2018 Conference – Cardiff, Wales

We are pleased to announce details of the 2018 conference. A copy of the SFLS Conference programme 20 August 2018 and the SFLS Conference 2018 booking form can be downloaded through the links. Alternately, please see details below.

The Society for Folk Life Studies

 Annual Conference 

St Fagans, Cardiff, Wales

13th to 16th September 2018

**St Fagans at seventy**

**Heritage, culture, sport and national identity**

**Urban identity** 

The conference venue will be St Fagans, National Museum of History,

National Museum Cardiff and Cardiff Story Museum.

The accommodation will be at Premier Inn, Cardiff City Centre

(Helmont House, 10 Churchill Way, Cardiff CF10 2DX)


(Draft at: 20-8-2018)

THURSDAY, 13th September

17.15-18.00   Registration at Premier Inn, Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2DX

18.30           Dinner at Premier Inn

 20.00-20.45  Dr David Jenkins (Hon Research Fellow, Amgueddfa Cymru) ‘Down the docks’ – the port of Cardiff, its ship owners and seamen

A brief, illustrated romp through the history of Cardiff’s dockland from the late eighteenth century to the present day.

FRIDAY, 14th September

 9.15                                    Coach from Premier Inn to St Fagans

09.45                                    Assemble at the Lecture Theatre, St Fagans, National Museum of History.

10.00-1015          Dr Dafydd Roberts (President, Society for Folk Life Studies)

Welcome to the 2018 annual conference, to Amgueddfa Cymru and St Fagans

10.15-11.00         Dr Beth Thomas (Amgueddfa Cymru)

Rethinking St Fagans: from Welsh Folk Museum to National Museum of History.

In October this year, the St Fagans redevelopment project will be completed. Since this is the 70th year since the Museum was founded, it will be a momentous birthday event. The redevelopment is more than creating new buildings and facilities. It is a rethinking of the Museum’s purpose, and an exploration of how to root that new purpose in the history of the Museum. This presentation will explain some of the thinking behind the evolution of St Fagans from Welsh Folk Museum to St Fagans National Museum of History.

11.00-11.40       Nia Williams (Amgueddfa Cymru)

‘Nothing about, us without us’: Creating spaces for co-production at St Fagans National Museum of History

The right to freely participate in cultural life is a basic human liberty as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although all museums work with a variety of ‘cultural communities’ few museums question how cultural heritage is defined, who controls stewardship and how equality works in terms of minority cultures and cultural diversity. Over 120 organizations, societies and charities collaborated in the redevelopment of St Fagans National Museum of History. This presentation will explore the various models of co-working developed, providing case study examples of the museum’s commitment to support the cultural rights of some of the most vulnerable communities in Wales. It will also consider how the redevelopment indicated a new way of working for St Fagans and how the impact of such initiatives can influence long-term change in policy and structures.

 11.40-12.00        Tea & coffee in the Learning Studio, St Fagans.  

12.00- 13.15       Sioned Hughes (Amgueddfa Cymru)

An introduction to the new, ‘Wales is…’ Gallery, followed by a visit to this interactive gallery within the re-built museum

13.15-14.15         Buffet lunch in the Learning Studio.

14.15 – 16.30      Split into groups to visit three new buildings, Llys Llywelyn and Bryn Eryr, and the Gweithdy making-place.

16.45-17.00     Tea in Learning Studio

17.15           Annual General Meeting of the Society for Folk Life Studies (Lecture Theatre)

18.30            Dinner at St Fagans Castle, plus entertainment by members of Tawerin folk group.

21.15            Coach  to Premier Inn 

 SATURDAY, 15th September

09.15         Assemble at National Museum, Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

09.25        Steph Mastoris (Amgueddfa Cymru)

Welcome to National Museum, Cardiff

09.30-10.15      Ashok Ahir

Yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, a’r Eisteddfod ddinesig gyntaf yng Nghaerdydd, Awst 2018 / The National Eisteddfod, and the first urban Eisteddfod in Cardiff, August 2018

Held annually in the first week of August and alternating between North and South Wales host locations, the National Eisteddfod of Wales is a festival of literature, performance and music. It is the largest music and poetry competitive event in Europe, and is held entirely in the Welsh language.

