Category Archives: Museums & heritage

The Privilege Café and Me. Café Members Discuss their Membership.

In the article below a range of The Privilege Café members share how they first heard about The Café, why they attend, its importance in their lives and to wider society.

Hi Leena, can you give our readers some background information on yourself, please?

Of course, my name is Leena Sarah Farhat and I am the Diversity Officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats as well as a candidate for the Senedd. I am 22 and have just finished a degree in Computer Science at Aberystwyth University. I am hoping to be a change-maker in Wales and beyond. 

 You have previously spoken at or attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work?

Privilege is a loaded word and is becoming superfluous. I would say that the Café is a space for people to try and unpack privilege through thematic lenses. Each week is a new topic and these topics are vehicles to come to conclusions on privilege. I would urge everyone to join the chat because there will be a topic for you.

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

I saw it on Twitter! I followed Mymuna Soleman (The Director of The Privilege Café) already and I had watched her and many others get frustrated with ethnic minority discourse in Wales as well as people not understanding privilege. I related to that as a young woman who is a minority ethnic and in fields where people like me are hard to find. You can feel really isolated and like you are screaming into the void. I also recognized my privilege, being lucky to be educated as well as sit on Boards. I wanted to play my part to use my privilege to elevate others and see them succeed and so I went to the first-ever one and was hooked!

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

I think the one that I was lucky enough to speak on. We tackled the topic of Whiteness and Welshness. I was so used to being the only person in a room who would think about this topic so it was surreal having a range of other people who shared my experiences. For a second, I felt a bit less alone in Welsh public life. I learned a lot for the other speakers and have implemented it into the work I do.

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop?

I would love to hold the Café both in physical locations and online events. I would love to see Mymuna host discussions far and wide, she is an absolute powerhouse and she has brought us together to make change. We have to do that together and everywhere.

Hi Henry, great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Sure, my name is Henry Field, I’m a recruitment manager and have been in the sector just shy of 7 years.

 You have previously spoken at and attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work?

The Privilege Café is the education around issues faced by, and a platform and voice for Black, Asian and Majority Ethnic people that has been needed for a very long time. It’s a place where BAME community members can feel safe in sharing their experiences, where speakers from different sectors can share knowledge and where we can start to break down barriers and build new foundations for relationships moving forward.

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

I was a speaker at my first Café, I saw they were asking for recruiters in Cardiff to get involved and speak about bias and how to stand out as an applicant. I attended because I thought I was aware of the issues faced by black professionals getting jobs. I was wrong. Although I was aware of unconscious bias, and able to provide a recruitment service that was inclusive – I had no idea about how big the issue is in Cardiff alone, especially for people living in Butetown and Grangetown.

I was one of 3-4 panel members, with differing views on how we can ensure opportunities are being given where possible. It was Wasim Said from TigerBayABC that asked the question that has stuck with me. “Recruiters and companies will come to these things regularly, especially our recruitment events held in community hubs. You come in, you speak to a few people, you get your pictures for LinkedIn and your website – Then we hear nothing else, Few end up with interviews and less end up with jobs – How are you going to be any different?”

That question had an effect on me I don’t think Wasim realises. He was absolutely right of course, I thought I was just going to be a speaker, share my knowledge and be on my way. It was on that call I made the conscious decision to attend all sessions that I could, including those that as a recruiter, I didn’t think were ‘Relevant’ to my role. After a couple of sessions learning more about the lack of education around history involving black communities in Wales and the issues still faced with racism in the police force in the UK,I realised just how little I knew, and how different my life experience and opportunities have been to people living so close to me. I really understood what privilege felt like.

A bit of a long answer, but I attend because of that. I want to learn, and be a positive ally.

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

Other than the one I spoke at, for the reasons above, the café that sticks with me most was the one around policing within the UK. Hearing how black children need to be warned to always leave the shop with a receipt, always turn out their own pockets when being searched, always make sure they smile at police officers as they walk by – This is information I have never needed to be given. As a white man, If I have the choice not to print a receipt at self-service, I don’t because I feel I’m saving paper, I’ve never been stopped – I never considered such a small action could cause trouble for someone with darker skin. I’ve only ever been searched once in an airport, and that was because me and my partner were at the back of the queue and I think they had to just pick someone. Again, this café made me realise what a privileged life I have.

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop?

It probably comes as no surprise that my response here will be recruitment related. I would like to see enough HR professionals, and enough business involved to be able to put on a careers fair different to previous. I would like to see a careers fair attended by decision makers and hiring managers that, as long as the skillset is there, interviews can take place on the spot in another room and real action can be taken to improve the opportunities available to BAME communities.

 Thanks for your time

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Naila Missous

You have previously spoken at or attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work? 

I would describe the space as a hub of learning, relearning and application. The discussions had are not empty discussions; but rather, calls to action. Many things have come out of The Café, including courses that members are offering, Patreon support and for myself personally; making connections with other attendees so that we can work together on anti-racism and global citizenship workshops in education. It is also very Wales based, which is great as someone who lives in England as it has been an extra step in my learning. 

