Lit in Place Project Leads to Renewed Interest in Kate Roberts’ Former Home

Published Mon 22 Apr 2024 - By Literature Wales
Lit in Place Project Leads to Renewed Interest in Kate Roberts’ Former Home
A campaign is underway in Rhosgadfan to reopen Cae’r Gors, the childhood home of one of Wales’ most famous authors, Kate Roberts, after the Heritage Centre closed its doors temporarily during the Covid lockdown.

The house was recently used as a location for one of our Llên mewn Lle | Lit in Place project, which explore the climate and nature crisis through literature. Lit in Place is run by Literature Wales with support from WWF Cymru.

The name of the project being held in Rhosgadfan is Gwledda. Gwledda has been devised and led by the facilitator and freelance artist, Iola Ynyr. Over the past year the project has included several valuable activities, such as planting over 20 trees on the grounds of Ysgol Rhosgadfan with the support of North Wales Nature Trust; the participants have learned about the carbon cycle with GwyrddNi; insect houses have been built, there have been walking tours, and poems and pieces of prose have been written and shared. The aim of the project is to increase the self-worth of the individuals taking part, and increase their confidence in taking creative risks, whilst also promoting well-being that is rooted in the land.

To top it all off, the workshops have led to renewed interest in Cae’r Gors, and a campaign to re-open the house to the community is currently underway. The aim is that Cae’r Gors will be used as a community centre, and somewhere for the Rhosgadfan community to take ownership of. Councillor Arwyn Herald has been the driving force for the campaign, and a Board of Trustees is now in place and ready to determine the next chapter for this special cottage.

On Saturday 23 March an event was held to celebrate the project where members of the community came together for the unveiling of a special sculpture of Kate Roberts’ cloak. The sculpture is the work of the artist Simon O’Rourke, which has been created from reclaimed wood, and inscribed in its surface are words suggested by the community members following the Gwledda project.

Councillor Arwyn Herald said: “Congratulations to the crew who have been taking part in Gwledda in Cae’r Cors. It’s wonderful to see the fruits of their labour unveiled on site recently in the company of the village children and the participants. A scheme like this by Literature Wales is vitally important to promote our local literature for the next generation.”

Iola Ynyr said “The statue is a beautiful record of the Gwledda project, conveying the connections that have been created through creativity. It celebrates how re-connecting with the land can boost our well-being and shine a new light on our local area.”

Lit in Place offers funding to writers and facilitators to create, set up and deliver a literary project in their local community with a focus on sustainability and the environment. The aim is to use creativity to contribute to wider discussions on practical solutions for the harmful effects of the nature and climate crisis. In 2022-2023, three projects received support. In addition to Gwledda, there is The Fruits of our Fire, curated by Siôn Tomos Owen in Treherbert and The LUMIN Syllabus curated by Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse in Swansea.

Leusa Llewelyn, Artistic Director of Literature Wales, said, “Thank you to the community of Rhosgadfan for their warm welcome over the past few months. Members of the community – children, parents, and beyond – have shown creativity and courage in discussing the frightening effects of the climate crisis and the general challenges of life by writing from the heart about their experiences. Thanks also to Iola for her vision. It’s wonderful to see a writing project introduce elements such as planting trees and cooking lobsgóws – and by combining those diverse activities, has also succeeded in bringing people and experiences together.”

In April 2024, two additional Lit in Place projects will be set up to support more communities in Wales to explore and understand their local ecosystem. We will release further details about the projects held in the Bethesda and St Davids areas in due course.