Erasmus+ exchange at Aberystwyth – Juliana’s story

Sut mae! My name is Juliana and I am a student at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany where I study European Literatures, English Literature and – most importantly – Celtic Studies. As a student of those three things it was always my plan to spend one year abroad. And so I did! And I came to Aberystwyth. (Obviously, why else would some girl from Germany write an entry on this blog?)

I have to admit that at first, Aber was not my university of choice. I wanted to go to Dublin. (Sorry!) But I changed my mind quite quickly after our Head of Department and other students who have already been to Aber, recommended it to me by heart. And the truth is, I have never regretted this decision since.

I came to Aber in September of 2014 and as someone who had just left home to live in a different country for one year, I felt a little lost in my first few days. But with amazing flatmates it didn’t take me too long to feel at home. Especially because the Celtic Studies Department took me in and gave me a lot of advice and support. Through the Celtic Studies Society I felt even more welcome. Everything is so much more personal there. It felt so amazing, being in a place where the Celtic culture was and is still lived and preserved.

When I started university, I’d never heard of Celtic Studies before and I began studying them out of mere interest and curiosity. I stuck with them and I became more interested and curious with every semester. All the exciting experiences I made in Aber weigh in a lot on that. The people, the culture, the seaside…the sunsets! Overall I am just so grateful for this year.

And one little anecdote to finish: an old English teacher of mine spent her year abroad in Aberystwyth too. Years and years ago. And she still returns once a year every year since!
Juliana
Juliana Dümler (Erasmus+ student)

A Day in Future Wales – a glimpse of the future!

Researching into Welsh language science fiction has led me to many different places. I often wander to space, searching for aliens, and via time machine to distant futures… This research, being the first of its kind in a Welsh language context, is a constant adventure.

I also, of course, have been on many adventures in the real world, away from my books. One of the most recent was the opportunity to arrange a bilingual conference, Diwrnod yng Nghymru Fydd / A Day in Future Wales, with Rhodri ap Dyfrig, formerly from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

The conference, held at Arad Goch Centre in Aberystwyth, was an opportunity for everyone to gather and discuss ideas relating to futurism, specifically in a Welsh context. Bleddyn Bowen, a research student at the International Politics Department, was invited to introduce the political economy of space and its potential for Wales. There were also talks about art and video games, and later, a performance by Eddie Ladd and Nico Dafydd introducing Owain Owain’s almost-forgotten science fiction nofel, Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day). During the afternoon, I chaired a discussion about the state of Welsh language fantasy and science fiction literature today, featuring authors, Elidir Jones and Ifan Morgan Jones, and academic Dr Gareth Llŷr Evans. It became clear that more needed to be done to promote genre literature in Welsh.
Diwrnod panel
This wasn’t an exclusively academic conference. It was an invitation to celebrate Welsh futurism, and the day was topped off with HMS Morris and Roughion gigging in the evening. After almost three months of making arrangements, seeing everything come together was a great feeling. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most exciting adventures of my research so far.

Miriam Elin Jones (BA Welsh), PhD candidate funded by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol

Happy retirement

We wish every success to Dr Mihangel Morgan, who is retiring after lecturing in the Department for 22 years. His contribution to the life of the Department has been multifaceted, as a gifted writer, a searching critic and an inspirational lecturer – and friend. Furthermore, he has always been a positive and witty presence in departmental boards and Christmas parties.

Mihangel has generously donated dozens of volumes to us, and two original pieces of calligraphy for display.

We look forward to celebrating his contribution to the Department once Semester 1 examinations are over. In the meantime, we wish Mihangel a happy (and creative!) retirement.

A warm welcome in Edinburgh

This week saw the final annual meeting in Edinburgh of the Leverhulme-funded project ‘Women’s Poetry in Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1400–1800’. Previous meetings have been held at other participating institutions, namely Aberystwyth University and National University of Ireland, Galway.

The team spent the morning finalizing the structure of the anthology of original texts in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Scots, Anglo-Scots, Ulster Scots and English. The final edit will include new poems discovered during the course of the project! With the content of the anthology firmly in place, we turned our attention to the jointly-authored critical study that will elaborate the fascinating comparative threads highlighted by the poems and poets that we have selected. We were all struck by the specific generic and national differences in the material: from the politicized elegy of Irish and Scottish Gaelic women poets to the Crown Loyalism of Welsh women balladeers!

It was a pleasure to be in such a vibrant city as Edinburgh and to be welcomed by colleagues at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures on George’s Square. It is always a pleasure to work with Dr Sarah Dunnigan of the Department of English Literature, and it was great to meet colleagues in the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies. We look forward to returning next year to deliver papers on the project’s findings.

Follow us on Twitter @WomensPoetryISW

Gaeil i gCéin ~ Irish in Manchester

As the only university in England, Scotland and Wales offering a degree in Irish Language and Literature we are always eager to hear from and help groups teaching and learning Irish in the UK.

Last week Peadar visited Manchester Irish Language Group to help out with a day of language workshops.

