Wales Studies research snapshot

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Wales Studies is the intellectual exploration, explanation and understanding of all things relating to Wales and its relations with the wider world.

It is an emerging field, but there is a strong body of work developing within our universities, research, heritage and cultural organisations. From researching young people’s perceptions of their communities, their nation and the Welsh language, to rediscovering forgotten voices in literature; from investigating the legacy of heavy industry to pioneering solutions for climate change, Wales Studies is an educational and cultural resource with great potential.

Crucially, it can help to project an image of contemporary Wales to an international audience. To do so, we need a stronger awareness of what makes the nation distinct. Wales’s qualities include its culture, values, history, bilingualism, the importance of community and cynefin, political and social traditions, diversity and much more. They are what epitomise the nation. These are not backward looking clichés; they are assets which set Wales apart.

Knowing and appreciating who we are is vital for our self-awareness and self-confidence. This is acknowledged in the new national curriculum for schools. It was also reflected in the 2016 Welsh Election Study, where over half of respondents said that taking pride in Wales’s history, heritage or landscape, and its culture, literature and arts, was an important part of what it means to be Welsh.

In this booklet, the Learned Society of Wales highlights examples of Wales Studies across many institutions and academic disciplines. Inspired by the approach of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, it reflects on the full range of areas needed to develop Wales as a sustainable and dynamic nation.

This work captures where Wales has come from, as well as where it wants to go.