UWTSD hosts visit to showcase Jazz Heritage Wales archives


University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) was delighted to welcome Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, and local AM Julie James, to the University to view the archives of Jazz Heritage Wales.

Founder of Jazz Heritage Wales, Professor of Practice Jen Wilson, Deborah Checkland and Professor Ian Walsh, Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design, welcomed the Assembly Members to the University’s Townhill campus.

They were also joined by Councillor Louise Gibbard,  who is the Champion for Women at the City and County of Swansea.

Professor Jen Wilson, jazz pianist and historian, founded the registered charity Jazz Heritage Wales in 1986, a unique cultural and educational resource for Wales. The organisation traces the history of African American music and the role of women in Wales’ popular culture. The archive has been incorporated into UWTSD’s Swansea campus with Dame Cleo Laine as its Patron.

Professor Wilson said: “It was a pleasure to show Mr Skates AM, Mr Gething AM and Ms James AM our archive collection; they all showed great interest in Wales’ rather unexpected cultural heritage.”

Professor Ian Walsh said: “The University was delighted to welcome all three Assembly Members to our Swansea Campus. Their visit was a justified recognition of the role Professor Jen Wilson and her team have played in preserving and celebrating the jazz heritage of Wales. Jazz Heritage Wales have established a unique and inclusive archive which recognises in particular the amazing contribution of women and Black artists to Wales' rich jazz history.”

Swansea West AM, Ms James commented: “It was a great visit and I was delighted to join the Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates to view the archives. It was a really worthwhile visit and I was blown over by the work that has been undertaken by Professor Wilson, volunteers and the University in compiling and maintaining the archives. I was aware of the unique and diverse cultural history that jazz in Wales has but it was wonderful to see the significant role women in particular have played in Wales’ jazz heritage.”

Professor Wilson performs regularly at jazz festivals and events in Wales and gives multi-media presentations on aspects of how jazz came to Wales. Her book on the subject for the University of Wales Press is due out in 2018. She has received recognition for her work from both Labour and Conservative governments. In March this year, Professor Wilson was awarded the Welsh Government’s St. David Award for Culture, where she met Mr Gething, who expressed an interest in viewing the archives.

The St David Awards annually recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of people in Wales. The Awards reflect and promote the aspirations of Wales and its citizens to be a modern, vibrant country, with a growing reputation as a confident and clever nation valuing innovation, community spirit, and above all its people.

Professor Wilson, with funding from the Arts Council of Wales, also founded the all women Allstars’ Swing Band, Swansea’s only all-female big band since the Second World War. The band, with a pool of 25 members, perform at events across Wales creating inspirational female role models for young female jazz musicians.

Jazz Heritage Wales is dedicated to four areas of activity: performance, archive, research and education. Jen Wilson was made a Professor of Practice at UWTSD during the University’s graduation ceremonies in June 2016.

The title of ‘Honorary Professor of Practice’ is bestowed upon an individual to honour and recognise that person for having attained academic and/or professional distinction in those disciplines which are aligned with the strategic intentions of the University.


Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07496 385597
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk