Forthcoming Events

All events held at the National Assembly for Wales, Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay – Formal invitations will be circulated nearer the time

Gorwel 2017 Talks – advanced notice

The Autumn/Winter programme – advance notice

All events are held at the National Assembly for Wales – Ty Hywel Building, Tuesday evenings between 18.30-20.00 hours, unless otherwise stated

12th October 2017 (Thursday) – Martin Shipton Media and Politics: a personal reflection (Cardiff Metropolitan University and Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC) sponsors) – Venue Cardiff Metropolitan University – Western Avenue

17th October 2017 – 18.30-20.00 | “Out of the Shadows: the origins of American and British intelligence and its influence on the contemporary world” By Huw Bennett, Reader in International Relations University of Cardiff and Luca Trenta, Lecturer in International Relations, Swansea University at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Committee Room 21. Sponsored by Swansea University,  and the Political Studies Association

7th November 2017Dr Norman La Porte (USW) The October Russian Revolution – A reflection one hundred years on – Sponsored by the University of South Wales Humanities Research Institute

21st November 2017Dr Andrew Blakes (University of Bristol) with Stonewall Cymru, Lisa Power and Andrew White – 1967 Sexual Offences Act – 50 years on. Commemorating LGBT life since the Act and Celebrating British LGBT Writing, 1967-2017


9th January 2018Dr Ian Stanford (Cardiff University) – Donald Trump’s First Year – Sponsored by CSFC

Advance booking can be made by emailing

If you wish to support or sponsor these or other talks please email

politicians in line

“Keeping the politicians on track” –  A personal reflection on the role of the media in effectively scrutinising both government and opposition in the digital news era
a talk by Martin Shipton, Media Wales’ Chief Reporter

12th October 2017 6.30-8.00 pm

Venue: Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Western Avenue, Cardiff.

Traditionally, the media has taken the role of both promoter of government and political parties but also that of scrutiniser and sometime unofficial opposition.  We live, however, during a period in which the governments in Westminster and Cardiff Bay continue to gain more powers over our everyday lives but also one in which the media seems to become increasingly disparate.  Yet with social and other forms of media becoming ever more plentiful, is there still a role for the traditional media in politics?

Martin Shipton, Media Wales’ Chief Reporter and one of the most experienced recorders of Welsh political life, will provide his own experience and insight in order to address the central issue of the media’s role in keeping a modern democracy functioning in a digitalm era. He will also enlighten the audience about what it is like to work in the heart of a major UK news organisation, following and sometimes even setting the news agenda for the Government in Wales on a daily basis. In the talk Martin will also reflect on his most recent work on the former Welsh Secretary and House of Commons Speaker – George Thomas.

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Politics Master Class

“Out of the Shadows: the origins of American and British intelligence and its influence on the contemporary world”

By Huw Bennett, Reader in International Relations University of Cardiff and Luca Trenta, Lecturer in International Relations, Swansea University at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Committee Room 21, 6.30 pm, 17th October 2017

From the ‘war on terror’ and regime change, to electoral interference, from drone strikes to the new spymasters. In spite of being secretive by nature and in spite of conducting most of their activities in a covert fashion, for the past twenty years, intelligence agencies have been constantly under the spotlight. And yet, the origins of these agencies, their powers, and their activities are hardly mentioned in schools curricula. So what is the role of intelligence agencies? What are the powers of the main intelligence agencies in the US and in the UK? Where do these powers come from? And what is the relation between these agencies and the rest of the government? The talk will provide answers to these questions by looking at the origins and powers of both the CIA and British intelligence. The talk will provide students with an opportunity to engage with a controversial topic while at the same time enriching the account of history and politics provided in the school curriculum. The talk will touch upon issues including the power of the President and the Prime Minister, the Imperial presidency, decolonisation, the Cold War and the superpower confrontation.

The talk will cover:

– UK Politics,

– US Politics (Power of the President, Imperial Presidency, Role of Congress),

– Cold War,

– Decolonisation

Speakers Biography

Huw Bennett joined Cardiff University in February 2016 as Reader in International Relations.  He specialises in strategic studies, the history of war, and intelligence studies.  His research focuses on the experiences of the British Army since 1945, in the contexts of British politics, the Cold War, the end of empire, and the War on Terror.  Huw is currently writing a book about the British Army’s campaign in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Dr Luca Trenta is a lecturer in International Relations at Swansea University. He is the holder of a 2017 British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for his project ‘Out of the Shadows’ aiming to bring the study of intelligence and covert action to secondary schools. His research interests include covert action and the US government involvement in assassination and targeted killing. He is a regular contributor to The Conversation and BBC Radio Wales.

The event is being run by the Welsh think tank Gorwel and by the Welsh Political Studies Lecturers and Teachers Society.

Note for schools – the talk covers WJEC Government and Politics as well as History specifications: 2.1 Citizenship and rights for Politics, Unit 3 Option 8: The American Century 1890-1990 (for History). For those attending the talk a Powerpoint will also be made available and sent to you email address upon request.

