Monday 15-05-2017 - 15:05
All last week, students from across Wales joined together in Merthyr Tydfil for each of NUS Wales’ annual liberation conferences.
Check out more pictures from the week over on our Facebook page!
Monday: Black Students’ Conference
We started the week with our Black Students’ Conference. The delegates discussed their priorities for the Black Students’ Campaign next year. These included focussing on growing the campaign and making it more accessible to more Black students from across Wales. They also discussed how the campaign can work against the rise of hate crime in Wales, improving the mental health of Black students, and addressing the Black attainment gap.
The delegates did not elect a Black Students’ Officer or Committee during this Conference. It was decided that the campaign’s leaders will be elected in a caucus of Welsh students at NUS UK Black Students’ Conference, on 20-21 May in Solihull.
Tuesday: LGBT+ Conference
On Tuesday, we moved on to the LGBT+ Conference. The delegates were welcomed by our LGBT+ Officer (Women’s place) Hannah Stewart, before moving on to the motions debate, during which all submitted motions were approved by Conference.
The delegates were then joined by NUS Wales President Fflur Elin, who led a workshop on what Liberation really means and how we can ‘do’ activism best.
Later on, we were joined by NUS UK LGBT+ Officer (Open place) Noorulann Shahid, who updated Conference on their work with Queer, Trans* and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPoC), and the keynote speaker was Gethin Roberts of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).
In the afternoon, Hannah Stewart was re-elected as LGBT+ Officer (Women’s place), Jasper Williams was re-elected as LGBT+ Officer (Open place), Gwenniffer McLauclan was elected as the campaign’s steering officer, and Emily Poyntz-Thomas and Thraen Thraen were elected to the committee.
Wednesday: Students with Disabilities Conference
On Wednesday, delegates at Students with Disabilities Conference were welcomed by our Students with Disabilities Officer, Piers Wilkinson. During the motions debate, all of the submitted motions were passed.
In the afternoon, we were joined by Paralympic Gold Medallist and World #1 Boccia player David Smith MBE, who is based in Swansea. David spoke about his experiences as a disabled athlete, and about his experience of studying at Swansea University. The delegates also got a look at David’s medals!
Later, Thraen Thraen was elected as Students with Disabilities Officer. Siân Jones was elected as the campaign’s steering officer, while Jasper Williams was elected to the committee.
To end the day, we were joined by Rachel O’Brien and Charley Hasted from the NUS UK Disabled Students Campaign, who delivered an update on their work and a workshop on what Liberation means to them.
Thursday: Welsh Language Conference
On day four, we welcomed Welsh-speaking students to the Welsh Language Conference. During the morning, they discussed the campaign’s priorities for next year, including ensuring that Welsh Language Officers at institutions across Wales are better connected, and working with other organisations like y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the Welsh Joint Education Council to promote the rights of Welsh-speaking students.
Later, they were joined by NUS Wales President Fflur Elin, who delivered another workshop about Liberation and how it relates to Welsh-speaking students and learners across Wales. In the afternoon, Mirain Llwyd Roberts, Gwyn Aled Rennolf, and Elizabeth Tompkinson were elected to the committee.
Friday: Women’s Conference
On the last day of Liberation Week, we welcomed women from across Wales to Women’s Conference. After the committee report, delegates moved on to the motions debate, during which all submitted motions were accepted, and a discussion on the campaign’s priorities for next year.
NUS Wales External Affairs Manager Claire O’Shea later led a workshop on finding your leadership identity, and how women students can identify their values, appreciate them, and put them at the centre of their roles as leaders.
We then welcomed our guest speaker, Chella Quint, who is a comedian-turned-menstruation education researcher and the creator of Adventures in Menstruating. Chella developed #PeriodPositive to counteract the frequently negative public discourse about periods.
Later, current NUS Wales Women’s Officer and President-elect Ellen Jones led a workshop on our work on Sex and Relationship Education, and how it can be an inclusive part of the Welsh curriculum.
Gwyneth Sweatman was elected as NUS Wales Women’s Officer, which is a full-time position. Gwyneth will take up her role on 1 July. She will be supported by the new committee, Whitney Brown, Jaime-Louise McDonald, Anya O’Callaghan, and Kelsey Taylor. The campaign’s steering officer will be Siân Jones.
So, what’s next?
That’s it for Liberation Week this year! But our work on Liberation doesn’t stop here. If you attended any of this week’s conferences, we’ll be in touch with you shortly to get your feedback.
We also recognise, however, that there were a number of factors that led to lower than usual attendance throughout the week. NUS Wales President Fflur Elin has committed us to undertaking an events review, to help us understand how we can make all of our events more accessible to all students. If you were not able, or did not want, to attend these conferences, we would really value hearing why. Please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone who took part in Liberation Week 2017. Thank you to Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil, for hosting us. And congratulations to all those who were elected!