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MA alumnus returns for research talk

12 December 2016

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh recently welcomed a returning American alumnus as part of its annual Research Seminar series.

The seminar, titled Truths and Transitions: Measuring Welsh Identity in the Blue Books of 1847, was delivered by Matthew C. Jones, an MA Welsh and Celtic Studies graduate who is now who is now a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, USA.

The seminar delved in to the reports of the Blue Books (a 19th century government directed public inquiry in to the state of education in Wales) and considered the depiction of Welsh identity and experience they promoted. An engaged audience attended the seminar to hear Matthew expand on his thesis and share insights from his latest research efforts.

Returning to the School to deliver his research seminar, at the invitation of Dr Siwan Rosser, lecturer and MA coordinator, Matt also shared his reflections on his time at the School. During his time at the School, and alongside his studies, Matt, who originally hails from Baltimore, began learning Welsh and achieved considerable success in a very short space of time. He said of his experience in Cardiff:

“My process of becoming a student at Cardiff University was somewhat unique compared to those of my friends, and I was very fortunate. While I did choose to apply to Cardiff, in many ways Cardiff also ‘chose’ me. I was already familiar with a number of the School of Welsh faculty through my own independent research and when they were warmly receptive of my ideas and proposals I knew that Cardiff was my only real option. I received full tuition remission through the Office of International Studies, which is what gave me the opportunity to see my research aspirations through.

“My year at the School of Welsh following the MA Welsh and Celtic Studies programme stands out among all of my years of graduate school (which began in 2011 and continues). Beyond access to archives I wouldn’t have been able to consult otherwise, and even beyond how accommodating the faculty were every step of the way (helping with my work, my Welsh, with finding work study in Aberystwyth, with even how I will most effectively apply my Welsh studies knowledge to my PhD), I think that what has had the most profound impact on my work and myself was how the Department acted on its stated goals for each of its students.

"Each of my peers was doing something different and had different interests (within the unifying theme of Welsh and Celtic Studies). In the classes we were able to benefit from insights in to each other’s work and areas of study, while in our individual meetings with faculty members we received personal guidance and insights into our specific interests and ultimately our research projects. In this way every student was encouraged to pursue their unique interests in the field(s) of Welsh and Celtic Studies while being fully engaged with other students’ varied interests. This was wholly different to anything else I had experienced before, and I felt that this approach worked fantastically to show us that there are numerous avenues through which to better understand and contribute to the academic field of Welsh and Celtic Studies, and that each of them can work together and be informed by each other.”

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