What's on

Due to Covid 19, the gallery, along with all event spaces on our campuses, is closed.  Here is a preview of our next exhibition, which is linked to International Refugee Week 15 - 19 June 2020 and USW University of Sanctuary Status.  

Barrie Llewelyn, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing introduces the project

My idea was to partner Syrian and Sundanese refugees, who have been resettled in the Pontypridd area, with local English speakers, including some of our TESOL students, in a series of creative writing workshops.  I wanted to build on the work of Dr Mike Chick, and others, who are dedicated to finding innovative ways to assist the refugees with the acquisition of language skills.

            More and more of my work links creative writing and wellbeing. It seemed there would be no better way to add value than to help people write poetry as part of their language development.

            How wrong I was.

Over five weeks, participants were given prompts in the form of games and activities to explore themes of celebration, food and friendship. The partners exchanged their stories. And something unexpected happened.  The partners became friends.

Every week as people entered the room with smiles and greetings, the importance of creating poetry receded while I witnessed and took part in something much more valuable: the understanding of each other’s cultures and the break down of barriers. Everyone involved grew in confidence and expressed themselves ever more comfortably. For my part, I was reminded that no matter how different our roots, cultures or faiths are, we are all very much the same.

The group worked with visual artists, student sound technicians and a photojournalism student to produce an exhibition, which showcases the achievements of the project. Speak to me… is funded by Literature Wales’ Literature for Wellbeing Fund and USW through English Research funding.    

List of Participants:  

Fooda Al-Ali           Firas Almaghribi          Nisreen Almaghiribi          Batoul Al-Numeiri

Omar Al-Numeiri          Hamza Al-Numeiri          Hoda Alsayed          Abdul Anees

Mohammad Anees          Renda Kojo          Idres Mahmoud          Maya Mzyan

Adam Almaghirbi          Rosa Almaghirbi          Yara Almaghiribi

Four extracts of conversation

The workshops

Beverley Humphreys, opera singer and broadcaster, describes the impact of working with the refugees

Four years ago R.C.T County Borough Council gave us a beautiful gift - the privilege of welcoming and supporting 50 refugees from conflicts in Syria and Sudan. Devastated lives, shattered dreams, hearts stripped of hope, with at first, no English words to ask about this strange new country or express their fears and confusion.

Growing to know and love each other has taught me so much about the resilience of the human spirit. They have enriched my life, broadened my horizons.

Sharing tears, laughter and stories, together we now have a renewed hope - the glimpse of a new horizon.  

Partnerships in conversation

List of Volunteers

 Ellie Baker            Jason Glover            Cerys Jones            Ladislav Pecha

Naomi Preston             Agata Szefler            Megan Roberts            Jackie Sprinks

Michael Todd            Nerys Todd           Rick Wilson           Eleri McConnell

Alice Todd           Jessica Todd


Marina Iodice           Robert Oros


Sound technicians


Magdelana Ploskonkova           Victorial Szabo           Natasha Sethi            Dingni Wu

 Mark Sandler




Arhantika Rebello            Louise Richards            Barrie Llewelyn            Robert Oros


Special Advisors


The amazing Beverley Humphreys            Dr Mike Chick            Steve Johnson


Special thanks to


The Chaplaincy at The Meeting House             Debenhams, Cardiff           Jane Finucane           Taylor Hebert

Naomi Preston            Chris Nurse           Peter Lambern