At the start of a year of celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary since the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol was established,
At the start of a year of celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary since the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol was established, the Coleg’s Annual Awards will be presented tonight to some of the brightest and most dedicated Welsh-medium students and lecturers who have made a substantial contribution to post-compulsory Welsh-medium education during the 2020-21 academic year.
Following a very challenging eighteen months for the sector in Wales, the Coleg is pleased to announce the names of the winners across the six categories of this year’s Student Awards:
- The Gwyn Thomas Award for the best dissertation submitted in the subject of Welsh. This year’s award winner is Nia Eyre, School of Welsh, Cardiff University for her dissertation, “Exploring the expressive mode of self-fiction in Welsh language prose”.
- The John Davies Award for the best dissertation in Welsh History. This year’s award winner is Anwen Rhiannon Jones, the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University for her dissertation, “Public Health and Adult and Infant Mortality Rate: the Experience of Llanelli 1880-1914”.
- The Merêd Award recognises a student’s contribution to the Welsh language life and culture within a university. This year’s winner is Owain Beynon, Doctoral Student, School of Chemistry, Cardiff University for showing vision and enthusiasm in ensuring that the September 2020 freshers were given the same welcome as usual, despite the challenging circumstances. He is also awarded for his work ensuring that attention is given to Chemistry through the medium of Welsh and that it attracts student interest.
- The Norah Isaac Award goes to the student who received the best result in the Coleg’s Welsh Language Skills Certificate assessment. Sioned Spencer, the Department of Welsh, Bangor University is this year’s award winner.
Two additional awards will be presented for the first time this year on behalf of Ymddiriedolaeth William Salesbury:
- The William Salesbury Further Education and Apprenticeship Award recognises the contribution of a learner or apprentice to Welsh language life and culture within a further education college or apprenticeship provider. This year’s award winner is Ifan Phillips, Apprentice in Electrical Installations, Pembrokeshire College for his contribution to promoting Welsh language and bilingual apprenticeships in the College.
- The William Salesbury Medical Award recognises the innovation of a research project delivered through the medium of Welsh, and/or a contribution to current extra-curricular activities through the medium of Welsh within the field of Medicine. This year’s award winners are Owain Williams, Chelsie Waters, Lowri James and Megan Evans, Clwb Mynydd Bychan, Cardiff University for playing a leading role in the renewal of the Welsh Language Medical Society, Clwb Mynydd Bychan, Cardiff University.
Each winner will receive a trophy and a cash prize of £200.
The winners of the three categories of the Coleg’s Associate Lecturer Awards will also be announced in tonight’s awards ceremony:
- The Student Award, a new category for 2020-21, where students have the opportunity to nominate a lecturer who has made a huge difference to their university life. The winner of this year’s award is Geraint Forster, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, University of Wales Trinity Saint David for the positive impact his work has had on the experiences of students in the department, which was clear from students’ comments.
- The Excellent Welsh-medium Resource Award recognises a lecturer or practitioner who has led on creating a high-quality Welsh-medium resource that supports the students in their studies. This year’s award winner is Jeni Price, Senior Lecturer in Rhagoriaith, University of Wales Trinity Saint David for the resource Turning the Tide in Thirty Years, which is an online module that directly seeks to respond to the challenges of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
- The Outstanding Contribution to Welsh-medium education award goes to an individual who deserves to be honoured for their outstanding contribution to higher education beyond their professional role. This year’s award winner is Dr Lowri Cunnington Wynn, Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University for working tirelessly on developing the Welsh-medium provision in the Department of Law and Criminology, attracting students to study the subject through the medium of Welsh, encouraging current students to choose Welsh-medium modules, and improving the Welsh-medium resources that are available.
The Gwerddon Award winner will also be announced tonight. Following nominations from members of the Editorial Board, it was decided that this year’s award winner is Dr Huw Williams, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Cardiff University, with his article - ‘The Path to Permanent Peace: John Rawls and the Just War Doctrine’. Huw is a prominent political philosopher - through his volumes Credoau’r Cymry and Ysbryd Morgan: Adferiad y Meddwl Cymreig, and through various contributions to periodicals including Planet and O’r Pedwar Gwynt, he has made a significant contribution to philosophical debate in Wales.
According to the Coleg Cymraeg’s Chief Executive, Dr Ioan Matthews, who will be presenting the awards and leading the event:
“It is very fitting that we start a year of celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of the Coleg by rewarding some of our brightest Welsh language learners and students, and our most dedicated Welsh-medium lecturers. It is students, learners and lecturers who have been at the heart of the Coleg’s success over the decade, and tonight we are proud of their outstanding success over the last year.
“Over a period of eighteen months, learners, apprentices, students and lecturers across Wales have faced unprecedented challenges in continuing to learn and teach. Tonight, we have an opportunity to celebrate and thank the whole community for their heroic efforts ensuring that Welsh-medium and bilingual education has continued, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“Tonight’s winners deserve praise and recognition for their high-quality academic work, but also for encouraging and supporting their peers and colleagues within their universities and workplaces to take pride in their Welshness, and by doing that, raising the profile of the Welsh language in their institutions.
“The inability to meet and give lectures and seminars face to face for much of the year has meant that everyone has had to adapt and find new ways of working and supporting each other. The nominations received across each category have proven that work of the highest quality, as well as the social side of university and the post-16 sector, has been able to continue through alternative and virtual means.
“We are delighted to include two new categories this year through the generosity of Ymddiriedolaeth William Salesbury, which recognises contributions in the post-16 sector as well as the field of medicine – two key sectors for the Coleg’s strategy in the next few years. I would like to thank the trustees for their generous contribution and support for the Coleg.
“On behalf of the Coleg and the Gwerddon Editorial Board I would also like to thank the Learned Society of Wales for their generous sponsorship of the Gwerddon prize once again this year. The winner of this prize receives £100 from the Society.
“On behalf of the Coleg, I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank them for their inspirational work in the face of such challenging circumstances.”
Due to the circumstances, the Coleg has organised a hybrid awards ceremony that will take place partly virtually and partly face to face, ensuring social distance measures in Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, Carmarthen, tonight at 6.30pm. The event can be watched here on the Coleg’s youtube channel.
A programme of events will be organised throughout this academic year to mark the Coleg’s tenth anniversary.