The National Eisteddfod is Wales’ primary cultural event of the year with a history stretching back over 800 years. It includes all the major cultural institutions in Wales and this year had 135,000 visitors. The event creates Crowned and Chaired bards who are like National Laureates. Robin Owain, our Ambassador in Wales, won the chair in 1991.
The Eisteddfod has a Welsh language only rule, and in fairness – so does Wicipedia Cymraeg! WMUK, through Wicipedia Cymraeg (the Welsh Language Wikipedia), had a presence there all week in a tent set aside for a hackathon (#Haciaith). The hackathon has been running for about three years at various locations and is the only one that focuses on the Welsh language. During the Eisteddfod, Robin met with the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, raising items that the team have been discussing with the Education Minister. He confirmed that they were considering those requests. Linda Tomas from Cymal (Libraries and Museums of Wales) was there to assist.
Robin, along with our Trustee Roger Bamkin, also met Tom Pert from the People’s Collection and we discussed the success we had with getting the DigitalPast conference to Monmouth. Tom was of the clear opinion that Monmouth had only won the honour of running this convention because of Monmouthpedia (another benefit of the project).
Roger met a number of active Wikipedians who are active for our cause, not all of whom are members. For instance, they provide the Welsh translation for the fundraiser, successfully used last year for the first time. There was also a training session on Wikipedia given by one of the Admins: cy:Defnyddiwr:Ben Bore. This was part of a week of events with Wicipedia being formally presented at least once a day.
Robin and Roger are now considering how to develop this relationship further and how we can best support Wicipedia Cymraeg. As one poster on the Eisteddfod Field proudly announced: The Dragon Has Two Tongues!
Wikimedia UK is very keen to work with other non-English languages, as well as Welsh. If you’d like to find out more and get involved, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 020 7065 0990.