Swansea University in line for Times Higher prize for Dylan Thomas centenary campaign

The Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) at Swansea University has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Awards 2015 in the category ‘Excellence and Innovation in the Arts’.

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Times Higher shortlisted - 2015It is the second year running that RIAH has been shortlisted for the award in the same category.

This year, RIAH’s nomination is for ‘Swansea University Rediscovers Dylan Thomas’.

Swansea University is central to scholarly work on Dylan Thomas’ life and work and celebrated the centenary of the poet’s birth in 2014 with a variety of events and campaigns:

  • Sponsorship of the International Dylan Thomas Prize with shortlisted entries from winners of the Booker, Forward and Bailey’s Prizes (shortlisted for a HEIST award for best corporate campaign).
  • Under Milk Wood: an opera, composed by John Metcalf; a world premiere production by Swansea’s Taliesin Arts Centre in coproduction with Le Chien qui chante and Companion Star (shortlisted for the International Opera Awards).
  • Publication of the Centenary Edition of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas by Swansea University’s Professor John Goodby with widespread promotional events at locations including Cambridge, Fitzrovia, Dublin, New York, Texas and Pittsburgh.
  • PhD graduate Dr Liz Wride’s Number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, directed by Head of Creative Writing at Swansea, Professor David Britton, with performances at a number of venues including Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff; The Lost Theatre’s 30th ‘One Act Festival’, London; Taliesin Arts Centre; and the Dylan Thomas birthplace.
  • Dylan Thomas in Chinese – a visit by US-based Chinese poet Wu Fu-Sheng kindly supported by the City and County of Swansea.
  • Rediscovering Dylan’, hosted by RIAH, part of ‘Being Human’, the inaugural UK Festival of the Humanities with 400 people in attendance. Events included: 1) ‘Dylan Live’, a bilingual multimedia performance combining poetry, jazz and hip hop featuring Swansea University’s Professor Daniel Williams and funded by Literature Wales. ‘Dylan Live’ had previously toured Wales in February 2014 and appeared at the prestigious PEN World Voices Festival in NYC in May 2014; 2) ‘Translating Dylan into Welsh’ by esteemed poet and translator T. James Jones; and 3) ‘Dylan Thomas and Saunders Lewis’, the British Academy Chatterton Lecture on Poetry 2014, by Swansea University’s Professor of Welsh, Tudur Hallam.
  • ‘Dylan’s 100th birthday’ at Bauman Rare Books, NYC, featuring Port Talbot-born actor Michael Sheen reading Dylan’s poetry.
  • Acquisition of the ‘lost’ Dylan Thomas notebook at Sotheby’s auction. The return home to Wales of the notebook marked the culmination of the University’s centenary celebrations.

Professor John Spurr, Head of the College of Arts and Humanities said: “This nomination - the second for us in consecutive years - is a fantastic tribute to the innovative works of the Arts community in Swansea and in the College of the Arts and Humanities.

“The role of the Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities, under the direction of Dr Elaine Canning, has been to nurture exciting partnerships between the practitioners and the academics, between the city and the University, and to take our work to new audiences and new heights.”

The winners of the Times Higher Education Awards 2015 will be announced at an awards dinner and ceremony on 26 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. Guests will include politicians, senior sector figures, and academic and university staff from all corners of the UK.

Last year RIAH was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Award for its Heritage Skills Programme which offered specialist heritage-themed workshops to students and placements in high profile heritage organisations.