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Cardiff University’s School of Welsh Graduation ceremony and reception was held on Monday 17 July 2017.

St David’s Hall, in the heart of the city, was the location for the ceremony while the reception followed in the Council Chamber of the University’s Main Building. A delicious buffet was available for the new graduates and their families as they celebrated this major milestone.

This year the School was celebrating the success of 36 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Six undergraduates received a First Class Honours degree while 11 students were presented for an MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies and four for PhD awards.

During the reception, Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh, presented the GJ Williams Memorial Prizes which were awarded to three undergraduate students. The prizes are given in honour of the noted scholar who lectured at Cardiff University for 36 years at the beginning of the last century. They recognise the academic achievement and final degree results of the winning students.

This year’s recipients, from an exceptional cohort, were Erin Ynyr, Bethan Morgan and Mared Harries. The three students were enthusiastic and conscientious members of the School’s community during their studies and have a bright future ahead of them, along with the reminder of the Class of 2017.

Professor Davies said: “I would like to congratulate Erin, Bethan and Mared. They are very deserving of this honour and I wish them well as they step outside of the University’s walls and begin a new chapter in their lives.

“Graduation day is a very special occasion for the students and their families but also for us as a School. We are a close and friendly School and the staff take a keen interest in the stories and successes of the students. We look forward to keeping in touch and hearing about new developments in their professional lives.”

Professor Sioned Davies

Many of the School’s graduates, undergraduate and postgraduate, have already secured jobs or are on the verge of undertaking further study which once again proves the School’s excellent track record in promoting and encouraging employability skills fit for a modern Wales.

The graduation ceremony and reception marked the end of a chapter in the School’s history. After 20 years as Head of School, Sioned Davies is stepping aside and beginning a year of research leave at the end of July. Dr Dylan Foster Evans follows her as Head of School. During the reception, Dr Foster Evans spoke about Sioned’s exceptional contribution to the School, the University and Welsh scholarship. Sioned was presented with a gift, from staff and students, in the form of a poem composed by Dr Llion Pryderi Roberts, one of the School’s lecturers.

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh hosted a Symposium discussing the Four Branches of the Mabinogi on Saturday 8 July 2017.

The Symposium was organised by Professor Sioned Davies, an internationally renowned Mabinogi scholar, as part of the celebrations in Wales for the Year of Legends.

A panel of notable speakers came together to debate and discuss a variety of themes and other elements of the history, ideology and context of the fairy tales (in Welsh and English).

  • Dr Simon Rodway (Prifysgol Aberystwyth): The Four Branches of the Mabinogi and Celtic Mythology
  • Yr Athro Brynley F Roberts: Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi – tybed?
  • Dr Juliette Wood (Prifysgol Caerdydd): Rhiannon: Twenty-First Century Goddess?
  • Dr John Bollard: Contextualising the Mabinogi: Then and Now
  • Yr Athro Sioned Davies: Gair, Delwedd ac Ideoleg: Mabinogi Oes Fictoria
  • Dr Diana Luft: The Eighteenth-Century Rehabilitation of the Mabinogi

The Symposium culminated with a reading given by Professor Margaret Lloyd (Springfield College, Massachusetts) from her latest volume Travelling on My Own Errands: Voices of Women from The Mabinogi.

Professor Davies said: “As part of the celebrations for the Year of Legends, I have contributed to a number of different activities and projects concerned with the Mabinogi stories. These diverse activities have included advising on creating tapestries, which will depict the tales, for the proposed mediaeval court in St Fagans, to helping launch a new cocktail menu in the capital inspired by characters from the Mabinogi!

“The Symposium was an excellent opportunity to welcome experts in the field to the School to discuss new ideas on the Mabinogi and the intention is to hold another Symposium, on one of the other mediaeval fairy tales, within the year.”

A former contestant on The Voice UK has joined Cardiff University’s intensive Welsh-language Summer Course.

