Our speaker in September 2020 was Jen Wilson, who founded Jazz Heritage Wales in 1986 after the miners’ strike.
Jen spoke to the Circle about her book, FREEDOM MUSIC: Wales, Emancipation and Jazz 1850-1950, which was published in 2019 by the University of Wales Press.
Jen took a circuitous route into the academic world. She left school in 1960 with RSAs in shorthand and typing, but was encouraged back into education by Ursula Masson MA after the miners’ strike. Jen gained an MSc (Econ) in Women’s Studies in 1996 while a Tutor in Performing Arts at DACE Swansea University. She left DACE for the voluntary and community sector, where she developed and delivered community arts projects: Women’s Big Band, touring Exhibitions, a schools touring performance Before Freedom, while continuing to write. Her first published piece was Zen And The Art of Thelonius Monk, Honno Press 1989.
Jen has given academic papers in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and has a paper accepted for Univ. of Austin Texas in July 2020. Jazz Heritage Wales moved into UWTSD in 2009, where Jen was made Hon. Professor of Practice in 2016. She received the Welsh Government’s St. David Award for Culture 2017.
Her publications can be seen at www.jenwilsonjazzpiano