MILG is a local community group of Irish speakers and learners based around Manchester. Over thirty people turned out for a fun day of classes and chat, hosted by the Irish World Heritage Centre just north of Manchester City Centre. Run by volunteers who teach classes and organise conversation circles and other events throughout the year, the group does amazing work in promoting Irish language and literature, as well as reaching out to the Irish diaspora, in Manchester and the region. The day of workshops provided a great opportunity for learners to come together and practice using their Irish in an informal and friendly atmosphere. People came from far and wide for a day of Irish with individuals and groups coming from Newcastle, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Buxon as well as lots from closer to home.

We were especially thrilled to bump into Seán, originaly from Corr na Móna on the Galway/Mayo border but living in London and Surrey for decades. Seán was randomly in the building for an entirely different event but happened to pop his head around the door on hearing a familiar accent. He was eventually coaxed to come in to the class for a chat and shared memories of school telling us about how he came to live in the UK.

Among the people who came impressive lengths was Terri from Birmingham who had been teaching GCSE Irish to adults and students in Birmingham and Manchester! Hopefully some of her students will want to carry on to do a degree in Irish – beidh míle fáilte rompu in Aberystwyth na nGael!

M I L G La Gaeilge OCT 2015 MAI S 70th 374 (4) (640x480)

Fulbright – A Year in Aberystwyth

I’m Jackie Burek. Usually, I live in Philadelphia, studying for my PhD in the Department of English in the University of Pennsylvania. But I got an opportunity to come to Aberystwyth University for one year, as a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar 2014–2015 in the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies. I was hoping to research medieval manuscripts in the National Library of Wales (NLW), and to learn to speak Welsh better. I’m happy to report that I have accomplished both goals! But my Fulbright year is over, and now I can reflect on my time in Aberystwyth.

I have very much enjoyed researching manuscripts in the NLW, and I have written a chapter of my PhD thesis using this research. But my interactions, formal and informal, with the professors and students of the Department have been just as useful as my own research. And through the IMEMS (Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies) lecture series, I met people in the Department of History and Welsh History – and I gave a lecture to the group too! The historians in Aberystwyth have been a wonderful resource and a new group of friends, just like the people in the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies. Truly, the people are the most special part of Aberystwyth University.

The people who live in and around Aberystwyth are very special too, and I have received a warm welcome from them. I joined a local history group in Penparcau, and I have learned a lot about the history and culture of Wales, and especially Penparcau. And I got the opportunity to ride through Aberystwyth on a float in the Aberystwyth Carnival! I’m full of gratitude for the kindness of the people of Aberystwyth and Penparcau.

It isn’t possible for me to describe the profound impact on my research and my life that I received from my experiences in Aberystwyth this year. Thanks so much to everyone, and especially, to the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Fulbright Commission of the US, for supporting me through the Fulbright award. I’ll be back in Aberystwyth soon, I’m sure!

Jacqueline Burek

Jacqueline Burek

Jacqueline Burek

Gwobr Goffa Vernam Hull Memorial Prize

[This post congratulates Dr Richard Glyn Roberts, a new member of staff, who was recently awarded the Vernam Hull Memorial Prize for his scholarly edition and discussion of the collection of proverbs in the iconic medieval manuscript Llyfr Coch Hergest (The Red Book of Hergest): Diarhebion Llyfr Coch Hergest (2013). The Ellis Grifiths Memorial Prize was awarded to Dr Rhiannon Marks, graduate of the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth, and lecturer at the School of Welsh, Cardiff University]

Llongyfarchiadau calonnog i’n cydweithiwr newydd Dr Richard Glyn Roberts, enillydd Gwobr Goffa Vernam Hull. Dyfernir Gwobr Goffa Vernam Hull am waith cyflawn sy’n ymwneud â Rhyddiaith Gymraeg cyn 1700, a derbyniodd Richard y wobr am ei gyfrol Diarhebion Llyfr Coch Hergest (Aberystwyth: CMCS, 2013). Ceir yn y gyfrol y golygiad cyntaf o’r casgliad o ddiarhebion a gedwir yn y llawysgrif ganoloesol Gymraeg bwysig, Llyfr Coch Hergest, ynghyd ag astudiaeth o’r deunydd diddorol hwnnw. Mae ei ymchwil i baremioleg, sef diarhebion, yn parhau… Mae ef ar hyn o bryd yn golygu casgliad diarhebion William Salesbury a Gruffydd Hiraethog, Oll Synnwyr pen Kembero ygyd (1547), sef yr ail lyfr printiedig yn y Gymraeg. Bydd myfyrwyr Rhan 2 yr Adran yn mwynhau darlithiau Richard ar William Salesbury ar y modiwl ‘Y Gymraeg: iaith dysg a chymdeithas’.
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Hefyd, dyfarnwyd Gwobr Goffa Ellis Griffiths 2014 i Dr Rhiannon Marks, un o raddedigion yr Adran hon a darlithydd yn Ysgol y Gymraeg, Prifysgol Caerdydd. Derbyniodd Rhiannon y wobr am ei chyfrol ‘Pe gallwn, mi luniwn lythyr’: golwg ar waith Menna Elfyn (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 2013), cyfrol feirniadol arbrofol sy’n dehongli cerddi Menna Elfyn ac yn trafod ein perthynas â llenyddiaeth.

Llongyfarchiadau i Richard a Rhiannon!

Gweinyddir a dyfernir y gwobrau gan Ganolfan Uwchefrydiau Cymreig a Cheltaidd Prifysgol Cymru.
Darllenwch y stori lawn yma