After spending three years at Aberystwyth University studying for a BA in Welsh History and Literature, and receiving a First Class Honours, I decided to continue to study for my MA in Welsh History in the same department. It was a difficult year due to the Covid-19, but the opportunity to be taught by experts in their fields has been most valuable. I am very grateful to the Foundation for their financial support, for having faith in my research work and for showing that what I enjoy most of all – history – is worthwhile.
During the MA, I had the opportunity to study a variety of modules, ranging from the 12th century to the 1960s, and from Wales to the USA. I developed my research skills, and my historiographical understanding, in preparation for the completion of my dissertation at the end of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed this element of the course, and although the original idea for the thesis had to be amended due to the problems accessing libraries and archives, I managed to complete the dissertation successfully. It concentrated on mental illness and suicides in the quarry areas of north Wales between c.1860 and 1914, with a great deal of attention given to the experiences of women in the valleys of Peris, Nantlle and Ogwen, and in the Ffestiniog area.
I also enjoyed the module Working with History, which allowed me to spend some time having work experiences in the field of history and heritage. I spent a fortnight in the Meirionnydd Record Office in Dolgellau, and three days with the Eryri National Park cataloguing and organising the Ysgwrn Collection. The MA year confirmed that research is my main interest, and that I would ideally be able to secure a research-related career. I have recently started a job working for the Golwg360 website, and it’s a great pleasure being able to use the research skills of my postgraduate year in my current post.