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

I first learned about The Café on Twitter, when there was a call out for a speaker with a Linguistics background for one of the earlier sessions. I tweeted by interest, and have been attending ever since as both a speaker, and also listener. 

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

I have enjoyed all sessions, as mentioned above, each session is a learning journey. I in particular enjoyed the session entitled, “Guilty before Birth” about those in the prison system; as it was a topic I was not well versed on yet learned so much.

I also enjoyed the “Labels, Language and Linguistics” as this was the first session I ever attended, as well as my first attendance as a speaker. I was unsure as to what to expect as a speaker, given that I am passionate about this subject. The feedback has and still is amazing, and I am forever grateful to the members of the cafe who are supportive, open and always willing to better themselves.

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop? 

It would be great to create connections and sub cafes across the UK.

Hi Claire great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

My name is Claire Vaughan, I’m originally from Tintagel in Cornwall and spent time living in the USA, but have lived in Wales for many years. I moved to Cardiff nearly 20yrs ago and worked in various jobs (including call centres, accountancy and a youth hostel) before joining Chapter Arts Centre in 2005. In 2012 I joined the Cinema department doing talks and organising events and became the Programme Manager for Cinema in 2018. In 2018 I began the Shift Cardiff Research and Development Art Space in the Capitol Centre with Jon Ruddick and Pria Borg-Marks which gives space for artists time to work and develop their practice with us. I am a White, cis, Queer woman who lives in Grangetown with my partner and my cat and I have three nieces – two who live in Wales, one living in Germany. I don’t come from a rich background – my mum was a cleaner, my Dad was a carpenter and they really struggled financially at times, but I was incredibly lucky to live at a time when education and travel was easier and so in many ways I am incredibly privileged. 

 You have previously spoken at or attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work?

Attending The Privilege Café is like being at a big, welcoming community centre where you come to listen to discussions about the world we live in where the conversation is being directed by Black and Non-Black women of Colour. The topics are timely but also cover all kinds of aspects of life – from Mental and Physical Health, national identity, History and Culture. Everyone is expected to come with an open mind and an open heart so we can learn from each other and try and make our world somewhere everyone can thrive no matter what their background or colour of their skin. As a White person entering this space you might get to consider perspectives that you’re not used to hearing, so it can be challenging but really educational and illuminating. The people who are invited to speak at The Café feel safe enough to be really honest, so you may hear stories that shock you and make you question your own behaviour – have you considered these experiences in this detail before? As White people the level of racism in our society can be difficult to grasp, as we don’t deal with the relentless experience of being judged by society every time we step out of our door. Similarly, hearing from White people is useful – how do we feel about these discussions and how do we find it difficult to help? The people speaking at The Café are offering up their real lived experiences and research to help us come to terms with how our society works so it’s important to respect and feel gratitude that they are giving up their time so we can all work on this together. Even those of us who have experienced really difficult times have some things to be grateful for, some level of privilege. Attending the Café and hearing from all kinds of people makes us more mindful of that. 

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

Theatre practitioner Catherine Paskell set up a wonderful discussion early in Lockdown to discuss inequality in the Arts in Wales and I met Mymuna through that. She heard people talking about the issues and thought it would be good to have a follow up discussion on White Privilege since it seemed to be not very well understood. Mymuna doesn’t have an Arts background so I probably wouldn’t have come across her work otherwise as the majority of people I meet are through the Arts these days. I found my thinking being challenged really useful. It reminded me of the discussions we had in the Imagination Symposium with Gentle / Radical and the warmth of the BME Woman’s Club. In the past couple of years I’ve met the fantastic Keith Murrell (Cardiff Bay Carnival); Yvonne Connicke (Cinema Golau), Kyle Legall through Cardiff Animation Festival; Yasmin Begum (whose encyclopedic knowledge always blows me away) – I’m kind of taken aback that I’ve only become aware of the work of some of these wonderful people in the past few years, it demonstrates how segregated the Arts is here in Wales.

It isn’t enough to say that groups of people are ‘hard to reach’, there is a whole load of exciting work going on getting almost no exposure or funding. We need to work on addressing that. But I don’t attend because of work, I think everyone, no matter what your background or interest has something to learn. It’s up to all of us to make this world better, it’s something I really believe in. 

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

I think the story is that effected me most deeply was in one of the first sessions. One of the speakers, a Black Science academic was talking about her first day at University and how she was sat in the lecture hall and no-one came and sat with her, no one tried to befriend her. It stopped me in my tracks because I remember those days so well and how nervous you feel in that situation and I don’t know if at 18 I’d have behaved any differently. I think you seek out people who look like you when you’re new to something and nervous, which was easy enough for me at that age because there were plenty of White women in my lecture room. That simple moment of sharing something painful helped her talk to others about similar experiences and I got a chance to reflect on this and be more mindful of how I am in social situations. It stung, it made me ashamed because it made me consider my unconscious bias but also spurred me on to make sure that I attended as many of the sessions as possible because everyone had a story that made me think differently. 