Welsh singer/songwriter Ragsy (real name Gary Ryland), who hails from Aberdare, competed in the second series of The Voice UK (on BBC One), where he was mentored by Welsh icon, Sir Tom Jones. He started classes on Monday 3 July 2017.

The Welsh-language Summer Courses deliver beginners, intermediate and advanced level tuition for individuals looking to learn Welsh or those returning to the language and wanting to brush up their skills.

The courses are led by expert tutors working at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh and delivered on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

Ragsy will complete an intensive Beginners Course and is excited about what lies ahead: “I’m looking forward to learning this beautiful language with other like-minded, eager people, to help achieve my personal ambition to converse fully in my native tongue.

“Every time I hear someone speaking Welsh, I feel a huge sense of pride that this beautiful, rhythmical, inquisitive and almost magical language is ours. This has always been followed closely by a sense of shame that I, as a proud Welshman, do not understand and cannot speak the language of my homeland.”

Although nervous about embarking on the intensive language course, Ragsy equates this to the nerves you experience walking out on stage to perform. He says: “You are always on edge when embarking on new adventures and there’s always a fear of not getting something right.”

Ragsy was inspired to take on the Summer Course and continue his Welsh-language journey after achieving his goal of recording a Welsh-language single. The song, Fy hafan i, was recorded with the help of Andrew TOMMO Thomas and Terwyn Davies and released on St David’s Day in 2016.

The Summer Course is Ragsy’s opportunity to take that experience forward and fully embrace the language. He already has his favourite words which include awyddus, bendigedig, cwtch and cariad, but is eager to learn more and engage in a full Welsh-language conversation.

Lowri Bunford-Jones, who manages the Welsh Courses for Adults programme at the School of Welsh, is pleased to welcome Ragsy, and all other participants, to this year’s Intensive Summer Course. She said: “While every situation is unique, and everyone’s reasons for learning Welsh are specific to their circumstances, some common themes emerge, namely a desire to converse in their native tongue, to embrace Welsh heritage and culture, and a recognition that the Welsh-language is growing in importance in Wales’ social and professional spheres.

“Ragsy’s nerves are understandable but the learning environment is supportive and collegiate and all of our tutors are fully invested in helping learners achieve their language ambitions. We are looking forward to a fun-filled summer, extending a warm croeso to all, and to hearing Ragsy’s first Welsh-language album in the future!”

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh is responsible for delivering a range of courses for adults all over Cardiff on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

The School has a proud history and long experience in providing opportunities for individuals within the local community to learn Welsh and learn about Welsh culture. The intensive summer courses complement existing provision (outside of traditional undergraduate and postgraduate programmes) which includes Welsh for All (a programme free of charge for Cardiff University students) and the National Welsh Language Sabbatical Scheme (for teachers and teaching assistants), delivered on behalf of the Welsh Government.

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 ilovesthediff.com 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.

For the second consecutive year, the School of Welsh has scored 100% for student satisfaction in the 2017 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES).

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey is a national online survey and the latest results reflect the opinion of this year’s MA Welsh and Celtic Studies students.

The survey evaluates seven thematic areas: Teaching and Learning; Engagement; Assessment and Feedback; Dissertation or Major Project; Organisation and Management; Resources and Services; and Skills Development.

This year, in addition to achieving 100% for general student satisfaction with the quality of the course, the School scored between 90% and 100% in five thematic areas:

  • Assessment and Feedback: 100%
  • Teaching and Learning: 98%
  • Skills Development: 97%
  • Engagement: 90%
  • Organisation and Management: 90%

Specific feedback by students points to many highlights with a consensus that staff are ‘good at explaining things’ (100%) and ‘enthusiastic about what they are teaching’ (100%). Students also said that the course is ‘intellectually stimulating’ (100%).

Dr Siwan Rosser, MA programme co-ordinator, said: We are very proud of the latest PTES results. Once again student feedback is a testament to the innovation of our MA programme. I would like to thank the School’s academic and professional services staff, it is their efforts which have secured these fantastic results.

