The Future of Welsh Studies

This blog entry highlights a recent event organised by the Learned Society of Wales, with support from HEFCW, to discuss the future of Welsh Studies. It’s a discussion that needs to be had outside the Learned Society, too…

CfP: AWWE Conference

The Country and the City:
Rural and Urban Wales
Gregynog Hall, Nr Newtown, Powys
27-29 March 2015
A country of geographical, social and cultural contrasts, Wales encompasses a wide variety of different rural and urban landscapes. From urban Cardiff and the industrial/post-industrial mining valleys of the south through the ‘green desert’ of mid-Wales to the mountains of the north, these contrasting areas are depicted in many and various ways in the literatures of Wales.
As Raymond Williams famously noted, ‘country’ and ‘city’ are ‘very powerful words’ which gather and evoke the political, cultural and emotional importance of space and place, not least in relation to notions of the nation and the national.
The conference invites contributions on any topic relating to Welsh writing in English and the country and the city, the rural and the urban. Contributions are encouraged from across disciplines, historical periods, and methodological approaches. Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
·         The ‘country’ and the nation
·         Children’s Welsh writing in English
·         The industrial and/or the post-industrial
·         Gendering the urban/rural
·         Genre fiction/s
·         Comparative contexts
·         Urban/rural Gothic/s
·         The city and the capital
Abstracts of 250 words for twenty-minute papers should be submitted to  by Friday 9 January 2015. Proposals for panels of three twenty-minute papers are also welcomed. Applicants will be informed by 26 January.
Organisers: Dr Aidan Byrne (University of Wolverhampton) and Professor Diana Wallace (University of South Wales).
Association for Welsh Writing in English
Annual Conference 2015

‘The Country and the City: Rural and Urban Wales’

Gregynog Hall,
27-29 March April 2015

Deadline for Abstracts: Friday 9 January 

Send to:
 Dr Aidan Byrne
Senior Lecturer in English and Cultural Studies
MC217 Faculty of Arts
University of Wolverhampton
Wulfruna Street
tel: 01902 323430
Diana Wallace
Professor of English Literature
Division of English, FBS
University of South Wales
CF37 1DL
tel: 01443 482809

Cfp: M Wynn Thomas Prize 2015

logo-university-wales-press-overlay library of wales image

Wynn Thomas Prize 2015

The M. Wynn Thomas Prize is offered to celebrate outstanding scholarly work in the field of Welsh writing in English. There are two prize categories: the ‘Open’ category and the ‘New Scholars’ category. Essays submitted may be unpublished or published, in English or in Welsh. Published essays should be from 2013/14. Topics may include all aspects of Welsh writing in English as well as the inter-relationship of Welsh writing in English with cognate areas (Welsh Studies, history, cultural studies, film/media studies, translation studies, performance/theatre studies, digital humanities, comparative literature etc.). The judging panel for the 2015 Prize will be Dr Matthew Jarvis (Aberystwyth University/University of Wales Trinity Saint David), Dr Aidan Byrne (University of Wolverhampton) and Dr Alyce von Rothkirch (Swansea University).

The prize is awarded for a piece of substantial scholarship that is engagingly written. We encourage submissions that are ground-breaking in terms of subject-matter and/or methodology/disciplinarity. Essays that grapple with new ideas in an intelligent and conceptualised way are preferred. It is awarded at the annual conference of the Association of Welsh writing in English, which takes place around Easter every year in Gregynog Hall (near Newtown).

Prize categories:

‘Open’ Category

Essays in this category will be ca. 6,000-8,000 words long, of the highest scholarly quality and either already published in, or of a standard appropriate to an international, peer-reviewed journal. Authors may be academics or scholars, who are not affiliated with an HE institution.

Prize: £150 and a full set of the Library of Wales series of books published by Parthian.


‘New Scholars’ Category

Essays in this category will be ca. 4,000-7,000 words long and of highly developed scholarly quality appropriate to the author’s level of (postgraduate) study. Authors may be postgraduate students or students who have recently graduated.

Prize: £150 and a full set of the Library of Wales series of books published by Parthian.



Essays must be submitted by email or by post by 25 December 2014.

Contact Alyce von Rothkirch for more information and to submit your essays:

Dr Alyce von Rothkirch
DACE, Swansea University
Singleton Park
Swansea SA2 8PP

Cfp: Reassessing Anglicisation in Wales, 1536-1868

Please see our call for papers at or below

Reassessing Anglicisation in Wales, 1536-1868

18th April 2015 at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

In the fields of Welsh history and Welsh writing in English Anglicisation is a thorny topic. English influences, whether political, economic, literary or relating to material cultures, have been deemed responsible for the decline of the Welsh language amongst the gentry, of traditions of bardic poetry and patronage, of paternalist methods of estate management, in short, of a Welsh way of life.

Increasingly, however, scholars are nuancing, complicating or moving away from the concept of Anglicisation. This one day symposium aims to bring together established and early career researchers who work in the fields of Welsh history, literature and culture to assess the current understanding and use of the term Anglicisation and look towards future trends.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

How could/should the concept of Anglicisation be nuanced in relation to
o       time
o       space or place
o       status or class
o       genre
o       gender
o       political or religious affiliation or belief
o       the evidence of artefacts under consideration
o       biography

Should academia move away from the concept altogether? Is Briticisation a more useful term or is it Anglicisation in disguise?

Which “pure” Welsh past is being addressed in discussions of the corruption of Welshness by English influences? Has a culturally multiplicitous Wales been strategically erased in past discourses addressing the marked difference between Welsh and English identities?

How do the cultural influences of countries besides England manifest in Welsh history, literature and culture?

Please send proposals of up to 200 words for 20-minute papers to  by 31 January 2015.

Devolved Voices media archive

The Devolved Voices project has now completed a sizeable number of interviews with contemporary poets who work in or write about Wales. The Devolved Voices project is a three-year research project based at Aberystwyth University, which is led by Professor Peter Barry with researchers Dr Matthew Jarvis and Kathryn Gray. It investigates the state of Welsh poetry in English since Wales’s devolution ‘yes’ vote of 1997.

Find their ever-growing archive of fascinating interviews on the Devolved Voices website (

AWWE 2015

The next conference of the Association of Welsh Writing in English will be held in Gregynog Hall, Powys, between 27 and 29 March 2015. Find the call for papers on this blog soon.