Wednesday 13 January 2016


New academic monitor to oversee Welsh Language Project in Patagonia

The Welsh Language Project in Patagonia has appointed a new academic monitor to oversee the standard of teaching and development of the project.

Rhisiart Arwel takes over from the former academic monitor, Gareth Kiff.

Rhisiart was born in Denbigh, North Wales, the son of a Baptist minister and a nurse from Anglesey. The family moved to Garnswllt, a village near Ammanford in the Amman Valley when Rhisiart was four years old and then to Corwen in the old Merionethshire.

Rhisiart received his secondary education in Ysgol y Berwyn, Bala.

He went on to study the classical guitar in the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with John Aran. After graduating, he continued his studies with John Duarte in London and was then awarded a scholarship by the Welsh Arts Council to study with Ricardo Iznaola in Madrid.

Rhisiart then qualified as a teacher in Cardiff and joined the staff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and Trinity College in Carmarthen.

He also performed extensively as a soloist on radio and television and in recitals throughout Wales, Britain and abroad. He has appeared as soloist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on more than one occasion.

During the 1980’s, Rhisiart worked in the media industry. He was appointed as a producer and director with HTV and later with S4C. He was subsequently appointed to the staff at the BBC as a producer and senior producer.

After leaving the BBC, Rhisiart turned to a subject that is very close to his heart, the Welsh Language. He successfully completed a national qualification course and subsequently worked as a Welsh for adults tutor with the experienced team at the Welsh for Adults Centre, Cardiff University. 

During 2013, Rhisiart worked as a development officer and language tutor in Patagonia as part of the Welsh Language project, which is funded by the Welsh Government and British Council Wales, which also manages the project.

Currently, Rhisiart is employed by the Welsh for Adults Centre, Cardiff University as the Welsh in the workplace officer and as a Welsh for adults tutor. He has a wealth of experience teaching Welsh at all levels. 

He said: “I’m very proud of being appointed as the academic monitor for the Welsh Language Project in Patagonia. I have  a great deal of experience of working and living in Patagonia and this will be a great asset to me as I take on this exciting  new role. I’m really looking forward to working with the project’s dedicated and hardworking team, here in Wales and in Argentina.”

“I have a great deal of respect for the work and contribution of Gareth Kiff, the outgoing academic monitor, and the challenge for me will be to build and develop the important work he has done over the last few years. Without doubt, mention should also be made of the important work carried out by Robert Owen Jones, the original monitor, who worked tirelessly and enthusiastically on behalf of the Project for some fifteen years”.

Rhisiart will take up the new role early in 2016.

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