Connected Communities: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Communities of the Swansea Valley
Newsletter September 2016
As the summer is coming to an end I thought it an appropriate time to bring you up to speed on projects and events that are launching in the coming weeks and throughout the autumn. The Connected Communities project continues to grow, supporting and developing projects that research and celebrate the history of our communities across Swansea and beyond, bringing together members of local community, Swansea University researchers and professional partners.
Legacy of Longfields Project
I am very happy to announce that our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the ‘Legacy of Longfields’ project has been successful. The project will explore and celebrate the history of Longfields in Swansea, an organisation that was set up in 1952 by parents of children with cerebral palsy who campaigned for their children to have an education. Led by Dr Rebecca Clifford, the Legacy of Longfields project will form part of the Connected Communities programme and has been developed by Teresa Hillier and Kate Spiller at the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) and the history department at Swansea University.
The historians involved in the project will be assessing the wider significance of Longfields, which played an important role in the social history of Swansea and in the wider disability movement. Memories of local people who had connections to Longfields along with individuals who attended Longfields, staff, carers and parents will be central to the research. For further information on the project please go to our web page here.
Visions of Steel Project
Led by Professor Louise Miskell is the department of history, this project showcases a large selection of photographs of the Port Talbot steel industry in the 1940s and 1950s which have recently been digitised by the Peoples’ Collection Wales. Events across local communities in the Port Talbot have offered the local people the opportunity to view samples from the collection and to share memories relating to the photographs and the local steel industry. Workshops with local children have also created artistic interpretations and outputs. Such activities will enable the community to shape the archive and help the project team date, identify and interpret the images, expanding the archive, including the creation of a published volume and accompanying exhibition. Please visit our web page for further information.
Being Human Festival – National Festival of the Humanities
I am also very happy to share with you all that Swansea University will again be a regional hub for the Being Human Festival, the national festival of humanities which this year will focus around the theme of ‘Hopes and Fears – Dreams, Demons and Discovery’. Last year the Connected Communities project worked closely with local people, our project partners and the Hafod Copperworks project to help develop the Art @ the Hafod event which focused on artistic interpretation of the archaeological landscape of the site, which was a huge success (more information here.)
This year the festival will include:
Attitudes and Aspiration – Interpretations of Disability – as part of the Connected Communities Legacy of Longfeilds project, an event entitled ‘Attitudes and Aspiration – Interpretations of Disability’ will showcase artistic interpretations, attitudes and aspirations in relation to disability by adults with cerebral palsy and local school children with a range of physical disabilities. Please visit our web page for further information on this event.
My One and All: My Swansea Coast – is a coastal walk that invites you to pick up a digital camera or smartphone and join us on an instructed photo walk from Clynne Farm Centre to Blackpill, with professional photographer Carl Ryan.
You are then invited to submit your photograph that illustrates your relationship with the Swansea coastline. More information on this photo walk and accompanying exhibition is available on our web pages. The full list of events for the Being Human Festival can be viewed here.
British Science Festival
British Science Festival Family Weekend – Swansea University is also gearing up for the British Science Festival Family Weekend, on Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11thSeptember for a weekend of entertainment, hands-on activity and fun for all the family.
The Connected Communities project has worked closely with the teams across the University to include community-focused activities across the broader festival, including several events that have a focus on history or at are at heritage locations.
The Power of Water – the festival will include for example the ‘Power of Water’ event at Clydach Heritage Centre in partnership with the Swansea Canal Society from 10.30 am September 6th. More information on this event and the broader festival can be viewed on our web pages here.
Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company Project
The Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company in association with Swansea University are organising an inaugural lecture titled: Neath Abbey Ironworks: Past, Present and Future. The speaker will be Professor Huw Bowen of Swansea University who has done a tremendous amount of work on the Hafod copperworks site. It will be in Neath Town Hall, 10-30am, Saturday, 8th October, 2016. Entrance is free and everybody is welcome. This lecture will launch a project concerning the future development of the site in Neath Abbey. The 8,000 engineering drawings from the Neath Abbey Ironworks which are held in the West Glamorgan Archives have been recognised by inscription in the United Kingdom National Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. This illustrates the importance of this site in smelting, and manufacturing items such as locomotives, pumps and ships. The owners of the works, the Price family, prominent Quakers, engineers and philanthropists, are buried in the Friends Meeting House in Neath.
White Rock Project
White Rock has evolved from a project focused on app development to a broader heritage project. The Friends of White Rock app development now concentrates on preparing content, using engines available from a number of sources. The White Rock Digital Trails app has contributed to the design of the Gower app in particular. The Friends have the goal of returning the White Rock Industrial Heritage Park to its intended place as an amenity and asset to Swansea. Surviving structures on the 48 acre site are being cleared of invasive vegetation. Historical research is unravelling long-standing mysteries about the site (and discovering new mysteries!). Progress can be followed here and further information can be accessed pages here.
We support and develop lots of community-focused projects and events which are updated and included on our web pages here. As always if you would like to engage with our projects, to discuss a particular area of interest or the development of a community-focused project then please do get in touch.
I hope you all had a wonderful summer.