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University’s Welsh-language ambitions shared at Eisteddfod AmGen 2021

3 August 2021

Cardiff University’s vision of a positive and inclusive Welsh-language culture for its staff and students will provide the backdrop for its contribution to Eisteddfod AmGen 2021.

Academi Gymraeg Prifysgol Caerdydd, a new institute, which connects those involved with the Welsh language – whether students, staff or external stakeholders – will be established as part of Cardiff University’s activity during Wales’ national festival.

It will be a key driver in achieving and implementing the ambitions of the University’s Welsh-language strategy, Yr Alwad/Embrace It, which builds on existing initiatives, networks and activities, drawing them together into a clear and defined cultural and community agenda.

The strategy sets out ambitions to increase the number of students on its Welsh-medium and bilingual programmes, expand and enhance Welsh-medium teaching, develop a Cynnig Caerdydd for prospective students and a Campws Cymraeg for those already studying and working at the University.

A public-facing Welsh-language research community is also planned to help shape policy and research agendas within Wales and beyond.

Professor Damian Walford Davies, Cardiff University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the Welsh language, said:

“Underpinning our new strategy is a vision of a Welsh-language culture-on-campus across all our activities – one whose relevance is reckoned by reference to the values of connectivity, diversity, sustainability, wellbeing, cultural understanding and our duty to future generations.”

Professor Damian Walford Davies Deputy Vice Chancellor

Dr Huw Williams, Dean for the Welsh Language at Cardiff University, added: “We want to provide a basis in the University for developing a community that encourages participation regardless of your grasp of the language, just like the Eisteddfod has done over the years.

“Our intention is to create and support a cross-organisational network based around sharing good practice, working more closely together and making our everyday Welsh-language experience the best it can be. Yr Academi Gymraeg will be central to this, reflecting wider University objectives to be a Welsh institution with a global view, in a cosmopolitan and friendly, multilingual and multicultural city.”

Dr Huw Williams Dean for the Welsh Language, Reader in Philosophy and Associate Lecturer with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol

As part of the University’s programme of events at Eisteddfod AmGen 2021, Catrin Jones, Yr Academi Gymraeg’s new Manager, will discuss an upcoming project with Joseph Gnagbo, who came to Wales as an asylum seeker from the Ivory Coast. Joseph, who learnt Welsh for free as part of a Cardiff University initiative, will lead Welsh-language lessons through Arabic at the Grangetown Pavilion – a community centre established with the support of Cardiff University’s engagement project, the Grangetown Community Gateway.

Catrin, who has been working on the project in her previous role with First Campus, said: “I’m really excited about managing the University’s Welsh Language Academy, and it’s great to be able to talk with Joseph about this project at AmGen. It’s an example of the kind of community-orientated, multilingual activity that we want to make part of our work around the Welsh language.

“It really speaks to our ambition of promoting an inclusive Welsh-language culture, and situating Cymraeg globally as our national language, one which can connect us in so many ways with other communities across the world.”

Catrin Jones, Manager for Yr Academi Gymraeg

A new film, created to capture the spirit of Welsh language life at Cardiff University and across the city, will also be released during the Eisteddfod AmGen.

[Bywyd Caerdydd, Bywyd Cymraeg]

The film features a poem written by poet and staff member Osian Rhys Jones, who won the National Eisteddfod Chair in 2017 for his poem Hero, and is performed by Annell Dyfri, a student at the University’s School of Welsh and President-elect of UMCC, the Welsh language Students’ Union.

Annell, who also appears in the film, said:

“Without a doubt, the Welsh language is increasing in status and importance here in Cardiff and beyond, a theme that manifests itself in the poem I recite. It highlights the new confidence in the language and the hope that comes from that. I hope you are as inspired by it as I’ve been.”

Annell Dyfri, School of Welsh student and President-elect of UMCC, the Welsh language Students’ Union.

With the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod postponed again this year, organisers have built on the success of last year’s AmGen, the Welsh word for ‘alternative’, developing a programme of events, activities and competitions which will run across their online platforms from Saturday 31 July – Sunday 8 August 2021.

The longstanding digital news service led by student reporters from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture in partnership with the Eisteddfod, S4C, ITV Cymru and BBC Cymru also returns for another year.

The Llais heb Faes project – renamed for the virtual festival – involves eight journalism students, supported by their lecturers and experienced BBC staffers Andrew Weeks and Gwenfair Griffith, and covers the major stories across a week of AmGen streams, sharing videos, polls, quizzes and more on Twitter.

Rhiannon Jones, who graduated last week with a degree in Welsh and Journalism, said: “I’ve been lucky enough to take part in the Llais y Maes and the Llais heb Faes projects in the past. The team and the project, like any other newsroom, have adapted quickly due to restrictions and Llais heb Faes have definitely made the most of these changes.

“Personally, I’ve learnt so many valuable skills during the process that have made me more confident and also more employable. Every year is different so I can’t wait for everyone to see what we as a team bring this year.”

Rhiannon Jones, Welsh and Journalism Graduate

Eisteddfod AmGen 2021 will be an opportunity for Cardiff University to showcase its Welsh-language research and engagement communities, with a number of its experts among those delivering virtual talks on topics ranging from politics and public health to linguistics and libraries this year: ·

Find out more about the Eisteddfod AmGen 2021.

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