Professor Elan Closs Stephens hails from Talysarn in the Nantlle Valley. She is an emeritus professor at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at Aberystwyth University. She graduated from Somerville College, Oxford, and became the first female president of the Dafydd ap Gwilym Society.
She pursued a notable academic career in the department at Aberystwyth University, and was promoted to Professor in Communication and the Creative Industries. Throughout her academic career, she has supported and developed Welsh medium academic study. She was the first Welsh medium appointment in the department and, as head, secured further appointments in order to strengthen the provision. She produced a new degree in Theatre, Film and Television in both languages, and served for seven years on the Board of Welsh Medium Teaching for the University of Wales. Throughout her career, she has been an innovator who has given a lifetime of service to the world of media and public policy in Wales and beyond. She served as chair of S4C between 1998 and 2006; she chaired a key review on the future of the arts in Wales (2006); she served as a member and then as deputy chair of the Welsh Language Board, and was also chair of Chwarae Teg and governor of the British Film Institute. She is currently one of the BBC’s trustees, a member of S4C’s authority and a director of the Welsh Government’s Performance and Strategy Board. This fellowship is awarded in recognition of Elan Closs Stephens’ enormous contribution to the creative industries and the Welsh language in academia and beyond.