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Ù Ơ : Five Welsh women artists selected for prestigious international residency

05 Dec 2021 2 minute read
Ù Ơ  Residency – Literature Across Frontiers

Five Welsh women artists have been selected to take part in a prestigious virtual residency enabling collaboration an exchange with Vietnamese counterparts.

The women, from a range of artistic backgrounds, responded to an open call to bring together emerging Vietnamese and Welsh poets and artists in a series of digital workshops.

Ù Ơ is a digital residency project run by Literature Across Frontiers and supported by the British Council and is a collaboration with Ajar Press,a small press for poetry and art in Hanoi”.

The Welsh women selected to take part are:

  • Rae Howells, an award-winning poet and journalist from Swansea
  • Esyllt Angharad Lewis is an artist, illustrator, and translator from Swansea
  • Rhiannon Oliver is an actress and poet from Cardiff
  • Ness Owen who writes plays, stories and poems in between farming and lecturing and is from Ynys Môn
  • Sara Louise Wheeler is a freelance writer, poet and visiting research fellow at Wrexham Glyndŵr University


According to the Literature Across Frontiers website, the aim is to “facilitate the exchange ideas and collaboration on production of new work that experiments with translations between cultures, languages and art forms.

“The title Ù Ơ plays with the ‘first’ sounds – of lullabies or sounds parents make when speaking to small children – referring to origins of language. Rhyming with ‘thơ’ (poetry), the title denotes a way to refresh our understanding of poetry”.

They say the participants will explore poetry from the viewpoint of women working in a literary landscape which has, until recently, been dominated by male creators.

In a tweet, Literature Across Frontiers said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Ajar Press to launch the Vietnam-Wales Ù Ó virtual residency, supported by the British Council. The project will bring together ten emerging poets and artists to collaborate on new work exploring translation between languages and art forms.”

The artists will respond to each other’s work with multilingual poems and audio-visual recordings and the residency will culminate in a week-long public livestream and interactive poetry gathering.

Facilitation of the workshops and preparation of the work for showcasing and publication will be down to co-curators Nhã Thuyên and Alexandra Büchler, and poet Menna Elfyn will join the project as guest speaker.

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