gwerin” and re-apportioning value to the feminine. "

Anita Pilgrim, University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg

‘Mapping Sex and Relationship Education in Wales’

Set against a background of burgeoning underage sexual activity, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases amongst young people, high rates of teenage conceptions, pregnancies and terminations, and the growing use made by young people of social networking sites and internet chat rooms which enable them to access sexually explicit materials in order to learn about sex and sexuality, this paper identifies and analyses the major socio-political concerns surrounding Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) with reference to the contemporary Welsh context. While some recent academic research on SRE in England and Wales has been undertaken, there has been little that addresses the specific situation in Wales in the context of a devolved education system and the more flexible Welsh Personal and Social Education (PSE) curriculum. Furthermore and as an index of public concern, it is notable that Wales has the highest rates of teenage conceptions of all UK and European countries, with a high concentration in the South Wales area. Drawing upon network building with policy makers and pilot fieldwork interviews with frontline staff delivering SRE in various settings and across different communities in Wales, this paper critically explores the significant challenges and key concerns surrounding SRE policy and practice. The paper provides a critical reflection of what various key players see as the obstacles to effective provision of SRE in Wales, including how it succeeds or fails in meeting the needs of non-homogeneous (for example, those from diverse religious faith backgrounds or those with special needs), socially excluded and/or vulnerable communities of young people, both in and outside schools.

Robert Rhys, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘Ailfesur y Filltir Sgwâr: D.J. Williams a Dan Amor’

Bydd y papur yn y lle cyntaf yn adolygu’r defnydd a wnaed o’r cysyniad am ‘y filltir sgwâr’, y cynefin ffurfiannol, yng ngwaith D. J. Williams ac Waldo Williams, ynghyd â’r ymdrechion a wnaed i ystyried agweddau ar eu gwaith yng nghyd-destun theori ôl-drefedigaethol. Yng ngwaith y ddau hynny roedd y cynefin agos yn drosglwyddydd gwerthoedd arhosol, ac roedd ei fygwth gan ddatblygiadau cymdeithasol-wleidyddol (y comisiwn coedwigaeth, y swyddfa ryfel) yn arwain at naratif o bryder a gwrthdystiad. Bu teimladau o golled a hiraeth ieithyddol a diwylliannol yn annatod glwm wrth y profiad o’r cynefin Cymraeg yn ystod yr 20 ganrif. Gofynnir wedyn i ba raddau y gellir disgwyl i siaradwyr Cymraeg gael eu bodloni gan y posibilrwydd o greu naratif newydd ar gyfer ‘y filltir sgwâr’ Gymraeg a Chymreig yn yr 21 ganrif, gan sylwi ar rai testunau diwylliannol sydd eisoes yn mynd i’r afael â hynny. Yn eu plith bydd caneuon cyfoes (Cymraeg a Saesneg) Dan Amor o Benmachno, pentref mewn ardal y daeth haneswyr diwylliannol Cymraeg i feddwl amdani yn neilltuol yn nhermau dadfeiliad ieithyddol-ddiwylliannol. Darlun eithafol o negyddol o gymuned Cwm Penmachno a gafwyd mewn erthygl a wobrwywyd gan Simon Brooks yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2008. Sut mae darllen gwaith Dan Amor ac artistiaid eraill yn erbyn cefndir yr hen naratif ac yn wyneb y ffaith nad yw’r ymdrechion i sicrhau mesur o adferiad cymdeithasol a diwylliannol o reidrwydd yn digwydd trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg mewn llefydd fel Cwm Penmachno a Brechfa (nid nepell o ‘filltir sgwâr’ D. J. Williams)? Beth yw natur y dilyniant a’r berthynas rhwng y ‘lle’ a gollwyd a’r un y ceisir ei gyfleu a’i fynegi’n ddychmygus yn awr? Ym mha fodd y mae darllen ymateb Dan Amor i dirlun a thirwedd ei fro o fewn cyd-destun y delyneg draddodiadol Gymraeg, neu wrth ei gymharu â gwaith beirdd Saesneg o Gymru yr archwiliwyd eu perthynas â’u hamgylchfyd gan Matthew Jarvis?

