Over Summer 2022 to Summer 2023, WCIA has been hosting and supporting a team of international placement volunteers exploring Wales’ Peace Heritage, through WCIA at the Temple of Peace & Health in Cardiff and Gregynog Hall Trust in Powys – funded by the ERASMUS+ programme (for which 2023 is the last year of UK participation).
The collaboration between WCIA and Gregynog builds on a long and shared heritage, both venues having been founded by the Davies Family of Llandinam. David Davies and his sisters Gwendoline and Margaret were high-profile Welsh philanthropists over the 1900s-40s, establishing Gregynog not just as their home but as a centre for internationalist thinking and the arts, including the iconic Gregynog Press. Staunch advocates of cooperation through the League of Nations, they founded and funded WCIA’s predecessor the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU), headquartered from Wales’ Temple of Peace & Health as the nation’s memorial to the fallen of WW1 – which they gifted to the people of Wales as a centre for civil society activism for future generations of internationalists. Following the Davies Sisters’ passing in 1963, Gregynog Hall was bequeathed to the University of Wales as a centre for study and retreat, until in 2020 it was transferred to the Gregynog Hall Trust.
This 2022-23 European Solidarity Corps project has brought 4 young people to Wales for a full year on a ‘journey of solidarity‘, individually and as a group exploring the rich peace heritage of Welsh internationalism. Placements gain valuable hands-on work experience supporting the day to day work of onsite teams at Gregynog and the Temple, from guiding visitors and supporting events, to undertaking research, cataloguing and digitisation of archival materials. Each volunteer over the year has specialised in projects matching their personal interests – such as communications and video production, project management of volunteers, and onsite interpretation.
The group have also worked together on a series of complementary activities as a team, to produce:
- digitised archive materials curated on Peoples Collection Wales / other online platforms
- feature articles exploring hidden ‘peace histories’ linking Gregynog and the Temple of Peace
- displays integrated into onsite visitor information at the Temple and Gregynog
- a group exhibition exploring the theme of solidarity ‘journeys’, to showcase at the Temple, Gregynog and Llangollen (below)
- a presentation at the young peacemakers awards at Llangollen International Eisteddfod in July 2023.
Exploring Peace Heritage
Take a closer look at some of the projects the ESC team have been uncovering over 2022-23:
- Temple of Peace Library catalogue – in July-August 2022, the ESC European volunteers teamed up with Welsh students for an Archiveathon, to catalogue the contents of the Temple of Peace Library.
- In November 2022, the ESC Temple team helped organise a Descendant’s Reunion event marking the anniversary of the Temple’s opening in 1938, including curation of the Minnie James collection.
- 1925 Church Leaders Appeal – in January 2023, the ESC group visited the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth for an archives research and digitisation workshop. During the course
- Aug 2022 ESC Induction at Temple and Gregynog
- Nov 2022 Temple 84th Anniversary ‘Descendents Reunion and Minnie James family visit
- January 2023 Research & Digitisation Training at Aberystwyth
- ‘Solidarity for Peace group exhibition construction and curation at Gregynog
- Completed ESC team exhibition display ‘Solidarity for Peace‘ at Gregynog Hall, Powys
Meet the ESC Team