HOW life experiences impact on people’s support for independence in Scotland, Wales, and Catalonia will be explored in a “world-first” exhibition.

The showcase, which is said to make “a fundamental shift in how independence has been studied to date”, is being led by academics at Aberystwyth University.

Project leaders Dr Anwen Elias and Dr Elin Royles, from the university’s Centre for Welsh Politics and Society, are “using photography to better understand people’s thoughts and feelings about independence in the three countries”.

The exhibition will be open to the public in Aberystwyth’s bandstand from April 13 to April 15, before also being displayed in both Edinburgh and Barcelona.

Royles said: “We’re working in Wales, Catalonia, and Scotland to develop a brand-new approach to ‘independence’ research.

“The bulk of previous research has focused solely on survey responses and demographics, such as age, gender, social class and income, but we delve deeper and are interested in learning how we can explain how people think and feel about the constitutional futures of their respective countries.

“Our approach is a world-first and should add much needed colour and shade to what is currently known about people’s views in relation to independence. Most importantly, it could lead to more nuanced discussion, particularly in Catalonia and Scotland, where debate is intense and polarised among political parties and the media.”

The exhibition’s debut will see it launched by Elin Jones, a Plaid Cymru MS who also serves as the speaker of the Senedd.

Jones said: “Given the debate happening in Wales, England, and Scotland about the future of the UK constitution, I welcome this research led by Aberystwyth University. Putting party political positions aside, developing a deeper understanding of people's views on independence is important to Welsh democracy.”

The National:

Aberystwyth Camera Club chair Neil McGuff, whose photography (above) is shown in the first collection, urged other photography clubs and classes to get involved.

He said: “Myself and other members of the photography club really enjoyed taking part in this research. Using our creativity to explore the idea of independence has led to some fascinating conversations among the group and opened my eyes to the way each of us can approach a divisive topic.

“I would highly recommend any photography club or class to get involved as it offers a wonderful opportunity to pursue your creativity and to potentially have your final photography exhibited in a location such as Barcelona.”

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its WISERD programme (Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data).