Remeasuring the Square Mile: D. J. Williams and Dan Amor

This paper will review the concept of the ‘square mile’ as expressed in the work of D. J. Williams and Waldo Williams as well as the attempts made to interpret their work in the light of postcolonial theory. In their work the ’square mile’ was a transmitter of permanent values, and threats posed by forces such as afforestation and military expansion lead to a narrative of concern and resistance. During the 20th century the square mile, the cynefin was inextricably linked with feelings of linguistic and cultural loss and erosion. But to what extent can the concerns of Welsh-speakers be assuaged by possibilities of creating a new narrative for the square mile? We will look at cultural texts which are part of that new narrative, including the Welsh and English songs of Dan Amor of Penmachno. For Welsh-speaking cultural historians Cwm Penmachno is an area thought of predominantly in terms of sociolinguistic decline. The negative image was underpinned by a winning article in the 2008 Eisteddfod. How should we read the work of Amor and others against the backdrop of the old narrative and while being aware of the fact that current efforts to promote social and cultural regeneration in areas such as Cwm Penmachno and Brechfa (near D.J.’s square mile) do not always happen through the medium of Welsh? What continuity of relationship exists between ‘lost’ cultural places and the new ones now being defined and imagined in the same geographical space? Can we read Amor’s response to his local terrain in the context of Welsh language lyrical poetry, or by comparing him with those Anglophone Welsh poets whose relationship with their environment has been examined by Matthew Jarvis?

Blanka Ríchová, Charles University / Prifysgol Charles, Prague

‘Welsh studies in the Czech Republic’

To follow / I ddilyn.

 

Alyce von Rothkirch, Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘Public Intellectual Intervention in The Welsh Outlook: Liberalism, Welsh Identity and the Public at the beginning of the 20th Century’

The Welsh Outlook was a monthly magazine, which was published between 1914 and 1933. The first editor was the lecturer and public servant Thomas Jones and the venture was financed by the then Liberal M.P. David Davies. They as well as the people on the first Editorial Board intended the Outlook to be an incisive current affairs magazine, reformist and progressive in spirit and with an impact both in London and throughout Wales: a “Monthly Journal of National Social Progress”. Its motto, from Proverbs 29: 18, encapsulates both the strident tone and the spirit of the magazine: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”.  A great diversity of issues were discussed ranging from Labour and Socialism, Welsh local history, literature and drama to a running commentary on the doings of ‘the Welsh Party’ in Parliament. Despite the diversity of subjects and frequent changes in editors there is a remarkable consistency in overall political couleur throughout the lifetime of the magazine. The editors saw their role as providing information, a certain amount of education and the space for public intellectual interventions in the pages of the magazine. Contributors were mainly establishment figures, such as academics, university administrators, Church ministers and politicians.

The question addressed in this paper is how the contributors to this magazine of the Liberal establishment ‘theorised’ Wales. In which terms is the nation described? What are the implicit underlying assumptions about Wales, Welsh identity and experience? Are there subject areas which contributors are silent about? From where do the contributors derive their authority, which enables them to speak in this public forum? What did the contributors think was to be done to secure a good future for Wales – in ethical as well as political terms? To answer these questions, I will attempt to provide a systematic analysis of articles dealing with two subject areas: the role of education, specifically adult education and the role of the University of Wales, and the concept of Nationalism, particularly as discussed in articles on Home Rule and the founding of Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru. The Welsh Outlook was a magazine dominated by the intellectual and political establishment of Edwardian Wales and offers an insight into a body of thought that emerged before Wales became ‘two nations’ in so many respects at the same time as the changes that shaped the Welsh nation during the first half of the 20th century were taking place. My aim is to show how the contradictions of the time are woven into the fabric of many articles of the Outlook, and how the public intellectuals who published in the Outlook tried to make sense of their life and times.

