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Bilingualism and the arts under the magnifying glass

14 February 2017

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh held an event focused on bilingualism in the arts and creative industries on Friday 27 January 2017.

Dr Lisa Sheppard, a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol lecturer at the School, organised the event which was sponsored by the Coleg and Literature Wales’ Writers on Tour Scheme.

The intention behind the event was to facilitate discussion on aspects of bilingualism in literature and the creative industries. Nearly 30 authors, playwrights, writers, academics, publishers and students came together for an afternoon of fun, thoughtful and penetrating debate. It was an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that bilingualism presents in the world of the creative industries and the arts.

An interesting workshop was held, which drew attention to the dearth of authors from a second language background writing in Welsh, and the lack of representation to English language life in Wales on television, amongst other topics.

Following this workshop, Tony Bianchi, Catrin Dafydd, Alun Saunders and Branwen Davies led a roundtable discussion about their experiences of writing bilingually before author Llwyd Owen and dramatist Ed Thomas hosted question and answer sessions on the bilingual nature of their work.

Dr Lisa Sheppard said of the event: “I’m very grateful to supporters of this research workshop, especially our sponsors and the authors that contributed. The quality of the discussion was very high and everyone was in agreement that there is scope to hold similar events in future to develop the debate further and attempt to solve some of the problems faced by those writing bilingually in Wales.

“We hope that the relationships developed on the day and the discussions held turn in to an active network to promote bilingual writing and foster relationships across language barriers un the creative world. We will be organising more events soon!”

For further information, please contact Dr Lisa Sheppard.

Recordings of the roundtable discussion and the question and answer sessions (along with Welsh and English transcripts) will be available on the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s portal, Y Porth, by the end of March.

The School of Welsh is keen to share its research with those interested in Welsh and its place in contemporary Wales, from a literary, linguistics or social perspective. Search our events for information on our varied seminars and lectures.

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The School is committed to the development of language, society and identity in contemporary Wales through teaching and research of the highest standard.