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop? 

The knowledge passed on by Abu-Bakr Madden Al-Shabazz every week when he talks about the history of Black and Non-Black People of Colour around the world is essential, I’m really glad that he’s started a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=39306141) so we can have a history lesson that covers something other than the World Wars, which is all I remember being taught. 

Abu-Bakr Madden Al-Shabazz, Image credit Mahammadien Eshak

I am also glad that Mymuna has started a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/PrivilegeCafe) because I would like to see her and her speakers invested in by the community. We need to tackle the crisis in funding for public good in the UK (including the Arts and Education) but progress can be slow and people need money to help plan and create now, not in 5 years, so alternative funding is important to donate to. I would like to see publicly funded organisations and councils around Wales to support these initiatives, so it’s not just spread by word-of-mouth in the capital because these aren’t just issues in Cardiff. As a country we are becoming more confident and we need to press on with progressive ideas to help create a better, more inclusive country. More forums where people can talk about their experiences and ideas in every part of the country from all kinds of backgrounds, from rural areas, towns and cities, is needed so we can build up a better future. Wales has welcomed me and I wasn’t born here, it is upsetting to see Black and Non Black Welsh People of Colour not given similar opportunities. Mymuna has made a huge investment in all of us, an investment in hope, by starting The Privilege Cafe. I want Wales to live up to her belief in us. 

Hi Dafydd great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

My name is Dafydd Trystan. I work in Higher Education in Wales for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. I live in Grangetown and I’m active in my local community. I chair governors at Ysgol Hamadryad the local Welsh medium school for Grangetown and Butetown, the most multi-lingual multi-ethnic Welsh school ever!

You have previously spoken at or attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work?

A real opportunity to listen and learn about some of the issues facing society today – in a supportive space.

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

I think I saw it first on Mymuna’s Twitter feed. I’ve seen some of Mymuna’s work before and its very impressive so I thought I’d go along. There were some topics that were / are of particular interest e.g. Do You Have to be White to be Welsh?

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

Probably the one I mentioned on Welshness and Whiteness. It made me 100% convinced that we needed to do far more to ensure that Welsh speaking spaces are genuinely welcoming and open to all – and we’re not there yet. Following on from The Café, a group of us who spoke got together at Tafwyl and have subsequently presented to a Welsh Government strategy group.

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop? 

Carry on as it is – but probably needs some more organisational structure to ensure that the excellent conversations can build into action

Thanks for your time

Rhiannon Barrar

Hi Rhiannon great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

I have attended The Privilege Café many times. I have never spoken but sometimes have contributed to the chat.

You have previously spoken at or attended The Privilege Café, The Café is advertised as a place to discuss all things privilege. For those who have not yet attended how would you best describe The Café and its work?

I would describe The Privilege Café as a place where  minoritized groups can safely talk about what it is like living in a world of white privilege and what changes in society must take place to eradicate racism.  It has been a place to learn about Black history (and not just slavery).  It is a place where white people can listen and learn and investigate their own sub conscious racism and how our system accepts being white as the norm and how they can use their white privilege to support minoritized groups achieve the eradication of racism.

How did you first learn about The Café and why do you attend?

I first learned about The Privilege Café on Twitter when I saw the very provocative title ‘ Does Welshness mean Whiteness.  Ydych chi’n gallu siarad Cymraeg’.  In the context of the murder of George Floyd, I found this title provocative and it made me question my own attitudes.  It never occurred to me that being Welsh and Welsh speaking could be equated with whiteness.  I had just never thought about the experience of being Welsh and Black for example.  This session was very hard hitting and very challenging to me personally.   It was like a road to Damascus.

Is there a specific Café that stays with you and why?

I am eternally grateful to Mymuna for setting up this forum.  It is a revelation and an education.  Everyone should attend.  It challenges you to find a way to do something about racism.  Although each session is very well attended and a wide range of ethnicities, I think the challenge is to reach out to socially deprived areas of the country.  Many of the speakers  are successful professionals.  What about reaching out to the unemployed and homeless for example?

It’s evident that the work of The Café is hugely important, how would you like the work of The Café to develop? 

It would be good to explore the origins of racism from a scientific point of view. Where has this idea of race come from?  I am reading ‘Superior – The Return of Race Science’ by Angela Saini which explores this question.

The Invisible Ones Are The Influencers For Those Who Are Always Visible. An Interview with Ffion Campbell-Davies

I had the pleasure of interviewing Multi-disciplinary artist Ffion Campbell-Davies recently. In this interview we will be talking all things arts, creativity, Identity and Wales.

Credit Vikki Marie Page

Hi Ffion, it’s lovely to meet you and to get the opportunity to pick your brains. So just to introduce yourself to our readers, please can you give them some background on yourself and how you define yourself as an artist?

