Yet again, the Wales Arts Review writers have produced an array of thought-provoking content this year, with themes from animal encounters to digital entertainment and historic poets to cultural icons. Here is a selection of our best articles of 2021.
Devika Karnad and Marine Furet take a look at the life of Dorothy ‘Dorf’ Bonarjee, who was awarded one of Wales’ most prestigious cultural prizes in February 1914, and consider the poet’s contribution to Wales’ multicultural heritage.
Novelist and broadcaster Gary Raymond traces a personal journey of his life-long relationship with the music of Bob Dylan as the cultural icon celebrates his 80th birthday.
Historian and biographer Geoff Andrews recounts the story of the Berry brothers – the Merthyr millionaire press barons who made waves in the early twentieth century.
Caragh Medlicott reflects on our love of podcasts, pondering how they both encapsulate and problematise our addiction to bite-sized entertainment in an increasingly interconnected world.
Tilly Foulkes tracks a journey of national identity – from her initial rejection of Wales to her final embracing of it – through the music and lore of the Manic Street Preachers.
Jac Lewis considers the role of Welsh working-class history in the advancement of British capitalist modernity and reflects on the importance of nostalgia, or ‘hiraeth’, in shared Welsh identity as we enter a techno-scientific age.
One of the less significant consequences of the lockdown of 2020 was that it cut short a season of Richard Burton films, introduced by academics, taking place at the independent Cinema and Co. in Swansea. The stimulus for arranging the series was the opening of a major exhibition on the actor Richard Burton — ‘Becoming Richard Burton’ / ‘Bywyd Richard Burton’ — the result of a collaboration between The National Museum in Cardiff and the Richard Burton Centre and Archive at Swansea University. This is the first of a series of essays to run concurrently with the exhibition, curated by Daniel G. Williams, director of the Richard Burton Centre at Swansea University. Each essay will discuss a specific Burton film; here Daniel G.Williams kicks the series off with his exploration of Equus.
Whisper networks set up by women for women to warn against sexual harassment are a lot older than you might think. Rebecca Astill looks at their modern digital incarnations in Wales, and asks if the ultimate need is for such networks to become more public.
What is the strange yet profound feeling we experience during fleeting encounters with animals in the wild? Here, Richard Gwyn explores the concept of the entrancing ‘animal gaze’ and considers the depth and breadth of such interactions.
Following recent instances of violence against women in Wales, England and the US, Zoë Brigley discusses public gaslighting, examining why men’s statements are often given more weight than women’s, even when those men are the perpetrators of violent crimes.