This year, the Eisteddfod was held in Cardiff Bay, between 3 and 11 August. I took on the responsibility of serving as Chair of the organising committee for Cardiff, and have had a hectic but enjoyable period as we raised over £320,000 towards the £4 million (plus) cost of holding the Eisteddfod. I was determined from the outset that this would be a different Eisteddfod. Its location meant that it could be an unfenced festival, literally open to all, establishing and building bridges with a range of communities across an area that was formerly known, in its coal exporting heyday, as “Tiger Bay”. We had a range of iconic buildings at our disposal, from the Welsh Government’s Senedd, to the Pierhead, to the Wales Millennium Centre. Our objective was to open up the Welsh language, and Welsh culture, to those that weren’t aware that they existed – not just in Cardiff, but across the whole of Wales. Did we succeed?  Enjoy my presentation, and judge for yourselves.

 10.15-11.00       Prof. Rhys Jones (Aberystwyth University)

Ble Mae Cymru? / Where is Wales?

The paper will address the different ways in which Wales, as a cultural and linguistic entity, has been mapped. The first half of the paper will focus on the historic maps of Welshness and the Welsh language produced by academics based at Aberystwyth University, while the second half discusses the ongoing attempts being made to map the Welsh language today. The paper discusses the partial nature of these maps and the potential impact that this partial nature has on language policy.

11.00-11.15      Tea & Coffee

 11.15-12.00      Prof. Martin Johnes (Swansea University)

In search of Eddie Parris: Race, national identities and black footballers between the wars

This paper explores the life of Welsh footballer Eddie Parris in order to investigate

the working-class black experience in interwar Britain. Race was clearly central to his public profile but explicit evidence of racism towards him is absent in the historical record. Nonetheless, the depth of racial feeling in Britain means it is extremely unlikely that he did not encounter prejudice.  The archives are also silent on how he regarded his own racial position and its wider significance. They do, however, reveal how he and other black footballers were not regarded as fully British or Welsh and thus his career illustrates the dangers of exaggerating the role of sport in encouraging racial inclusion.

12.00-12.45      Prof. Peredur Lynch (Bangor University)

Peldroed a Chenedligrwydd / Football and Nationality

When (Association) Football became a popular pastime sport in Wales during the second half of the nineteenth century, it faced a hostile enemy – Welsh Protestant Nonconformity. During the nineteenth century Welsh Nonconformity gradually became a hegemonic power that extended well beyond the spiritual and the religious. Allied to the cause of Liberalism, by the end of the century Nonconformity had forged a new sense of Welsh identity and at its heart lay an idealistic view of the Welsh gwerin (‘folk’) as a God-fearing, virtuous people devoted to literacy and the more noble aspects of life. The advent of Football was viewed by the Welsh Protestant establishment with fear and anxiety and, as this presentation will aim to demonstrated, it posed a fundamental challenge to its notion of Wales and ‘true’ Welshness.

12.45-13.45      Buffet lunch at NMC.

13.45-14.15       Walk to Queen St railway station

14.24                 Train to Cardiff Bay (Delegates to buy their own tickets)

15.00-16.00        Tour of the Senedd building, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4PZ

16.00-16.30       Tea

16.30 – 18.00     Dr David Jenkins

A walking tour of Cardiff Bay old and new

18.30          Supper at the Exchange Hotel, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5FQ

20.24          Return train to Queen Street station (Delegates to buy their own tickets)

 20.45          An opportunity for an informal exploration of some historic Cardiff public houses

Sunday, 16th September

Information regarding church services will be available for those wishing to attend

10.00       Assemble at the Cardiff Story Museum, the Old Library, Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1BH

10.00-10.35     David J Eveleigh

Folk Life, Bygones and & Old Curios – the origins of Folk Life Collections

This lecture charts the emergence of Folk Life collecting in the second half of the nineteenth century. Focussing chiefly on domestic collections, David will examine the motives and impulses which turned ordinary everyday things into ‘bygones’ and in some countries, into icons of national identity. He will look at the collectors and writers who formed collections which helped shape museum development in the twentieth century and also impacted on popular suburban style.

