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Sioned James, originally from Swansea, has been named the winner of the 2015 Geraint George Scholarship. The announcement was made at the Urdd Eisteddfod last week.

Sioned graduated from the School of Welsh in 2013 having studied an LLB Law and Welsh joint honours programme. She is continuing her studies in Cardiff to become a barrister.

The Scholarship was established by the Countryside Council for Wales and the Snowdonia National Park Authority in memory of Geraint George, the noted educator and environmentalist. It is open to individuals aged between 18 and 25 years old and its main aim is to nurture skilled communicators to help people in Wales and beyond to appreciate the natural world and understand the factors that affect it.

Scholarship applicants are asked to submit communications work, in any medium and on any environmental issue relevant to Wales. The winner is given the opportunity to visit the Triglav National Park in Slovenia or attend the Europarc conference. They also receive a mentor from the Snowdonia National Park Authority or Natural Resources Wales to help them develop their career in the environmental sector.

Cardiff University's School of Welsh played host to His Excellency Mr Lauri Bambus, Estonian Ambassador to the UK, on Friday May 22nd 2015.

Ambassador Bambus' two-day visit to Wales included meetings with the First Minister and Deputy Presiding Officer of the Assembly, as well as the Lord Mayor of Cardiff. He also attended the Vale of Glamorgan Festival which was celebrating Arvo Pärt's 80th anniversary with performances from the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.

More than 40 people attended Ambassador Bambus' presentation, which introduced his country, its people and its culture. The Ambassador noted the many similarities between Estonia and Wales, their positions as smaller European nations, their strong and enduring cultural identities and their proud native languages.

Welcoming the Ambassador to Cardiff, Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost, a member of the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit at the School of Welsh, said: "It is a pleasure to host Ambassador Bambus at the School of Welsh and we thank him for visiting us during his busy trip.

"Estonia has an interesting history, not least its growth and economic and political development after regaining independence in 1991 culminating in its admittance to the European Union and NATO in 2004. It has been great to hear more about the country today and of the similarities with Wales. Estonia's rich cultural heritage, which blends indigenous and external influences, includes a strong folk tradition in literature and song. This is something we know a lot about here in Wales and is a specialism within the School. Equally, we recognise the position and strength of native language in Estonian society, belonging to the finnougric language family, spoken natively by about 1.2 million people and retained over hundreds of years."

Discussing his visit to Wales, and Cardiff University, the Ambassador said: "I am truly delighted to pay my first official visit to Wales accompanied by colleagues from the Embassy at the time of the Vale Glamorgan Music Festival. Especially while the festival is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the world-famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It is a great pleasure to bring to the Welsh people the Estonian music performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. 

"I had concise meetings in an open atmosphere with distinguished representatives of Cardiff and Wales as well as mutually enlightening discussions at the School of Welsh. I am sincerely thankful for the warm hospitality of Welsh people and hope to have a chance to visit Wales again soon."

Ambassador Bambus took up his position in August 2014 and has a long and distinguished diplomatic career beginning in the Consular department of Estonia's Foreign Service. During this time he was posted to Poland, Belgium and St Petersburg before becoming Director General of the Consular Department (2007-10) and later Undersecretary for Legal and Consular Affairs (2010-14). Lauri Bambus is also accredited as Estonian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman.

Cardiff University's School of Welsh is celebrating staff and alumni nominations in the 2015 Book of the Year Award.

It has been announced that Dr Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, a lecturer and former student in the School, has been nominated in two categories. His work, Storm ar Wyneb yr Haul and Rhyw Flodau Rhyfel, appear on the Poetry and Creative Factual shortlists respectively.

In addition to Llŷr's nominations, Rhys Iorwerth, a School alumnus, also earned a spot on the shortlists. He will go up against Llŷr in the Poetry category with his collection Un Stribedyn Bach.

Llŷr will attend the awards ceremony in Caernarvon on Thursday 4th June, after returning from Germany where he will participate in the European Festival of the First Novel. During his time at the festival, Llŷr will discuss his work with publishers and authors and hold public readings.

Commenting on his success, Llŷr said: "It was astounding to see both Storm ar Wyneb yr Haul and Rhyw Flodau Rhyfel on the shortlists for the Book of the Year Award. I'm incredibly grateful that my work has been recognised this way, it's a tremendous honour. I look forward to the awards ceremony next month as an opportunity to celebrate the diversity within our literature and to share the experience with friends, family and the other nominees."

Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh, added: "There was much excitement in the School when the shortlists were announced, but I'm not surprised to see Llŷr's excellent work recognised. We congratulate Llŷr and Rhys Iorwerth on their nominations for this prestigious prize and wish them every success at the awards ceremony to come."

The 2015 Book of the Year Award will be presented to the best literary works published in 2014, in Welsh and English, and in three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Factual.

Each category winner will receive a prize of £2,000, and the two main winners in each language will receive an additional £6,000. The Award is administered by Literature Wales.

Lisa Sheppard, from Cardiff University's School of Welsh, will participate in a discussion on the role and importance of language in shaping identity and nationality, following a performance of A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders.

A Good Clean Heart is a new bilingual play about two brothers who come of age speaking different languages and in separate families. It poses many questions about language, culture and the formation of identity.

The post-show talk will take place on Wednesday 13th May 2015, in partnership with The Other Room Theatre and Creative Cardiff. Lisa will join the playwright Alun Saunders, and director Mared Swain to discuss the themes of the play, their experiences as Welsh speaking citizens and the contribution language has made in developing a sense of self.

Lisa comments: "As a bilingual country, Wales cannot underestimate the role language has played in forming a sense of identity and its importance from a cultural and social standpoint The themes of the play speak to contemporary Wales, highlighting our unique experience and articulating the influence of language on our characters, our aspirations and our sense of belonging. Bilingualism opens our eyes to other cultures and perspectives which is so important in a multicultural world."

The show starts at 7.30pm with the discussion to follow at The Other Room Theatre, Porter's, Cardiff. Tickets are available online.

The event is a partnership between The Other Room and Cardiff University's Creative Cardiff project. The university is working with others to make Cardiff a capital of creativity, supporting the city's creative economy and encouraging people to work together to raise the city's ambitions. It is enabling staff and students to engage with the creative industries. Plans are also being developed to create physical and virtual spaces that allow these collaborations to take place. This event is just one of many relationships being built to help realise these ambitions.

An expert research symposium, hosted by the Language, Policy & Planning Research Unit, at the School of Welsh, Cardiff University, was held on Tuesday April 28th 2015.

Entitled 'Regulating language, regulating rights?' the symposium, which arises from a major ESRC sponsored research project, provided a forum for multi-disciplinary discussion of minority language policy. Previously in Wales in particular, the focus in language policy has been on promotion and advocacy, yet the need for effective regulatory frameworks to implement, interpret and apply language rights, cannot be underestimated.

An international group of leading academic voices in the arena of language policy and rights gathered in Cardiff to share their research and develop the discussion on this challenging topic.  Head of the School of Welsh, Professor Sioned Davies, welcomed all attendees before opening remarks were heard from Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost.

Speakers included Dr Jacqueline Mowbray, faculty at the University of Sydney and a Cardiff University Visiting Fellow, author of 'Linguistic justice: International law and language policy' while academics from the University of Edinburgh, Aberystwyth University and Nottingham University also presented their research.

The symposium was organised by Dr Patrick Carlin along with Professor Mac Giolla Chriost.

Dr Carlin said of the symposium: "Taking forward our original research the aim of the symposium was to consider international language rights and freedoms and the laws and conventions for their protections. Developing that further, we looked at whether the freedom to use a language can be usefully protected by law and how language rights enshrined in law at international and national levels relate to each other."

Professor Mac Giolla Chríost added: "The gathered speakers are all expert in their fields and today's discussions have been well informed, thoughtful and passionate. It is important that minority language policy responds to contemporary realities and issues, ensuring regulation and legislation is fit for purpose. Academic research has a crucial role to play in informing public policy."

Prior to the symposium, participants attended a dinner hosted by Deputy Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, David Melding AM.

Cardiff University's School of Welsh, with funding provided by Banco Santander, is offering two scholarships worth £3,000 for two undergraduate students to travel to Patagonia for a month of work experience this summer.

This is the second year that the School has offered this opportunity.

The successful students will support the work of 'Cynllun yr Iaith Gymraeg' in Chubut, Patagonia during this special centenary year as the Welsh colony celebrates the 150th anniversary since its settlement in 1865.

