The SSiW 10th B'day Party 2019 - initial discussion and ideas

There was lots of talk last night (during the SSiW 8th birthday party in the Galeri in Caernarfon) about ‘the big one’ in 2019 - SSiW’s 10th birthday.

I’ve now lost track of how many discussions we’ve had on this forum about our parties and about ideas for celebrations in the future.

Well the time has come (I think), to put those ideas in to fruition and come up with a solid plan for SSiW’s first major milestone in two years time.

I’ve always talked of going bigger.

We’ve always dreamed of having a full on black tie event with a proper ‘grown up’ awards ceremony and so on. If we do indeed go down this road, then we would need to start planning it now - such grandness doesn’t happen over night. Also, the ticket price would obviously be higher, so we would need to give you all more time to consider/save/plan/book and so on.

But I don’t want to just leap in to it without your valuable input and feedback. What do you think, based on the SSiW parties you’ve attended in the past?

For those who came last night, what do you think of the Galeri as a venue, compared to the hotels and sometimes pub beer gardens we’ve attended in the past?

I’m very familiar with the Galeri. I’ve often been there to the cinema, to shows or just for a coffee or lunch, but never to a function.

I was very impressed with the Galeri as a function venue. I liked how the layout worked - the bar area in relation to the function room. I thought the place offered a pleasing atmosphere. The guarantee of Welsh speaking staff is a bonus. There’s outside patio space which is perfect for warm summer evenings.

They do have a theatre area for larger functions, which has a stage for presentations. I’m tempted by this idea, but would love to hear what you think. Heres a promotional video by the Galeri which shows how they use the main theatre for functions…

Please throw your ideas at me!!! :smile:


I think this is an excellent idea, and I think if we start planning now, and if we start putting aside an SSiW contribution, we can find a way to make it a real show that doesn’t also make it cripplingly expensive.

My thoughts: I’d like to see it turn into a full-on weekend festival for SSiW learners and their families.

It just seems to me that there are such strong friendships and bonds of community, it always feels as though we’ve had far, far too little time in each other’s company by the time midnight arrives and Catrin has to start physically pushing people out of the venue and into their cars…

So the ideal for me would look like:

An informal meal out on the Friday evening - booking out an entire restaurant somewhere.

Some activities, some guest presentations - I’m thinking writers, poets, singers - during the day on Saturday - booking out the whole of the Galeri, and getting a bunch of local businesses and creative types involved - and then a black-tie seated meal in the evening, and some real awards - for learners, and also for Welsh speakers who are seriously supportive of learners. There’s nothing currently which recognises them, which I think is a real shame.

Then Sunday lunch - perhaps still in the Galeri? - and a more open-ended, casual time for conversations - perhaps with a collection of special guests who are there specifically to be part of the conversations, rather than to perform.

And throughout proceedings, we get good and clever on the tech front again - so we have a bunch of live videos going on from different places, for performances but also for chats with learners and with performers, and we collate them all to make them easily findable during and after the event - but also maybe some screens around the place for attendees and special guests to have Skype chats with learners around the world…

Catrin and I have had lots of people in Caernarfon reaching out to us already about Bootcamp - you guys made such an impression! - wanting to be involved, and have more of a community welcome going on - and I’m sure they’ll feel the same way about the birthday party.

For me, it could become something which celebrates learners, celebrates speakers who value learners, and celebrates the normality of using Welsh - and which allows the massively high HugFactor™ of the SSiW community to be fully unleashed.

But to do this, we’ll need…

Volunteers with experience of this kind of event organisation, and

The earliest possible set of financial estimations, to see if it really is do-able (which I’m sure it is - there are plenty of possible sponsorship tie-ins).


Please keep on throwing alternative ideas/suggestions into the mix… but also, if you like the idea of a two day festival approach, and have skills that could help make it happen, please throw your hat into the ring as a volunteer…:slight_smile:


A black-tie dinner? You mean I’m going to have to wear a posh frock? And only two year’s notice? :scream::smile:

Seriously, a weekend of it sounds like a great idea. I think if we were to do this though, it might be a good idea to incorporate an identifiable ‘HQ’ somewhere that is always manned (perhaps by various pairs of willing volunteers for short periods over the day) so that SSiWers (especially newer ones who don’t know so many of the faces yet) can arrive whenever is convenient and know that they are in the right place without having to agonise over asking every group they see “SaySomethingInWelsh 'dach chi?” or face walking into an ongoing ‘thing’ without being sure it’s ok. (or are these just my own now deeply buried anxieties resurfacing?!)
Perhaps a small button badge with the logo could be given out from the HQ, which would also help as an identifier initially.
An ‘HQ’ like this (even if it’s just a table in the Galeri for instance) would also be an excellent opportunity for SSiW-ing unsuspecting new learners! :wink:

Whatever happens, you don’t have to worry about finding someone to churn out a map and offer directions… I have a reputation to live up to now! :trophy:


Love this idea!!!

I would love to bring, the then, Mrs Cusack. I think a full weekend would be a good draw.

I love the idea of awards for those who have supported us. So this could include people outside of SSiW.