I was born and raised in Wales and moved to study at London School Of Contemporary Dance, graduating in 2013. I have since worked in various avenues within the industry as performer, teacher and choreographer. Over the last 5 years I have been developing my own artistic practice and creating my own work as well as collaborating with other artists.


I term myself as a multidisciplinary artist as a few of my disciplines other than dance are at the core of my work. My self produced work cross pollinates with music production, text, voice, expressionism, exhibitionsim, dramaturgical principles and [more recently] visual & digital art.

Credit Celine Fortenbaucher


I am a co-founding member of all female company collective House Of Absolute; we are a diverse group of multidisciplinary females creating boundary crossing, politically active theatre, sight specific and digital movement, sound & visual works collectively and independently.


My work explores themes and subjects around psychoanalysis, gender, race and spirituality, working with experimental devices and the influence of ritual to dismantle conditions around definition, power and politics.

So moving to London from Wales to gain better opportunities in the arts seems like a common trend among young people. Why do you think that is and what can we do here in Wales to change that?

I believe Wales has a lot of resources within its artistic demographic, with multiple communities of various levels and spheres of skill and knowledge. I recognise that infrastructures have excluded and disabled social mobility for many communities in being able to exercise and contribute to the collective central culture of arts in Wales.


There are many conditions which are similar in all cities here in the UK, but I believe London has an effective fluency in generating micro economies for artists to exercise and contribute to the collective culture. There seems to generally be more structures in place for diverse sources of funding to support varying different artistic communities, where sub cultures are actually at the core of reinforcing and empowering the collective. Because of this naturally people of any socio economic background have more of an access point to engage in the artistic climate, with more spread for opportunity and information to be easily accessed.

It is difficult for communities/artists outside of the capital culture [in regards to Wales; the traditional welsh cultural agenda] to be part of the solution of development and empowerment when many organisations of funding, or spaces of information and power are gated for exclusive representatives.


I see diversity as a fertiliser for soil, just the same way varying different types of stimuli rapidly develop the neural connectors in our brain, we need constant interaction with varying different human beings of different traditions, sciences, arts and practices to fuel innovation. This is something London taps into very well, in which I believe people from all over the world are drawn to.


Traditions are never lost and I believe Wales has a wonderful opportunity to find synergy with its ancient history and the fertility of its vastly diverse origins to energise and activate all representatives in wales of all different cultural backgrounds to cross pollinate.

As you have mentioned whilst in London, you’ve been a member of the company ‘House of Absolute’ which combines various street styles alongside other styles of movement. How has Hip-Hop culture helped to develop you as a Contemporary artist?

Hip-Hop has been at the axis of my growth and development. It is one of the most iconic symbols for the term ‘contemporary’ quite literally it is with the times. Hip-Hop is not only a ‘style’ but also a culture and even a philosophy with which most people involved would say it is a way of life. Hip-Hop is a mode of resistance, a political instrument for reconstruction. It is one of the most influential cultures on the planet, because of its wealth of knowledge and teachings through trans-generational art, it is legacy.


It is a cultural library archive of the preservation of people of the diaspora, which houses many different languages of the body, many trans-migrational stories of the intersectionality between races and cultures, and serves as a global home for people of any origin to communicate through mind body and spirit.

Of recent years Hip-Hop ‘theatre’ has emerged as another form of innovation to supplement indoctrinated Eurocentric modalities of black box performative culture. The marriage of visual art, story telling, acting, poetry, immersive engagement, grime music and the genius of Hip-Hop movement language and musicality. This has had a great impact on transforming my perception of using theatre space as ritual, broadcasting cultural and ancestral presence.

Overall my support and mentorship has come from;
Dance communities and peers in the underground Hip-Hop scene,
Artist4Artist an organisation run by artists for artists 
Founding members and representatives of Sadler’s Wells Breaking Convention festival. 

Growing up in Cardiff, do you think there is a significant Hip-Hop scene here and what do you think can be done to help it evolve?

There is definitely a Hip-Hop scene in Cardiff, however maybe lacking a cohesive integration of the multiple layers and dimensions of inclusivity. It is important for artists of all practices, sectors, class and culture to be in dialogue.


For examples different Hip-Hop music and visual artists, writers, poets, event organisers, venues and dancers could have more consistent relations with each other. If there aren’t visible invites and hubs/centres for representation, cultural information remains fragmented, and the overall culture cannot develop infrastructures for impact. Funding is also at the core of this.

Credit Vikki Marie Page

I understand that a lot of your work uses Identity as a concept. When in WHO (2017), you said “#TheSystem and #Society do not provide space for authentic self”, what did you mean by that and do you still find it relevant today?

I do believe society has had a long term relationship with resistance to change, and the notion that homogeny is safe, difference is threat. I recognise the culture of duality that has been at play for a long while, and that at present we may be realising as a collective society in our need for each other, dependence and preservation as a whole, which is the acknowledgement of polarity and the active inclusion for unity.


We still seem to have many protected and guarded infrastructures which dictate our attention towards fundamentalism, with which any organically evolving contemporary innovations outside of societally validated constructs are met with fear, discomfort and rejection, unless it is something recognised and originated within elitist culture.

