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Read our latest Welsh Festivals news.

An underground map to be published today (28 June) will show Cardiff as never seen before offering unique views on the capital’s past and present.

The map is the brainchild of Dylan Foster Evans from the School of Welsh and I Loves the ’Diff designer Christian Amodeo. Acting on an idea by the Penylan, Cyncoed, Roath and Cathays fundraising committee for the 2018 National Eisteddfod, Christian and Dylan came together to form a unique partnership to imagine how Cardiff would look in Welsh on a London Underground map.

It will uncover some of Cardiff’s oldest, original Welsh names whilst also paying homage to some of the capital’s greats, from singer Geraint Jarman to paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson. With make-believe lines linking familiar areas like Roath, Penylan and Canton, the map also includes some of Cardiff’s most famous landmarks, such as the Aneurin Bevan statue on Queen Street and The Senedd building in Cardiff Bay.

Unofficial and ‘underground’

And, in keeping with the map’s unofficial and ‘underground’ nature, Dylan Foster Evans has also taken the liberty of drawing on Cardiff’s rich history for some station names. These include the Llywelyn Bren station, named for a fourteenth-century rebel who led a revolt in Glamorgan in 1316. He was executed in Cardiff Castle and buried in Greyfriars, and 2018 (the year of the Eisteddfod) will mark 700 years since his death.

The map has also deliberately sought to showcase some of Cardiff's original Welsh names. These include Heol y Plwca (City Road), Y Cimdda (Victoria Park) and Sarn Fid Foel (North Road).

Christian Amodeo from I Loves the ’Diff was delighted to be part of the project: "When the idea of having such a map to raise money for the Eisteddfod was suggested to me, I was immediately keen. I think it’s a great idea. It’s good to know the efforts that the illustrious team has gone to has not only ensured accuracy but also added much cultural flavour. I hope to include notes on the website to explain the reasons for the names of various stops!"

And Dylan Foster Evans says that the map seeks to combine two fundamental aims: "It puts the Welsh-language names for many of Cardiff’s streets and sights literally on the map but does so in a playful way. It also tries to uncover some of the city’s hidden Welsh past and bring it to the surface. The capital has at times been slow to recognise its varied linguistic heritage and there is always a risk that some of its rich past could be forgotten. This beautiful map helps rework that history and I’m delighted that it will also be raising vital funds for the National Eisteddfod."

Find out more about the project through Dylan Foster Evans’s Welsh-language blog.

The prestigious Musician’s Medal at this year’s National Eisteddfod has been won by Cardiff University PhD graduate Gareth Olubunmi Hughes.

Pianist and composer Gareth was honoured at a ceremony on the Pavilion stage at the Welsh cultural festival on Wednesday evening.

Over the past year Gareth has been completing his doctorate in contemporary composition at the University under the supervision of American composer Dr Arlene Sierra.

During his PhD, his work has been performed by a variety of professional musicians and ensembles including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and harpist Catrin Finch.

This is the second time that Gareth has won the main musicians’ medal (‘Tlws y Cerddor’) following his success in the Vale of Glamorgan in 2012.

This year’s Eisteddfod is being held at Abergavenny in Monmouthshire.

Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre will today (Friday August 5th) host a discussion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales exploring the challenges and opportunities of tax devolution for Wales.

Chaired by Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, the session will feature a presentation by researcher Guto Ifan outlining the forthcoming devolution of taxes set to change Welsh funding.

The presentation will consider some of the potential problems and dangers facing the Welsh Budget, exploring some of the issues and points of contention ahead of the crucial ‘fiscal framework’ negotiations between the Welsh Government and HM Treasury this autumn.

The presentation will also address developments such as Brexit and how any subsequent constitutional change may impact the course of tax devolution to Wales.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones said: "In the context of a likely squeeze in public spending in Wales following Brexit, ensuring fair treatment in the devolution of taxes to Wales is even more critical.

“The work of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University shows the size of the challenge we face. It is vital that politicians and the Welsh public act now to ensure we do not lose out."

Guto Ifan, also of the Wales Governance Centre added: “Tax devolution will greatly impact Welsh public finances, and has the potential to invigorate Welsh politics and the Welsh economy.