The master class in politics is also sponsored by Cardiff Sixth Form College


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Photograph ©Copyright Fred Dawson LRPS | ®Flickr


The October Russian Revolution – A reflection one hundred years on
Sponsored by the University of South Wales Humanities Research Institute

at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Old Debating Chamber, 6.30pm,
Tuesday 7th November 2017

The speakers will address: ‘The Global Impact of the October Revolution of 1917’

Gleb J Albert (Zurich), ‘The Impact of the October Revolution’s Internationalism in Russia’

Ralf Hoffrogge (Berlin/Bochum), ‘The Impact of the October Revolution in Germany’

Rapporteur – Dr Norry LaPorte,
Reader in History, University of South Wales

The centenary of the Russian Revolution marks a major opportunity for reflection across the world as the global influence of 1917 is undisputed, not least as the origins of world’s first communist state. In Russia itself, however, there is uncertainty over how 1917 will be commemorated. Putin has agreed that it was too important to ignore, but it is clear that 1917 does not fit into the ‘useable’ past forged in Russia since 2000. The February Revolution is unpalatable as it championed western democratic values, whilst the October Revolution remains contentious as the source of the Soviet Union, whose legacy continues to divide Russians. In addition, the whole concept of revolution is feared after the ‘colour’ revolutions on Russia’s periphery across the last decade and the global impact of the Arab Spring.

In these talks, Dr Gleb J Albert will address the impact of the October Revolution and internationalism in Russia and Dr Ralf Hoffrogge will address the revolutions impact on Germany, where communism became a mass movement.

The talk will cover:

  • The October Revolution of 1917 as global revolution
  • The seminal impact of 1917 on global politics
  • Internationalism in Soviet Russia surrounding the October Revolution
  • The impact of the October Revolution on Germany
  • The legacy of 1917 in Russia’s relations with the wider world


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Image: Detail from The Bolshevik by Boris Kustodiev


1967 Sexual Offences Act – 50 years on
Commemorating LGBT life since the Act and Celebrating British LGBT Writing, 1967-2017

at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, The Old Debating Chamber, 6.30 pm – 8 pm, 21 November 2017

Introduction by Andrew White – Stonewall Cymru’s Director

Main speaker – Dr Andrew Blades, University of Bristol

Lisa Power MBE Rapporteur

In 1967 the Sexual Offences Act was introduced by the reforming Welsh Labour MP Leo Abse. The Act was a milestone measure on the road to giving LGBT citizens in the UK similar rights in their private activities to the rest of the UK citizens. As part of the reflection of the importance of this Act, Gorwel in conjunction with Stonewall Cymru are holding an event to reflect on change in literary and general life since 1967.

Dr Andrew Blades will examine the evolution of  British LGBT writing in this commemorative event. In 1971, E.M. Forster’s novel Maurice was finally published. In 1914, when it was written, only private circulation was possible; a love story between two men would have incriminated its author. By the 1970s, homosexual acts between men had been decriminalised in England and Wales, beginning a journey towards public understanding and acceptance of gay men, lesbian and bisexual people, trans people, and those who identify as genderfluid, nonbinary or queer. Where previously writers and readers had looked for coded signs in the canonical literary tradition, from Plato to Shakespeare, Sappho to Woolf, now the possibility of an alternative or anti-tradition began to emerge, one which might be capacious enough to include a whole range of non-heteronormative and non-cisnormative narratives. From today’s vantage, Forster’s novel seems truly anachronistic, a vision of an altogether different time and different values.

This talk looks back over the last fifty years of British LGBTQ+ writing, and considers what kind of ‘tradition’ of writing has been established since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, as well as thinking about whether such ideas of tradition are helpful or constructive in charting the myriad experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the UK today. It considers key genres of writing – memoir, fiction, poetry, drama – and evaluates their role in representing, documenting and facilitating the multiplicity of non-hetero and non-cisnormative lives lived through the last half century. A complicated and fascinating picture emerges of a literature continually evolving in an effort to understand and track social and cultural change.

At the conclusion of Andrew’s talk, Lisa Power, will offer some reflections and add her own observations.

Speakers biographies

Andrew White

Stonewall Cymru’s Director, Andrew, has a background in the private and public sectors having developed the business of global advertising and communications company TMP Worldwide in Wales, before moving to head up the Health and Voluntary Sector Team at the Welsh Language Board. Here he conducted three major investigations and produced statutory Recruitment Guidance, he also held the equality and human rights brief.

He joined Stonewall Cymru in November 2010 and was immediately involved in successful lobbying the Welsh Government to amend the Wales Public Sector Equality Duties to be more inclusive of sexual orientation. He leads a team working across Wales in areas including workplace, public affairs, education and the Information Service. 

Dr Andrew Blades

Andrew Blades is Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol. He is currently writing a monograph for the Oxford University Press, Reassessing American AIDS Literature, which reconsiders the work of key poets during the first wave of the epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s; an article on John Weir’s AIDS fiction appeared in Studies in American Fiction earlier this year. Andrew has also published a survey book, Twentieth Century American Literature (Longman, 2011), and is editing a collection for Liverpool University Press, Poetry and the Dictionary (publication due 2018). He has taught twentieth-century literature widely, both at Bristol since 2014, and at Bath Spa University and the University of Oxford from 2005 onwards.


Lisa Power MBE

Lisa has been a gay (now LGBT+) activist, writer and historian since the mid-1970s. She helped set up Stonewall, was the first openly lesbian/gay person to speak at the UN in 1991, spent 14 years with Gay Switchboard and 18 with Terrence Higgins Trust, latterly as Policy Director. She currently consults for Pride Cymru on LGBT History Month and states that she is rapidly becoming a ‘historical artifact herself’

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