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It’s a real honour to be able to speak to you here in this building so full of history and indeed this town that holds such a special place within the story of Wales.
And it is with a great deal of humility that I stand before you today to deliver a lecture that bears the name of Raymond Williams.
His brilliance, his insight and his compassion make his writing as powerful and as illuminating today as it has ever been.
In preparation for today I went over much of what he wrote specifically about Wales and Welsh identity and culture, not necessarily what his international reputation has been based upon, and it has been absolutely fascinating.
In his piece ‘Welsh Culture’, written in 1975, he wrote, ”The feeling for the past is more than a fancy, but it’s how past and present relate that tells in a culture.”
And it is exactly his grasp of that relationship between our past and our present here in Wales, and the challenges we face in exploring concepts like identity and nationhood, that is for me both inspiring and, in these particular circumstances, arse-shakingly intimidating.
So, I’ll begin with the only thing I feel I have any kind of authority to be able to stand here and speak to you about, which is - myself.
My own personal experience.
Raymond Williams Lecture organised by Learning and Work Institute Wales, presented by Michael Sheen.