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Aber Uni rated ‘best in Wales’

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Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 14.28.15ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY is celebrating its best ever performances in the annual National Student Survey (NSS), published on Wednesday (Aug 10).

The university is rated the best in Wales and one of the top ten higher education institutions in the UK for overall student satisfaction, according to the annual survey.

The results show that overall satisfaction amongst students at Aberystwyth University stands at 92% – that’s six percentage points higher than the UK figure of 86%.

Two departments at Aberystwyth University are rated the best in their field across the UK for the quality of their teaching – namely the School of Art and the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies, which were both given ratings of 100%, with almost every other department scoring more than 90% for overall satisfaction.

Aberystwyth University ranked joint seventh in the Times Higher Education NSS table.

The National Student Survey is carried out annually by IPSOS Mori on behalf of the UK’s higher education funding councils and gathers the opinions of final-year students at 155 higher education institutions. It asks students to score their university across a wide range of measures, including quality of teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources and personal development.

Professor John Grattan, Acting Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “The student experience has always been at the heart of everything we do here at Aberystwyth University and these results show how much effort goes into making sure that the experience they have is first-rate. They also reflect Aberystwyth’s overall aim of ensuring that our students succeed not only at university but also reach their longer-term career objectives. We have invested in our campus resources but we also focus on research-led teaching and that’s reflected in the quality of teaching here.

“Few other universities in the UK have seen the kinds of scores we are seeing today for Aberystwyth University, where students have said that they value learning and living in an exceptional environment. We have climbed more than 100 places since last year but not only is the overall satisfaction with the university at a record high, we are also seeing stellar performances across individual departments.

“The Higher Education sector has been through a big upheaval since the introduction of higher fees in 2011 and in this brave new world, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that every aspect of student learning and living in Aberystwyth is exceptional. We couldn’t have achieved these results without the hard work of dedicated colleagues right across the university.”

A new initiative has given students further opportunities to have their say across a range of issues, including teaching and learning, accommodation and campus facilities.

Lauren Marks, President of the Students’ Union at Aberystwyth University, said: “Aberystwyth has shown that it is a listening university which responds to students’ needs. A campaign asking students what kinds of improvements they’d like to see has led to changes in areas such as timetabling, feedback and assessment, and learning resources but these changes have made a big difference to the overall experience.

“There is a real appreciation of the way in which the management team here not only leads but also listens to the voice of the student body in Aberystwyth, and works in partnership with the Students’ Union. It shows that students matter and the results of the latest NSS are a reflection of the continued hard work at this university to strengthen and improve the student experience.”

Building work will soon be underway on a new £40.5m innovation and enterprise campus at Gogerddan, and exciting plans are being developed with the intention of transforming the Old College with an investment of up to £20m.

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It’s About Time

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Sioned spinning

THIS January, Ceredigion Museum are proud to exhibit artwork by the portrait painter Seren Morgan Jones, originally from Aberystwyth and the third generation of women artists in her family.

Jones follows in the footsteps of her grandmother Margaret Jones, whose work forms part of the Ceredigion Museum collection. The exhibition will be followed in January 2019 by a retrospective show of work by her grandmother Margaret Jones who celebrates her 100th birthday this December.

It’s About Time is an amalgamation of two distinct bodies of work created by Seren Morgan Jones; ‘History’s Eyes’ documenting Welsh women from the 19th century and ‘Portraits of Protesters’ a collection of paintings documenting Welsh suffragists at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Drawing inspiration from historical aesthetics and references, but expanding the scope of traditional portraiture, Jones redefines and re-imagines the historical narrative, and through this creating a place for women within the Welsh visual story. The paintings take on an additional layer of importance and meaning when shown in the context of Ceredigion Museum; which houses a large collection of items representing the culture and history of the county. The collection is home to many items that have been donated by women, but we too often don’t have the narrative of those women’s lives. Jones used the Ceredigion Museum collection of welsh costume as research for her paintings depicting women in welsh traditional garb; the women largely remain nameless and faceless in our displays and yet here, in Jones’ work those women’s histories are now brought to life.

The portraits are powerful and direct; the eyes gaze unswerving to create an utterly distraction-free moment between viewer and painting which seeks to challenge and question. The portraits are imagined and shaped from stories and photographs of women rather than actual bygone figures. In the creation of these false portraits, in a style that references that of the tradition of Welsh Masters; Jones places her and the women whom she is portraying within this cultural narrative.

