A discussion and celebration of the efforts of Welsh language promotion and language planning in an international context will be the focus of a two day event held at the Old College in Aberystwyth at the end of the month (28, 29 November).
2019 has been designated the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages and the Our Voice in the World Festival will be part of the Welsh Government’s activities to mark the year.
Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and International Relations, is a vocal supporter of the event and will make the opening address. A varied programme has been organised with contributions from prominent language promotion bodies, such as the National Centre for Learning Welsh, y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, Mudiad Meithrin and Mentrau Iaith Cymru.
Individuals taking part include language learning experts Aran Jones and Helen Prosser, broadcasters Betsan Powys and Guto Harri, writers Alys Conran and Eurig Salisbury and Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts. The ‘Mamiaith’ project, run by Wales Arts International, will be staged for the first time as a way to spark a lively debate about the experience of giving minority languages a stronger voice.
Eluned Morgan AM, Welsh Government Minister for Welsh Language and International Relations, will deliver the conference’s opening speech,
“The content of this conference reflects the current strength of the Welsh language and the many opportunities available to use it. But we need to ensure that we are not introverted and that we take advantage of the opportunities that exist for the language to develop and flourish in an international context.
“Our target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 encapsulates our confidence in the ability of the Welsh language to be a strong and viable language and the discussions at this conference and the outcomes can make a significant contribution to helping us achieve that target.”
According to Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Director of Welsh and External Relations at Aberystwyth University, the conference will provide a platform to explore the Welsh language within a wider context,
“Successful language planning involves focussing on many different areas. The rich and varied programme of ‘Our Voice in the World’ reflects the wealth of activity that is essential if we are to achieve the goal of increasing the number of Welsh speakers and increasing the use of the language on a day to day basis.”
Among the sessions organised will be one by the music agency, Y Selar, looking back and looking forward at the contemporary Welsh music scene. Mentrau Iaith Cymru will explore opportunities for using Welsh in the community while Hacio Iaith will consider the challenges facing the language within the field of technological developments, such as smart speakers and voice-activated technology.
Along with Aberystwyth University, the event’s main partners are the Welsh Government, the National Centre for Learning Welsh, y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and Wales Arts International.
The conference will be held at the Old College in Aberystwyth on 28 and 29 November; admission is free but prior registration is required by visiting www.aber.ac.uk/en/gwyl-ein-llais-yn-y-byd/.