A Manifesto for Today!

Swansea University in collaboration with Carmarthenshire Sixth Forms and Seren Dyfed Academy

Background: Seren is a Welsh Government funded education initiative which aims to support Welsh students’ university and career aspirations. It is run regionally, and Carmarthenshire is part of the Dyfed Seren hub. Within the Dyfed hub we have found small group work involving Seren students working closely with academics and post-graduates to experience through a dialogic approach the way they think, and work has a very positive effect on the agency and thus confidence of students to discuss and research difficult concepts and material.

The 2021 and 2022 Manifesto Project

In informal discussions with Seren students during the pandemic, it became clear many wanted to engage in discussion and research into ways the pandemic could become a watershed for considering the society they want for a future Wales, and the problems faced, and solutions required to achieve that.
With Raymond Williams’s centenary and strong links between Professor Daniel G. Williams and Seren Dyfed, Raymond Williams’s collaborative 1968 Manifesto became an obvious starting point for understanding the nature of a political and social manifesto. A group of students from some of Carmarthenshire’s sixth forms have been provided with free copies of the 1968 Manifesto by Verso and the Hay Festival provided free access to the video of Daniel’s recent discussion of the prescience and relevance of Raymond Williams’s work with Michael Sheen and Leanne Wood.
In an initial launch of the project, Daniel, Professor Kirsti Bohata and the author Rhian E. Jones presented online an introduction to Williams’s work and ideas around the aims, composition and issues a manifesto for today might include.
In two follow up online sessions postgraduate students from Swansea, Eve Johnson, Tomos Williams (2021), Angharad Williams (2022), facilitated discussions with the students on the themes and ideas they think would be important in Manifesto for their generation. Over the summer the students have paired together to research and explore their chosen themes. Collaborative work being an important aspect of the project which is something not often undertaken by students in discrete subjects at A level. 
The students will hopefully meet face-to-face in the Autumn and be in a position to share their work and post the progress as part blog as part of the centenary celebrations of Raymond Williams’s work. Ultimately, the work will be presented to local councillors and politicians as the first step in creating a young person’s vision of the future they want in Carmarthenshire, Dyfed, Wales and beyond.

Julian Dessent