Swansea-Barcelona conference launches link with Spain’s top university

Links between Wales and Catalonia are being strengthened thanks to a new partnership between Swansea University and Spain’s top university, which gets under way with an expert conference in Barcelona focused on Wales and Welsh nationalism.

UPF Barcelona - La Fabrica The new partnership is between Swansea University and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, which is the only Spanish university to make the world’s top 200. 

It follows other recent agreements between Swansea and universities in Texas and Grenoble which are already leading to research collaboration in areas such as nanohealth.

UPF BarcelonaPicture: UPF campus, La Fabrica Building. Copyright UPF

The Barcelona conference is led by the European Institute for Identities, based at Swansea University.  Hosted by UPF, the event is also supported by the Spanish government.  

It focuses on Wales, with a second event focusing on Catalonia due to take place at Swansea University in April 2014.

Picture: UPF students at their graduation ceremony. Copyright UPF

The Barcelona event will look at how those seeking to build a national identity  – now and in the past – have sought to make their nation visible and give it a profile and identity.  The programme features experts from across Wales, including several keynote speakers from Swansea University.  

UPF Barcelona - protestorsUPF Barcelona - flags

Pictures:  (left - archive picture of police and demonstrators;  right: a recent pro-Catalan demonstration)

Professor Mike Sullivan, Swansea University Vice-President (Strategic Partnerships), who is a member of the Swansea team, said:

“We’re delighted that Pompeu Fabra – one of the top 200 universities in the world - has invited the European Institute of Identities at Swansea University to lead a major seminar for their faculty and students.  It confirms the University’s growing links with other universities across Europe and globally.

UPF and Swansea University have a great deal in common, serving distinctive nations within their member-states.  Both have new campuses on the waterfront; have close relationships with top-flight football clubs and strong civic links.  Our mission will, we hope, strengthen all three aspects and pave the way for closer co-operation.

UPF Barcelona - Dr. Enric Ucelay-Da Cal, professor of contemporary history at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and head of GRENS (Research Group in States, Nations and Sovereignties), said:
“The seminars in Barcelona and Swansea will be a good opportunity for investigators and students of  nationalism in both countries to analyse how both sub-state nationalist movements have fought since the second half of the nineteenth century to gain ‘awareness’ and heighten sensibility among their fellow ‘nationals’.
GRENS and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra are delighted to co-organise the seminars on Comparative History with Swansea University.   We expect to continue collaborating in further research”.

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor at Swansea University, said:

"These partnerships between universities can lead to wider links between regions.  For example our work involves building relationships between small businesses, and cultural and voluntary sector organisations,  as part of a wider regional partnership.   International links like this can play a crucial role in wider economic regeneration.

We already have links with Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, so it’s good that we now also have an emerging partnership with UPF."

UPF BarcelonaAbout Universitat Pompeu Fabra

•    UPF is the highest-placed Spanish university in the Times Higher Education rankings (2013), and the only one to make the top 200 in the world.
•    It is also the highest-rated Spanish university for research productivity
•    It scores highly for student satisfaction (93%) and job placements (87%) among graduates.

Links between Swansea University and Catalonia:

•    Swansea is one of the very few universities in the UK to offer courses in Catalan language and translation, in the Department of Languages, Translation and Communication.
•    The department also offers students a course called “Barcelona/Buenos Aires”, looking at the history, culture and politics of these cities.
•    The University has Catalan staff and students working in various subjects