So to draw from these concepts and bring it into the personal sphere, I believe we as individuals have the capacity to re invent ourselves any way we choose, but at the cost of being questioned and challenged constantly by those who are still existing within societal constructs.


On the one side, anything foreign to those constructs causes great discomfort, essentially the unknown, an anomaly to which we feel out of depth with our relatability. On the other side there is fatigue; being misunderstood, misrepresented, displaced, excluded, silenced, ignored, isolated and questioned. For many that is a lived experience that is still happening today. I think these polarities exist everywhere because it is essentially to do with consciousness and perception.

I feel lots of things have become cataclysmic in our society of recent. People are really fighting for spaces to empower authenticity and difference. Actually pioneering companies and representatives look to bespoke and eclectic minority individuals for inspiration and influence. The invisible ones are the influencers for those who are always visible. For example if we’re talking about fashion and media, it’s everyday people who inspire and influence those making decisions on top about what gets modelled and represented.  

I still believe there are conditions we are pressured to obtain in the broader mainstream culture which restrict us, only validating and respecting things we are a custom too, things we are told and taught have value, anything outside of that does not posess the same power.   Things we do not understand, we do not like or we do not feel comfortable with we disregard. But authenticity, originality and honesty is so powerful, in the overall context of polarity, we as a society now are recognising we need these attributes, and we are seeing willingness for difficult and uncomfortable conversations in the wider culture.

In my perspective for the majority there’s still a lot of shame, fear and taboo around self expression, and this is what makes art so evocative. When many people feel the fear of judgment, they look to artists who do and say all the things most people are terrified to do, there is this sacred unspoken empathic emancipation shared between artist and audience.  

You also spoke about the concept of ‘Mind, Body and Spirit coming together at a meeting point’ in an interview with Catch the Vibes last year. How does this psycho analysis come into the process of your making? Be that your movement or your other creative outlets?

It is particularly through the lens of dramaturgy that I get the opportunity through my work to investigate psychology. I often find that for performative works to have concrete coherence in how the work is experienced, there needs to be psychological integrity, either between the relationship of the performance and audience, or also the chronology of the work, and what the work is doing, what role it serves as an experience.

Quite often I have a focal drive to want to evoke and impact the audience in some kind of interpersonal way. In order to do that safely I really do need to understand the effect on myself of what I’m experiencing. The effect of the process, what psychological journey am I undergoing just to create the work, and then from that process constructing an infrastructure that allows me to guide the viewer into the areas of enquiry that exist in the work.


I work with all layers; the visual, the audible, the sensory, the intellectual, to find different ways of inviting my audience into the non verbal conversation between spectating, listening and actively responding. Regardless of how big or small those social queues are, we all feel it when an audience collectively holds their breath at a certain point, sometimes its the silence that communicates consent, or the twitch or cough coming from the upper left auditorium, we know that particular person just non verbally objected ‘subconsciously’.


If it’s an immersive work, there are other dimensions at play, with proximity being a massive psychological conversation. There is our body language and our power dynamics; whether an audience member sits on the floor cross legged, or stands right behind me, we have varying different capacities of what access points we have to a psychological dialogue. And then I wonder which way can I communicate this performance. Of course eye contact and touch being the most dynamic contributions. 


All of these elements play a vital role in my process, and its why ritual is such a pivotal instrument for creation in my work. Ritual allows the mental/psychological space to be more transient, meaning I can access the collective mental space with the openness and safety of a held experience set by intentions. This naturally propels the willingness of an audience to be vulnerable with me in the conversation, allowing for suppleness and great changes to occur in perception.

Performance work is always a conversation for me, it’s not about interrogating my own psychology to create work, it is about really understanding psychology to execute distinct forms of communication between my work and the audience. To do that effectively I need to understand a great deal of my own psychology. I feel that’s where the freedom to shift perception and rewrite history comes from, the game changers who change the world through art.      

Credit Vikki Marie Page

How has lockdown affected you as an artist? And also what long term effects, do you see Covid-19, having on your artistic practise?

Covid has given me the opportunity to redefine my priorities, values, boundaries and reinforce my principles. I have had to question my purpose beyond the industry, and become aware of areas that I have not developed and the areas which I have neglected in myself.


This time has also allowed me to rediscover a new way of living, a new way of working and a new way of communicating. I have had many moments of exhaustion, overwhelming bewilderment and uncertainty, but none of these feelings are new to me, in fact the last two years have been so groundbreaking’ly challenging that lockdown was like a breeze. The political and economic climate however has had a great impact on my perception of reality and my stability within that. But it’s the sense of community that has become more evident during this time for me, with a beautiful anchoring in the various relationships I have with people that have grown deeper and stronger during this time.  

Following on from that actually, how has lockdown affected you personally? I recognise that we often separate performers from people and that needs to be raised.

