Connected Communities Newsletter July 2015 / Feedback from the Connected Communities Exchange, June 25th, 2015

 Connected Communities Newsletter 

Feedback from the Connected Communities Exchange, June 25th, 2015

Thank you to everyone who attended the event on 25th June at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, Connecting Communities to industrial heritage in the Swansea Valley and for helping to make it such a vibrant and stimulating day. It was a worthy celebration of community history research.

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Throughout the day, we received hundreds of excellent general and specific suggestions and comments. We are enormously grateful for everyone’s participation. We are in a considerably stronger position to launch funding applications concerned with the Hafod site and the Lower Swansea Valley, having now listened to the knowledge and opinions of everyone who attended on the day. We hope that it has also helped you to develop your areas of interest/projects.

We have grouped your comments and feedback into a set of general themes for future research projects. Below is a very brief and general summary of that collective input.

It was striking how people demonstrated their passion for local, community, and heritage orientated history projects. People want to celebrate the industrial past and the people who were a part of it, but also to recognise the toil and struggle which went hand-in-hand with industrialisation.

 How should this be done?

It was clear that many people recognise the importance of oral histories. This is one of the best ways of effectively capturing the present and the recent past in order for future generations to understand and access it.

People also identified sources like medical records, memoirs, diaries, censuses, interactive maps, interactive or traditional family trees, photographs, holograms and art work to help tell stories.

Suggestions were also made about copper walks and copper trails, and other mechanisms to bring the site alive, tell the many stories of the past and show people what things used to feel, sound, look, and smell like.

What should be done?

Future areas of research that people were particularly enthusiastic about included industrial injuries, physical and mental health problems, the impact on the families of workers, immigration and ethnic minorities, the origins of local street names, the work/life balance at Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, the global links of copper, the links between copper and coal that connect the valley, the significance of sailors and cape horners, the science of copper smelting, the 1843 strike, the greening of the Lower Swansea Valley, and the importance of the river in the history of valley, and the natural environment now.

So what next?

We are discussing ideas for taking projects forward with a number of you have got in touch with questions and ideas since the event. We hope that some of you may be engaged in other conversations too.

We are currently developing a plan of activities that will form part of the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for funding. As the University develops new approaches to digital interpretation, we will use the feedback to inform future projects on the site.

Swansea City Council will collate the input from the afternoon workshop on connecting the sites along the Swansea Valley and hopes to make the maps public. There may be opportunities to do more GIS mapping of heritage sites in the future.

Again, thank you so much for your input. We will be sure to keep you informed of developments and please keep us informed of your developments too.

Connected Communities Award

As Professor Huw Bowen mentioned on the day, the Connected Communities Project received ‘The Parthian Books and Library of Wales Award for Outstanding Impact in Culture and the Arts’ at this year’s Swansea University Impact Awards that celebrates the breadth and depth of the impact of the University’s research. Further information, the judges’ comments and pictures are available here: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/research/impactawards2015/theparthianbooksandlibraryofwalesawardforoutstandingimpactincultureandthearts/

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A huge thank you to our professional and community partners. The award would have not been secured without your hard work!

There are updates and news added regularly to the Connected Communities web pages www.swanseahistoryvalley.com on community research and related activities.

Further information on the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks Project is available here: http://www.welshcopper.org.uk/en/Hafod-Morfa_site.htm

Best wishes,

Kate

Kate Spiller

Project Coordinator, Connected Communities

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