Wednesday, 13 May 2015

From Sao Paolo to Swansea: Ugo Rivetti's CREW experience

Last month, the CREWniverse were very sad to say 'Adeus' to Ugo Rivetti, a visiting scholar from Sao Paulo. Since October, Ugo had been a cheerful presence in the CREW office and quickly became accustomed to the ways of CREW (Raymond Williams worship, drinking and the annual AWWE shenanigans). Ugo's debut at this year's AWWE conference was a great success, and we are sure his work on Raymond Williams will continue to inspire, both in his native Brazil and beyond.

Ugo writes:

"I started my M.A. on Raymond Williams at University of São Paulo, Brazil in March 2013 and from the beginning I had thoughts of doing part of my research abroad. After some search on the Internet, I discovered that the Raymond Williams papers were held in the Richard Burton Archives, at Swansea University. In February, 2014 I got in touch with Professor Daniel Williams who answered immediately, not only accepting to supervise me but also offering me all the resources and facilities of CREW. 
I arrived in Swansea in October 2014 and stayed there until April 2015. Today, I can say that those six months were definitive for my research (putting aside the unbelievably rich personal experience). Researching Williams’s papers the archives gave me the opportunity to be in touch with a material that is barely known in Brazil. And the constant talks with Professor Williams and my CREW colleagues Kieron Smith and Clare Davies were decisive for the planning of my text and for the development of my own ideas.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Daniel Williams, Kieron, Clare, the Archives team and all the lecturers and students linked to CREW with whom I had contact during those months. I can definitely say that if my period in Swansea was so pleasant it was due mainly to having been associated with such a research group as CREW."

We wish Ugo every success, and hope he will stay in touch- he will always be welcome back in the CREW office!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Launch of John Ormond's Collected Poems

The long-awaited launch of John Ormond's Collected Poems is finally here. This Tuesday (5th May) will see Rian Evans, Ormond's daughter and editor of the book, in conversation with Jeff Towns. Hopefully this collection, alongside the pioneering work done on Ormond's documentary films here at CREW, will begin to see Ormond gain the credit he deserves. The launch starts at 7.00 at Galerie Simpson, Swansea. Free Entry. All welcome. Email for more information.

Inaugural Lecture and Launch of Wales Unchained

Last Thursday saw the launch of Wales Unchained, the latest book by Professor Daniel Williams. This work, a collection of essays reflecting Daniel’s multiple research interests (Raymond Williams rubs shoulders with Dylan Thomas, Charlie Parker and D H Lawrence, among others), draws together lines of comparison and connection that only a critic of Daniel’s calibre could achieve so brilliantly. Elegantly written, intellectually vigorous and yet accessible, Daniel’s book is a must-read (and a must-buy- please support UWP!!) for anyone interested in the concept of Welshness, Britishness and  the relationship between culture and politics. The book launch was accompanied by a lecture, 'Un Genedl! Pa Genedl?: Cymathu Cymru o Shakespeare i Miliband' (One Nation! Which Nation? Assimilating Wales from Shakespeare to Miliband),  which explored the fraught relationship between Welshness and Britishness, moving seamlessly from Henry V to  Matthew Arnold and onto Slavoj Zizek. Daniel’s work has always explored  he idea of Welshness, but not in any insular way; his work is committed to situating Wales within broader national and international contexts, especially through a comparative approach between Wales and African America. Both the book and the lecture are timely, given that the forthcoming UK general election has had the idea of Britain and the union at the heart of many debates. We could see the beginnings of a re-structuring of the union and how we perceive 'Welshness'; the book closes with a call to pluralize our definitions of Welshness through both Welsh and English.  

Daniel’s lecture was followed by some closing remarks from M Wynn Thomas, who highlighted Daniel’s role as a public intellectual in his deep commitment to his both his work and to Wales. I’m sure I wasn't the only person in the lecture theatre that night who felt privileged to be able to work with such an inspirational figure; the audience included staff, students, friends and family. In his introduction to Slanderous Tongues a few years back, Daniel celebrated the work of the late Ian Bell and Victor Golightly. In his tribute to these two men, Daniel praised both their commitment to their scholarship and their dedication to their families. At the lecture last Thursday, where many members of Daniel’s family were present, it was clear Daniel has the same commitment to both his work and his family. The pride they felt for Daniel’s considerable achievement was evident, as I hope was the pride his students at CREW felt for a lecturer who is tirelessly committed to the future generation of scholarship.