Lockdown has allowed me to journey inwards with a great deal of introspection and time to reconstruct myself from the core. These are elements I do practice, however there is never usually time to really uncover the uncomfortable subconscious patterns that need redefining, when I am moving from one project to another with usually no recovery time.

Although challenging, I have been able to sit with myself and confront difficult things and rewrite those narratives.
I have also been able to connect with people I would have never usually connected with prior to Covid, simply because online networking is far more direct and immediate. Fundamentally I have been able to slow down and have moments of stillness and solitude, amongst the chaos.

I’m a big fan of the ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ podcast and something they do on each episode is ask their guest “If they were in government as an advisor for their specialist field, what would be the first change that they would make?”
So I’d like to ask you, if you were an advisor/ representative for the Arts sector, what would be the first change that you would make?

I would want to change the ‘perceived’ division between economy, finance and the arts. I believe so many fundamental movements within history and society sit on a large library of knowledge in strategy, financial infrastructures, economic preservation, assimilation as well as generational business modes that support successful agendas in all industries.

Often even the simplest areas for accessing training in these fields are seen so far removed from the arts. Educational models are often attuned to industries regarded superior, operating purely from strategic principles within business sectors.

We as artists have major blind spots because of the lack of accessibility to especially tailored training schemes, courses, workshops that provide tools within understanding the financial politics of the arts and its economy. We are unhealthily dependant and unempowered to a degree with previous models such as Arts Council funding applications being the main and only doorway for many. Yet this cannot guarantee long term support and struggles to give artists/companies/organisations stabilised independent agency over their future careers. I’m sure at some point in time we have all witnessed the impact of funding cuts for companies/artists, resulting in the immediate amputation of their capacity. Funding has already been challenging particularly for individuals outside of certain socioeconomic class groups and artists who haven’t had the opportunity to generate credibility with sponsors or funding audiences. Many artists with an excellent capacity are unable to generate work at the rate of their potential. This is debilitating and capping our capacity for genius as an overall industry, only select few names get to exercise their worth. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say a great deal of artists do not get the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding on modes of financial strategy in relation to the artistic climate.

I’m not saying we all as artists need to study business and finance, because often all of that knowledge is difficult to contextualise in specific relations to the neurodiversity of an artist and the unprecedented lifestyle that an artist might live. But what I am aware of is the benefit of having specialists within business, economy and finance working with artistic representatives to establish an access point hub for freelance artists/organisations and younger generations educated to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to create financial and economic engagement, allowing agency and fluidity within their artistic career.

We as artists promote ourself like business products, we sell ourselves through business models, but if we are to now look at the future of the arts industry, the greater economy an it’s impact on the rest of the world we need to be equipped with the tools to know how to adapt, preserve and not only survive but thrive as artists. I do feel such aspects should be addressed and mandatory within the training of an artist, not just be trained on how to become an artist.

In order to create powerful art that actually has long lasting impacts on humanity and society in the evolution and rewiring of the human conscious, we need money, and we should be educated about how we can generate that independently.
We see the value in funding science, it shouldn’t be any different for the arts.

So to conclude, Is there anything that you’re currently working on or anything that you’d like to highlight/ share with our readers?

I’ve been refining and redefining the development of my personal practice, which has felt like a monster to tackle as I exist in multiple sphere’s of discipline. Looking at the intersectionality of where a process begins and ends and where meeting points bridge between one discipline to another within the practice. How voice informs the body and vice versa, and also how multiple forms of conditioning/training practices converse/overlap or contradict within the body. What technique do I hold onto and what do I let go of.


In the productivity of what I’m currently working on is a body of work that holds both my music identity and my visual art and movement identity. I’m generating a portfolio which involves self produced songs with the layers and the depth that I would usually engage with in my conceptual theatre work. Looking at how I can make my approach to music production more performative, and have my body as equally a visible voice as my lyrics and my singing. I’m wanting to use the medium of music and song composition to speak on behalf of things I would usually devise and create dance theatre. I want to present narratives both through live art and digital where the boundaries and cultures blur between music gig and dance theatre. I will be supported by Kaunstrum Gallery to create and present an exert in the autumn.


Aside from that I am collaborating with musician Soweto Kinch for a conceptual music video, and composing/producing/researching with Isaac Ouro-Gnao and Tyrone Isaac Stuart for a production called the Oreo Complex.

Thank you ever so much for your time Ffion, it’s truly been a pleasure talking to you.

Participatory Arts – Capturing The Learning, A Response From Kelly Barr, Arts and Creativity Programme Manger, Age Cymru

In response to the lockdown triggered by COVID-19, many arts organisations have taken their work online, sharing content for audiences to view for free. However, creating participatory engagement online is much more challenging and, as a sector used to being face to face with people in their practice, it’s clear that the current restrictions change the nature of participatory arts based activity substantially.

Following a vital conversation on social media led by Guy O’Donnell, Learning and Participation Producer, National Dance Company Wales which opened a discussion on how we can deliver participatory arts effectively, a range of partners are collaborating to lead Zoom discussions for the sector where we can talk about the impact of the lockdown on our work and work creatively together to think beyond the lockdown.

