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Cardiff University students and staff gathered to celebrate the Cardiff Award’s most successful year yet on Tuesday 8 May 2018.

This year 330 students completed the programme, which focuses on students’ professional development, achieving a record 73,771 hours of extra-curricular activities. This is an average of 224 hours per student, exceeding the minimum 70 hours required for the Award.

Elin Arfon, a final year BA Welsh and French student, was one of those who completed the Cardiff Award this year.

Elin used the Award to develop her confidence and was able to capitalise on a wide range of opportunities and demonstrate significant development within her portfolio. These activities included being a Student Language Ambassador, a tutor, a Language Assistant and completing a period of work experience in Patagonia (funded by the School of Welsh’s annual Santander scholarships). Her achievements saw her shortlisted for the Cardiff Award Student of the Year 2018.

While Elin, who is graduating this summer, didn’t take the Student of the Year title she has been offered funding to pursue a PhD here at Cardiff University. She said: “The Cardiff Award has been a huge support to me in developing my self-confidence and my employability skills. I have had the opportunity, though the programme, to attend workshops focused on CV writing and how to respond to interview questioning; mock interviews; and take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities…and all for free!”

Read more about Elin’s experience with the Cardiff Award.

Elen Davies, a final year BA Welsh and Journalism student, won the Ed Townsend Student Journalist of the Year Award at the 2018 Wales Media Awards.

The Wales Media Awards recognise journalistic success in a number of different categories including television, newspaper and magazine reporters while the Ed Townsend Award, sponsored by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), is given to a student journalist. It is given in memory of a member of the Journalists’ Charity committee who played a significant role in re-establishing the Wales Media Awards.

Joining Elen in the category was a second School of Welsh student, Liam Ketcher (BA Welsh student). The nominations, and Elen’s win, reflect the commitment both of them have shown to their professional development, the high standards they have achieved and the range of practical opportunities afforded to them during their studies.

After picking up the prize, Elen spoke about the important role her academic and practical experiences at the School of Welsh and School of Journalism, Media and Culture, played in her success, and her plans for the future.

Watch Elen discuss her award win.

Dr Dylan Foster-Evans, Head of the School of Welsh, will be honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards at this year’s National Eisteddfod for his contribution to the Welsh language in education.

The award recognises Dr Foster-Evans’ contribution on both a local and national level. As a member of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Academic Board, he has played a leading part in a number of the organisation’s developments, including the Welsh Language Skills Certificate.

Dr Foster-Evans, who was appointed as Head of School in July 2017, has a particular interest in the role of Welsh in the education system and the different types of Welsh used in contemporary Wales.

Dr Foster-Evans said: “‘It’s a great honour to be invited to become a member of the Gorsedd, especially as this year’s National Eisteddfod is to be held here in Cardiff. My work on the history of the Welsh language in Cardiff would not be possible without the support of a wide range of partners in the city and beyond, and the Eisteddfod will provide an ideal stage to bring that work to a wider public. And on a personal level, being honoured by the Gorsedd will make it a very special occasion for which I’m very grateful — I’m sure that we’ll have a truly memorable Eisteddfod.”

As well as honouring Dr Foster-Evans, the Gorsedd will be honouring rugby international and Cardiff University alumnus Jamie Roberts (MBBCh, 2013) for his contribution to raising the profile of the language among young players, as well as television presenter and journalist, Huw Edwards (BA 1983, Hon 2003) who has been responsible for a number of important feature series on Welsh history.

The other alumni being honoured are:

  • Elin Jones AM (BSc, 1987)
  • Alaw Le Bon (BA, 2013)
  • Jeremy Randles BEng (1989)
  • Manon Eames (Alumna 2016)

The Cardiff National Eisteddfod is held in Cardiff Bay from 3-11 August.

A third-year School of Welsh student will face Swansea University’s rugby squad at the Liberty Stadium today (25 April) for the 2018 Varsity match.

Rhydian Jenkins, who is studying for a BA in Welsh and will graduate this summer, has been named in the starting line-up of Cardiff University’s rugby first team for the annual battle, which was established in 1996.

Last year, Cardiff secured the rugby cup but it was Swansea who took the overall Varsity Shield, which involves more than 30 different sporting events. Rhydian and his fellow players will be hoping for a victory on the rugby pitch to crown a day of success for Cardiff University’s teams.

Rhydian began his studies in the School of Welsh in 2015 and was one of the first recipients of its Creative Minds Scholarships. Since then he has combined academic excellence with involvement in a range of extracurricular activities.

