Anglo-Spanish Society rewards Swansea University Spanish “Scholars”

Swansea University was well represented at the recent Anglo-Spanish Society’s Grants Awards ceremony 2012 when two of its “scholars” received recognition for their work.

Katie McErlain, a second year doctoral student from the Spanish-Hispanic Studies Department was awarded the BBVA Scholarship. Her thesis is entitled: "A Study of Role-Play in the Comedies of Calderón with Comparative Perspectives relating to English Drama”.

Anglo-Spanish Awards Katie


Originally from Norwich Katie aged 26 studied at Goldsmiths College, University of London for four years, where she completed a BA in Drama and English and MA in Performance and Culture. Katie discovered the Spanish Golden Age dramatists (17th Century) on a Spanish theatre history course at Goldsmiths and went on to complete a dissertation on the drama of Calderon de la Barca. Katie has worked a great deal on her Spanish language to enable her to do a PhD  at Swansea in the Hispanic Studies department, continuing her research into the work of Calderon.

Katie is working primarily on Calderon's comedias de capa y espada, (cloak and sword plays) these are essentially comic plays. She wants to include a comparative aspect with Shakespeare into her work in order to introduce more students of English drama/literature to this important period of Spanish theatre as it has a great deal to offer them, and she feels not enough is known about the Golden Age dramatists outside of Hispanic Studies.

Katie said: “I am delighted and extremely grateful to the Anglo-Spanish Society and BBVA for awarding me the Scholarship, not only because its monetary value will allow me to continue my studies, but also because it shows important support for my research project and a commitment to the ongoing study of my subject area: the Golden Age theatre of Spain.”

Dr Stephen Murray, an honorary research associate at the University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research (Department of Geography), was also awarded a Bursary by the Society for his research into 'The Assimilation and Acculturation of the Descendants of early Twentieth-century Spanish Industrial Immigrants to Wales'.

Anglo-Spanish Awards Stephen

Born in Llanelli, Stephen was formerly Senior Lecturer in Economics and Management at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University and has taught at universities, on a visiting basis, in Europe, the USA and Russia. He completed his PhD in History as a mature student from Warwick University in 2010. His doctoral research was concerned with nineteenth-century trade union sponsored migration from the UK to North America. The monograph is currently in the process of being published. His research interests are very much focused upon the assimilation and acculturation of the descendants of labour migrants presenting papers at conference in Newcastle and Kent in 2011.

Stephen’s current project concerns the assimilation/acculturation of the descendants of early twentieth-century Spanish industrial immigrants to Wales and he presented his interim findings at a migration history workshop at the University of Trier, Germany in November 2011. The project has been financed by both the Anglo-Spanish Society (Principal Supporters Scholarship) and by Eusko Ikaskuntza (Basque Studies Society Scholarship). Furthermore, the research is supported by the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao where he has been elected as an "external collaborator" of the "Permanent Research Group on Studies about the Historical Relationships between the Basque Country and the Americas”. He has also worked as a volunteer on Southampton University’s Los Niños project which recorded 30 life story interviews to document an important facet of the Spanish Civil War and its consequences when approximately 4,000 children came to Southampton in May 1937 by boat fleeing the war and its consequences.   

Stephen said: “Humanities is an academic discipline where it is currently very difficult to obtain financial support of any substance. Organisations like the Anglo-Spanish Society help fill the void and in so doing make a very valuable contribution to the development of the discipline. It is hoped that the award will help many people currently living in Merthyr, Dowlais and Abercrave to more fully understand their origins and add to the knowledge they already have about their Hispanic ancestors.”

First picture (left to right): Phillip Paddack (BBVA), Katie McErlain, Dame Denise Holt DCMG (Chairman of the Trustees and the Executive Council at the Anglo-Spanish Society).

Second picture (left to right): Dame Denise Holt DCMG (Chairman of the Trustees and the Executive Council at the Anglo-Spanish Society), Dr Stephen Murray and D. Federico Trillo-Figueroa (Spanish Ambassador).