Public Talks

Talk 1: Dr Matthew Jones

The worlds I move between… The places, the events, the lives, the stories, the people
Friday, 14 June 3.00 pm

DSC_0720_editedDr Matthew Jones is a UK trained doctor, previously a lawyer, a marathon runner and photographer and writer. He spent 2018 working on a paediatric ward in a rural mission hospital in civil war-torn South Sudan, looking after around 3,000 children suffering from illnesses ranging from malaria to malnutrition.

Born in Cardiff, Wales (UK), Matthew’s path to South Sudan was a windy and circuitous one. Medicine wasn’t always in his plans. He first studied History at Cambridge and then law in London. After that, Matthew trained and qualified as a corporate and banking lawyer in 2007, working in London, Moscow, and Muscat (Oman) for two and a half years. But he never felt satisfied by this career and decided to take a break to consider his options. During this break, Matthew spent 12 months studying Arabic in the Middle East (Jordan, Morocco, and Syria) and then started a teaching training qualification back in England. But again, he felt uncertain about teaching and began looking into medicine as a career. He spent one year working as a nursing auxiliary to gain insight into hospital life. It was that experience that convinced him to apply to medical school and he spent the next four years studying medicine at Newcastle University.

He has run 13 marathons, with a best of 2.26, climbed numerous mountains across the world and cycled the length of Britain for charity.

You can see more of Matthew’s photography at

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Talk 2: Phil Cope

Exploring the Living Wells of Wales
Saturday, 15 June 1.00 pm

Layout 1Phil Cope has been exploring our wellsprings for more than two decades, trying to capture something of their spirit through his words and images, with publications on Cornwall, Scotland, England and, of course, Wales.

He is a writer, a photographer and an exhibition designer. He’s written books on subjects as diverse as Haitian vodou, Paul Robeson, Dylan Thomas, Wales at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Spanish Civil War, as well as five major volumes on the wellsprings of Britain.

His first book, The Holy Wells of Wales (2008) included just 48 sites; his latest, The Living Wells of Wales (published by SEREN in April 2019) is the finest and fullest guide yet to our sacred springs, holy wells and spas, exploring and illustrating 317.

In 2008, the National Library of Wales purchased Phil’s collection of Welsh holy well photographs for the nation.

His celebrated talk will introduce you to the fascinating history of wellsprings throughout Wales and beyond, while focusing on our local sites, told through their historical records, myths and legends, and the poems inspired by these magical places, all illustrated with his photography.

His work is of interest to a very wide range of people, including as it does religion, storytelling, history, myth and legend, photography, ecology, walking, poetry, etc.

To learn more about Phil’s book, visit

Holy Wells

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