James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Catriona Coutts

I was fortunate enough to receive funding from Pantyfedwen for the three main years of my PhD. This made a huge difference to me as it meant that I didn’t have to take on a part time job while studying, and meant I felt freer to attend conferences, including one at Harvard University, which was a brilliant experience.

My project was a joint one between the Departments of English Literature and Modern Languages and I had a supervisor from each. My PhD thesis was entitled ‘Resistance in the ‘Oppressor’s Tongue: English-language Welsh Writers and Spanish-language Catalan Writers’. It compared authors from the two literatures, most of whom had not received that much critical attention, from a resistance literature perspective – resistance literature being either literature that was written as part of a resistance movement, or, more broadly, any text that could be said to ‘resist’ political or cultural hegemony in any way. It concluded that in spite of the language in which these authors wrote, they could be considered as contributors to Welsh/Catalan resistance literature, albeit to varying degrees. To the best of my knowledge this was the first comparison between these two literatures and applying resistance theory was a novel approach in both fields. It was hard work as it involved reading texts in four languages (English, Welsh, Spanish and Catalan) and a lot of background research which then had to be condensed in the thesis. However, I thoroughly enjoyed most of it and had a real sense of achievement on completion. Along the way I developed my research skills and my presentation abilities as well as my confidence, particularly with the latter.

I am hoping to remain in the academic world, lecturing and researching. I received excellent teaching and pastoral support throughout my undergraduate and Masters’ degrees and was lucky enough to work with two wonderful supervisors during my PhD. I would love to try to provide a similar level of instruction and care for future students. I would also like to expand upon my PhD, looking specifically at female authors from the two literatures that I studied and potentially expanding to include the literature of other stateless nations such as Scotland, Brittany, the Basque Country and Galicia.

Doing a PhD is a huge undertaking as it is a lot of work and means delaying finding full time employment for at least three years. It’s likely that I wouldn’t have embarked on one without funding and so receiving the grant from Pantyfedwen has made a huge difference to my life. Thank you again so much. Diolch o galon am bopeth.