Richard Davies is awarded the Huw Thomas Prize

Each year the Department awards prizes to students excelling in their studies on aspects of History. This year third-year Richard Davies was awarded the Huw Thomas Prize in the History of Wales. He writes about his enjoyment of History here:

 

Studying history has meant so much to me and to be able to do it at degree level was fantastic. By studying at university I felt I had broken a glass ceiling with regards to what I could study. The variation between modules has made studying history so enjoying and intellectually stimulating. For me, history has always been more than a page in a book. To quote Gwyn Alf Williams, history for me is “the buckle that bites your back, the sweat you get in your eyes and the fear crawling in your belly.”

This quote is particularly relatable to the projects I have written on mining communities in South Wales and those involved in strikes, pneumoconiosis compensation campaigns and the fight against pit closures. I had the opportunity to interview and record discussions with men and women from South Wales communities about their experiences and histories. The value of little exercises like that mean so much as I got to develop communication and interpersonal skills that have been priceless preparation for job interviews. It has been a boost for me to be able to speak with confidence and engage with the public which has been crucial for my personal development as I want to be a secondary school history teacher.

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Studying South Wales industrial history has been very personal and relatable as my family have worked and lived in these industrial and mining communities, so studying this field has given me a sense of belonging and an understanding of my community and how I may contribute to my community and make a difference in public life as a teacher. Without a doubt, engaging with the teaching at the university has been an enjoyable aspect as they are not only excellent and stimulating intellectual thought but are open and friendly to students. I will forever carry my philosophy, of history being more than a page in a book, with me in life and plan to carry it into my teaching career as it has upheld the values of my studies. I wish I could relive my studies again. Studying history has been worth so much more than a certificate at the end, it really is a life experience at Swansea university and I value that highly. It has been ace!

Written by Richard Davies