2021 Pennseythen a success!

30th April 2021 by melanie in Cornish Language Weekend

The Pennseythen Gernewek 2021 was a departure from previous Pennseythens: for the first time it was held entirely online. The reason : Covid 19. It was held over three days, Friday 9th to Sunday 11th April 2021.

The event was held on Zoom. The Zoom link was sent to all participants at the start of each day. Parallel sessions were held in Break-out rooms but people came together in one large group for afternoon and evening activities. Over 130 people booked tickets, more than 100 for all three days.

As usual on Friday there were sessions for people taking Kesva exams and at the same time a Dyth Tregedna, for which there is one rule – only speak Cornish! There was also a Taster for those totally new to Cornish. That day there were around 20 at the Taster , another 20 fluent speakers at the Dyth Tregedna and over 70 at the exam preparation sessions (at all levels, but with more at First Grade than any other).

On Saturday and Sunday mornings there were lessons and talks for people at all levels of Cornish, attended by over 130 people on Saturday and slightly fewer on Sunday. The largest group was first grade, with 29 people, split into two sessions. There were almost as many fluent speakers (26) and many completely new to Cornish at Tasters (22). There were 8 people in the family sessions, with the remainder at second (12), third (18) and fourth grade (16).

On Saturday afternoon there were workshops on how to write Wikipedia articles in Cornish to expand Kernewiki, and on speaking Cornish as if you mean it – intended for actors but useful for all of us. Afterwards there was a talk from Rod Lyon in fluent Cornish about fishing in his youth in Newquay, explaining the methods they used. This was followed by two talks in English with Cornish themes – the first about the exhibition ‘Out of the Ordinary’ at Kresen Kernow which will bring together four medieval manuscripts of plays written in Cornish. This was followed by a talk about the new Cornish National Music Archive.

There were also entertainments at the Pennseythen, as well as bedtime stories for children. On Friday evening there were two quizzes and bingo. On Saturday there was a showing of a film entirely in Cornish ‘An Tarow’, followed by a ‘Mix and Mingle’ session where people were put into pairs for three minutes, just time for introductions, them moved on again, many times.

Finally on Saturday there were two music sessions. The first was a talk with singing by Bee Applebee and Richard Trethewey from the band Didjan. Afterwards, Matthi ab Dewi led singing of old Cornish favourites, with the words on screen.

Throughout the weekend it was great to see people from across Cornwall, England and further afield. There were people taking part from North Macedonia, Hungary and California. Neil Kennedy led his class from Brittany and Ben Bruch gave a talk about translating Buddhist texts into Cornish from Hawaii (a very late at night for him!)

The success of the day was due to the teachers and speakers who contributed and to Gemma Goodman and the team (Emma Jenkin, Caitlin McLintock, Sam Rogerson and Mark Trevethan) who organised and ran the event. Many thanks to them all.