In addition to playing rugby for the University, Rhydian is a singer and a keen competitor at the Urdd and National Eisteddfod, and a member of Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal. In the 2015 National Eisteddfod, he won four gold medals in the boys’ solo, folk solo, solo cerdd dant and cerdd dant duet competitions. He also enjoyed victory at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Following the big rugby match and his final exams, Rhydian will be stepping onto a different stage with a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall, after receiving a singing scholarship last summer.

Dr Angharad Naylor, Rhydian’s personal tutor, reflected on his enthusiasm, diligence and commitment: “It has been a privilege to witness Rhydian’s development as a student during the past three years and to share in his successes on the rugby field and the stage.

Rhydian said: “I’m looking forward to the game against Swansea and hoping for the win. It would be a wonderful way to cap three years as part of the rugby team and a Cardiff University student.

“There are a lot of new and exciting thing on the horizon for me with the concert in London, graduation and beginning my PGCE at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I’m very grateful for the range of experiences I’ve enjoyed during my undergraduate studies and for the friendship and support offered by the School of Welsh. I would strongly encourage everyone who is starting at university in September to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way to participate in sporting, cultural and social activities. It will enrich their experience, help them to make new friends and, more importantly, they’ll have fun!”

Rhydian received an inaugural Creative Minds Scholarship, worth £3,000, when he started at the School of Welsh. During his undergraduate studies, he followed several of the School’s innovative modules which combine academic and research skills with professional and vocational skills. This year, he studied the Classroom module (Yr Ystafell Ddosbarth) which offers a general introduction to the field of Welsh-medium education and teaching. It enables students to look at pedagogy and methods of language acquisition and to undertake a period of work experience in a Welsh-medium school or the Sabbatical Scheme and Welsh for Adults courses.

The School wishes Rhydian and all of the School’s students the very best of luck for the coming weeks.

Cardiff University academics are playing a pivotal role in assessing the impact of Brexit.  

Since the result of the referendum nearly two years ago, experts from the institution have been carrying out detailed and extensive research – in subject areas ranging from politics and economics, to the environment and journalism. 

As well as explaining the context behind the historic vote, their work is also giving a better understanding of what life will be like for people living in the UK once the country begins its separation from Europe in a year’s time. 

Research at Cardiff University is demonstrating Brexit’s impact on many areas, including:

  • Public attitudes: The work of Professor Roger Scully of the Wales Governance Centre focuses on public opinion around the time of the vote and since, which is tracked through their Welsh Political Barometer Polls.
  • Young people: Drs Stuart Fox and Sioned Pearce of the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) surveyed 15,000 young people around the UK to assess the impact of Brexit on their political engagement.
  • Devolved nations: Dr Jo Hunt and Dr Rachel Minto of the Wales Governance Centre are examining the EU referendum from a devolved perspective, feeding into political discussions about Wales’ future after Brexit.
  • Business and the economy: Professor Max Munday of Cardiff Business School researched how larger firms in Wales might be affected by Brexit, contributing to research on trade for the Welsh Government. Professor Patrick Minford, also of Cardiff Business School, is chair of the Economists for Free Trade group.
  • International trade: Dr Ricardo Pereira of the School of Law and Politics has researched the impact of Brexit on international trade law.
  • The role of broadcast media: Professors Stephen Cushion and Justin Lewis of the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, analysed sources and statistics in news reporting during the referendum campaign.
  • Print media: Drs Lucy Bennett and Inaki Garcia-Blanco, of Journalism, Media and Culture, studied 1,419 letters to the editor that appeared in newspapers in the two-month lead up to the referendum.
  • Waste policy and the environment: Professor Richard Cowell at the School of Geography and Planning undertook research on waste policy and the environment, considering how greener solutions would continue without EU legislation. Professor Ben Pontin of the School of Law and Politics has examined the historical influence of British environmental law versus implementation of EU legislation.
  • Agriculture: Dr Ludivine Petetin, of the School of Law and Politics, is examining the challenges and opportunities for the food and farming sectors post-Brexit, including international trade aspects.
  • The impact on immigrants: Dr Dawn Mannay of the School of Social Sciences led on a project to assess how Brexit has affected people from Europe who are living in Wales, specifically in the three Welsh ‘Remain’ regions.
  • Language: Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost has investigated how Brexit will affect minority languages – both within the UK and in Europe.

Other key areas of research include crime and security, technology, health and social policy.

