RCA SHOW 2012

Branwen Fflur Gwynn

History of Design


Welsh Quilting Exhibition Held at St Fagans: Welsh Folk Museum, 1951

Photograph


Title of Dissertation: Wales on Display – Crafting national identity

My dissertation explores the relationship between craft, national identity and display: examining the attempt to establish a craft revival in post-war Wales. Considering a range of exhibition spaces: the National Eisteddfod, the Welsh Folk Museum, the Festival of Britain and the Festival of Wales, it examines the vital role of Iorwerth Peate, the instigator and promoter of the revival. Peate, a passionate nationalist, believed that craft represented the true visual culture of Wales, with the craftsman embodied as society’s ‘spiritual leader’. Within these exhibition spaces, Peate employed craft as an emblem of national identity and ‘Welshness’, displaying Wales as a pastoral nation with a distinct, unique culture, separate to England’s. However, in a period of rapid socioeconomic change, and new opportunities, often concerned with progress and innovation, Peate’s vision was perceived as overly romanticised and nostalgic. The paper sets out to reveal the tension and conflict between the old and the new, preservation and progression, and particularly between craft and the fine arts. I argue that Wales witnessed an unsuccessful craft revival during this period and a visual culture based upon the ‘High Art’ tradition of Britain and Europe emerged, an outcome favoured by David Bell.



+44 (0)7531 768 515

branwen.gwynn@network.rca.ac.uk


Courtesy of the National History Museum of Wales

CV

Degrees

BA, History, University of Exeter, 2009

Experience

Art and design reporter, Antena Productions, Cardiff, 2011 to present; Cataloguer for the Clothworker’s Centre Project (internship), Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012 to present; Assistant curator (internship), Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen, 2010–11