In partnership with ArtWorks Cymru a series of free Zoom meetings have been set up to discuss and share current working practices in participatory delivery.

Capturing the Learning

These Zoom meetings will explore how we capture the learning from organisations and artists who are currently delivering projects. We’ll explore what methods are working well, what are we learning through this experience, and how we are adapting our working practices.

Kelly Barr, Arts and Creativity Programme Manger
Age Cymru hosted the first Zoom participation meeting. The meetings are free to attend but numbers are limited. Kelly gives an overview of the work Age Cymru has created to meet the challenges and the companies solutions to support the public and her service users in the current climate.

Hi can you tell me a little about yourself and your organisation?

Hi, I’m Kelly Barr, and I am the Arts and Creativity Programme Manager at Age Cymru, who are the national charity for older people in Wales. I have been working on participatory arts projects with all sorts of organisations for 6 years, including NDCWales, Earthfall and the Sherman.

The two main arts projects here at Age Cymru are Gwanwyn Festival, an annual celebration of creative ageing which happens in May each year, and cARTrefu, the largest arts in care homes project in Europe.

We also run other projects throughout the year that might try to tackle isolation and loneliness (like our Gwanwyn Clubs), stereotypes of ageing or representation of older people.

Your organisation is hosting one of the free Participatory Arts – Capturing the Learning / Beyond the Lockdown meetings. Why do you agree to support these events?

I am in a very fortunate position to still be working at this time, and I felt like I had a responsibility to support conversations within the participatory sector. I saw many people reacting wonderfully quickly and adapting their practice, but I also recognised that that isn’t always an option, particularly with the groups of people that I work with. I have always believed that we have much to learn from each other so it was an ideal opportunity to do my bit to support some good practice sharing.

What challenges has lockdown present to the delivery of your service?

Gwanwyn Festival has often been about bringing people together, many of whom are in the high-risk category at the moment, so we made the decision fairly swiftly to postpone the festival.

We had a duty of care to protect the people that might attend the festival events, and those that are running them.The creative ageing sector is very supportive so I have been lucky enough to have regular chats with colleagues across the UK and Ireland (Gwanwyn Festival was inspired by Bealtaine Festival), so that we can support each other to think about how festivals like ours might work moving forwards.

We also knew early on that it was going to be difficult to continue to deliver the cARTrefu project, as care homes were starting to close their doors in early March. We’re lucky to have supportive funders who we will be able to work closely with as things progress. We have multiple scenario plans but are very much being led by what care homes want and need right now.

What issues have your service users/participants faced?

I’m really proud to be part of Age Cymru, as they have been able to adapt really quickly during the pandemic to ensure that older people in Wales are supported. We run an Information and Advice line, which received a 200% increase in calls at the start of the pandemic; people needed advice on whether they should be self-isolating or shielding, where they could get support with food shopping and collecting prescriptions. People have also struggled to access their money, and needed support to find new ways to stay in touch with family members. I’m pleased to say that we have been able to help, in partnership with our local Age Cymru partners, Age Connects and other voluntary services across Wales.

What systems did you put in place to ensure delivery?

Many of us are well-used to working from home, but it’s been really important to find moments to connect with colleagues. Many of us are spending most of our day making calls to older people through our Check In and Chat service, so it’s not always easy to have online ‘meetings’ as often as we used to have physical meetings. So we’ve set up Whatsapp groups, we send voice-notes, have catch-up phone calls, send pet pictures (in my case, plants!) as well as whole team Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings. It’s ever changing and adapting!

With my specific work, it’s about being available to our partners and being flexible and open about the realities. We’ve been taking time as a team to think further ahead, and problem solve, and take any opportunities we can. We’re also keen to use Gwanwyn and cARTrefu Facebook, Gwanwyn Twitter and cARTrefu Instagram to promote creative opportunities for older people as far as we can.

Did you have any particular challenges or success that you would like to share?

Back in April, I, like many people who are in a position to, wanted to offer out informal chats to anyone interested in running creative ageing projects, or having to adapt current projects. I had no expectations of what would come from this, only that it felt like the right thing to do, but it’s introduced me to new practitioners and individuals, which has helped to build up my understanding of what’s happening in Wales. Many people I might have struggled to physically meet pre-lockdown, due to being based in Cardiff, I have been able to connect with over the phone. I hope to continue to offer this out and to meet more people – digitally!

What are your plans for future delivery?

We’re exploring a range of options at the moment, but we’ll be working closely with our Gwanwyn Festival event organisers to look at how this might be possible. There may be ways to replicate events online, or using social distance rules. I have no doubt that our event organisers are already coming up with innovative and interesting ways to continue to connect to people and I’m looking forward to working together to adapt and learn!

With cARTrefu, we are ensuring that we are listening to care homes, and being led by their needs right now. We have developed a fortnightly e-newsletter that gives care homes low-resource activities to try, and links to lots of online performances and activities from Age Cymru (like Tai Chi classes, now on our website) and other organisations.