Professor George Boyne, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences said: “Our academics are using their extensive knowledge and expertise to inform the debate around Brexit. Their detailed research and analysis is broadening our understanding of what this decision means for the UK, both at home and internationally.

“As we get closer to this fundamental change in the UK’s relationship with the EU, I have no doubt their work will continue to have a huge influence on policy-making and on public perceptions of Brexit.”

Final year students Liam Ketcher and Elen Davies are competing for the Ed Townsend Student Journalist of the Year Award at the Wales Media Awards.

The event, organised by the Journalists’ Charity, will be held at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff on Friday 23 March 2018.

The Wales Media Awards recognise journalistic success in a number of different categories including television, newspaper and magazine reporters while the Ed Townsend Award, sponsored by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), is given to a student journalist.

The award was created in memory of a member of the Journalists’ Charity committee who played a significant role in re-establishing the Wales Media Awards. The awards night raises money for the Charity, which supports journalists in need. It provides advice, grants and other forms of financial support to those who are still working or retired.

Stars of the future

Liam is studying for a BA in Welsh. Currently, he is the Editor of Cardiff University’s newspaper, Gair Rhydd, and a co-founder of the CMCC – a platform for Cardiff’s Welsh language student media which gives a voice to their journalistic voices. Liam’s role as editor of the weekly newspaper, alongside his work as a researcher on a homelessness-themed episode of Wales This Week, and his contribution to the Llais y Maes project at the National Eisteddfod, are the foundation of his nomination.

Elen is a joint-honours student studying for a BA Welsh and Journalism and secured her nomination based on her portfolio of news reports created following a number of work experience placements during her degree study. The portfolio included print and digital articles on themes such as black cab ethics in Cardiff and Wales and the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia and Welshness. Elen’s work on the Welsh Settlement for BBC Cymry Fyw followed a period of work experience in Patagonia, which was funded by a School of Welsh Santander scholarships.

While Elen is studying jointly with the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Liam is a beneficiary of the flexibility of the School’s programme portfolio and the diverse module selection on offer. An important element of the journalism provision is the practical experiences offered to students to apply their taught skills to a number of different professional contexts, including production, broadcasting and journalism. These experiences, hand in hand with strong Welsh language skills, lay an excellent foundation for a bright future and career.

Liam said: “It is wonderful to be nominated alongside one of my fellow students. Elen is an incredible journalist and I look forward to celebrating with her on the night. I would also like to thank Sian Morgan Lloyd, my tutor in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, for her guidance and arranging so many invaluable professional experiences.”

Elen added: “I’m very proud that my work has been recognised by professional journalists. It is a huge boost for me to continue to develop and achieve my goal of being a news reporter.

“I’m very much looking forward to attending the awards evening.”

Angharad Naylor, a lecturer in the School of Welsh, said: “I would like to congratulate Liam and Elen on their highly-deserved nominations in the Wales Media Awards.

“As a School, we are proud of their success and wish them every success during the awards evening. Both of them have a very bright future ahead and we are grateful to them for their excellent contributions to the activities of the School and the University.”

Refugees have the chance to learn Welsh, thanks to an initiative devised by Cardiff University and funded by The National Centre for Learning Welsh.

The lessons, which are organised in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council, will be offered at various locations around the city, with the aim of introducing participants to Welsh language culture and life.

Course tutor Matt Spry recently started teaching the beginners’ sessions. There will also be the chance to learn the language informally at social gatherings at venues around the city.

Matt, who began speaking Welsh two years ago after winning a scholarship from Cardiff University, said: “Learning Welsh has a huge range of benefits. As well as being a beautiful language, it can help people new to the city become part of a vibrant and welcoming community.

“We have received much interest from refugees keen to take up the classes. All are eager to embrace Welsh culture and put down firm roots in this great city. These lessons are sure to have a huge impact on those who participate.”

Welsh for Adults Manager at the School of Welsh, Lowri Bunford-Jones, said: “This innovative programme is leading the way in how Welsh is taught to refugees and asylum seekers. Lessons will be practical and informal – giving students the chance to start speaking the language straight away.

“We also aim to share our knowledge with other providers around Wales so that similar initiatives can be set up.”

A Welsh learner who successfully completed an intensive Cardiff University course will perform in this year’s Song for Wales/Cân i Gymru.

The national singing competition, broadcast by S4C, will take place on St David’s Day (1 March) in Bangor. This year’s competition consists of eight shortlisted songs, from 114 songs submitted.

