‘Landmark’ book published on Welsh documentary


The first full collection of essays on Documentary in Wales, with contributions from academics and practitioners, has been published this month and described as a ‘landmark publication’ and a ‘must read’.

Documentary Wales

The volume of 12 chapters was edited by Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of CAWCS (Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies) and Dr Dafydd Sills-Jones of Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Documentary in Wales is also the first volume in a new series, edited by Dr Sills-Jones and Dr Pietari Kaapa entitled Documentary Film Cultures commissioned by international publisher Peter Lang.

The book presents a portrait of the documentary culture of Wales, through a series of chapters written by individuals who have contributed to creating that culture as well as by academic researchers.

In his review of the book, John Burgan of MetFilm School Berlin said:

"This timely volume presents a series of thoughtful articles by a diverse group of practitioners and academics that explore and extend our understanding of the complexity of the term ‹Welsh documentary›. Engaging and eloquently argued, this is essential reading, a landmark in the literature on cinema and broadcasting in Wales."

Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens, Non-Executive Director of the BBC and Pro-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: 

"When identity politics coincided with the growth of television, analysis of what it means to be Welsh was done on screen. Documentary makers captured a small, complex country with an evolving political, social and linguistic identity. This is a must-read on the power of the documentary maker to analyse and influence thinking." 

Dr Dafydd Sills-Jones, co-editor and of the volume and of the series said:

"This is not an overview or a catalogue, but rather an opportunity to reflect on how a relatively small nation, living in the shadow of one of documentary’s foundational film cultures, approaches documentary, and what are the specific set of features that characterize Welsh documentary."  

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, co-editor and author of the chapter on language and documentary said:

“It has been a privilege to work on this book and we now look forward to engaging in a  wider discussion, both here in Wales and internationally.”

A series of events is being organised to launch the publication including a panel discussion with several contributors to be held at Canolfan S4C Yr Egin on May 28th as part of Creative Carmarthenshire.

The book is for sale at a discount of 30% for a limited period through the publisher with the code PLSCM. https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/68329?tab=toc 

Note to Editor

Contact: Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones elin.jones@uwtsd.ac.uk 07590 428404 -

1. The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) was established by the University of Wales in 1985 as a dedicated research centre conducting team-based projects on the languages, literatures, culture and history of Wales and the other Celtic countries. It is located in Aberystwyth, adjacent to the National Library of Wales, which is an internationally-renowned copyright library with excellent research facilities.

2. CAWCS offers unique opportunities for postgraduate students to work alongside specialists in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome enquiries about MPhil/PhD topics in any of our research areas.

For more information about research opportunities, or for an informal chat about possible topics, contact our Head of Graduate Studies, Elizabeth Edwards: e.edwards@wales.ac.uk


Dafydd Sills-Jones/Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones: Documentary in Wales: Cultures and Practices

Dafydd Sills-Jones: Anorac: Locating «Feature Doc» in the Documentary Ecology of Cymru–Wales

Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones: Representing Sociolinguistic Reality in a Minoritized Language: S4C, Documentary and «Translanguaging»

John Geraint: Making History: The Story of Wales – Representing the Nation

Geraint Ellis: Arts for All?: S4C, Arts Documentaries and the Notion of Quality

Iwan England: Embracing Complexity: Aberfan: The Fight for Justice

Colin Thomas: Rethinking Documentary: Wales and the British Documentary Tradition

Nia Dryhurst: Creative Documentary?: Csikszentmihalyi’s Systems Model and Documentary Production in Wales

Greg Bevan: Activism and Online Documentary: The Life and Death of Sianel62

Helen Davies/Merris Griffiths: Capturing Youth Voices: Participatory «Social Network Documentary» Production and Political Engagement in a Small Nation

Anne Marie Carty: Authorship, Representation and Ethics: Collaborative Filmmaking with Rural Communities in Wales

Joanna Wright: Interactive, Immersive and Digital Documentary Practice in Wales: A Work in Progress.