News Opportunity Pilgrimage

Call for Papers – Pilgrimage and Flourish Symposium


Call for Papers - Pilgrimage and Flourish Symposium

Ancient Connections is collaborating with the British Pilgrimage Trust to host a pilgrimage symposium 11/12 March 2023

Call for Papers
‘Pilgrimage and Flourishing’ Symposium:
The multi-layered benefits and challenges of pilgrimage
March 11-12, 2023
Venue: The Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy, Ireland

During the COVID-19 pandemic, pilgrimage tourism has flourished all over the world. New and revived pilgrimage routes have emerged in many destinations including Italy, Japan, Nepal, and the UK. Various forms of pilgrimages have been attracting secular tourists, such as the increasing numbers of South Korean tourists walking the Caminos in Spain. Virtual pilgrimages have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, which would sustain especially for those who have immobility due to disability/illness. Pilgrimage walks have been particularly popular during the pandemic as a means of improving mental, physical and psychological well-being, social interaction, self-reflection, spiritual recharge, etc.

We have also seen pilgrimages contributing to the well-being of local communities, by providing livelihoods and liveliness; and helping aid cultural revitalisation. Some new pilgrimages are intentionally created by authorities and charities in ways that benefit and engage with local communities. For example, the Ancient Connections project linking Pembrokeshire in Wales to County Wexford in Ireland, involves various community engagement activities, and collaborations with local artists. Although the benefits of pilgrimage tourism to local/rural communities have been recognised during the pandemic and beyond, there is a lack of awareness and support from governments and authorities for supportive infrastructure and marketing, as well as local communities, and small business involvement. There is a need for a collaborative effort, where various stakeholders actively communicate and help optimise the potential benefits of pilgrimage tourism in communities, especially in economically deprived and marginalised areas.
To explore the emerging phenomenon in pilgrimage tourism and its sustainable, resilient and regenerative futures, we like to invite you to a symposium, “Pilgrimage and Flourishing” where scholars, practitioners, government officials, creatives and other stakeholders will examine the current issues, share knowledge and insights, and discuss pilgrimage tourism’s economically, socially and environmentally sustainable futures.

We also like to discuss: what the practical steps are in setting up modern-day pilgrimage routes; how to create a working model between pilgrimage organisations and tourism agencies/local/central governments; how to navigate the difference between pilgrimage experience and “regular” tourism. How can we encourage as diverse a group of pilgrims as possible, both in religion or non-religion, racial and socio-economic backgrounds? What kinds of pilgrims do “we” want to see on the path, and how much should diversity feature in decision-making?

We invite contributions from a variety of disciplines and subject areas including visual and audio arts, movement practitioners, anthropology, human geography, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, economics, history, development studies, critical tourism studies, hospitality/event management, government and charity organisations. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Pandemic landscapes and pilgrimage tourism
  • Rural development through pilgrimage tourism after the pandemic
  • Community and cultural revitalisation through pilgrimage in rural areas
  • Pilgrimage and cultural/heritage/language revitalisation.
  • Pilgrimage tourism’s impact on the environment and the local economy
  • Poverty alleviation and pilgrimage tourism in marginalised areas
  • Rural entrepreneurship and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • The greening of the economy and pilgrimage tourism
  • Proximity tourism and pilgrimage in rural areas
  • Main barriers to pilgrimage tourism and solutions (e.g. low-cost accommodation)
  • The changing nature of pilgrimage (a niche vs. ‘mainstream’ cultural tourism), and what it means for future development
  • Tensions and conflict among pilgrimage stakeholders
  • Creative responses to pilgrimage
  • Development of creative tools to enhance pilgrim experience
  • Co-creation in pilgrimage community projects (arts, festivals, etc.)

    We strongly encourage speakers to present in a creative way, which can include showing a short film, reading poetry, storytelling, movement/dancing, singing, Pecha Kucha, etc.

    Please send your abstract (no more than 250 words) to Jaeyeon Choe via email ( by the 15th of October. There is no registration fee for participating in this event but there is limited space. Thank you!