I think some day time evens would be great. Maybe poetry readings. Possibly use the opportunity to present eisteddfod awards? @Deborah-SSi?

I like black tie, but how about just suited and booted? So the dress code is smart but jacket and tie. Maybe just a tad more affordable?


Great input, folks, diolch yn fawr - keep 'em coming… :slight_smile:

HQ is a superb idea. Suited and booted is a good option - I might myself incline more towards either smart casual or full black tie (which isn’t important, since my wife will be telling me which I get to wear)…:wink:


I’m also wondering - what are the best workarounds for bilingualism? We have so many seriously confident Welsh speakers in SSiW now, it’s getting trickier and trickier figuring out how to give them the Welsh atmosphere they deserve and want, and welcoming their other halves and less confident speakers…


Colour coded badges which hint at the level of Welsh a learner has so that they may gravitate towards who they feel comfortable talking to and so that you know with whom you need to ‘siarad chydyg yn arafach’?


Maybe some leaflets/handouts in English for the prize giving/announcements?
Maybe a couple of speakers in a mix?
Or an introductory speech in English explaining running etc, explaining it’ll be in Welsh but giving an idea of what’s going on, have a few strategically placed people who’d be happy to interpret little bits, just enough to keep the flow?

Just ideas :slight_smile:


Like a Lingo Newydd system! I like that idea


One possibility might be to offer a translation service (those earphone thingys) at (only) a couple of the activities - as long as the cost wouldn’t be prohibitive, of course.


Creative thinking, gwych. Are we confident that won’t lead to less mingling?

Written stuff in English to support announcements etc is a great idea. And maybe some simultaneous translation (you’re right, it doesn’t come cheap!)…

Maybe one initial step is to be clear about who would like to use mostly Welsh, who would like to use mostly English, and who would like to mix and match - that might give us some numbers that would help identify the best solutions…

1 Like

language traffic lights!
I like this - categorising it as 3 simple amounts-wanting-to-be-spoken sounds to me like a very friendly way of doing it - it automatically takes into account level of confidence, not just which lesson you’ve reached.


The colour coded/traffic light system name badges seems like a winner then.

We all seem to agree also that an extended weekend of activities would be both enjoyable and beneficial.

I’m also very much in favour of the suited and booted dress code idea with the option of black tie for anyone who fancied it.

An awards ceremony for those who have contributed towards the Welsh learning world is a lovely idea - this is something that isn’t currently done.

My main concern at the moment is finding ourselves filling a weekend with too many activities. It could soon become a logistical nightmare and quite costly. So I think we must work hard at getting the balance just right.

But overall I’m loving this thread and all it’s fabulous ideas! Keep them coming and lets make something of this! :slight_smile:


I think as far as types and number of activities go, perhaps we should make use of the feedback on the thread about the recent learner’s events that people attended - for instance, there was mention that more things you could dip in and out of or turn up later to would have been better than very structured events.


Great idea Siaron!

Museum Tour in Welsh? I really enjoyed the Amgeuddfa Wlan near Castell Newydd Emlyn. So you could just see if the local places do them in Welsh, then give a few time slots?

Then sticking with the historical scene, see if there was a reenactment group who speak Welsh and are happy to do things like archery lessons in Welsh?

I don’t think there needs to be loads of activities. A lot of it could just be wandering around, together, chatting.

Also depends what sort of numbers we’d like to aim for. The Ar Lafar event were hoping for 100s. I’m guessing we’re not thinking of that sort of number?

1 Like

I think the Galeri is a great venue and that video shows how much more it could be too.

I thought about making the badges colour coded but didn’t want to put anyone off talking to anyone else. If someone wants to keep the evening/weekend in Welsh they are missing out on talking to a lot of really interesting people in the party who can’t/don’t want to/not confident enough to speak Welsh. We have bootcamps for that.

With the dress code I’m trying to think what i would get out of a black tie event apart from feeling uncomfortable and looking a bit posh (but you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear can you?). What i do know is that the weekend won’t be cheap (two nights in a hotel, travel costs, food/drink, party tickets, etc.) and adding another bill on top for hiring a suit (and buying/hiring a posh dress to match) for the weekend might be enough to stop a lot of people attending.

I have to admit that I prefer buffet style food over a sit down dinner because it is a lot more informal and really encourages people to talk to each other and to mingle a lot more. The buffet on Saturday night was really good but not great so room for improvement I thought (not nearly enough salad, not a great deal of choice and, apart from the delicious cake, no real dessert) (saying that, I thought the spicy pasta was incredible!:blush:)

The idea of an informal get together over dinner on Friday night, something to do Saturday afternoon (sitting around having a chat is always appealing to me) maybe a tour of C’narfon (not with Emrys :joy:), party on Saturday evening then a Sunday dinner before heading home is a very, very nice plan in my opinion.


Also, after writing the forum names on the badges Saturday night I would encourage people to choose shorter forum names in the future. :joy::joy::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’m quite happy to change to siaronj if that helps!

1 Like

I could change mine to “asabove”?