By 1851 Wales had become the world’s first industrial nation and the copper industry was at its heart.
In September 2010 Swansea University and its partners, including the City and County of Swansea, the National Waterfront Museum and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, embarked on the ESRC-funded project History, Heritage and Urban Regeneration: The Global and Local Worlds of Welsh Copper.
Swansea University has now entered into a formal partnership with the City and County of Swansea in order to explore the heritage-led regeneration of the former site of the Hafod-Copperworks.
This broader regeneration project Cu@Swansea, was awarded a funding package of £521,000 in 2011. The Welsh Government is contributing £277,000 to the scheme through the Swansea Regeneration Area programme and the Targeted Match Fund. A sum of £244,000 has also been provided from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Welsh Government's £19m Heritage Tourism project.
Cu@Swansea also received an AHRC Connected Communties grant in January 2012 (Phase 1). This funding enabled the project team to ensure that local community groups remain at the heart of the research being undertaken on the Hafod site. It facilitated engagement with local community groups by helping local groups to prepare project bids for the Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories scheme. In October 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded funding to six of the project bids and since then these community groups have been working in partnership with Swansea University on their projects. In January 2013 the AHRC awarded CU@Swansea follow-on funding worth £39,442 (Phase 2). With this new funding the project team will be able to continue expanding its promotion of community-based research projects.
You can keep up to date with Cu@Swansea at the A World of Welsh Copper website.
The project is led by Professor Huw Bowen, a leading expert on the economic, imperial, and maritime history of Britain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Huw has described the copper industry as being at the heart of Wales' development at the first industrial nation.
Swansea University is investing in the project by funding two PhD studentships on visualisation techniques in the context of heritage sites.
The AHRC has also awarded RIAH funding for a programme of postgraduate skills development based on the Cu@Swansea project. A programme of heritage-themed master classes, a series of placements with national and international heritage organisations and an innovative Heritage Apprentice Programme will get underway in October 2012.