Cyfrwng 2011: International Conference on Media and Culture in Small Nations

16-06-2011 to 17-06-2011

Location: ATRiuM, Cardiff

Audience: Public

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Involving over 30 speakers from 15 countries, the 2011 Cyfrwng Conference aimed to take an international perspective on media and culture in small nations. Over 100 delegates from academia and industry attended the two-day event.

The First Minister of Wales, The Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones AM, opened the conference by praising Cyfrwng for bridging the gap between academia and industry. The First Minister used the platform to outline the Welsh Government’s vision to make Wales a truly digital nation, but also voiced concern at the scale of the financial cuts being proposed to Welsh broadcasting.

John Newbigin (Creative England) gave the opening keynote lecture on the challenges and opportunities which small nations face in the global creative economy. Other keynote speakers included: Nadine Holdsworth (Warwick University) on the poet Dylan Thomas; John Hill (Royal Holloway University of London) on the filmmaker Ken Loach; and Chris Williams (Swansea University), who gave the inaugural Dave Berry Memorial Lecture on Richard Burton and Wales.

The packed programme featured 30 academic papers on topics ranging from media policy, to audience research, to the representation of small nations in theatre, film and television. A running theme was how small nations can maintain a distinctive media in an increasingly globalised world. Amongst the countries represented were New Zealand, Belgium, Iceland, Kurdistan, Slovenia, Greece, Catalonia and the Basque Country, as well as Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

In a year when S4C faced the impact of cuts and a change of management, Cyfrwng hosted a special roundtable discussion on the future of the Welsh language broadcaster. Panellists Garffild Lloyd Lewis (S4C), Iestyn Garlick (TAC), Elain Price (Swansea University) and Hugh McKay (Open University) led a lively debate in front of a packed audience.

There were further industry-led sessions by the BBC on building drama production in Wales and S4C’s new Digital Forum on new social media and the Welsh language. This year’s conference was also the first to be recorded through a live Twitter feed.

This year’s Cyfrwng Award went to the filmmaker Marc Evans in recognition of his contribution to academia and the film industry in Wales. Evans discussed his latest work, Patagonia (2010), and showed a sneak preview of his forthcoming feature film, Hunky Dory (2011), in an interview with Steve Blandford (Glamorgan University). He received the award during the Cyfrwng Conference Dinner at the newly-refurbished Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.