Success of the ACS

From the nucleus of ten or a dozen friends gathered round a luncheon table in the West End of London, the membership of the Society grew to over 200, resident throughout Britain and Ireland, and in other countries too – U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and of course in the Catalan Countries themselves.

Although the Society is basically educational in character, not all its members are from the academic sector. The fact that the Society brought together different groups and professions in a common interest has greatly contributed to the friendly and informal atmosphere of the annual meetings.

Once a year, usually in the autumn, the Anglo-Catalan Society holds a meeting, traditionally at a weekend. These meetings have taken place in different universities in Britain and Ireland – Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Swansea – and frequently at Westfield College, London, where all the meetings between 1967 and 1974 were held. At the meetings papers were read on history and literature, both medieval and modern, language studies and many other aspects of Catalan culture, and many of the papers were published subsequently in academic journals. For many decades around three or four papers would be read at each meeting, but especially since the 1990s the conference has drawn greater numbers of speakers. This tradition began in 1956 when the Jocs Florals de la Llengua Catalana were held in Cambridge – the fact that the Jocs Florals were immediately followed by the second meeting of the Society gave an appropriately “university” feeling to the essentially cultural atmosphere of the festival. Six years later in 1962, when the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas was founded at Oxford, the meeting was followed by the eighth meeting of the Anglo-Catalan Society. Later the Anglo-Catalan Society took a leading role in running the Third International Colloquium on Catalan Language and Literature, held in Cambridge in April 1973. As part of that Colloquium, which was also the constituent meeting of the Associació Internacional de Llengua i Literatura Catalanes (AILLC), the statutes of the new Association were approved.