Elin Royles, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘Cenedl fach a’r llwyfan rhyngwladol: Paraddiplomyddiaeth wedi datganoli a’i arwyddocâd i ddamcaniaethu Cymru’

Datblygiad arwyddocaol ers datganoli yw twf gweithgarwch rhyngwladol Llywodraeth y Cynulliad. Mae hyn yn cynwys ymwneud yn rhyngwladol y tu hwnt i’r Undeb Ewropeaidd, gweithgarwch sydd efallai fwyaf annisgwyl yn sgil datganoli. Mae’r datblygiadau yn nodedig gan fod materion polisi tramor megis trafodaethau ar gytundebau rhyngwladol a datblygiad rhynglwadol yn feysydd sydd heb eu datganoli ac yn parhau’n rhan o swyddogaeth llywodraeth ganolog y Deyrnas Gyfunol. Ar sail astudiaethau achos ansoddol, bwriad y papur hwn yw asesu arwyddocâd a goblygiadau paraddiplomyddiaeth sef weithgarwch rhyngwladol Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi datganoli. I ba raddau mai swyddogaeth ymarferol (functional) sydd bennaf i’r gweithgarwch? A yw datblygu rôl a phresenoldeb rhyngwladol yn cyfrannu at ymdrechion i adeiladu’r genedl yng Nghymru wedi datganoli?

Dadleua’r papur bod graddau’r gweithgarwch yn adlewyrchu ymdrechion adeiladu cenedl gan Lafur Cymru,y brif blaid lywodraethol rhwng 1999 a 2009, a hynny gyda chefnogaeth ar draws y pleidiau gwleidyddol. Ar yr un pryd, fodd bynnag, mae’r ymwneud rhyngwladol yn ddibynnol ar gydsyniad a chydweithrediad Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol, sefyllfa fwy heriol yng nghyd-destun pleidiau gwahanol mewn grym ar lefel llywodraeth ganolog a llywodraeth ddatganoledig. Wrth drafod y materion hyn, bydd y papur mynd i’r afael â goblygiadau a chyfraniad paraddiplomyddiaeth i ddamcaniaethu Cymru wedi datganoli o ran ei pherthynas â’r llywodraeth ganolog a’i statws fel cenedl ddi-wladwriaeth.

‘A small nation and the international stage: Decentralized paradiplomacy and its significance in theorizing Wales’

The growth in the Welsh Assembly Government’s international activity has been a significant development since devolution. This involves international engagement beyond the European Union, an area of activity that is perhaps most unexpected as a result of devolution. These developments are notable since foreign policy issues such as international treaty negotiations and international development are non-devolved issues that are the reserved competence of the UK central government. Based on qualitative case studies, the paper aims to assess the significance and implications of sub state diplomacy, the international activity of the Welsh Assembly Government since devolution. To what extent is this activity predominantly functional in character? Does developing an international role and presence contribute nation-building attempts in post-devolution Wales?

The paper argues that the extent of activity reflects Welsh Labour’s nation building efforts as the main governing party in Wales between 1999 and 2003, with broad cross-party support. Its international engagement is however dependent on the agreement and collaboration of the UK Government, a more challenging situation in view of different parties in power at central and regional levels of government. In discussing these matters, the paper will attempt to analyse the implications and contribution of sub state diplomacy to theorising Wales post-devolution as regards its relationship with central government and its status as a stateless nation.

Moira Vincentelli, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Abertawe

‘Women and Ceramics in Wales’

Following an AHRC funded project For Lover or Money: Motivation for Women and Ceramics in Wales the paper will present some of the issues raised in the audio recorded interviews and focus groups. The study included a number of interviews with women made in the early 1990s and there were some return interviews offering the possibility of comparison over a fifteen year period. Every effort was made to maintain an on-going feedback with the constituency through presentations at ceramic events, a conference for participants and a website presence currently under development. Participants represented a broad cross section of ceramic practitioners from well known names in contemporary ceramics, people running ceramic businesses directed at the tourist and gift industry and others who largely made for their own pleasure. Some work on their own and others with partners. Some of the participants were of Welsh origins, including one who was the first female in a long dynasty of male potters going back for generations. Women talk about moving to rural Wales as a lifestyle choice or arriving as students and staying on. Cardiff in particular offers a supportive community for ceramic artists. New and more generous funding opportunities where ceramic artists can bid for the same amount of money as fine artists has also been very important to a number of makers.

