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Wales in Argentina

6 July 2015

Patagonia Flag

A major event will get underway today to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia

Hosted by Cardiff University's School of Welsh on 6 and 7 July 2015, the international conference will focus on the history and contemporary position of the Settlement.

The two-day event will include papers and discussions on a range of topics relating to the Welsh experience in Patagonia, including the linguistic, literary, educational, geographical and social context.

It will be an opportunity to view the settlement - past, present and future - through the eyes of people from Wales and from Patagonia; with almost half of the conference speakers born and raised in Argentina.

Conference sessions will include 'Pilgrims in a barren land: the experience of the earliest Welsh settlers', 'Gamechangers: the women who made Y Wladfa possible', and 'Representations of the Welsh Settlement and its cultural heritage in Chubut's educational and historical literature'.

The Centre for Welsh American Studies (part of the School of Welsh) is organising the conference, in partnership with the Wales-Argentina Society and the Culture of the 18th and 19th Centuries and the Ethnology and Folk Studies Sections of the University of Wales Alumni Association. The event is also supported by Santander Universities.

Professor E. Wyn James, from the Centre for Welsh American Studies, said: "The establishment of the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia was a heroic undertaking of national and international significance. Its history and development pose many interesting and relevant questions about migration and identity, and this is the first time so many Welsh and Argentine experts have come together to discuss the Settlement. As such, there is every indication that this conference will be a major milestone in the history of studying the Welsh in Patagonia."

Cardiff University's School of Welsh has strong links with the Settlement, forged over many years. The School offers a module on 'The Identity and Culture of the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia' for undergraduate students, and scholarships are also available for students to visit the Settlement for a period of work experience.

Staff members lecture and publish regularly on different aspects of the language and culture of the Settlement, and the School's Welsh for Adults Centre is a key partner in the Welsh Language Scheme in Chubut.

There is no fee for attending the conference but delegates must register in advance. The full conference programme can be accessed here.