First Class honours for apprentice

Iwan Bryn James

Iwan Bryn James

14 July 2011

Iwan Bryn James is one of the students to graduate this year with First Class Honours in Welsh after studying on the External Degree Through the Medium of Welsh scheme.

Iwan is a Conservation Unit Manager at the National Library of Wales. He became a member of staff after completing an apprenticeship as a Conservation Officer, responsible for securing and restoring the valuable collections of manuscripts and books that are kept and displayed at the National Library.

After the decision was made to move the world famous  Llyfr Aneurin (Book of Aneurin) manuscript to the Library in 2010, Iwan was involved in the arrangements to ensure its long term conservation.  “It’s amazing to think that I had the Gododdin, the oldest Welsh poem,  literally in my hands,” he said.

Iwan is also a keen strict meter poet who has won the Englyn competition at the National Eisteddfod, and is a member of the ‘Tafarn  y Cŵps’ Team who compete in the Talwrn y Beirdd Welsh language poetry contest.  He had the opportunity to present some of his work in the ‘Creative Writing’ module for his degree.

Having been involved with Welsh literature from a practical point of view for many years, Iwan decided that he would take advantage of the resources he had on his door step at Aberystwyth and set about finding a suitable course.  He began studying part time in the Welsh Department in 2003.

Iwan is extremely glad to have reached the end of the journey by now, and will receive his degree at the same ceremony as his nephew, Rhys Evans, an IGES student. “I imagine this is exactly how a marathon runner feels when he crosses the finishing line!” said Iwan, smiling.

Iwan has also received a departmental award – the TE Nicholas Award – for best essay. He shares this award with Manon Wynn Davies who also graduates with First Class Honours.

He decided on the subject of his essay having heard a lecture at the External Degree Summer School on “ Lloerigion Drws y Nant” (‘The Drws y Nant Hellfire Society’)  by one of his colleagues,  Arwel Jones, Director of Public Services at the National Library.

“I had been brought up surrounded by  wonderful stories about the ‘Lloerigion’, these eighteenth century bohemian, literary gentry. The Drws y Nant public house used to be part of my family home, Hywel Dda Farm, Rhydymain, Dolgellau, and it was here that the Lloerigion would meet of an evening. I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to explore my local history in the essay,” Iwan added.