Swansea International Festival

Lunchtime Talks

Lunchtime Talks

A series of free lunchtime events, exploring a range of cultural issues and open to all. Talks will run from approximately 13.05 – 13.55. Seats unreserved.


Monday 3rd October, 1.00pm

Round Reading Room, Alexandra Road, SA1 5DX

Jen Wilson

The Devil’s Music in Wales

Jazz in Swansea was “hot” in the 1920s and “swung” in the 1930s. Jazz bands played fundraisers for the Fascists, and feminist jazz bands stood their ground against discrimination and racism from the pulpit: and to top it all, the Ivy Benson All Girl Orchestra played at Swansea’s Tower Ballroom during the 1950s. Jen Wilson of Jazz Heritage Wales recounts the history of jazz in Swansea.


Tuesday 4th October, 1.00pm

Round Reading Room, Alexandra Road, SA1 5DX

Phil George

Phil George, newly appointed Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, visits Swansea International Festival. Sharing thoughts about how the arts in Wales will need to adapt to face the many challenges ahead, Phil’s talk will offer a view from the top about how a thriving cultural economy will be essential to Wales’s future economic and social success.


Thursday 6th October, 1.00pm

Round Reading Room, Alexandra Road, SA1 5DX

Patrick Hannay

Patrick Hannay is editor of Touchstone, an annual publication focusing on contemporary issues for architecture in Wales. In today’s event, hosted by Richard Parnaby, Professor of Architecture at UWTSD, Patrick discusses what might define contemporary Welsh architecture, if such a definition is possible, and whether the practice of architecture in Wales is on an upward trajectory.

In association with the Royal Society of Architects of Wales.


Friday 7th October, 1.00pm

Round Reading Room, Alexandra Road, SA1 5DX

Professor Andrew Davies

Professor Andrew Davies, Chairman of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, offers some thoughts on the relationship between arts, health, and society, and looks at how arts and culture play a vital if hidden role in underpinning our physical, mental and emotional health.


Monday 10th October, 1.00pm

National Waterfront Museum, SA1 3RD

Christine James and E. Wyn James

Event in Welsh

As part of this year’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, Professor Christine James of Swansea University and Professor E. Wyn James of Cardiff University discuss their work as editors of Dagrau Tost, published recently by Cyhoeddiadau Barddas – an anthology of Welsh-language poems about the Aberfan catastrophe, one of the darkest days in Wales’s history.

In association with the Royal Institution of South Wales.


Tuesday 11th October, 1.00pm

National Waterfront Museum, SA1 3RD

Lyndon Jones

Lyndon Jones, Artistic Director of Swansea International Festival, suggests that Lester Polsfuss changed music forever. Assisted by guitarist Stephen Wheel, Lyndon argues that new technologies have led audiences into totally new musical landscapes; and institutions such as Swansea International Festival are still today trying to come to terms with the schism that was created when electricity was applied to musical instruments.

In association with the British Science Festival.


Thursday 13th October, 1.00pm

National Waterfront Museum, SA1 3RD

Gillian Clarke: National Poet of Wales

Visiting the city that was home to the man widely considered to be Wales’s greatest poet, Gillian Clarke discusses her work as National Poet of Wales, reads some of her poems, and considers what it tells us about our nation that it places a poet – officially – at the heart of national culture.


Friday 14th October, 1.00pm

National Waterfront Museum, SA1 3RD

Robert Newell

‘Aesthetic, pleasurable, disinterested, engaged, contemplative, active…’

Today local artist and academic Robert Newell explains why he paints, why the activity is necessary, and what happens when perception, aesthetics, line, and colour meet on a canvas.


Free Lunchtime Specials