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Promoting links with Patagonia

10 March 2010

Dr Brígida Baeza,  Dr Bill Jones, Dr Ana Virkel, Walter Brooks, Dr E. Wyn James, Beatriz Neumann, and Nanci Jones.Dr Brígida Baeza, Dr Bill Jones, Dr Ana Virkel, Walter Brooks, Dr E. Wyn James, Beatriz Neumann, and Nanci Jones.

The School of Welsh has been strengthening its links with Patagonia through a programme generously supported by Banco Santander.

The School recently hosted a number of visiting academics from Argentina’s National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco. Dr Brígida Baeza, Nanci Jones, Beatriz Neumann and Dr Ana Virkel spent two weeks in Cardiff, meeting and working with staff from the School’s Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies.

One of the highlights of the visit was a symposium allowing staff from both institutions to disseminate aspects of their research into the life, history and culture of the Welsh settlement established in Patagonia in 1865. Papers delivered on the day examined a range of diverse topics, such as approaches to the study of Spanish-Welsh language contact in Patagonia, Welsh print culture in Chubut, and frontiers, identity and nation in Central Patagonia.

During the course of their stay, the visitors also had the opportunity to visit Welsh landmarks of interest to their research, including the Senedd, the Big Pit: National Coal Museum, and St Fagans: National History Museum.

In September 2008, Cardiff became the first Welsh member of ‘Santander Universities’, a growing international network of higher education institutions, supported by Banco Santander.

Under the scheme, six members of Cardiff staff visited Patagonia last year to lay the foundations for future collaborations. They met with colleagues from the National University to discuss their research and networked with Welsh communities in the area.

Dr E. Wyn James, co-Director of the Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies said: "Support from Banco Santander has allowed very fruitful networking to develop between academics in Cardiff and Chubut, which will significantly enhance Welsh Patagonian Studies. Plans are underway for further exchange visits by staff and students and collaboration on research projects. These include a visit by staff from Cardiff to Patagonia in September to deliver papers at academic conferences."

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