Connected Communities: Newsletter September 2014

Newsletter September 2014

Connected Communities: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Communities of the Swansea Valley and South Wales.

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well and that you’ve all have had a pleasant summer. As the seasons change and autumn is approaching I would like to bring you an update on recent Connected Communities project activities and new and developing heritage-related activities and projects throughout across local communities.

The Connected Communities project, based at Swansea University, continues to develop and support community-focused heritage projects and activities relating to the history of the Swansea Valley and South Wales. Over the past 6 months the project has been focused on supporting current projects and developing new projects. Our team, which consist of researchers, local museums, archives, libraries, galleries and student volunteers, work closely with individuals, groups and societies within the local community.  To find out information on all our community projects please follow this link:

New projects that are currently in development include a project focused on examining and promoting the history of the Dillwyn family. The project, led the College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University and the Penllergaer Valley Woodland Trust, will include research conducted by Swansea University students, team members and volunteers and the placement of an interactive trail highlighting locations around Swansea that are relevant to the diverse legacy of the Dillwyn family. The project will also produce a dynamic website that displays project resources, events and research, including interactive maps;

A further new project project in development titled ‘The Legacy of Longfields’ will research and celebrate the history of the Longfields mental health hospital, Swansea. The project will work with ex-patients, their families and staff to gather memories to investigate and document the unique and inspirational treatments and attitudes toward mental health that the hospital pioneered. A series of events will be scheduled to engage local people with the hospital’s history and to celebrate the impact of the Longfields on mental health practice, in particular within the local community. Applications for funding will be made for the above two projects to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support project activities.

Existing projects are expanding and continuing to have a positive impact on the local communities and related heritage.  Llansamlet Historical Societies’ project  team are further developing the ‘Sharing Llansamlet’s Past’ project, supported by HLF. The team have been cataloguing their huge collection of photographs to create a comprehensive archive focused on the history of the Llansamlet area, with accompanying school packs:

The Hafod-Morfa Copperworks projects continues to develop and the project is now entering a new phase of works. A hugely successful event was held on June 14th to celebrate the opening of the site and to inform the local community of the project developments. Over 7000 people attended the launch, so a big thank you to the local community, our project partners, volunteers and in particular the Connected Communities project members that helped us on the day.  To keep up to date with project news please follow this link:

The local branch of the Historical Association continue to further develop the ‘White Rock Digital Trial’ project that researches the history of the White Rock site. The very successful project now has an increasing number of volunteers, consisting of Swansea University students that have conducted research and developed the onsite digital trail, local volunteers, academics and local enthusiasts. The project is now entering its second phase of activities that will focus on the reclamation and clearance of the White Rock site:

The Connected Communities project also continues to work with Ysgol Maesydderwen, Ystradgynlais after the successful project ‘Researching the Mining History of the Upper Swansea Valley’: The new project and activities will focus on a particular local fallen solider of World War One from within the local area. The children will visit local archives to investigate materials relating to local men who fell in the Great War, including visits to the Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University. The research will also be made into a presentation which will be showcased in Neath Little Theatre, assisted by a local Neath historian.

In other news, the Connected Communities project and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks project were both nominated for the Swansea University Impact Awards, which celebrate the depth and bredth of the impact of Swansea University’s research. The Connected Communities project was nominated in the category of ‘The Bridging the Gaps Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Engagement’ and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks project was nominated in the ‘The Parthian Books and Library of Wales Award for Outstanding Impact in Culture, the Arts and Sports.’ I am delighted to say that The Hafod-Morfa Copperworks Project secured their award, a well-deserved victory for colleagues that work incredibly hard!

All of the above projects are supported by and / or developed by the Connected Communities project and its partners, Swansea University.

For further information on the Connected Communities projects, local community news and updates, please visit our website and community network blog accessible here:

If you would like further information about our projects, partners and activities, please email me at

Twitter: @swanseavalley




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