UWTSD Lecturers and Students visit Ohio


During September, a group of Welsh-medium students and lecturers from The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Swansea College of Art, visited Rio Grande University in Ohio to work on a creative project to celebrate the state’s Welsh heritage.

Taith i Brifysgol Rio Grande / Visit to Rio Grande University

Gwenllian Beynon, Senior Lecturer and Welsh Language Co-ordinator at Swansea College of Art; Jonathan Pugh, Senior Lecturer in Applied Drama and four UWtSD students - Holly Jenkins, Abigail Eckberg, Briony Howells and Chloe Lawless - worked closely with Canolfan Madog, a Welsh Centre in Ohio to create a project exploring the area's link with Wales.

The two Universities have a long-established relationship and, at present, a former UWTSD student - Dan Rowbotham - is undertaking an internship at Canolfan Madog leading on a number of activities bringing together the Welsh community in Ohio.

"This trip to Ohio and specifically to Canolfan Madog, the Welsh Centre in Ohio, has been fantastic," says lecturer and artist Gwenllian Beynon. “The students have had an amazing experience. This trip has been really worthwhile and has reinforced to us the  importance of the Welsh language and Welsh cultural heritage in Ohio.”

Chloe Lawless, a BA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography student was delighted to visit Ohio and was also pleased to have had the opportunity to work on an exciting arts project.

"During the visit, I was tasked with creating a project based on the title 200 + 1 - a title referring to the Welsh who emigrated to the Gallia and Jackson area of Ohio 201 years ago," said Chloe.

“Through photography, I chose to create a family tree with images taken in the Evans family Cemetery - and through research, I became interested in the history of the people who are buried there - the first family to emigrate from Ceredigion to this area of Ohio in 1818 ”

As well as creating an artistic project, the Welsh visitors made the most of their time in Ohio and to tried to learn as much as they could about the area’s Welsh links and heritage. During their time in Rio, the lecturers and students visited Moriah Church, one of the first of the 35 Welsh churches now in the Oak Hill area. Another interesting experience was attending the 89th Richards family reunion. Ann Richards left Cilcennin in 1840 when she was in her 60s. She emigrated from Wales to Ohio with her children and their children too a and it was a great experience for the visitors from Wales to join the Richards family – one of Ohio’s largest Welsh families - on such a special occasion.

"I've had an amazing summer," said Holly Jenkins, a BA Illustration student at UWTSD. “This was my first time in America and it was an amazing experience. Thanks to Dan, Gwenllian and Jonathan for organizing - this trip has definitely inspired me for my third year portfolio. ”

Jonathan Pugh, a lecturer at at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David was delighted to have the opportunity to take students to Ohio to experience the Welsh heritage and culture that’s still very prevalent in the area.

“The students have grown in a way that is almost immeasurable,” says Jonathan. “They have questioned their identity as young people, as Welsh people, as women from Wales and as artists in their respective fields.

“The extended worldview that these students have experienced is invaluable.  It will be very exciting to see their new work and how they use their media to express the influences and ideas that have emerged during their time in Ohio.”

For further information on the courses offered at Swansea College of Art, please visit https://uwtsd.ac.uk/art-design/

And for more details about Canolfan Madog, visit https://www.rio.edu/madog/

Further Information

 For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476