“However, the ultimate impact of tax devolution on the Welsh Budget will depend on how Wales’ Block Grant is adjusted after devolution.

“There are potentially hundreds of millions of pounds at stake, and introducing a system of tax devolution that disadvantages Wales could have significant consequences for the funding of our public services.”

The event will take place on Friday 5th August from 12.00pm – 1.00pm at Societies 1.

Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre hosted a discussion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales to assess the latest version of the Wales Bill.

The session featured a presentation by the Wales Governance Centre’s Manon George, an expert in constitutional law, and Dr Huw Pritchard, whose expertise lie in the law of devolution in Wales.

Their presentation analysed the key aspects of the new Bill and discussed the possible future implications for the Welsh constitution.

The Wales Bill, ‘designed to set the course for decades’, modifies the Welsh devolution settlement by moving to a reserved powers model, similar to the Scottish system, where the devolved legislature can make laws on any matter except those specifically reserved to the UK Parliament.

However, this is the Wales Office’s second attempt at delivering a ‘stronger, clearer and fairer devolution settlement for Wales that will stand the test of time’.

Manon George said: “The first Bill was heavily criticised for the lengthy list of reservations, the extension of UK Minister of the Crown consents and the controversial ‘necessity test’, viewed as a roll back of the Assembly’s powers.

“The latest Bill is not without its problems. There is no general transfer of executive functions in devolved areas and there remain over 200 reservations and new tests for Assembly legislation.”

Dr Pritchard added: “There are significant areas that still require attention, such as the need for a distinct jurisdiction for Wales and the administration of justice in Wales. The implications of Brexit on the Bill should also be considered following the EU referendum.

“The uncertainty of Brexit and the need to consider the way in which powers could revert to Wales mean that the Wales Bill is unlikely to be a long-term settlement for the Welsh constitution.”

However, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, Dr Pritchard remains hopeful: “In some ways the Wales Bill presents a step forward. The Assembly will soon be a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements, be able to change its name and have powers over rates of income tax without needing a referendum.”

All University events at the National Eisteddfod can be found here.

A new language scheme that offers Cardiff University students the opportunity to learn Welsh alongside their studies free of charge is expanding after demand exceeded all expectations.

More than 200 students have followed the School of Welsh’s free beginners courses since they were launched at last year’s National Eisteddfod by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Following this success, free courses will now also be offered to Cardiff University students at Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels from October.

The popularity of Welsh for All will be highlighted at an event at this year’s Eisteddfod at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, on 4 August from 12:00 to 13:00.

The Eisteddfod session will look at the response of students to Welsh for All and will include video clips of students who followed the course, including an international student studying Law who has become proficient in Welsh after immersing himself in the language.

A group of students will also participate in an informal discussion to talk about their experiences of learning Welsh at the University and how it will help them in the future.

Dr Angharad Naylor, Welsh for All Project Manager at the School of Welsh, said: “The progress of the Welsh for All project has been excellent and has exceeded expectations.

“It’s wonderful to see such enthusiastic students wanting to learn Welsh and develop their knowledge and awareness of Welsh culture.

“I look forward to working with students next year to enhance and develop the provision so that many more Cardiff University students can experience the Welsh language and enjoy learning it.”

Next year’s Welsh for All will offer a mixture of intensive and nine-week courses with a range of online resources to develop language skills.

The School of Welsh has a long history of providing innovative opportunities to learn Welsh and discover Welsh culture.

Dr Naylor added: “Students have enjoyed the electronic activities through the virtual learning environment and the interactive nature of the lessons, but many students have highlighted the fact that the course has provided them with the opportunity to develop personal skills as well as linguistic skills.

“They note how they have enjoyed making new friends and are discovering a new culture and language. Many also noted how it gave them more self-confidence which is great.”

This year’s National Eisteddfod takes place at Castle Meadows, Abergavenny, from 29 July to 6 August.

The University’s pavilion is staging a wide variety of events and will feature family activities, films, music, refreshments and free wifi.

Information will be available about how the University helps boost the Welsh economy and supports communities around Wales.

Several events will form part of the Summer of Innovation, a celebration of the University’s innovative work that will bring people together from academia and industry to build and strengthen connections and partnerships.

Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre and The National Assembly for Wales will host a discussion to explore what Brexit means for Wales at this year’s Eisteddfod.

Chaired by respected journalist Gareth Hughes, the session will feature a presentation by Professors Richard Wyn Jones and Roger Scully.

They will examine referendum voting patterns, and present some new evidence on what the public actually want Brexit to look like.

Professor Roger Scully of the Wales Governance Centre said:“The referendum result on the 23 June has genuinely transformed the political landscape through the UK and in Wales for the foreseeable future. Yet few of us really understand how far reaching the consequences of the referendum might be. We are told that Brexit means Brexit but it is far from clear what Brexit means.”

The presentation will assess the practical options for Brexit, and the political challenges and problems that this may generate - both within Wales and across the UK as a whole.

Professor Scully added: “In this discussion, we will be clarifying the major questions facing the UK and Wales, identifying what those options are - and thinking about the further problems that they may create”.

The Assembly’s Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, said: “The impact of the Leave vote in the EU Referendum has far reaching implications for the direction of our nation and the Assembly. Wales and the Assembly will need to have strong voice and be at the table of any future discussions about the future of the UK to ensure that Welsh interests and concerns are at the heart of negotiations.

“The Assembly has been very active in seeking to address the implications of the EU Referendum result and set up the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee which has been tasked with looking at the impact on Wales.

“The current constitutional structures and UK internal arrangements are not sufficiently robust or formalised to do this – there need to be new, stronger and more formalised processes put in place both at inter-governmental level and at inter-parliamentary level.

“I look forward to hearing the views of the panel.”

The event will take place on 3rd August from 11.30am - 12.30pm at Societies 2.

University debate at Eisteddfod asks ‘is it the end of an era for traditional television?’

A major Cardiff University debate at the National Eisteddfod asks if traditional TV in Wales can survive as old viewing habits are swept away by the digital revolution.

The debate - TV in Trouble: Is it the end of an era for traditional broadcasting? – takes place from 13:00 to 14:00 on Monday 1 August at the Cardiff University tent.

It will be chaired by TV presenter and Tinopolis Cymru Executive Director Angharad Mair and features key industry figures in Wales:

  • Alun Davies AM, Minister for Life Long Learning and Welsh Language, with responsibility for broadcasting
  • Rhys Evans, BBC Cymru Wales Head of Strategy and Digital
  • Ian Jones, S4C Chief Executive
  • Huw Rossiter, ITV Cymru Wales Public Affairs Manager
  • Liz Saville Roberts MP, Welsh Affairs Committee

The discussion takes place at a key time for broadcasting, with the UK Government carrying out an independent review of S4C in 2017 and a major overhaul of how the BBC is run.

In Wales, Alun Davies AM, Minister with responsibility for broadcasting, recently announced a new independent body to advise on the future of media and broadcasting in Wales.

Mr Davies said ahead of the Cardiff University debate: “The question for broadcasters is how to cope with profound change that stretches resources and investment strategies to breaking point and beyond. There is no one clear way forward, but they must retain the loyalty and habits of older viewers whilst keeping pace with younger people and technology, neither of which ever stands still.

“In the coming months and years there are key decisions to be taken related to broadcasting; the discussions we are closely involved with on the new BBC Charter are continuing and of course there is the independent review of S4C which will take place in 2017.”

BBC Cymru Wales Head of Strategy and Digital, Rhys Evans, said broadcasters were facing a “tidal wave” of change.

But he added that traditional TV could still be hugely popular and uniquely bring communities together, as highlighted by record audiences in Wales for the country’s matches during the Euro 2016 football tournament.

“We’re at a critical juncture and one of the fundamental questions now facing all broadcasters is how we serve audiences with differing needs and expectations across linear and digital media,” he said.

Ian Jones, S4C Chief Executive, said the UK Government review of the Welsh language broadcaster would look at the channel's remit, funding arrangements and governance structures “and the hope is that it will set the foundation of the service for the next 10 to 20 years”.

“As part of this it will need to consider the type of service that Welsh speakers will need in the future,” he said.

