That’s Sioned Young from Caernarfon’s aim with her new #HacYGymraeg (Welsh Language Hack) project. Within her project, run through her digital illustration business Mwydro, Sioned will be working with primary and secondary school pupils to design and promote a series of Welsh Language Place-Name GIF Stickers.
GIF Stickers are animated images that can be used on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. Where Sioned is responsible for designing over 400 Welsh Language GIFs within her business, a gap still remains in the number of Welsh Language Place-Name GIFs available for all to use.
“I’ve created a few Welsh Language Place-Name GIFs of places I visit regularly such as Caernarfon and Llanberis, but I thought it’d be great to work with school children and give them the opportunity to design their own place-name GIFs based on places in their area,” said Sioned.
With the recent news of Eryri and Bannau Brycheiniog choosing to move away from using their English Language Place-Name, this discussion on the importance of Welsh Language Place-Names is more important than ever.
The project is funded by the Welsh Government, via #HacYGymraeg, held by M-SParc, who have also offered support to all the hackathon winners. Last year, Sioned won the grant after she pitched her idea of a project that hit the brief of using technology to increase the use of the Welsh Language.
With the 400 GIFs she’s already created having been viewed over 120 million times, she recognised an opportunity to build on their popularity and develop this new project.
Sioned said, “The workshops also give the chance to educate the pupils on the importance of using and protecting Welsh Language Place-Names and the history of specific place-names in their area. The information is then used in the second workshop where the young people have the opportunity to create videos for social media promoting Welsh-Language Place-Names including their meaning, pronunciation, and the importance of using them.”
Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language said: “It’s important for people to be able to use Welsh wherever they’re communicating, including in digital spaces. Promoting Welsh language place names is a priority for us as a government, and I welcome this worthwhile initiative.”
Within the development of the project Sioned also worked closely with Welsh Place-Name Society, Menter Iaith Môn and the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office to collect information on Welsh Language Place-Names to share with the pupils.
Supporting Sioned within her workshops is a young Anglesey-based musician, Tesni Hughes.
Sioned said, “I know how hard it can be at the beginning of your career and trying to get valuable career experiences, so I was keen that this project also enabled me to employ and give valuable experience in the field and mentorship to a local young person.”
“I’m very supportive of projects such as Llwyddo’n Lleol who works to encourage young people to stay and have a career in their local area rather than move away. I feel we have a responsibility as local employers to ensure that is possible through offering valuable opportunities for work for our young people.”
The programme of workshops began in March, and will run in a series of schools and colleges until the end of the summer term, with a project toolkit to be prepared at the end of the project.
For pictures or further information, please contact Sioned Young on email@example.com