Lectures & Talks

Ceri Thomas at Highgate School, Wales Week London (2023)

My most recent formal lectures and public talks are:

Shaping Wales: David Bell and Kathleen Armistead at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery‘, a guided tour in May 2023 and a ‘Shaping Art in Wales: David Bell, Kathleen Armistead and the Modern Artist‘ book launch talk in November 2023, both given at the gallery in Swansea;

The View from the South: Four Painters of Wales since 1945’, an illustrated lecture given in February 2023 at Highgate School, London, on Kyffin Williams, Joan Baker, Ogwyn Davies and Ernest Zobole as part of Wales Week London 2023; another version of this was given in March 2023 in Lisvane, Cardiff, to the Contemporary Art Society for Wales;

Painting Wales since 1939‘, given at the Aber Festival, Abertridwr, in October 2022, in which I considered and compared six artists (Joan Baker and Kyffin Williams; Ernest Zobole and Ogwyn Davies; Peter Prendergast and Ken Elias).

In July and November 2022, I delivered informal talks on the Welsh-speaking, Welsh artist Ogwyn Davies alongside his daughter (the ‘Pobl y Cwm’ S4C television actor Nia Caron) at the late artist’s retrospective exhibition in Aberystwyth Arts Centre (11 July to 23 September) and again with her at the launches of my bilingual book ‘Ogwyn Davies: Bywyd a Gwaith / A Life in Art‘ held in Oriel Rhiannon, Tregaron, and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea.

In January 2020, I lectured on ‘Swansea Stories: Bell and Armistead – The Glynn Vivian in the Fifties and Sixties‘ at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery to coincide with the Gallery’s major exhibition ‘Swansea Stories‘ which ran from 27 September 2019 to 15 March 2020.  I looked at the development of the gallery’s modern and contemporary art collection by its first two full-time curators David Bell (1915-59) and Kathleen Armistead (1902-71).

David Bell Clyne Common (1957) oil on board, reproduced courtesy of the artist's estate
David Bell,  Clyne Common (1957)  oil on board; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; reproduced courtesy of the artist’s estate; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/clyne-common-226875

In 2018, I delivered three art talks to school groups, two in Swansea on painter Josef Herman and one in the Rhondda on my sculptor-father Robert Thomas (1926-99).

In July 2017, I gave the address at the Hon PhD award ceremony for John Selway at the University of South Wales.

My previous formal lecture was ‘Mapping The Welsh Group at 60 (Revisited)’.  It was prepared for the Ystradgynlais District Heritage and Language Society and given at the Welfare, Ystradgynlais, south Wales, on 24 September 2015.  In this illustrated talk, I revisited a research, exhibition and publication project which dated to 2006-09 and took me all over Wales.  The project drew upon my skills as an artist, art historian and curator and it was made possible due to an Individual Production Grant from the Arts Council of Wales.

Two months earlier, I delivered a lecture in Cardiff on 16 July 2015 at the 46th annual conference of ARLIS (the UK and Ireland Art Libraries Society).  The conference was titled ‘Mining for Innovation: Fuelling the Arts Economy’ and was held at Cardiff Metropolitan University.  It ran from 15 to 17 July.  My contribution was included in ‘Session 5: The Welsh Landscape’ and it immediately followed a presentation by Dr Paul Cabuts on Ffotogallery’s photographic survey and archive ‘The Valleys Project’.

Paul Cabuts and Ceri Thomas, Arlis conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University 16 July 2015
Paul Cabuts and Ceri Thomas, Arlis conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University 16 July 2015

The title of my presentation was ‘Two Painters of South Wales’.  I put forward the Cardiff-born Joan Baker (1922-2017) and the Rhondda-born Ernest Zobole (1927-99) as alternative models to Kyffin Williams (1918-2006) and Josef Herman (1911-2000).  Some of the paintings which I selected are reproduced in the new Art Researchers’ Guide to Cardiff and South Wales (Arlis, 2015).  This handbook was launched at the conference on 15 July.  Both Baker and Zobole have rooms named after them in Tŷ Crawshay on the University of South Wales Trefforest campus.

Ceri Thomas, Angharad Evans (USW) and Kristine Chapman (AC-NMW), Arlis conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University 16 July 2015
Ceri Thomas, Angharad Evans (USW) and Kristine Chapman (AC-NMW) with the 2015 Arlis guide on the table, Arlis conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University 16 July 2015

My lecture prior to that was delivered to a live audience on 1 May 2015 at the Welfare, Ystradgynlais, in association with the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru.  It was titled ‘Josef Herman’s Artist Contemporaries in Wales’ and was given in memory of the artist, art teacher and art commentator Osi Rhys Osmond (1942-2015) who was a patron of the Foundation.

I looked at Herman and fourteen fellow artists.  They were: his exact contemporaries Arthur Giardelli, Kenneth Hancock, Alfred Janes; those slightly older than him – Evan Charlton, Ceri Richards, Will Roberts, Evan Walters; and those slightly younger – the male artists John Elwyn, Heinz Koppel, Kyffin Williams and the female artists Brenda Chamberlain, Felicity Charlton, Mary Fogg, Esther Grainger.

Previous lectures given at the same venue include two as part of the 2013-15 ‘Mining Josef Herman’ partnership scheme between the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru and the Tate:

Josef Herman (1911-2000), the Welfare, Ystradgynlais, February 2014

Mining Josef Herman, the Welfare, Ystradgynlais, December 2013

Lectures delivered elsewhere include:

‘The Force’ Paintings of Ceri Richards, given as part of the ‘Dylan Unchained – Dylan Thomas Centenary Conference’, Swansea University, September 2014


The visual culture of south Wales since 1910: Part Three (1980-2014): ‘Our’ Art Scene, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (offsite), April 2014


The visual culture of south Wales since 1910: Part Two (1945-80): A Growing and Shifting Art Scene, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (offsite), February 2014


The visual culture of south Wales since 1910: Part One (1910-45): Establishing an Art Scene – ‘Floreat Swansea’, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (offsite), January 2014 https://soundcloud.com/glynnvivianartgallery/views-from-the-collection-part-one

Placing Portraits, given in conjunction with the group exhibition ‘Gwena! Portreadau o’r Cymry / Say Cheese! Portraits of the Welsh’ at the National Library of Wales, the Drwm, Aberystwyth, March 2010 (including a video fragment on YouTube)


Nicholas Evans (1907-2004), the memorial lecture, Rhondda Heritage Park Gallery, Trehafod, 2005

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