The scholarships are open to all undergraduate students in the School of Welsh who will continue as undergraduate students through summer 2015. The closing date for applications is 28 March 2015.

Last year, the scholarships were awarded to two students now in their final year, Siwan Gwyn Jones from Carmarthen and Angharad Lewis from Llanfair Caereinion. They travelled to Patagonia in August 2014 for one month work experience supporting various activities for Cynllun yr Iaith Gymraeg. The Cynllun is a partnership between Welsh Government, the British Council, Cardiff University, The Wales-Argentina Society and Menter Iaith Patagonia.

The work experience is varied and includes activities such as support work in nurseries and primary schools as well as classes teaching Welsh to adults.

Siwan said of her experience: "I have a keen interest in the history of the Welsh expatriates who made their way to Patagonia. As such I was eager to visit and experience the heritage and the atmosphere for myself.

"I had a truly memorable time in Patagonia and the opportunity to meet many different people coming to better understand their culture and history. It was a pleasure to promote the Welsh language when teaching Welsh to some of the adult population of Chubut and also a wonderful opportunity to improve my Spanish!"

Angharad added: "The chance to teach but also to learn was fantastic and the people of Chubut could not have been more generous or welcoming. I would encourage all of the undergraduates in the School to try for one of the scholarships available. I firmly believe that they will not be disappointed."

If you are interested in the scholarships, please come to a special session with Professor Wyn James, Siwan and Angharad in Room 1.69, Thursday, March 19th 2015.

For an application form please contact the School office. 

Read more about Siwan and Angharad's experiences

The importance of skilled and trained Welsh language journalists needed to support a healthy and effective Welsh media industry was the topic of discussion at a panel event at Cardiff University this week.

Menna Richards, formerly Managing Director of HTV Wales and also Director BBC Cymru Wales until 2011, chaired a panel discussion of Welsh journalists and editors to address the shortage of trained Welsh Language journalists and communicators.

The event marked the launch of Cardiff University's new Joint Honours Welsh and Journalism degree which will mean for the first time, students will have the opportunity to study both subjects through the medium of Welsh.

The new degree which has been designed in response to the high demand for journalists with Welsh language and journalistic skills will combine academic rigour and analysis with opportunities for work experience and practical extra-curricular activities.

The degree will be delivered by Cardiff University's School of Welsh and School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and is supported by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Menna Richards said, "There will be a warm welcome for this new Welsh and Journalism degree amongst students and employers. There is a significant demand for Welsh speaking graduates with journalistic skills.

"The School of Welsh at Cardiff University have historically led across several disciplines while the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies has a strong reputation across Britain. The collaboration of these schools along with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlathol is a guarantee this will be a degree of the highest standard."

Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh, said: "For the first time, Cardiff University students have the opportunity to study Welsh and Journalism with this new and unique course. With the growth and diversification of the media and journalism fields, the call for Welsh speaking graduates who have excellent language skills and journalistic experience has increased.

"It was therefore a natural development that the School of Welsh joined with colleagues in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies to offer this new course. We thank Menna Richards for agreeing to speak about her experiences and help launch the course with this event. We also thank the panel for their contribution and for lending their voices to the important debate about the future of Welsh language journalism."

The panel consisted of:

Betsan Powys - Programmes Editor, Radio Cymru
Vaughan Roderick - Welsh Affairs Editor, BBC
Siân Morgan - Reporter and Deputy Editor, Y Byd ar Bedwar
Dylan Iorwerth - Editorial Director, Golwg

Each year, during the spring semester, students from Colgate University, in Madison County, New York, USA come to Cardiff University as part of a Study Abroad Scheme. In addition to their own degree subjects at Colgate, students are given a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study modules at the School of Welsh which focus on the language and culture of Wales.

On the 23rd of March, as part of the Wales and the Welsh Language module, this year's group were taken on a field trip to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. There they had a unique opportunity to meet two of the Welsh Government's most prominent cabinet members – Huw Lewis (the Minister for Education) and the First Minister Carwyn Jones, along with Hywel Owen, the Welsh Government's Media Policy Officer . The students spent time quizzing the ministers about the Senedd, their roles within the Government, and the politics of Wales in general.