“We are committed to continuous improvement and strengthening the academic experience of our students. It is therefore very important that we receive honest and constructive feedback directly from students. We will consider all of the results from the latest survey as we plan around sustaining and improving the standard of our provision.”

Read more about the MA Welsh and Celtic Studies programme.

Come and learn, or improve, your Welsh with Welsh for Adults at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh.

The closing date to register for intensive courses has been extended until Monday 19 June 2017 and there are courses available for all levels, from beginners right up to those who are fluent Welsh speakers.

The courses are very flexible and you can choose to attend for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks or 8 weeks. There are also 1 week language improvement courses on offer.

This year, we are offering a scholarship (50% reduction in fees) for those who want to attend the intermediate or higher courses for two weeks. Full details can be found here.

In addition to the formal lessons, a number of social activities are held over the summer as a way of enabling learners to practice their Welsh and meet with other learners and fluent speakers. This is an important part of the programme and a great opportunity to build a Welsh-speaking network.

Do something different this summer and learn a language. For more information about the courses available, your level and for any questions, please get in touch today: info@learnwelsh.co.uk / 089 2087 4710.

Cardiff University’s School of Welsh and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, are looking for a PhD candidate for an exciting new project on language in modern Wales.

The research project will be supervised by Dr Iwan Wyn Rees and Dr Jonathan Morris, noted academics in the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics and dialects.

The main aim of the project is to analyse the influence of political and social factors on variation in Welsh. By collecting data from one or two specific communities, the applicant will use quantitative methods to show to what extent various social factors affect the use of certain dialectal features.

Dr Iwan Wyn Rees said: "While there is much information already available on varieties of spoken Welsh, few previous studies actually consider the impact of recent changes in the demographics and the status of the Welsh language in Wales on the development of Welsh dialects.”

This is an excellent opportunity for a student to contribute to new research that is socially and linguistically important and of political interest.

The doctorate is funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the School of Welsh.  All tuition fees are paid on behalf of the successful candidate (worth £ 4,195 per year). An annual bursary of £14 553 is also provided. Please note that the ability to collect data and present research findings in Welsh, both orally and in writing, is essential for this post.

Candidates will have a 2:1 or first class undergraduate degree, and will ideally have completed a postgraduate course, but those without a postgraduate degree will be considered.

For more information and to receive an application form please contact Cadi Thomas: +44 (0) 29 2087 4843, thomasCR9@caerdydd.ac.uk.

Deadline for applications: 20 June 2017 (5pm)

Interview date (in Cardiff or via Skype): 26 June 2017

Two MA students from the School of Welsh are celebrating new jobs in the world of professional translation.

Ellen Carter and Hanna Medi Merrigan, who are studying for an MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies, have secured jobs with the National Museum of Wales and translation company, Clear Translations.

Ellen graduated with a BA in Welsh from the School in 2016, after joining as a second-language student in 2013. Speaking about her academic experience and her new role, she said: “We have had fantastic opportunities to study and experience the world of professional translation during the MA programme. In addition to being offered the opportunity to work part-time with the University’s translation unit, we have had the opportunity to experience live translation, legislative and literary translation as well as sessions with experts such as Alun Ceri Jones, who translated the graphic Asterix books into Welsh. I undertook a period of work experience to the archives at St Fagan’s and it is great to look ahead to potentially working there as I join the National Museum as an Assistant Translator. This really is my dream job.

“Without a doubt the experiences I’ve had at the School, and the support it has provided, have given me the confidence and the skills to join the translation profession in Wales.”

Dr Siwan Rosser, co-ordinator for the MA programme at the School of Welsh, added: “I would like to congratulate Ellen and Hanna on their new roles. They have both worked diligently during their studies and deserve the new opportunities available to them. I think it is important also to acknowledge Ellen’s success in particular, having joined us through the second-language pathway of the BA in Welsh. Her commitment to her academic and professional development is commendable.”

