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Penparcausaurus to join Archaeopteryx exhibition

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Left to right: George Barratt, Penparcau Forum; Jeff Dowse and Dai Gornall from Aberystwyth University’s Property Services Team; Nia Davies, Aberystwyth University Old College Project; and Bryn Jones, Penparcau Forum

AN 11 FOOT-LONG dinosaur built by a Penparcau community group for Aberystwyth’s annual carnival is to feature in a Jurassic heritage exhibition in Old College.

Dave the Dinosaur will be on display in the Quad alongside the main Archaeopteryx exhibition, which will be officially opened by wildlife expert and television presenter Iolo Williams at 6.30pm today (Feb 14).

The lifelike model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was made by members of the Penparcau Community Forum, an organisation set up to develop sustainable and inclusive activities and facilities for the benefit of local people.

Complete with moving jaws and a thunderous roar, Dave formed the centrepiece of the Forum’s Jurassic Penparcau float at the 2017 Aberystwyth Carnival and was awarded the prize for Best Overall Float.

Visitors to Old College will walk past Dave on their way to the main exhibition featuring Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur with sharp teeth and claws.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Archaeopteryx exhibition is on loan from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, who have also collaborated with Aberystwyth University to help showcase the institution’s own fossil collections.

​​Dave the Dinosaur: In the middle of the magnificent Quad in Old College

Dating from the late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, Archaeopteryx is believed to be the link between prehistoric dinosaurs and the modern bird.

As the exhibition is open over the school half-term and Easter holidays, interactive heritage sessions for families are being organised in partnership with Ceredigion Museum.

Children are also encouraged to bring their own toy dinosaurs when they visit and take a photo with Dave who stands seven feet tall, four feet wide and 11 feet long.

Karina Shaw, Director and Trustee of Penparcau Community Forum, says she’s delighted to see Dave the Dinosaur on public display again.

“The process of making Dave for last summer’s carnival float was wonderful. It helped to build stronger relationships in our community. It gave people a network to lean on in tough times and a group to share ideas and skills with. For some, it was a great source of therapy. For others, it was a chance to reconnect with their community and feel part of something special. It has made people proud of where they come from and all they have achieved and we’ll be able to share that now by bringing Dave to this high-profile exhibition in Old College.”

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, said: “It is wonderful to see the way in which this Jurassic Heritage exhibition has come together. We have worked in close collaboration with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the HLF to bring Archaeopteryx to Aberystwyth, and the project in turn has inspired the Penparcau Community Forum to bring Dave the Dinosaur back into the limelight once more.”

Bryn Jones is the Co-ordinator of the Penparcau Community Forum and a member of the Old College Project Boar. He said: “Dave the Dinosaur had a tremendous reception when he first appeared at Aberystwyth Carnival last year and I’m sure he will delight visitors to the Archaeopteryx exhibition at Old College. This project shows how local organisations can work together in partnership and we look forward to seeing the transformation of Old College into a vibrant centre which brings everyone together, offering employment and training opportunities as well as showcasing learning, research and enterprise.”

​​A cast of the Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx: Discovered in Germany in 1876 (Pic. Museum für Naturkunde)

The Archaeopteryx exhibition has been made possible thanks to a grant of £9,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is being supplemented with a generous gift of £5,000 from Dr Terry Adams, geologist and Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University, and £3,700 from the AberFund.

Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, added: “Thanks to funding from National Lottery players, this project has created a new opportunity for established organisations to work together for the benefit of local people and tourists. We know that there is a lot of interest in the Jurassic period and this funding means that more people will get to see and find out about important collections that wouldn’t otherwise be available in Aberystwyth. HLF is delighted to give its support”.

Dr Ian Scott and Professor Emeritus Richard Hinchliffe from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, and Dr Bill Perkins from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, are providing additional content for the exhibition.

After launch night tonight, the exhibition will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm until April 21 and admission is free.

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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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