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Celts of the world unite at major conference in Cornwall

All things Celtic are coming Cornwall’s way at this year’s annual conference of the Association of Celtic Students of Ireland and Britain. The event will be held at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus on Saturday 21 – 22 March and is open to both members of the public and students.

Cornish, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Breton languages, literatures and cultures will be discussed and shared at the conference, which aims to encourage social and academic links. The Celtic programme of events, are research based and will be presented and discussed throughout the two day conference.

The talks cover a broad range of research topics from Irish immigrant societies in 19th Century Yorkshire where catholic churches were built by mill owners to attract cheap labour; to exploring how the Cornish coastline was used as a recurring landscape in Gothic texts; to how the Welsh language is currently taught and how it is used by teenagers outside the classroom.

To illustrate the politics and culture of the regions of the Celtic fringe one of the talks will look at women in politics between the World Wars.  Max Wheeler, a University of Exeter History student associated with the Institue of Cornish Studies will give a presentation on the first female MP for Cornwall, Hilda Runciman and other women who acted as the first female MPs in the ‘Celtic Fringe’; Megan Lloyd George, Katherine Duchess of Atholl and Countess Markievicz.

Wheeler explained: “Assessing the regions through their first female MPs will give an insight into the peculiarities and similarities of each part of the Celtic Fringe in the British Isles. Looking at how these women were regarded by the people they worked with, campaigned against and represented will shine a light on how the Celtic Fringe dealt with the novelty of women’s suffrage in the interwar period.”

The chairman of the Association of Celtic Students of Ireland and Britain, Tom Fidler who is also a third year History student at the University of Exeter is really excited about the prospect of hosting the international conference in Cornwall.

Fidler said: “It’s great to welcome students from across Europe who will be sharing their really exciting new research, in addition to the quality of representation from the University of Exeter. I'm also really delighted to be able to showcase just how wonderful the Penryn campus is and I’m looking forward to building lots of new collaborative projects with other institutions.”

The conference will provide an ideal opportunity to promote research by both postgraduates and undergraduates associated with the Institute of Cornish Studies to a wider audience, according to Dr Garry Tregidga, the University of Exeter’s Director of Cornish Studies.

He said:“In recent years Cornwall has been at the forefront of the development of Celtic Studies and Tom Fidler, the Institute's Student Engagement Officer, is to be congratulated on his success in developing an impressive conference programme that brings together researchers from both Britain and beyond.”

Registration costs £10 and further information can be found on the Associations website – www.acsib.org

Date: 13 March 2015

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