Originally from Belfast, Elaine Canning is a public engagement specialist, writer and editor. She holds an MA and PhD in Hispanic Studies from Queen's University, Belfast and an MA in Creative Writing from Swansea University. She is currently Head of Special Projects at Swansea University, including the Rhys Davies National Short Story Competition, as well as Executive Officer of the Dylan Thomas Prize. She has published several short stories and authored a monograph and papers on Spanish Golden-Age drama. Her debut novel, The Sandstone City, publishes with Aderyn Press in November 2022. She is also editor of Maggie O’Farrell: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (forthcoming, Bloomsbury). Her external roles include membership of British Council Wales' Advisory Committee as well as collaboration with the Jaipur Literature Festival, India.
Matthew Hughes is a Marketing Administrator for Special Projects at Swansea University. He joined the Cultural Institute in 2015 and set about integrating his skills in photography, creative design, and event management into projects ranging from the Dylan Thomas Prize, The Being Human Festival, and the Hay Festival. He has a keen interest in Welsh arts and culture and has promoted the works of many up-and-coming Welsh creatives throughout the years.
Among other previous creative projects, Matthew played a key role as curator of Dylan Thomas’s Swansea birthplace during the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations in 2014 - extensively researching and recreating what the poet's bedroom resembled at the time that his first book '18 Poems' was published in 1934. In his spare time, Matthew can be found documenting the changing landscapes and people of west Wales through his photography.
Dr Kamand Kojouri is an Iranian novelist, poet and educator, who joined as a Marketing Administrator for Special Projects in 2021. She completed an MA in creative writing at City, University of London, a PhD at Swansea University, and has published two poetry collections: God, Does Humanity Exist? (2020) and The Eternal Dance (2018). All the royalties of her books are donated to The Trevor Project and Child Foundation. She also donates to have a tree planted in Sub-Saharan Africa with every book sale through Trees for the Future. 1,920 trees have been planted to date.
Sidharth Damodar is the Marketing Administrator for DylanEd, and is an alumnus of Swansea University, having completed both his undergraduate and master's degrees within the very faculty he now works in. He joined at the end of 2021 and is very keen to develop his marketing and public relations skillset, fuelled by an innate love for poetry and literary arts. Having worked as a student ambassador, he has experience working at the Being Human Festival and the Scribblers Tour, amongst other cultural festivals.
Outside of work, he can be found grossly engaged in a variety of sports, with an especially passionate interest in Arsenal.
Sam Ward-Jones has worked for Swansea University for over four years, joining the Cultural Institute as a Marketing Administrator for Special Projects in January 2022. The newest member of the team, Sam brings over 25 years' administration experience to the role having worked in a variety of sectors including as a Sports PR and Marketing Executive for a topflight rugby club and as an Executive PA within the music industry. In recent years Sam successfully organised two large-scale charity events using her extensive event management, organisation, and project management skills. She now looks forward to implementing this experience working as part of the Cultural Institute team.