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Turner Torfaen

Today, 23 November 2015, pupils at Coed Eva Primary School, Cwmbran were curators of a world famous masterpiece in a National Library of Wales project funded by ScottishPower Foundation as part of the Welsh Government Fusion Programme, tackling poverty through culture.

The prestigious painting of Dolbadarn Castle by Joseph Mallord William Turner - a centrepiece of the National Library’s important collection of art - was transported to Cwmbran for the day in a surprise event attended by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates AM.

The Welsh Government’s Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture programme aims to provide opportunities for young people and adults from some of Wales’ most deprived communities to engage with art and culture by linking cultural bodies more closely with the Communities First programme.

Unveiling the painting, the Deputy Minister said:

“I believe that culture, heritage and the arts can play a powerful role in people’s lives.  Taking part can help engage young people and boost skills, self-esteem and aspiration and we are providing many more opportunities to do so through our Fusion programme.

“It’s been fascinating learning about the work from the pupils today and see their interest and imagination sparked by coming face to face with an iconic piece of art.  It is a very exciting project.”
Throughout the day, pupils enjoyed three workshops held by The National Library of Wales Education team. Pupils were able to work close-up with the painting, learn about its history and importance and hear more about the life of the artist, J. M. W. Turner. During the workshops, pupils also investigated the importance of landscape art through working with digital copies of the National Library’s artwork that are freely available online.

The Turner oil painting was bought by the National Library in 1998 and depicts the moments when Owain Goch was captured by his brother Llewelyn Ap Gruffudd, and imprisoned at Dolbadarn tower from 1255 until 1277.

Pupils were in awe as the valuable painting was unveiled by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian,The National Library of Wales added:

“This project demonstrates how our national art collections can be key resources for supporting schools across Wales, particularly in those areas where children may not have opportunities to see great works of art. The accompanying workshops are designed to directly contribute to the delivery of the curriculum. I am determined to ensure that the National Library's collections can and should be exploited by schools to inspire and support learning and teaching.”

Perminderjit K. Mudher, Torfaen Communities First added:

“The opportunity for pupils, staff and parents at Coed Eva school to view Turner's Dolbadarn Castle is a welcome one, one that closely aligns to the Communities First based Pioneer Area programme in Torfaen. Promoting Welsh art, culture and history is a key theme as are innovative approaches to tackling poverty through engagement with the arts and culture. We hope that the painting, a welcome loan from The National Library of Wales for the day, provides inspiration and provokes further study.”
The ScottishPower Foundation has supported National Library of Wales literary initiatives since 2014.

Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students of Coed Eva school and we’re delighted to be playing a role in making it happen.The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to supporting young people in local communities across the UK in the advancement of their education, so we are thrilled to be involved.”

Further Information

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Notes for Editors

Key partners

The National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales (NLW) serves as the nation’s memory. It’s a repository of treasures and facts, a disseminator of knowledge, a venue, a destination, a place to keep the past safe and readily available for all to access, use and be inspired by, now and in the future.

Located in Aberystwyth, the Library plays a central role in culture and heritage as one of Wales’s major national institutions. As one of the six Copyright Libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the National Library of Wales’ collections are vast and varied and are free to access. They include 950,000 photographs, 150,000 hours of sound recordings, 250,000 hours of moving image, 25,000 manuscripts, 50,000 works of art, 1,500,000 maps, as well as 6,000,000 books. More than 5,000,000 individual items from these collections have been digitised and made freely available on the internet.

The National Library of Wales engages in a full and continuous programme of public events that include high-quality permanent and temporary exhibitions with associated educational and presentational activities.  These are crucial to NLW’s mission of interpreting the collections for, and encouraging participation by, a wide range of audiences whether onsite, at external locations or online.

ScottishPower Foundation
The ScottishPower Foundation (SPF) is a registered charity. The Foundation provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the following purposes:

  • the advancement of education
  • the advancement of environmental protection
  • the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
  • the prevention or relief of poverty and the relief of those in need by reason of disability or other disadvantage
  • the advancement of citizenship and community development.

Decisions to award funding by the SPF are made by an independent and experienced Board of Trustees whose members have a special interest in the above areas. In 2015 SPF awarded funding to the NLW’s Education Service to assist with its outreach programme, including the Turner Torfaen project.

NLW Education Service
The NLW Education Service was established in 2002. Its main work is to:

  • deliver a programme of educational activities of a high standard to promote The National Library of Wales and the national collection through the school curriculum.
  • increase learners’ awareness of the history, culture and heritage of Wales.
  • facilitate access to information for learners and educators and assist them in interpreting that information.
  •  increase the Library’s presence, and awareness of the institution and its work, in various parts of Wales.
  • assist NLW in delivering its strategies and achieving its objectives.
  • produce high quality digital resources to assist with the delivery of the school curriculum in Wales, and publish these on Hwb.
  • manage various projects that provide access to the collections to childen, young people and adults.

Since 2007 The National Library of Wales Education Service has been taking the Library’s collections to schools and communities throughout Wales as part of its outreach programme. These outreach projects are developed in partnership with local authorities, schools and other organisations and individually tailored to meet the needs of those users, as well as assisting them to deliver the required skills and content of the curriculum in Wales.

Coed Eva Primary School
Coed Eva Primary School (CEPS) is a community school that was established in January 2009 following the amalgamation of Coed Eva Infant and Coed Eva Junior schools. It caters for boys and girls aged three to eleven years and there are presently over 400 pupils on roll. The school is situated in a residential area of Cwmbran that includes both privately owned and social housing. The majority of learners attending the school live in the immediate area although a minority are resident within an adjacent designated Communities First area. Very few have ethnic minority backgrounds, and none speak Welsh naturally. The school teaches Welsh as a second language.

The National Library of Wales supports an innovative new Welsh Government policy initiative, Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture which links cultural bodies more closely together with the Communities First programme to inspire young people and adults. Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture is currently being trialled in six 'Pioneer Areas' across Wales. For more information visit Tackling Poverty through Culture

Dolbadarn Castle by J.M.W.Turner
Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is acknowledged as the most important landscape painter in the history of art in Britain. Turner had a particular genius for combining topography, the history of a region and contemporary scenes from his own observation. In Wales, he found the landscape and people of great interest, and the romantic history was an attraction to Turner whose interests included myths and ancient legends. It appears that he read Welsh history and was particularly interested in medieval conquests and Welsh rebellions.