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Academics share their research at Hay Festival

21 May 2024

Street bunting in Hay-on-Wye during the festival
Hay-on-Wye is world-renowned for books, bookshops and the literary festival. Credit: Billie Charity

Cardiff University academics are taking their research to the Hay Festival.

First held in 1988, this vibrant gathering has evolved into a global phenomenon, attracting writers, artists, thinkers, and performers from all corners of the world.

Among those speaking at the festival are Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost who will give an illustrated talk about his new book, Fieldnotes from Celtic Palestine.

On Monday May 27, during Celtic Palestine: Culture and Conflict, he will share reflections on his field visits to Palestine over several years, exploring aspects of the conflict there through the medium of art. He will also cast a critical eye upon depictions of Gaza by the Welsh artist Osi Rhys Osmond and upon portrayals of the West Bank in the creative writing of Irish novelist Colum McCann.

Professor Mac Giolla Chríost, who is Director of Postgraduate Research Studies based at the School of Welsh, said: “I'll be talking about how creative practitioners and their art can be important, vital even, to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Being a born-and-bred native of Northern Ireland, a place that once had its own intractable conflict, I hope to bring to my talk a sense of empathy for the situation in Palestine.”

On Saturday June 1, a panel discussion, Social Class in Contemporary Britain, will explore the class structure of the contemporary UK.

Professor Valerie Walkerdine and Dr Ryan Davey of the School of Social Sciences, Dr Richard Gater of the Centre for Adult Social Care Research and Dr Daniel Evans of Swansea University and formerly of the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD) will examine how class is lived and experienced; how class interacts with other identities such as gender; and the relationship between class and political behaviour.

Dr Ryan Davey said: “The four of us will each present findings from our own research into class in Britain, exploring how our own individual backgrounds have informed our work.

“Valerie will speak about histories of class from the post-war period up to the post-industrial present, while Richard has new research that explores masculine identity among marginalised working-class young men from the South Wales Valleys, not far south from Hay itself.

“Dan’s work on the lower middle class, from his recent book A Nation of Shopkeepers, will form the focus of his talk, including the impact on populist politics. My own research looks at how household debt contributes to class inequality, both economically and in terms of social stigma.

“We are excited about bringing perspectives from working-class and lower middle-class lived experience into what is generally quite a middle- or upper middle-class space.”

For more information about the festival and other events, see the full 2024 programme.

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