Swansea University community research project celebrates heritage lottery fund grant

A Swansea University project looking into the history and heritage of local industrial and post industrial communities has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant (HLF).

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) - funded ‘’Cymunedau Cysylltiedig: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Communities of the Swansea Valley’’ has just been awarded a £44,850 HLF grant which will support a number of community-focused history and research projects.

Led by Professor Huw Bowen and the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH), at Swansea University, ‘Cymunedau Cysylltiedig’ forms part of the Connected Communities programme ‘Research for Community Heritage’ also funded by the AHRC.

The HLF ‘’All Our Stories’’ grant scheme will support six local projects, many of which focus on the history and heritage of the communities of the Swansea Valley and have great value and a positive impact for the local communities.

One example is a project entitled ‘The Hafod Walk: an Oral History’’ - run by a local branch of the Historical Association - that will create a digital trail around the Whiterock site in Landore using oral history recordings to tell the story of the former Hafod Copperworks.

Maesyrdderwen School will conduct a project entitled 'Researching the Mining History of the Upper Swansea Valley' that will inform local school children about their community mining heritage and legacy. Clydach Heritage Centre’s project entitled ‘Old Clydach’ will explore the transformation of the village through the decades, while the Chinese Co-operative will research the history of Chinese immigration in Swansea.

Another initiative documents important historical events and prevalent local characters. Treboeth Historical Society will work with local school children to research the life of a famous poet Daniel James, composer of Calon Lan, in order to produce an animated life story and the group ‘Swansea Your Story’ will digitally preserve photographs and memories of Swansea’s past.

Cymunedau Cysylltiedig seeks to develop collaborative community research that will considerably enhance a major heritage-led urban regeneration project centred on the Swansea Valley. The regeneration project - Cu @ Swansea - is being led by Professor Huw Bowen in partnership with the City and County of Swansea.

In December 2011 it was awarded a first-phase grant-funding package of £542,000 from Cadw-Welsh Government and the European Union’s Regional Development Fund to develop a programme of work that will breathe new life into the landscape and communities of the Lower Swansea Valley, with the aim of creating a world-class industrial heritage site.

Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, said: “Clearly the success of ‘All Our Stories’’ has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of storytellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Cymunedau Cysylltiedig project as they embark on a real journey of discovery.”

For more information on ‘’Cymunedau Cysylltiedig: Researching the Industrial and Post-Industrial Communities of the Swansea Valley’’ please visit the project website www.swanseavalleyhistory.com or contact Kate Spiller, Project Co-ordinator: k.spiller@swansea.ac.uk