“It's important we ensure sufficient funding for S4C so that the channel can continue to provide high quality content on a range of popular platforms, along with securing its independence so it can continue to prioritise Welsh language content."

He added that digital developments and changes in viewing patterns presented S4C and the Welsh language with “far more opportunities”, while television remained “a very popular part of the service”.

The Minister also stressed S4C’s importance. “We must all recognise its standing as a vital and democratically significant institution which must adapt to changes in political and economic circumstances. Its disappearance would constitute an indication of a real crisis within democracy,” said Mr Davies.

Liz Saville Roberts MP, who sits on the Welsh Affairs Committee and is a former news reporter, said: “Television viewers in Wales are highly dependent on public broadcasters, but the level of public spend on Wales for Wales has reduced significantly in recent years. Welsh people’s lives, our history, drama and wider interests are at risk of being ignored by the media, and this in turn threatens both identity and political awareness. At the same time, developments in digital media are driving change, while also offering innovative means of reaching audiences with specific interests."

Huw Rossiter, Public Affairs Manager at ITV Cymru Wales, said: "As Wales' only commercially funded public service broadcaster, ITV Cymru Wales is pleased to take part in this timely debate. There is much to be proud of in Welsh broadcasting and ITV plays an important role in delivering plurality in news and programmes for Wales on the main ITV channel as well as through its supply of award-winning programmes to S4C. But there are also significant challenges facing the public service broadcasters in the fast-changing digital age and we look forward to contributing to a constructive and stimulating discussion on the big issues facing our sector."

A major TV documentary series will look at how Cardiff University is preparing a new generation of doctors for the ever-growing demands of the NHS.

The series Doctoriaid Yfory (translation: Tomorrow's Doctors) – is launched today (Monday, 1 August, 1.00pm) at the S4C Pavilion on the National Eisteddfod field in Abergavenny.

The documentary, to be broadcast on S4C from Tuesday 13 September, follows 15 medical students at the Cardiff University School of Medicine.

Ranging between 18 and 23 years old, these Welsh-speaking students come from various backgrounds and areas of Wales, but they are all united by a passion for medicine.

The cameras of Cardiff-based award-winning production company Green Bay Media have been following the students for 12 months in hospitals and general practices all over Wales.

The seven-part series, filmed in partnership with Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, has enjoyed unrivalled access to operating theatres, surgeries, hospital wards and the multi million pound clinical training facilities at the University Heath Campus.

The access was made possible by the NHS staff who supported the series and most crucially are key in the teaching and development of the students as they grow into caring, committed and highly able doctors.

Series producer Llinos Griffin-Williams of Green Bay Media said: "The series provides a unique behind-the-scenes portrayal of how a pioneering School of Medicine helps shape these young, often raw, and certainly inexperienced undergraduates into the doctors, surgeons and consultants of the future.

"From the safety of the classroom, to the stark reality of A&E, we look at the emotional, intellectual and physical challenges facing these students, as they prepare for some of the country's most demanding jobs.

“Challenging and at times incredibly moving the series looks at the reality of preparing for a unique profession as an army of tutors, doctors and nurses shape the next generation of physicians. This has been a humbling and inspiring series to produce.

“Our journey takes us all over Wales and as far as New Zealand and Tonga, but the personal, emotional journey will take us all on an even longer journey."

This All-Wales breadth of clinical experience provided by the School of Medicine means that the students become familiar with Welsh healthcare provision and the needs of our communities. This is reflected in the 55% who have chosen to stay in Wales this year for their first Foundation post.

The students learn about medicine in all kinds of communities in Wales; but the emphasis is always primarily on patient care.

Dr Awen Iorwerth, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “The patient is central to the student's learning experience in Cardiff, as they should be throughout a doctor's career. Our aim is to transform young people who do well in exams into committed, empathic and happy young doctors. Wales is a microcosm of many societies and is a wonderful classroom to teach our students about all aspects of medicine and to give them a taste of the various lifestyles a doctor can have.”

Cardiff University’s School of Medicine has broken new ground in various aspects of medical training, one being the use of a second language as part of their courses. Working in collaboration with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Welsh National College), they are preparing students to work through the medium of Welsh.

