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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Welsh culture focus of conference
Dancers at an Eisteddfod in Patagonia
The Welsh community in Patagonia
An American journalist who used the internet to contact Welsh-speaking communities all over the world is to address a conference about the globalisation of different cultures.

Pamela Petro, author of "Travels in an Ancient Tongue: touring the World Speaking Welsh" began learning Welsh when she was studying in Lampeter in west Wales.

She found it infuriating that whenever she stumbled with her Welsh, the locals would revert to English.

So Ms Petro decided to go where English was not an option - other countries with long-standing Welsh-speaking communities.

She visited the Hong Kong Men's Choir, a group which sings exclusively in Welsh, the Japanese bardic "eisteddfod" in Tokyo, the Welsh golfers of Oslo, the diners of the Paris Welsh society, and Patagonia.

Cultural influences

Pamela Petro is one of around 100 speakers at the three-day conference at the University of Swansea called "Writing Disaporas".

The conference examines the so-called "axial connections" between different parts of the world, where cultural infuences through language, music and art move between people from different countries, or even continents.

"The flow of people, ideas and literature is no longer limited to national boundaries," said conference organiser Dr Tim Cheesman.

"Through new media, cable and satellite they whiz around the world at a fantastic pace."

Academics working in this field maintain that second and third generation offspring still have a relationship with their parents' and grandparents' homeland - even if they never go there.

It is thought these connections can be found everywhere in Britain, including art, advertising and cinema.

The conference includes other speakers on the globalisation of Welsh culture, with guests from around Britain and Canada.

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