Cyunedau Cyslltiedig: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Communities of the Swansea Valley

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Arts and Humanities

Abstract

The City of Swansea and the Swansea Valley is defined by its industrial past, and especially by the rise and decline of the copper industry which became the world's first globally integrated heavy industry during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As Swansea became 'Copperopolis', and the Valley became as important as Coalbrookdale to Britain's Industrial Revolution, the lives of local people and in-coming migrants were profoundly shaped by the development of the workers' communities that supported the rapid growth of the coal and metallurgical industries.

Equally, the lives of later generations were shaped first by the painful process of de-industrialisation which ensured that by 1950 the Swansea Valley had become the largest industrial wasteland in Europe; and then by large-scale land reclamation and regeneration projects implemented during the 1960s and 1970s. As a result of these long-run processes, the region has a remarkably rich yet complex industrial-urban-environmental heritage, and research into this informs a better understanding of how the unique historical and cultural context of the region continues to shape the identity, sense of place, and quality of life of the people who live in an area, where 16.8 percent of the population speaks Welsh.

This multi-partner, bi-lingual project aims to consolidate and extend collaborations that have been established in recent years by arts and humanities researchers at Swansea University and a range of community groups and organisations across the university's regional hinterland.

The project has two major objectives:

1. It seeks to develop collaborative community research projects that will be of great worth in themselves, and
2. It will very considerably enhance a major heritage-led urban regeneration project centred on the Swansea Valley, which brings significant added value.

In order to achieve these objectives the research group will work closely with Swansea University's archives, media services, and Arts Centre, as well four external partners, to engage with formal and informal community groups across the region. The external partners are:

- National Waterfornt Museum, Swansea;
- West Glamorgan Archives Service;
- The Libraries Service of City and County of Swansea;
- Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust.

A number of different groups will derive benefit from the project.

First and foremost, the community groups and organisations engaged by the Research Group and Project Partners will benefit from the research because they will be generating outputs themselves and then disseminating them via different media. This process with greatly enhance the knowledge and skills of community groups across the region.

The eventual dissemination of community group research findings will benefit the wider public in Swansea and south-west Wales by enhancing understanding of collective and individual histories. This turn will inform a better understanding of the region's heritage and identity, as well as its sense of place within local, national, and global contexts.

The project partners will benefit from this collaborative project because through creative engagement with both HEI and non-HEI researchers. The project will serve to widen access to the partners' resources and will help to facilitate the increased use of their facilities, knowledge, and skills.

Postgraduate students involved in the project (through open days, etc) and also community group members (again involved via open days, etc) will directly benefit from the project because it will give them real-world experiences of collaborative projects and enable both groups to identify, develop and also learn new transferable skills, for example - self-awareness, initiative, teamwork, action planning, leadership, communication, networking, problem solving, flexibility, etc. These transferable skills will be essential for students in their future careers.

Planned Impact

First and foremost, the community groups and organisations engaged by the Research Group and Project Partners will benefit from the research because they will be generating outputs themselves and then disseminating them via different media. This process with greatly enhance the knowledge and skills of community groups across the region.

The eventual dissemination of community group research findings will benefit the wider public in Swansea and south-west Wales by enhancing understanding of collective and individual histories. This turn will inform a better understanding of the region's heritage and identity, as well as its sense of place within local, national, and global contexts.

The project partners will benefit from this collaborative project because through creative engagement with both HEI and non-HEI researchers. The project will serve to widen access to the partners' resources and will help to facilitate the increased use of their facilities, knowledge, and skills.

Postgraduate students involved in the project (through open days, etc) and also community group members (again involved via open days, etc) will directly benefit from the project because it will give them real-world experiences of collaborative projects and enable both groups to identify, develop and also learn new transferable skills, for example - self-awareness, initiative, teamwork, action planning, leadership, communication, networking, problem solving, flexibility, etc. These transferable skills will be essential for students in their future careers. This also supports the Government and HEI sector's employability agenda. Community group members will also be able to transfer the skills they develop through their involvement in the project to their own careers. Young people, especially in Welsh Government Community First (Widening Access) areas, may also be inspired by their involvement in the project to go to University or pursue a career in the heritage sector.

Finally, the AHRC itself will benefit from the project because it will have a considerable impact in the region and this will demonstrate to public audiences the significance of research-funding activity of a RCUK body in Wales.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Yes, the finding of the community resercah projects have fed directly into the Cu @ Swansea regenartion project in the Lower Swansea Valley
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £9,900 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £9,500 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £9,999 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 09/2014
 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £2,500 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description HLF All Our Stories
Amount £7,500 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description City and County of Swansea 
Organisation Swansea Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Resrrcah finding informed the development of collaborative projects supporting a regeneration ptogramme in the Lower Swansea Valley.
Collaborator Contribution Porvision of expertise, staff time, and facilities.
Impact The collaboration has supported a programme of community engeement activities rather than drive the creation of specific research outputs.
Start Year 2011
 
Description National Waterfront Museum, Swansea 
Organisation National Museum Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provision of reserch finding and research support to the development of community heritage research
Collaborator Contribution Provision of expertisie, support, staff time, meeting rooms, and exhibition space.
Impact The outcomes have been a series of community public engagement events and activities hosted by the Museum.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Pontardawe Community workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Planning of of community focused research projects

Several HLF 'All our stories' grant apllicatiions developed and submitted
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Swansea Community workshop 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact To plan the development of communirty focused research projects

HLF 'All our voices' projcet funding applications made
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012