Of her work, Jones says: “I create an alternative image of Welsh women to counter the representation often seen in tourist shops. Some would argue that this is the only ubiquitous presence of women from Wales’ past. It is important that the viewer can relate to these women and for this they must seem to have once lived.”

Join Ceredigion Museum for the official opening of the exhibition on 27 January at 2pm. The exhibition will be opened by the renowned artist William Wilkins.

The exhibition is a partnership project with TEN gallery Cardiff and will run from 20 January until 16 April 2018 at Ceredigion Museum. For more information please contact Assistant Curator Alice Briggs, alice.briggs@ceredigion.gov.uk or 01970633086.

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Four arrested as man remains in ‘critical condition’

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FOUR men have been arrested after a man was hospitalised in the early hours of Sunday morning (Jan 14).

19-year-old Ifan Richards Owen is in hospital in critical condition after the attack.

The incident took place in High Street, Aberystwyth, at approximately 2:20am.

Four men, aged 19, 20, 23 and 25 have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.

They are in police custody.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to contact them as a matter of urgency.

DCI Anthony Evans, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We are issuing a fresh appeal for witnesses to the assault on Ifan Richards Owens, aged 19, which occurred on High Street, Aberystwyth at around 2.20am on Sunday, January 14.

“In particular we would like to speak to anyone who gave first aid to Mr Owens before emergency services arrived.

“Mr Owens remains in hospital in a critical condition.

“We would urge anyone with any information that could assist in our investigation any witnesses to the incident or anyone who may have any CCTV or video footage of the incident to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 402 of January 14. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“Four men, aged 25, 23, 20 and 19, have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and remain in police custody at this time.”

Ifan’s family said in a statement:  “Ifan is a kind and gentle person, and we have been overwhelmed with messages of support from family, friends, as well as Ifan’s school friends, teachers, university friends, and sports teams, who are all sending their best wishes for Ifan, who is desperately ill following this incident in Aberystwyth.

“Ifan’s only choice for university was Aberystwyth, he had no interest in any other university and absolutely loves the town. He plays football and rugby for the Geltaidd Football and Rugby Clubs and is enjoying his second year studying Criminology at Aberystwyth University.”

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Ceredigion MP welcomes 7-year Lottery investment in Llandysul

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RURAL FUTURES, a new 7 year programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund, will be rolled out in 10 communities across Wales, including Llandysul in Ceredigion.

Professional advice will be available to help the town create effective long-term solutions to the challenging issues they face.

Rural Futures is delivered by Severn Wye Energy Agency and the BRO Partnership. Llandysul was chosen following a period of research into local economic and social statistics, and liaising with local councillors and staff in numerous community support organisations and community groups.

The decision was finalised following the public meeting held by Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM in Llandysul on November 3 whereby over 150 local people came to discuss the town’s future. This meeting helped the Rural Futures team identify that Llandysul would greatly benefit from support to address a number of local and rural issues.

Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion said: “I am delighted that the successful public meeting held in November played a part in securing this substantial investment. Rural communities such as Llandysul are currently facing enormous challenges and I’m confident that this innovative programme will provide valuable guidance and support to the community as it seeks to come up with ambitious, creative and practical solutions that will regenerate the town.”

Elin Jones, AM for Ceredigion said: “This is excellent news for Llandysul. This programme will give the community the opportunity to take ownership of future plans and projects and implement vital improvements to the town on their own terms.”

The Rural Futures team will work with the community of Llandysul and will also work in partnership with public bodies and local organisations, who are already operating in the area, to add value where possible to their efforts.

Keith Evans, County Councillor for Llandysul said: “Having worked closely with the Rural Futures team over the past few months, I’m extremely pleased that Llandysul has been chosen as one of the 10 communities across Wales to benefit from this programme. I look forward to further collaboration over the next 7 years as we seek to regenerate and invigorate the town.”

Ruth Bates, the Big Lottery Fund’s Communications Officer commented: “This is a new approach for the BLF and in keeping with our aim of putting people in the lead, we see the Rural Futures programme as a fantastic opportunity to deliver real benefits to communities, as well as informing future policy and funding in Wales.”

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