The paper will examine how women represent their personal relationship with Welsh identity, with ceramics as a creative practice and/or as a business against the backdrop of a period which has seen a huge rise in interest in the field but is currently experiencing rapid refocusing.

Diana Wallace, University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg

‘Doomed heirs and ancestral houses: Gothic Wales in historical fictions by Elizabeth Gaskell and Vernon Lee’

This paper will examine representations of Wales as a Gothic space within which the relationship between gender, history and patrilineal inheritance can be symbolised through readings of two short fictions by English women writers: Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘The Doom of the Griffiths’ (1858) and Vernon Lee’s Penelope Brandling (1903). This work comes out of a larger study of British women writers’ use of the Gothic as a mode of historiography which can both symbolise women’s exclusion from traditional historical narratives and reinsert women into such narratives. In such texts the Gothic itself can be seen as a way of ‘theorising’ women’s relationship with history. The two texts to be discussed here deploy the traditional Gothic convention of the ancestral house and its ‘fall’ to foreground the violent and deathly effects of patrilineal lines of inheritance which exclude both women and the ‘feminine’ values. But they also use very specific Welsh settings, thus foregrounding the issue of nationality and suggesting the replication of gendered familial power structures in national history.

Both Gaskell and Lee (pseudonym of Violet Paget) had family connections with Wales – Gaskell holidayed there and her baby son died at Ffestiniog while Lee’s mother was born in Carmarthenshire. Their representations of Wales, although inspired by Welsh history, are nevertheless those of ‘English’ outsiders (Lee, in fact, spent most of her life in Italy), although they are inflected by these complex emotional ties. At first sight, Lee’s depiction of eighteenth-century Wales in Penelope Brandling as this ‘heathenish country’ dominated by the heroine’s ‘Caliban uncles’ speaking ‘the unintelligible Welsh language’ constructs it in colonial, even racialised terms (similar to those discussed by Kirsti Bohata, 2000), as a primitive Gothic ‘other’. However, the Welsh setting seems, paradoxically, to allow Lee to reclaim a female voice and a maternal history missing in her other fiction. Gaskell’s more obviously sympathetic treatment of Wales in ‘The Doom of the Griffiths’ is ultimately far bleaker. Repetitions of male violence through history, beginning with the curse laid by Owain Glendwr on his traitorous friend, lead to the fall of the ‘house of Bodowen’ and the loss of Welsh lands to the ‘Saxon stranger’. The patriarchal inheritance here is the ‘curse’ of male violence, which excludes women at both familial and national level.

Complex and ambivalent, these under-rated historical fictions nevertheless suggest that we need to take the Gothic seriously as a way of theorising the relationship between gender, history and nationality in a Welsh context.

Kate Woodward, Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Aberystwyth

‘Sailing on stormy seas: The myth and meaning of Madam Wen (1982)’

By focusing on the film Madam Wen (1982), this paper will explore issues of cultural policy, language and film production in Wales during the 1970s and 1980s. Due to the Methodist Revival of 1904 -5, and, later, the limited remit of the Arts Council of Great Britain, film in Wales has consistently struggled with its dual identity as both art and industry. By taking a close look at the Bwrdd Ffilmiau Cymraeg (Welsh Film Board, 1971-1986), these struggles are articulated particularly well. Established in Gregynog in 1971, the Board's aim was to produce films exclusively in the Welsh language to tour around venues in Wales. From its early days, the Board experienced numerous struggles to secure funding, and many fierce battles ensued with the British Film Institute and the Welsh Arts Council which explored the meaning of Britishness, Welshness and Englishness in the context of arts policy. This paper will argue that these debates reached a climax with the Board's penultimate film, Madam Wen which represents a critical milestone in the history of the media in Wales. Commissioned by S4C, the Board was charged with producing a period blockbusters for the Welsh Fourth Channel's first Christmas in 1982. The long and emotional battle to establish the channel resulted in high expectations regarding its output, but the first year was marred somewhat by a very public financial scandal surrounding Madam Wen, as well as unease regarding its quality. Drawing on the production history of the film and the turbulent history of the Board, this paper seeks to demonstrate the way that Madam Wen is a manifestation of many national tensions, which lead, ultimately, to the demise of the Welsh Film Board.