Similarly to Ellen, Hanna is looking forward to becoming a full-time translator in September with the Cardiff based Clear Translations. Hanna agrees that the work experience opportunities available at the School of Welsh, alongside the unparalleled support it offers, has contributed to her success in securing her new role: “While studying translation this year, we have been afforded a number of opportunities to gain practical experience and been able to engage with a range of invited speakers, which has enhanced my personal profile and experience.

“The School of Welsh has a very good relationship with the University’s translation unit, and I have been fortunate to work there part-time while studying. I’m grateful to Professor Sioned Davies for arranging this. This experience has enabled me to put the theories of the classroom into practise. I have had a number of opportunities which proved valuable when I applied for the role at Clear Translations and the School has been very supportive helping me with my CV and application forms.”

Dr Rosser added: “The School has a history as a centre for research and teaching excellence and a strong reputation for translation studies, which is an increasingly important field in contemporary Wales. We are also keen to support and promote our students employability skills, understanding that it is vital to balance education, expertise and practical experience in order to compete in the employment market. Work experience is therefore a key element of our undergraduate and postgraduate provision.”

A number of School alumni have entered the world of professional translation, working with companies such as Trosol, Prysg and with national institutions such as the National Assembly for Wales. In addition, the School is leading the way in terms of translation theory and methodology research, under the direction of Dr Jeremy Evas.

Dr Llion Pryderi Roberts, poet, lecturer and Director of Teaching and Learning at Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, was recently invested as an honorary member of the Anglesey’s Gorsedd of Bards in a ceremony held at Ysgol David Hughes, Porthaethwy.

Dr Roberts, who is originally from Brynsiencyn, won the Anglesey Eisteddfod Chair for the second time in 2016, having first won it in Aberffraw in 2013. He was invested to the Gorsedd this year by Anglesey’s new Administrative Druid, John Richard Williams, alongside two other individuals – the musician, Elen Wyn Keen, and the author, Gareth Evans Jones.

Dr Roberts, talking about the investiture, said: “It is an honour for me to join the Anglesey Gorsedd of Bards and I am thankful to the community and to my family for their support and good wishes.

“I look forward to returning to Anglesey in August for the National Eisteddfod. Without a doubt it will be a festival to remember and I wish the organisers and competitors the very best of luck with their preparations.”

The School of Welsh, Cardiff University, and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, are pleased to announce a new doctoral project on language variation and change in contemporary Wales.

The research project will be supervised by Dr Iwan Wyn Rees and Dr Jonathan Morris. The successful candidate will be expected to have obtained a 2:1 or first class undergraduate degree, and should have completed a postgraduate course in an appropriate subject before embarking on this project.

The doctorate is funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and School of Welsh.  It will start on 25 September 2017.

The main aim of the project is to analyse the influence of linguistic and social factors on variation in Welsh. By collecting data from one or two specific communities, the applicant will use quantitative methods to show to what extent various social factors affect the use of certain dialectal features.

Dr Jonathan Morris said: "This is an exciting and timely project. It's a great opportunity for a student to contribute to new research which will consider the impact of current social and political developments on language variation and change in specific communities."

Dr Iwan Wyn Rees added: "While there is much information already available on varieties of spoken Welsh, few previous studies actually consider the impact of recent changes in the demographics and the status of the Welsh language in Wales on the development of Welsh dialects.”

If you are a student who is interested in dialects and sociolinguistics, the School would like to hear from you. For more information and to receive an application form please contact Cadi Thomas: +44 (0) 29 2087 4843, thomasCR9@caerdydd.ac.uk

Eligibility criteria

Candidates will have a 2:1 or first class undergraduate degree, and will have successfully completed a postgraduate course in a suitable subject before embarking on this project. All tuition fees are paid on behalf of the successful candidate (worth £ 4,195 per year). An annual bursary of £14 553 is also provided. Please note that the ability to collect data and present research findings in Welsh, both orally and in writing, is essential for this post.

Deadline for applications: 5/6/17 (5pm)
Interview date (in Cardiff or via Skype): 9/6/17