Celtic and Proud of It, Say Scholars

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

Celtic and Proud of It, Say Scholars


Byline: By GARETH MORGAN Western Mail

The biggest gathering of scholars from Celtic nations is preaching its quest to prove that Celts have a cultural history to be proud of. The Milestones conference wants to explode views that ignore or underestimate the contribution made by the Celts in history.

People in Celtic nations often speak of their 'special bond' but few understand the reason behind this connection - even in academic circles there are disagreements.

This conference explores the proper place and status of Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man - and the concept of 'Celticity'.

Later in the year a new five-volume encyclopedia of all-things Welsh and Celtic will be hitting the bookshelves.

And before that, Aberystwyth is taking centre stage among the Celtic nations - as the town's Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The centre has set out to tackle challenges like the notion that Wales had no indigenous tradition in the visual arts.

Professor Geraint H Jenkins, director of the centre, said, 'Nobody was acknowledging our arts at that time. There had been no research done.

'People were just overlooking the whole tradition of arts in Wales and we felt that had to change.'

The same was true elsewhere in the centre's work. 'There were big gaps in our knowledge and we wanted to fill those gaps,' he said.

Huge holes will soon be filled when the Celtic Encyclopedia is published as an element of the Celtic Languages and Cultural Identity project.

An international research team including Germans, Americans, Welsh and Irish has compiled more than 1,300 entries by 300 leading Celtic scholars.

'It will be looking at the Celtic influence all over the world - history, language, arts, everything,' said Prof Jenkins.

'It has been about eight years in the making and it has been an absolutely mammoth task.

'But as we are next to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth we are well-situated for research work. …

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