I am incredibly fortunate to have received a James Pantyfedwen scholarship during the second and third years of my PhD in History and Welsh History at Cardiff University. My research, entitled ‘From Culture to Tradition: The Political Landscape of Monmouthshire, 1918-1929’, explores the political culture of the county in question during the first decade of mass democracy, and an epoch of profound socio-economic change, after the end of the First World War. The support provided enabled me to pay my tuition fees after 2017 and continue my studies after some encouraging initial findings. As a result, I was able to carry out my research in many archives, libraries and repositories across Wales and further afield. I’m delighted to report that, after submitting my completed thesis in the summer of 2020, I passed my PhD viva with no corrections in late September of the same year. I am now looking to publish my research as a monograph in the years to come and will continue to expand on my research, with the aim of holding an academic post, as both lecturer and researcher, in the future.
The PhD has been a significant undertaking, full of challenges and hurdles to overcome. Fundamentally though, it has been an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing me to become more rounded as a historian, and enabling me to hone my research and writing skills. I am very proud of the thesis I have managed to craft and put together and the entire process has reaffirmed my love and passion for the study of modern Welsh and British political and social history. In my time at Cardiff, I have also been able to gain valuable teaching experience as a seminar tutor. My confidence and ability to present my increasing knowledge and understanding of my subject has only improved as a result of my work with both tutors and students at the University, and has also been amplified in the form of several research papers delivered at both local and international conferences. I have also worked with other historians, archivists and fellow researchers, building relationships that will hopefully last throughout my future career and beyond.
None of the aspects I have just described would have been fully realised without the support and assistance of the James Pantyfedwen Foundation. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who is a part of the Foundation for providing me with such a generous gift in the form of a scholarship which covered both my tuition fees and the Undeb Cymru Fydd scholarship for maintenance costs. Your support has meant a great deal to me over the past few years and I will never forget the generosity and kindness you have shown me with this amazing gesture. Diolch yn fawr iawn!