What’s happening to all the Welsh societies in America??
Promoting Wales in the USA
Thought you might like to see how one Society responded between the 1950s and 1980s:
The (Newcastle and Tyneside) Cymmrodorion has had to respond to changing attitudes and at given times sought to rejuvenate what had become an increasingly moribund institution. In 1950 the committee redrew the Cymmrodorions constitution and emphasised the preservation of the national culture, language and traditions, and particularly the promoting of functions which will stimulate the appreciation of Welsh music, literature and drama.
Yet by 1957 the secretary observed that there was a certain amount of apathy among members. Concern was expressed that the time was coming when the only function to be held would be the annual dinner because the support for the monthly functions was progressively diminishing, while the talent available for attractive functions was limited. However, the Society continued, and nearly a quarter of a century later in 1981 the Secretary reported that the previous year had been a great success, particularly as eleven new members had been recruited which made a tremendous difference to the variety of the meetings. The acceptance that change was essential for the survival of the Cymmrodorion had been embraced and there had been several innovations, including a summer outing meeting, picnics, a Welsh night at Sunderland, and the Presidents various gastronomic adventures helped create a greater sense of fellowship within the Society which now had closer links with other Celtic groups in the region, especially the Caledonian Society.
This comes from a chapter I wrote several years back - with Dr Joan Allen, Newcastle University), '"Competing identities": Irish and Welsh migration and the North-East of England, in A. J. Pollard and A. G. Green (eds), Regional Identities in North-East England 13002000 (Woodford: Boydell and Brewer, 2007), pp. 133160.
So the discussion here is not new, the challenge is how you make the Societies appeal to all. I am discussing this tomorrowat Edinburgh University and this forum is part of my preamble - I just hope it doesn't rain as I have never been there when it has been completely dry! Thank you all for such interesting comments which has made my task so much easier.