Successful Eisteddfod for staff and students of Swansea University

Dr Alwena Morgan, from the Medical School, judged the Gwyddonle competition

live on S4C during the Festival week

Alwena Morgan on the screen in the Eisteddfod T studio

Successful Eisteddfod T for staff and students of Swansea University

Once again this year Swansea University was proud to sponsor GwyddonLe, the Urdd Eisteddfod's science pavilion, as the nation came together in their homes to enjoy all EisteddfodT had to offer.

Even though it wasn't possible to welcome children and young people to the GwyddonLe on the Eisteddfod field this year and have the pleasure of seeing their faces light up as they watch various experiments and discoveries by Swansea University's scientists, Academi Hywel Teifi managed to organise a digital programme which was included in the Eisteddfod yr Urdd app and the Academi's website.

For years, Gwyddonle has given children and young people the opportunity to experience the thrill of studying and working within the fields of science, medicine, human and health sciences, engineering and technology, all led by Swansea University academics and students, and this year, we shared a series of videos showing experiments that can be done at home and many resources to download and complete at home.   

The GwyddonLe competition was again featured this year with Dr Alwena Morgan, from Swansea University Medical School, as the judge. This was quite the challenge with 54 competitors sending in videos of themselves conducting experiments at home. On Tuesday of the Eisteddfod week, the result was announced live on S4C naming Non Enlli Dafydd from Ysgol Gynradd Bro Gwydir as the winner having created her own lava lamp.

On the last day of EisteddfodT, the Morgan Institute Challenge was held and streamed on Facebook Live for the very first time. This public speaking competition is sponsored by Morgan Advanced Studies Institute, a centre within Swansea University which focuses on transformative interdisciplinary research. The aim of the competition is to give pupils the chance to display their reasoning and debating skills as well as receiving feedback from the judges who are leading figures within the field of policy and politics. This year's judges were Ben Lake MP, and Professor Siwan Davies, Head of Geography at Swansea University and climate change expert.

Six competitors delivered arguments for and against the question 'Is now the time to declare a climate emergency?' Lleucu and Rhiana from Ysgol Bro Morgannwg,  Rhiannon and Osian from Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, and Cadi and Gwenno from Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr all performed exceptionally. The judges were extremely pleased by the high standard of debate and the ability of the speakers to research the subject thoroughly in order to base their arguments on facts. Ben Lake MP said, "It was an honour to judge a competition of such quality, and it was quite a headache choosing a winner. All pupils and their schools should be highly praised and congratulations to the Academi for organising the competition and giving the pupils this golden opportunity in the first place."

Lleucu won the title of the best speaker against the subject, and the winner of the best speaker for the subject was Gwenno Robinson from Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, who also won the best overall speaker and therefore the Challenge itself. Lleucu wins £250 for her school as does Gwenno, and Gwenno will also have an opportunity for work experience organised by Academi Hywel Teifi. Congratulations to all competitors. The competition reached over 9,000 people and you can watch it here.

The Eisteddfod was also a great success for one of our own students, Elin Fflur Jones from Pwll Trap, Saint Clears, who is studying Adult Nursing BSc, as she won 3rd place in the Cerdd Dant Solo under 25 and by doing so, has won a place in the new Eisteddfod Choir. To mark the Urdd's centenary in 2022, a choir is being formed to offer opportunities for young people all over Wales to come together in the name of the Urdd, and travel to the United States. Next year will be the first trip to Alabama where the Choir will sing in concerts and learn more about the gospel singing tradition and the history of Alabama's civil rights. Congratulations to Elin Fflur and best wishes for the journey next year.

There was a further highlight for the University during the week as we celebrated the success of another of our students, Sioned Medi Howells, who won the Eisteddfod's Top Literature Award. Sioned, who is from Pencader, is a third year BMid Midwifery student and is currently completing a placement on Singleton Hospital's birth ward. According to the judge and author Caryl Lewis, who had judged the work of 70 competitors, Sioned's work "leaves the reader longing for more". Many congratulations to her on her achievement and this was a special conclusion to a wonderful Eisteddfod for Swansea University which saw over 30,000 people engage with our digital content across multiple platforms.