Authors and young readers will gather in the capital for the third annual Cardiff Children's Literature Festival between March 24th and 29th 2015. However, the adults won't be left out of the fun with special sessions hosted by Cardiff University's School of Welsh.

While young readers will enjoy a weekend of workshops and bilingual presentations with popular characters including Sali Mali and Superted present across the city, the adults amongst them are invited to two special events to be held at City Hall.

On Wednesday March 25th, Professor Sioned Davies will give an English language lecture on the Welsh adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, exploring what happens when Alice becomes Alys and migrates from one language to another. The following evening (March 26th) Dr Siwan Rosser, from the School of Welsh will lead a special evening celebrating the centenary of the prolific and popular Welsh children's writer, T. Llew Jones (1915-2009) in the company of Emyr Llywelyn, Mererid Hopwood, Myrddin ap Dafydd and Siân Teifi.

Dr Rosser, said: "The School of Welsh is proud to participate in the Cardiff Children's Literature Festival once again this year. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate reading and share our research in the area. Study of children's literature can shine a light on cultural and linguistic circumstances in contemporary Wales and is a great way of inducting young people in to the world of words and imagination. We are looking forward to celebrate the giants of children's literature, in Welsh and English, at the festival this year."

Sioned Davies, The Welsh Alice, 7.00pm, City Hall, £4.00

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is known throughout the world, but what happens to Alice when she migrates from one language to another? Prof Sioned Davies form the School of Welsh, Cardiff University explores how Alice becomes Alys in 20th century Welsh translations of this children's classic.

A Celebration of the work of T Llew Jones, 26th March, 7.00pm, City Hall, £4.00

This special evening will celebrate the centenary of the prolific and popular Welsh children's writer, T. Llew Jones (1915-2009). Family, friends, publishers and writers will share their memories about the author, and we will ask if Barti Ddu, Twm Siôn Cati and others have a place on our children's bookshelves today and in the future. Siwan Rosser from Cardiff University will lead a discussion with Emyr Llywelyn, Mererid Hopwood, Myrddin ap Dafydd and Siân Teifi.

Contact Dr Siwan Rosser for more information on the School of Welsh's lectures: 02920 876287

Cardiff's School of Welsh has been ranked best in Wales, and 7th in the UK, for the quality of its research, in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The REF assesses and demonstrates the value and impact of research carried out at UK higher education institutions. Cardiff's ranking sees it placed above Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol in terms of research excellence. A total of 57 modern language and linguistics schools were submitted to the panel.

The School of Welsh's excellent, and consistent, research achievements focus on literature and language, translation, language planning and policy.

Researchers, and the School as a whole, are playing an important role in the development of the discipline in the 21st century, as well as influencing legislative processes and contributing to cutting-edge cultural and literary activity including through the application of new technologies.

In addition to the quality of its research the submission achieved the maximum possible rating (100%) for its impact on the wider world, the only one to do so in the area of Modern Languages and Linguistics throughout the UK. Assessors considered the 'reach' and 'significance' of case studies and attention was focused on the social, economic and cultural benefits beyond academia.

Transforming the Mabinogion, the impact case study submitted by Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh, was one of those to gain the maximum score of 100% reflecting how Davies' modern Mabinogion translation has influenced presentation, telling and reception in English language creative writing, contemporary storytelling and heritage management and tourism.

Responding to the results, Professor Davies said: "I am absolutely delighted with the excellent REF results achieved by the School of Welsh and our colleagues in the School of Modern Languages. To have ranked so highly against some of the UK's most prestigious institutions is a very proud moment. It is testament to the collective effort and hard work of all staff members whose innovative, ambitious and challenging approach to research is truly inspiring.

"Research really is at the heart of what we do at Cardiff and it directly informs not only our teaching but the society and culture around us. I'm proud of the impact the School of Welsh has had, and will continue to have, on modern Welsh life, culturally, politically and socially."

Transforming the Mabinogion Impact Case Study available here:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/research/impact-and-innovation/research-impact/transforming-the-mabinogion

To read more about our innovative research portfolio please visit:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/welsh/research/index.html

For further information on Postgraduate Research programmes visit:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/welsh/degreeprogrammes/postgraduate/researchdegrees/index.html