Investigating the Role of Eisteddfodau in Creating and Transmitting Cultural Value in Wales and Beyond

float-rightIn spite of the growing body of research examining the values of culture and the arts, there has been little if any research looking specifically at the values of traditional cultural events such as Eisteddfodau. Indeed, the most relevant research in this area dates back to the 1970s. Particularly lacking is research on the contribution of cultural consumption to the promotion of elements of culture such as traditional music, dance, literature, performance and visual arts. Nor has there been significant research on the role of such events in sustaining minority languages. The research will focus on two Eisteddfodau, which hold many contrasts in terms of the cultural values they hold. The National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru) welcomes around 160,000 visitors each year and was first held in its current format in 1861 (although the tradition itself can be traced back to 1176). The National Eisteddfod runs annually each August, usually for eight days, and comprises a vast number of events and competitions. Indeed, the audience is very broad, with many cultural forms included. This Eisteddfod moves around Wales, alternating between the north and the south of the country, thereby impacting on different local communities each time. Its aims are to promote culture, linguistics and citizenship in conjunction with local economic stimulation. In contrast, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Gerddorol Ryngwladol Llangollen) has approximately 120,000 visitors per year, taking place always in Llangollen for six days in July. These visitors come from all over the world. Established in 1947, with participants from over 50 nations taking part, the International Eisteddfod aims to promote culture and world peace.

Investigating Cultural Value

Investigating the Role of Eisteddfodau in Creating and Transmitting Cultural Value in Wales and Beyond is part of the AHRC Cultural Values Project. Recently, the AHRC have announced their second round of funding calls under the Cultural Values Project.

Our project aims to be innovative in two major respects. First, the project seeks to reconceptualise the way in which cultural values are understood. Rather than to view cultural values as a reflection of the 'worth' of the cultural activity to the economy, the approach adopted seeks to determine the worth of the cultural activity more broadly in terms of peoples' individual and national identities, social capital formation and use, cultural diversity and understanding, and the promotion of cultural forms such as those practiced at Eisteddfodau (including the use of the Welsh language).‌

As such, the project speaks to three components of value:

(1) reflective individuals and engaged society

(2) urban regeneration and community dynamics

(3) understanding the context of international relationships.

Secondly, the project seeks to evaluate such values empirically using two Eisteddfodau that have contrasting purposes, formats, participants and audiences. Comparison of these two Eisteddfodau will help gain a better understanding of how people define their identity, their role in society and their sense of belonging in a community through their cultural consumption. This allows the effects of participation and consumption to be compared and contrasted at the two different levels.

Research Activities

The first phase of the project involved undertaking visitor questionnaires at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Gerddorol Ryngwladol Llangollen) during its 2013 event between the 9th and 14th of July. Questionnaires were also carried out at the National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru) in Denbigh between the 2nd and 10th August. Over 800 visitors helped us to collect important data about the Eisteddfodau in this week, and a number of participants agreed to further participate in the next phase of the project.

Phase two involved a series of in-depth interviews with visitors to both of these Eisteddfodau to talk in more detail about their Eisteddfod-going. This involved a variety of individuals from within and outside of Wales who were keen to talk about, what is clearly an important event for Wales. See some of the initial results here in our Publications & Reports section.

The findings of the project were reported in January 2014 at our Cultural Values Project Research Symposium.

Centre Members

Professor Brian Garrod Principal Investigator‌

Brian is a Member of the Tourism Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He trained as an economist, graduating from Portsmouth Polytechnic with a BA (Hons) degree in Economics in 1987 and from the University of East Anglia with an MSc in Agricultural Economics in 1998. He completed his PhD in the economics of UK fisheries policy at the University of Portsmouth in 1993. His research interests span all aspects of tourism and recreation, but focus particularly on sustainable tourism, ecotourism and heritage tourism. He has written widely in the area of tourism management and is Co-Editor in Chief of the book series, Contemporary Cases Online.

Contact Brian via email: bgg@aber.ac.uk      telephone: +44 (0)1970 62 1638

Dr David Dowell Co-Investigator‌

After completing his PhD in the area of relationship psychology, David turned his research interests towards the non-profit and cultural areas of marketing. He has been involved in different projects looking at gallery membership and consumption, as well as willingness to pay and valuation of cultural facilities. Most recently David has been involved with youth volunteering and cultural values in Wales research projects.

Contact David via email: djd5@aber.ac.uk      telephone: +44 (0)1970 62 2848

 

 

Jen Turner Research Assistant

Jen obtained a BA (Hons) in Geography (2008), before undertaking an MA (2009) in Space, Place and Politics at Aberystwyth University. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis, which explores the transactions between the 'inside' and 'outside' of the prison environment. Her research interests in carceral geography revolve around several key areas within the wider discipline including studies of place and ‘home’-making, dark tourism and embodied experience of place and contemporary conceptualisations of citizenship.

Research Symposium

"Cultural Values in Wales and Beyond"

Llanbadarn Centre, Aberystwyth Univerity

The symposium marked the culmination of a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and undertaken by staff from Aberystwyth University’s School of Management and Business.

Programme

Please click on the links to download the slides and voice recordings of the sessions:

Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, "Welcome".

Download Morgan audio.

Prof Brian Garrod, School of Management and Business, "Introducrion to the Eisteddfod Project, Context, Significance".
PowerPoint Slides Garrod.
Download Garrod audio.

Dr David Dowell, School of Management and Business, "Cultural Value of the Eisteddfodau: Main Findings".
PowerPoint Slides Dowell.
Download Dowell audio.

Dr Gareth Hoskins, Department o Geography and Earth Sciences, "Hysterical Preservation: A US-US Compatative Study of Value in the Built Environment". PowerPoint Slides Hoskins.
Download Hoskins audio.

Prof Heike Roms, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, "The Eisteddfod as a Site of Performance".
Slides.
Download Roms audio.

Dr Kirtsy Sedgman, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, "How Audiences Find Value in the National Theatre Wales".
Sedgman slides
Download Sedgman Audio

Publications & Reports

On this page you will find some snapshots of our latest findings from the Cultural Values Project.

Project Blog

Read Prof. Brian Garrod's blog about the project on the AHRC Cultural Values Project website.

Final Report

The final report for the project can be found here.

AHRC Cultural Value Eisteddfod

Contact Us

For more information on the project, or to talk about your Eisteddfodau experiences, please feel free to contact us by the following means:

Cultural Values Project

School of Management and Business, Rheidol Building, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3AL

Professor Brian Garrod

Email: bgg@aber.ac.uk 
Phone: +44 (0)1970 62 1638 Skype: brian.garrod.aber