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‘World first’ independence photography exhibit to be displayed in Wales

13 Apr 2023 3 minute read
The collection of images will be open to the public from Thursday – Top left: Neil McGuff ‘Misfit, Bottom left: Cole Whitelaw, Right: Àgueda Graell

A “world first” photography collection will be exhibited in Wales with stunning images that explore how people’s life experiences impact on their attitudes to independence.

The pop-up exhibition, ‘Head / Heart: Framing Future Wales’, will also explore views on independence in Catalonia and Scotland and will be open to the public at Aberystwyth’s bandstand.

The collection has been put together as part of a study led by Aberystwyth academics and will be available between 10am and 5pm on 13-15 April 2023.

The research marks a fundamental shift in how independence has been studied to date and project leaders Dr Anwen Elias and Dr Elin Royles from the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society at Aberystwyth University are using photography to better understand people’s thoughts and feelings about independence in the three countries.

Following the inaugural exhibition is in Aberystwyth, further displays of the collection will be available in both Barcelona and Edinburgh.

Photo: Anna Martin Rauret


Dr Elin Royles said: “We’re working in Wales, Catalonia and Scotland to develop a brand-new approach to ‘Independence’ research.

“The bulk of previous research has focused solely on survey responses and demographics, such as age, gender, social class and income, but we delve deeper and are interested in learning how we can explain how people think and feel about the constitutional futures of their respective countries.

“Our approach is a world first and should add much needed colour and shade to what is currently known about people’s views in relation to Independence.

“Most importantly, it could lead to more nuanced discussion, particularly in Catalonia and Scotland, where debate is intense and polarised among political parties and the media.”

Photo: Sonny McLeod


The exhibition will be formally launched Thursday evening (13 April) by Ceredigion MS, Elin Jones and the Senedd’s Presiding Officer.

Erin Jones MS said: “Given the debate happening in Wales, England and Scotland about the future of the UK constitution, I welcome this research led by Aberystwyth University.

“Putting party political positions aside, developing a deeper understanding of people’s views on independence is important to Welsh democracy.”

Photo: Cole Whitelaw ‘Road’


Aberystwyth Camera Club Chair, Neil McGuff, whose photography is shown in the first collection, has urged other photography clubs and classes to get involved.

He said “Myself and other members of the photography club really enjoyed taking part in this research. Using our creativity to explore the idea of independence has led to some fascinating conversations among the group and opened my eyes to the way each of us can approach a divisive topic.

“I would highly recommend any photography club or class to get involved as it offers a wonderful opportunity to pursue your creativity and to potentially have your final photography exhibited in a location such as Barcelona.”

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