Cymunedau Cysylltiedig 2: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Heritage of the Swansea Valley

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

Abstract

This multi-partner, bi-lingual community heritage project is focused on the history of industrial and post industrial communities in the Swansea Valley. The region has a remarkably rich yet complex industrial-urban-environmental heritage, and research into this informs a better understanding of how its unique historical and cultural context 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 second phase of the project aims to consolidate and extend collaborations between arts and humanities researchers at Swansea University and a wide range of community groups. Phase one saw the co-development of a number of Research in Community Heritage Projects, and seven of these have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund's 'All our Stories' Programme. As a result, in Phase Two we wish to support these projects through the stages of research production and delivery. By doing this the research group aims to enhance the projects, maximise the impact of the research, and add value by delivering new or additional forms of collective output, most notably a project exhibition. At the same time we will continue to support other groups that are seeking to develop community heritage projects.

In order to achieve these objectives, the research group will work closely with Swansea University's archives, media and IT services, Department of Adult Continuing Education and Taliesin Arts Centre, as well as five external partners, to provide targeted research support, and a programme of training to enhance the development and delivery of outputs, especially those of a digital type. The project' s external partners are The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea; West Glamorgan Archives Service; The Libraries Service of City and County of Swansea; Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust; and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

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

First and foremost, the community groups working on 'All Our Stories' projects will benefit from targeted support and the co-production of research. This process with greatly enhance the knowledge and skills of community groups across the region, and it will add value to their creation and delivery of project outputs.

Other community groups will benefit from the engagement with the research team as they develop new collaborative research projects.

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. Building on Phase 1, the project will continue 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 as project champions offering support to the community groups will directly benefit from the project because it will give them real-world experiences of collaborative projects and enable them 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 seven All our Stories projects working with the Research Group and Project Partners will benefit from the research because they will be generating new outputs and then disseminating them via different media. This co-production and co-delivery process will greatly enhance the knowledge and skills of community groups across the region.

The eventual dissemination of community group research findings by a variety of means will benefit the wider public in Swansea and south-west Wales by enhancing understanding of collective and individual histories. This in 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. As such the research will contribute significantly to the region's culture. Project related events, such as the proposed Exhibition, will have an immediate impact; outputs such as the project website and digital archive are likely to have a longer lasting impact.

The project partners will benefit from this collaborative project through continuing 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 will benefit directly because it will give them real-world experiences of collaborative projects and enable them 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 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 Community Archive 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 Session raied awarenes of range of local archive materials and hoe they can be used to best effect.

Community research projects made more effecitve use of local archival resources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Digital 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 Imporved awareness of issues realting to production of digital outputs

Community groups produced digital outputs from their research projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Grant 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 Commun ity resercah groups made aware of support vaialble for management of HLF grants

Project grants managed more effcetively
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Merthyr Regeneration Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked discussion, questions, and requests for more information.

Requests were received for support and advice on similar projects in other areas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Project Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact project Exhibtion at National Waterfront Museum generated new interest in community research projects

During and after the exhibition there was a marked rise in the number of queries realted to the future co-development of community focused resercah projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Public Engagment Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked discussion and resuests for further information

Follow up request for further information and advice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Schools materials 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 Session led to the better production of School Learning Packs

Community resercah project findings disseminated to local schools.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Swansea Community workshop 2 
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 Finalisation of HLF grant application by community groups

10 HLF grant applications submitted by community groups
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Swansea Maritme Heritage Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk genetared discussion, questioons, and requeste for information

Follow up from participants at the conference wishing to collaborate in future projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013