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Major presence at Eisteddfod

28 July 2015

Eisteddfod Maes

Major issues in the spotlight at Eisteddfod

Experts from Cardiff University are shining a spotlight on some of the most important issues facing Wales, at this year’s National Eisteddfod

Several debates will focus on subjects that are vital to the future of the country.

These include the consequences of the General Election result for Wales, how to get the very best from our public services, and the future of Welsh language media in the run up to BBC Charter renewal and new funding arrangements for S4C.

Culture and heritage feature as strongly as ever, including talks on ground-breaking Mabinogion research and how Welsh language dialects evolve over time.

A fresh look at the Festival and surrounding community will be available from www.llaisymaes.com, the Eisteddfod’s digital newspaper. It is run by Cardiff University students and the University’s Centre for Community Journalism, which will also be holding workshops to enable more and better Welsh language digital journalism to be created and shared.

Another highlight will be the launch of Welsh for All on 3 August which will encourage Cardiff University students to learn Welsh alongside their regular studies.

The Eisteddfod is this year taking place in Montgomeryshire and the Marches, at Meifod, from 1-8 August.

Professor Colin Riordan said: “The National Eisteddfod is one of the highlights of the cultural calendar and we are delighted to have such a significant presence at this year’s event.

“We are extremely proud to be a Welsh University that contributes enormously to the cultural, economic and social life of the country.

“I warmly invite you to our range of talks, debates and activities which I hope will illustrate how our work impacts positively upon Wales.”

Wales is coming to terms with the results of this year’s General Election, and the effects will be analysed by Professor Richard Wyn Jones and Professor Roger Scully - from the University’s Wales Governance Centre - in the Cymdeithas 1 pavilion on 5 August.

Professor Jones will also be setting the scene on 6 August for what promises to be a fascinating 2016 Assembly election.

Dr Sioned Pearce, of the University’s Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research Data and Methods in the School of Social Sciences, also talks politics when she considers how politically engaged 16 and 17-year-olds feel and whether they are democratically represented. This takes place in the University pavilion on 7 August.

The future of Wales’s public services is currently the subject of vigorous debate and will be the focus of a discussion, also on 7 August, looking at how innovation can best be supported within them.

Another topical highlight will be a panel discussion on the future of Welsh language media which will involve the University, BBC Cymru Wales and S4C in the University pavilion on 3 August.

Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost is putting the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner under the microscope while considering constructive improvements, in two separate talks, at the University pavilion on 4 August and the annual lecture of Cwmni Iaith on 6 August.

The nation’s culture is widely represented in the University’s activities throughout Eisteddfod week.

Professor Sioned Davies, who has been lauded for her translation of the Mabinogion into English, has two separate talks about the celebrated work, on 4 and 5 August, before giving the Hedley Gibbard Memorial Lecture on 6 August about the Welsh translations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Professor Davies has particularly strong links to this year’s Eisteddfod host area having been brought up in Llanbrynmair, Clatter and Welshpool.

Another talk which is sure to attract much local interest is Dr Iwan Wyn Rees’s exploration of the local dialect and how broader Welsh dialects have evolved over time on 5 August.

He is collecting data in different parts of Montgomeryshire that will help him to determine the extent to which the use of various dialect features has changed during recent decades.

Dr Rees is putting together a questionnaire to find out more about how dialects are evolving, while the University’s pavilion will also feature a recording booth in which visitors will be invited to record their own dialect.

On 6 August Professors Bill Jones and E Wyn James will deliver the annual lecture of the Centre for Welsh American Studies, entitled Meifod and America: Exploring the Worlds of Ann Griffiths and Sarah Maldwyn, when they will examine American links within the immediate vicinity of the Eisteddfod.

The famous poet, Ann Griffiths, was born within a stone’s throw of the Eisteddfod field, and Professor E Wyn James will discuss her hymns and letters in his talk on 4 August.

Dr Siwan Rosser and guests analyse the role of Welsh folk culture, also on 4 August, and Dr Rhiannon Marks will talk about the life of the Patagonian poet Irma Ariannin (Irma Hughes de Jones) on 6 August.

Elsewhere, Cardiff University experts will demonstrate how technology is helping the stars of this year’s Rugby World Cup to catch the ball, whatever the weather.

The University has teamed up with Gilbert the Rugby World Cup ball manufacturer to highlight how a polymer in the outer surface of the ball makes it water hating (hydrophobic) and sticky to the hands of the players.

It is part of the University’s Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medical Society exhibition and activities at the Science and Technology Pavilion.

Finally, Dr Laurence Totelin, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, has an exhibition in the University pavilion looking at the history and sociology of infant feeding. Interviews are also taking place in the pavilion with grandparents to find out how infant feeding practices in Wales have changed over time.

The University’s pavilion will be open to visitors throughout the Eisteddfod and will also feature family activities, films, refreshments and free wifi.

Information will be available about how the University supports the Welsh language, including various Welsh-medium modules on a wide range of degree courses.

We are home to the Cardiff branch of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which makes recommendations about Welsh-medium provision to the Academic Board and considers our plans for further developments in this field.