One of those songs is Ti'n Frawd i Mi (You are a Brother to Me) by Owain Glenister and will be performed by former The Voice contestant, Ragsy. Welsh singer-songwriter Ragsy - real name Gary Ryland - hails from Aberdare and competed in the second series of The Voice UK, on BBC One, where he was mentored by Welsh icon, Sir Tom Jones.

During summer 2017, Ragsy spent eight weeks attending an intensive Welsh-language course at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, delivered on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh. At the time, Ragsy explained his reasons for signing up to the classes. He said: “I’m looking forward to learning this beautiful language with other like-minded people, to help achieve my personal ambition of conversing in my native tongue.”

Since completing the summer course, Ragsy has made extensive use of his new Welsh-language skills and burgeoning confidence in the language, which he has described as “beautiful, rhythmical, inquisitive and almost magical”. He has released several Welsh-language singles including Fy Nghariad (Galw dy Fyddin) and Codi i Gael Aer, released for this year’s Welsh Music Day.

During a break in rehearsals for the live Cân i Gymru broadcast, Ragsy said: “I had a great time on the intensive summer course in 2017 and can't thank everyone at the School of Welsh enough for the opportunity and support.

“I’m incredibly excited to stand on the Cân i Gymru stage on St David’s Day and will be proud to perform Owain’s brilliant song in Welsh.”

Lowri Bunford-Jones, Welsh for Adults manager at the School of Welsh, offered her congratulations to Ragsy on his success. She said: “It is always fantastic to see how our learners use their new language skills and how it enables them to participate in Welsh-language culture and life.

“I look forward to watching Ragsy perform on Cân i Gymru and have no doubt he will inspire other potential learners to fulfil their ambitions. Pob hwyl i ti Ragsy!”

To find out more about learning Welsh, go to the National Centre for Learning Welsh website.

This year, the winner of the Learner of the Years at the 2018 National Eisteddfod will receive a special trophy presented by Cardiff University’s School of Welsh.

The Learner of the Year completion was launched during the New Year Course for Learn Welsh Cardiff, on Saturday 13 January. The winner will be announced during the Cardiff National Eisteddfod between 3 and 11 August 2018.

Lowri Bunford-Jones, Welsh for Adults manager at the School of Welsh, said: “We are very proud to support the Learner of the Year completion this year by contributing the trophy that the winner will receive as well as three trophies for those who reach the final round.

“It was a privilege to host the launch of the completion during our New Year Course and for our current learners to see the support and admiration that exists in Wales for their efforts to learn Welsh in adulthood. Our learners choose to learn Welsh for a variety of reasons, from a desire to converse with family and friends to professional workplace purposes, however, by leaning the language they become part of a wider community.

Lowri added: “With the Welsh Government’s target of reaching a million speakers by 2050 it’s important that the opportunities to learn Welsh increase. The School of Welsh is playing its part in creating this provision, from formal undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to the Welsh for All programme, which allows Cardiff University students to learn Welsh free of charge, and Welsh for Adults and Welsh in the workplace activities.”

The entry form for the Learner of the Year completion can be found on the Eisteddfod website (open to anyone over the age of 18 who has learned Welsh to a high standard). The closing date is 31 March.

For more information on the School of Welsh’s range of programmes, please visit the website, or alternatively visit Learn Welsh to find out more about the Welsh for adults courses available in Cardiff.

Author and scholar, R. M (Bobi) Jones, passed away on 22 November 2017.

Bobi Jones graduated in Welsh from the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (a forerunner to Cardiff University) and went on to make an unparalleled contribution to Welsh language and culture.

Robert Maynard Jones was born on 20 May 1929 in Roath, Cardiff. He came from a non-Welsh language household and learned Welsh through the capital’s education system.

After studying Welsh at Cathays Secondary School, he went on to Cardiff University with the aim of achieving a degree in French. However, in his first year he registered to study Welsh. According to Dr Eleri James, who completed a PhD on Bobi Jones at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, he found “more than an academic subject between the walls of the Welsh department”. In his own words, Bobi, said that he had found: a Cause, a Calling, Magic, Vision, a Campaign, Life.

Bobi, who became the first learner appointed a Professor of Welsh, enjoyed a varied and impressive career as an academic, educator, poet and theorist. For Eleri James, the pinnacles of his career included specialising in: “…the field of linguistics, psycho-mechanics of language and methods of teaching Welsh as a second-language; authoritative writing about Welsh literary history through the ages; establishing the Welsh Academy and establishing the Learner’s Society.”

Read Dr Eleri James’ full tribute to Bobi Jones and his enormous contribution to Welsh literature and culture.