Llinos Griffin-Williams adds, "A number of the students will choose to work in rural areas of Wales, returning to the communities where they were brought up. The National Health Service in Wales has put great emphasis on preparing doctors and nurses for work in areas where a significant percentage of the population is Welsh speaking. The Cardiff University School of Medicine has pioneered in collaboration with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol in preparing medical students for a bilingual society."

More information about the series, along with student profiles will follow nearer to transmission in September.

The School of Welsh has been invited by the National Centre for Learning Welsh to deliver Welsh for Adults courses on its behalf in Cardiff.

The School will be responsible for delivering a range of courses all over Cardiff for the Centre, a new national planning body responsible for all aspects of the Welsh for Adults education programme.

The University is among 11 providers invited to deliver courses across Wales on the Centre’s behalf. The new structure, which comes into force on 1 August 2016, builds on the important work undertaken previously by the six Welsh for Adults Centres.

Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: “This is the first time for a national planning body to take responsibility for the Welsh for Adults sector and our aim is clear - to deliver an inclusive service that welcomes and supports learners and new speakers of Welsh.

“I’m looking forward very much to working with committed providers and tutors across Wales as we coordinate provision, introduce new resources and provide a central point of contact for all information about learning Welsh.”

Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh at Cardiff University said: “The School of Welsh at Cardiff University has significant experience of the Welsh for Adults sector as well as a thorough understanding of learners’ needs in the capital; we are looking forward to working closely with the Centre.”

An informal event to launch the National Centre for Learning Welsh was held on Saturday, 30 July at the Maes ‘D’ Learners’ Pavilion at the Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod.

Professor E Wyn James was a teenager when the call came to his school for help to deal with the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster.

“I had just arrived in school that morning when a call came for the fifth and sixth-form boys to go urgently to Aberfan because something terrible had happened there,” said Professor James.

So the 16-year-old and his classmates were dispatched from their school in the neighbouring village of Edwardsville in the Merthyr valley.

“We didn’t know at the time the extent of what had happened, but that became very evident when we arrived.”

They were put to work immediately, part of the desperate attempts to remove debris from the disaster site in the hope of finding people alive.

“We were in a sort of chain gang passing buckets back from the ruins of the junior school.”

Mining debris from a nearby colliery had been deposited on the mountainside above Aberfan for many years.

On 21 October 1966, it took just a few minutes for the tip to slide down the mountain engulfing the local school. The disaster claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults.

Professor James, of Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, has recently spent a lot of time contemplating the events of that dreadful day.

Professor James and his wife, Christine James, a poet and professor in the Welsh department at Swansea University, have just published a collection of poems about the disaster to mark the 50th anniversary.

He said that working on the volume had been an even more emotional experience than he had expected.

“Although I did not lose close family members like some of my friends, the experience created a sort of numbness for many years,” he said.

One strong emotion he feels is anger about the disaster, and the way in which the tips were allowed to accumulate on the hillside above the school.

“As one editorial remarked at the time, they wouldn’t have allowed such waste tips to overshadow Eton or Harrow,” he said.

Professor James will be talking about his memories of the disaster and discussing the collection of 80 poems, Dagrau Tost (Bitter Tears), together with Professor Christine James at the National Eisteddfod.

The event takes place between 11:00 and 12:00 at Lolfa Lên (the Literature Lounge) on Tuesday 2 August.

The collection features poetry from the time of the disaster right through to some written during recent months.

Professor James said two of the most notable poets to be included are D Gwenallt Jones and T Llew Jones.

“Gwenallt was the most prominent poet writing in Welsh about life in the industrial valleys of south Wales,” said Professor James.

“He published a long poem about Aberfan a year after the disaster, and that poem has a central place in the collection.”

“In many ways it was his final statement on the suffering and bravery of people in the valleys.”

Professor James said that another striking poem included in the collection was written by T Llew Jones, a teacher from Ceredigion who was an important writer of children’s literature in Welsh.

The poem was broadcast in a Welsh-language news programme in the days after the disaster, and in it T Llew Jones draws parallels between the children of the fictional Hamelin and those of Aberfan.

“Although the poems respond to the disaster in a variety of ways, the main focus is on the fact that so many children died in that disaster.”