Jazz Heritage Wales

Jen Wilson

Jen Wilson 1944 – 2023

Jen Wilson, Jazz pianist, author, historian and archivist died on the evening of Monday 8 May 2023 at the age of 78.


Jazz Heritage Wales is the oldest collection of jazz material in the UK and is the only multimedia Jazz Collection.

It is the only Collection specialising in women’s jazz music and the cultural inheritance of African American music in Wales.

It began in 1989 with a review of Welsh archival collections. In the next few years, 20 oral histories were gathered. These relationships were the foundation for Project work and ongoing donations.

Emphasis is given to including less well known themes

Emphasis is given to including less well known themes, such as the role of women within this story, and the legacy of African American music in Wales. The Collection contains Oral Histories, papers, photographs, videos, DVDs, libraries, Stage Gowns and ephemera.

As Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, (former President of the National Library of Wales) put it, Professor Jen Wilson, pianist and historian, Founder of the Collection has:

“Made an enormous contribution to the rediscovery of the historical role of women in Jazz and dance music, and the organization which she has created plays a vitally important role in the preservation of this significant aspect of our musical and cultural heritage.”

Or as Kim Collis, West Glamorgan County Archivist describes:

“The purpose and principles of the organisation provide a valuable rebalancing of the narrative of modern Welsh history away from one which focuses solely on white male achievements to recognise the contribution of women and the BME community to Wales.”

Based at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Collection and its research including performances are based at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

Founded in 1986, we are run by a Board of Trustees and became a registered Charity in 1998.

Our work was recognised by the Welsh Government in 2017 when we received the St David Award for Culture.