Wales and the World: Cynefin, Colonialism and Global Interconnections


UWTSD Lampeter is hosting a special conference exploring debates in Welsh history on 6 and 7 June.

This conference will situate the history of Wales within global and colonial contexts, engaging with current issues and debates in historiography and public policy alike

‘Wales and the World: Cynefin, Colonialism and Global Interconnections’ brings together academics, educators and heritage practitioners to discuss aspects of Welsh identity, both past and present.

Funded by UWTSD’s Institute of Education and Humanities, the conference is a hybrid event which takes place in person at UWTSD Lampeter campus and online.

Organised to coincide with the university’s bicentenary, the conference aims to situate Wales in global and colonial contexts, engaging with current debates in academic scholarship and public policy alike.

In 2020, the Welsh Government published an audit of public monuments, street and building names associated with the transatlantic slave trade, the British Empire and the historical contributions to Welsh life of people of Black heritage. The following year, the Government accepted the findings of a report chaired by Professor Charlotte Williams which led to BAME histories being formally incorporated in the Curriculum for Wales.

In keeping with these developments, conference papers discuss the different ways schools, universities and heritage institutions might deal with ongoing legacies of transatlantic slavery, colonialism and racial inequalities.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Professor Olivette Otele, University of Bristol. A leading authority on memories of enslavement, Professor Otele was part of the task and finish group which authored the 2020 audit. Professor Otele was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in May 2022.

One of the conference organisers, Dr Alexander Scott, Lecturer in Modern History, said: “It’s an honour to welcome Professor Otele and a whole host of speakers from around the world to Lampeter.

“We have an exciting line-up of papers which discuss Wales’s connectedness to places as far afield as the United States and Ukraine.

“And I’m really looking forward to hearing delegates’ views on the some of the most burning issues in contemporary society.

“Wales offers a unique lens on global history, having both been subject to internal colonialism and a participant in overseas imperialism.

“Recent developments have also shown that Wales is leading the way in efforts to make education more representative and inclusive, and that the nation is prepared to have difficult conversations about its past.”

Dr Scott pointed out that the conference themes have local resonance at UWTSD Lampeter. His research has highlighted that the original benefactors of St David’s College, Lampeter included slaveowners and individuals who profited from colonial trade.

Dr Scott said: “It is important for Lampeter to host this conference in 2022.

“As nice as it is to celebrate the university’s bicentenary, we are being dishonest if we fail to recognise that some of the university’s founders were colonialists and slaveowners.

“The most obvious example is Thomas Phillips, who donated 20,000 books to the university library. Phillips made his fortune with the British East India Company, and used this to purchase a slave plantation in St Vincent.

“Other links to empire abound in the university’s early history.

“For instance, the architect of the college’s Old Building, Charles Robert Cockerell, came from a family of East India Company men, several of whom received compensation for the loss of slaves after abolition in the 1830s.

“Slavery and colonialism are part of UWTSD Lampeter’s history. ‘Wales in the World’ is one step towards fuller recognition of that.”

Registration for the conference is open via UWTSD’s online store. Discounted rates are available for students and for online-only attendance.

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Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 07384 467076 /