News Opportunity

Pererin Wyf – new arts project launch!


Pererin Wyf - new arts project launch!

Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a Pilgrim: Sounding the way back through story and song

is a new cross border participatory arts project connecting the Welsh and Irish diasporas of North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford launching this Autumn.

The Pererin Wyf project will be delivered by artist Rowan O’Neill and Pembrokeshire based community arts organisation SPAN Arts, working in tandem with co-facilitators, Irish artists Rachel Uí Fhaoláin from Ceol Mo Chroí and John Ó Faoláin from Traditional Archive Channel.

 Pererin Wyf is Welsh for the affirmative statement, ‘I am a pilgrim’ and is the title of an 18th century hymn written by prolific hymn writer, William Williams Pantycelyn from which this project takes its inspiration.  The hymn later became associated with the tune Amazing Grace and was popularised in the 1960s with a recording by Iris Williams.

The Pererin Wyf  project will invite singers from all over the world to record a version of this song in any language from the location of their choice.  Recordings will be pinned to a digital map to form a global chorus of this enduring song.  Project participants will also have the chance to offer their personal reflections and connections to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford whether current resident, the home place of their forebears, or place of significance for other reasons.

The project Pererin Wyf will begin in September 2022 with a series of free bi-weekly online workshops with world class speakers focusing on the key themes of the project; connecting with the Welsh and Irish diaspora, language, home, travel and song.  Speakers will include David Greenslade whose book Welsh Fever is a gazeteer of Welsh activity and connection in North America, Pamela Petro author of The Long Field, a meditation on hiraeth shortlisted for the 2022 Welsh Book of the year, Professor Helen Phelan Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and Rachel Uí Fhaoláin and John Ó Faoláin, traditional song, folklore and story collectors based in Wexford.

A series of hybrid workshops will follow culminating in an exchange trip between host county participants in the Spring of 2023.  The workshops will result in a new version of the song featuring the Irish language and reflecting contemporary understandings of pilgrimage, home and return.

If you have a personal connection with North Pembrokeshire or Wexford and would like to take part in this project we would love to hear from you.  Please email to find out more about how you could get involved or book a place on the introductory session on the 29th September through 


Public Art Launch – Do the Little Things – everyone welcome!


Public Art Launch - Do the Little Things - everyone welcome!

Friday 18th November 3 – 5 pm St Davids Cathedral grounds 

Do the Little Things is a new public artwork designed for two locations: St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, and Ferns, Wexford.

The three giant bee hives made from cedar wood have been created by Bedwyr Williams, whose project has been realised with the support of Contemporary Art Society Consultancy.

These ‘living sculptures’ will house live bee colonies and Do the Little Things connects the two communities of St Davids and Ferns through the practice of beekeeping, reflecting the medieval story of St David and his friendship with St Aidan, who brought bees back to Ireland from Wales.

The bee colonies are being cared for by local beekeepers and community groups, who will be harvesting and selling honey in labelled jars designed by the artist and local school children.

Bedwyr says: “I’m interested in objects that invite communities to become active participants to make the artwork whole. St David’s last words were “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things.” This ethos has guided the development of my proposal, which is founded on the story of St David and St Aidan and steeped in the magic and history of these two intertwined locations.”

Sited in the grounds of St David’s Cathedral, the first edition of the work opens to the public on Friday 18 November from 3 pm. The launch will include a Q&A with the artist and local beekeeper Gayle Twitchen, storytelling, and a performance of  the ‘Bee Song’ by children from Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi led by composer Sam Howley. The event is free and all are welcome.

Bees have linked St Davids and Ferns since the sixth century, when St David gifted a hive of bees to St Aidan to keep, after the monastery bees twice followed their favourite monk home to Ireland and had to be brought back” said the Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of the Cathedral. “We’re delighted to welcome this striking symbol of the ties between us”.

Please register for the event so that we know how many people to cater for