Friday 24 September 2021

Visiting the Senedd Cymru

Author User (WT-Shared) Cardiff  Public Domain Source Wikipedia Cymru


For many of us in the Northern Powerhouse (the Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West and South Yorkshire conurbations) the peaks of Eryri and the coasts of the Llŷn Peninsula and Ynys Môn are a favourite playground.  Except when I was a graduate student in the United States I have visited that region several times a year every year of my life.  Professionally I have also visited Newport for hearings at the Intellectual Property Office. It is slightly easier to reach and a lot more economical to visit than Aldgate or Victoria Street in London. More recently, I have been coming to that city's Riverfront Theatre to watch performances by Ballet Cymru of which I am a big fan.  But I never had occasion to spend time in Wales's capital city until this month. That is a pity because I found Cardiff to be one of the most vibrant and in many ways one of the most beautiful major cities in these islands.

There is a lot to see and do in that city and as I had only a single day for sightseeing I chose to visit St Fagans National Museum of History, Llandaff Cathedral and the Senedd Cymru.  The Senedd is the name of the devolved legislature for Wales formerly known as the National Assembly for Wales. The name was changed by s.2 of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 with effect from 6 May 2020 by virtue of s.42 (2).  The Senedd is open to the public between Monday and Thursday from 09:00 to 16:30.  Admission is free but tickets have to be booked through Eventbrite.  Those who cannot visit Cardiff conveniently can take advantage of the virtual tour in English or Welsh.

On our visit, my travelling companion and I were welcomed in English and Welsh by a very kindly gentleman called Shay who is a "Visitor Engagement Officer."   I have been learning Welsh for just over a year with SaySomethingin supplemented by online courses from Popeth Cymraeg, Nant Gwrtheyrn and the London Welsh Centre but I have found it very difficult to practise speaking the language.  The moment Shay uttered the words "Bore da" I responded joyfully with "Oh! Dach chi'n siarad Cymraeg?"  And happily, he did.  For several minutes he patiently listened to my laboured sentences, grammatical errors and mispronunciations before ushering us through the security screen and introducing us to a colleague.  Shay's colleague showed us the chamber, a debate in committee over a video link,  various infographics showing the composition of the Senedd, its constituencies and regional lists, exhibitions celebrating the history of devolved government in Wales and the Welsh Afro-Caribbean community's experience in Wales before depositing us in the tea room with panoramic views of Cardiff Bay where my friend and I enjoyed cacennau cri, bara brith and paneidiau o de.

Wales was the first nation of the British Isles to unite with England though many would argue that "unite" is not the most appropriate verb to describe the arrangement.  For over 400 years Wales was governed as an appendage of England.   Under the Laws in Wales Act 1535, English law was introduced into Wales and Welsh electors were represented in the House of Commons for the first time.   A Welsh office and a committee of Welsh MPs was set up in the 20th century.  The National Assembly for Wales with limited executive powers was established by s.1 (1) of the Government of Wales Act 1998.  Those powers and functions were expanded and a Welsh government was established by the Government of Wales Act 2006.   The Wales Act 2014  and The Wales Act 2017 extended those legislative and executive powers.  Wales, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, does not yet have a separate court system but that is under active consideration (see "A Separate Welsh Jurisdiction"  21 Feb 2021).

I shall be at Nant Gwrtheyrn between 27 and 29 Sept 2021 and intend to visit M-SParc during that time. Should any tenant or other local business wish to discuss an intellectual property or related legal issue please call my clerk David on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form to make an appointment.

Sunday 5 September 2021

Making SParcs Fly

Colwyn Bay
Author Dot Potter Licence CC BY-SA 2.0 Source Wikimedia Commons


Jane Lambert

M-SParc (the Menai Science Park) has a mission is to promote science and technology throughout Wales and not just in Anglesey.  According to its press release, M-SParc takes Tech on Tour by Launching New Colwyn Bay Location personnel from the science park engaged with nearly 700 local residents on visits to  Bethesda and Botwnnog before lockdown.  Those visits have now resumed and M-SParc's latest port of call is Colwyn Bay where it has established a temporary base at 29 Conway Road.

Like many seaside resorts, Colwyn Bay flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Since the middle of the last century,  it has lost holidaymakers to sunnier destinations. Dwindling numbers of visitors discouraged investment in tourism and hospitality.  The pier closed in 2009 because it had been allowed to fall into disrepair though it should be remembered that some new attractions have opened such as the Welsh Mountain Zoo and the Colwyn Leisure Centre in Eirias Park.

Though such developments are welcome it makes sense for Colwyn Bay to broaden its economic base with new businesses in the high tech and creative industries.   To encourage the formation, establishment and growth of such businesses, M-SParc will offer at Conway Road all the activities that take place in Gaerwen including Ffiws Maker Space, hot desks, co-working space, business, design, technology and innovation workshops and seminars, as well as science and technology sessions for young people.  

The following events take place at 29 Conway Road on the dates and at the times indicated:

I have a personal interest in the Ffiws events because I had the pleasure of addressing its members on 15 April 2020. I had intended to give the talk in Porthmadog in person but was prevented from visiting Wales by the pandemic. However, I presented the talk over Zoom and my slides can be downloaded here,

Gogledd Creadigol is the forum for the creative industries in North Wales. On 15 Sept 2021, it will host an event called Cocktails and Creativity which will take place at M-SParc and online. One of the guests is Elin Fflur about whom I knew nothing until I started to learn Welsh just over a year ago.  As I suspect that many others in the English speaking world have yet to be introduced to her, I urge them to listen to her sing Ar Lan y Môr ("By the Sea Shore") with Max Boyce.  She is good as are a whole galaxy of singers, musicians, film and programme-makers and even a chip munching talking orangutan - all of whom I have discovered through learning Welsh.  Other guests will include Stifyn Parri, Osian Gwynn, art director of the Pontio Arts Centre and guests from the TV series Rownd a Rownd.

Crucial to the success of all businesses - but particularly those in the high tech and creative industries - is the legal protection of their investment in branding, design, technology and creativity. Guests from the Intellectual Property Office, the Welsh Government, Inngot and BIC Innovation stressed its importance for startups on World Intellectual Prop[erty Day (see Menai Science Park's Contribution to World IP Day 2021 25 April 2021).  It is even more important for businesses seeking angel or private equity investment or flotation on the Alternative Investment Market as attendees will hear at our in-person and live-streamed webinar  IP & SME - Scaling Up on 11 Nov 2021.

In the meantime, readers are reminded that choosing the optimum legal protection for their brands, designs, technology and creativity, for the time being, can make all the difference between business failure and a howling success.   They will find guidance in Choosing the Right IP Protection which I posted on 24 April 2019.  If they want to discuss this matter further, they can book a free 30-minute appointment over Zoom by completing this simple form.