10.40-11.15      Cynthia Boyd (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)

From pumpkin coaches to fairy bread: Edibles in fairy tales from Newfoundland, England and Wales

Storytellers have long incorporated food items or cooked food into the main components of fairy tales (magic or hero tales); tales that they have told and shared for centuries.  The ubiquitous brother and sister team, Hansel and Gretel are lured by a house covered in confectionary delights; a hard-working housewife fills eggshells with food to deter fairy folk from inhabiting her Welsh farmhouse; a Newfoundland lad called Jack takes bites from a magical apple to gain access to The Queen of Paradise’s Garden; and where would the tale of Rapunzel be without a pregnant woman’s obsession with rampion?  Whether food helps our protagonists succeed in their quest, contributes to their ‘near’ downfall, or simply provides nourishment, food has played a significant role in fairy tales because food is essential, but also because it is a part of day to day life which is what many fairy tales are often about, after all.

11.15-11.30      Coffee

11.30-12.10       Prof. Bill Jones (Emeritus Professor in Modern Welsh History, Cardiff University)

‘And the local was expanded into Welsh’: From Cardiff Municipal Museum to the National Museum of Wales, 1862-1912

In 1905 Cardiff was chosen as the site for a national museum for Wales, and its municipal museum became the core of the new institution. The National Museum of Wales received its Royal Charter two years later (and was finally officially opened in 1927) and the collections of Cardiff Museum were transferred to it in Wales in 1912.

This presentation explores the inter-relationship between the two institutions in order to assess the significance and implications of what might be termed the ‘Cardiff Museum factor’ in the creation and nature of the National Museum of Wales. It traces the manner in which the collections and aspirations of Cardiff Municipal Museum were shaped not only by notions of local civic pride but also, especially after 1893, by efforts to develop it as a proto ‘national museum’. The presentation also discusses the ways in which those involved in Cardiff Museum, notably Cardiff Council’s Museum Committee and its enthusiastic ‘honorary curators’, among them T. H. Thomas (Arlunydd Penygarn), Edward Thomas (Cochfarf) as well as other leading members of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society, campaigned both to secure a national museum for Wales and ensure it would be located in Cardiff. These individuals remained highly influential in the new national institution.

Finally, the presentation argues that as well as being a key determinant in the processes that led to the establishment of the National Museum of Wales and in its subsequent development, the Cardiff Museum factor also had important implications. The metamorphosis of its municipal museum into the National Museum of Wales deprived Cardiff of the equivalent of a civic museum for many decades. At the same time, in the years following its founding, the Cardiff centrism of the National Museum of Wales proved to be one of the most profound challenges it had to face in its efforts to become a truly ‘national’ museum.

12.10-12.30      Victoria Rogers (Cardiff Story Museum)

Creating the Cardiff Story: how a community made a museum

When the Cardiff Story Museum opened in 2011, it was the first time Wales’ capital had had its own museum, telling its own story.  Created in partnership with Cardiff’s diverse communities, the museum formed not only displays and programmes, but also a collection, from scratch.  This brief introduction and tour of the Cardiff Story galleries will look at how Cardiff came together to build their museum.

End of conference


The Society for Folk Life Studies

Annual Conference, 2018

Cardiff, Wales:

13th to 16th September

**St Fagans at seventy**

**Heritage, culture, sport and national identity**

**Urban identity**

The Society’s annual conference for 2018 will be held in Cardiff, Wales, and is hosted by Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales. This year coincides with the 70th anniversary of the opening of what was originally called the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans, just outside the city. This was the first open air museum in the British Isles and over the last few years it has undergone a major redevelopment to create a dynamic National Museum of History and Archaeology that will be completed in October.

The theme of the conference is ‘Culture and National Identity’ and it will be based in three locations –National Museum of History and Archaeology at St Fagans, the National Museum, Cardiff, and the Cardiff Story museum in the centre of the city. We will also explore the regenerated docklands of Cardiff Bay. The conference accommodation will be at the Premier Inn in the centre of the city, a short walk from the railway station.

If you wish to attend this year’s conference, please complete the application form attached and send it by 30 June 2018 with a non-returnable deposit of £100, to:

The Conference Secretary (Steph Mastoris)

National Waterfront Museum,

Maritime Quarter, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3RD, Wales, UK.

The closing date for all bookings is 1 August 2018 and final payment will be required by this date.

The cost of attending the whole conference will be:

  • £395 per person with accommodation and meals for single occupancy of a room.
  • £320 per person with accommodation and meals for two people sharing a room.
  • £200 per person with lunch and dinner but NO accommodation.
  • Day rates for the conference (with lunch and dinner, but NO accommodation) are available:
    • £80 EACH DAY for Friday and Saturday 14th & 15th September.
    • £40 for Sunday 16th September.