I’m aware that we’re now regularly speaking to people that are more isolated, some of whom who aren’t connected to the internet, so a lot of my thinking has been about how to stay connected to them and to provide interactive creative opportunities that are offline.

I’d like to highlight Age Cymru’s Friend in Need service that has launched this week, and direct anyone to it if they’ve been supporting someone who is self-isolating or shielding through lockdown. There’s lots of useful guides and resources, as well as details of our new Befriending scheme – Friend in Need

A range of organisations have worked to continue delivery of their art form during lockdown are there any that you would like to mention that you found either professionally or personally useful?

I’d love to highlight the wonderful speakers from our first Participatory Arts Capturing the Learning Event:

Artis Community, Re-Live and Welsh National Opera.

And I’d love to shout out to all of the cARTrefu artists whose work has suddenly come to a grinding halt with us, but have been helping us to provide creative activities for care homes remotely.

Thanks for your time  Kelly

The meeting notes from Participatory Arts, Capturing the Learning – Older Peoples Zoom Meeting that Kelly hosted hosted on Thursday 28 May, can be found at the link


Jade Fox’s Marvellous Mini Galleries at National Museum Wales

Hi Jade great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

My name is Jade Fox and I am a 25 Year old Museum Assistant at National Museum Wales.

I am originally from Cheshire Warrington in England and I first moved to  Cardiff 10 years ago at the age of 15. I still remember the first time a walked through the doors of National Museum Wales, Cardiff. I was blown away by its size and beauty and I would have never imaged I would work in a place like that. I started my career at the Museum around 9 years ago when I first applied for a position as a catering assistant for Elior at St Fagans. I was successful but was told my personality suited the Cardiff Museum. I’m still not sure whether or not that was a compliment or not! Although I would describe myself as someone who is full of terrible dad jokes, I am definitely one of a kind. So this is where my journey began. I worked for around 5 to 6 years occasionally looking into a position as a Museum Assistant when I was finally approached and very gladly accepted. Now 4 years later and I’m still enjoying the wonders that the Museum has to offer.

 So, what got you interested in the Arts, Museums and Heritage?

I’ve always loved art and photography but I would be lying if I said I knew much about the Welsh Heritage or the arts collection that the Museum had to offer when I first moved to Cardiff but after some exploring that soon changed. My interest truly begun though when I started my role as a Museum Assistant. I was immediately  blown away by the collection and I knew I wanted to learn more, not just for myself but so I could offer the visitors of the Museum the best experience I could.  I used to spend my time reading up on the collections and listening to the tours. Everyday I learnt something new and everyday my love for the art and heritage grew. From the Davies Sisters collection to William Wynn Watkins there is just so much to explore and learn and I’m still learning today.

During Lockdown you are creating miniature galleries based on the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Your photographs of your work are incredible! How did inspiration strike?

My inspiration actually came from a good friend of mine Laura. I’ve always been a crafty person but due to life and work I no longer have the time to explore that side of me. So what better time than now. I had recently posted a few images of some paintings I had worked on during the lock down. After seeing this Laura shared a post with me about someone who had created a small gallery for their pet Gerbil’s and suggested I give it a go.

Immediately my imagination went wild with all the things I could build and create in the Museum and how I was going to build it.

Can you describe your creative process with your miniature marvels?

Firstly I needed image’s from the gallery to build a plan on how I was going to achieve this. Unfortunately at this time the Museum is closed so I got access to the images through the National Museum of Wales website and the general internet. Now also due to being in lock down materials aren’t easy to come by at the moment so I used what I had to hand, A pizza box some masking tape and some old paints that had been hiding at the back of my wardrobe since the dawn of time. I firstly built the William Wynn Watkins organ to use as a size scale and bit by bit I built the reaming objects and paintings from a bit of cardboard, masking tape, paints and superglue in which there was many incidents.

Do you have a favourite gallery space and artwork at National Museum Wales?

It’s hard to choose a favourite gallery as I love them all. But I would say one of my favourites would be the landscape gallery which was the second model I created. Now in the landscape gallery you will find a painting by Manfred Uhlman called Welsh Mountains I would say this is one of my personal favourites. This piece stands out for me, The use of colours is incredible and it fills me with such warmth and joy as it reminds me of home.

If you were able to fund an area of the Arts and Heritage sector in Wales what would this be and why?

This is a very difficult question as there are so many areas of the arts and heritage sector that need funding and support, some of which I’m not aware of but the one that stands out for me though would be the learning sector with in the National Museum Wales. Its not just a museum but a place of learning for all. It would be amazing if we could only offer more to the general public and find ways of making it more accessible for all.

What excites you about Culture in Wales?

Wales is such a proud and passionate nation. I remember when I first experienced Saint Davids Day in Cardiff the streets were full of proud Welsh men, women and children they lit up the whole of Wales. I could feel the passion and even I felt proud. There is such a rich culture and history that surrounds Wales. This shown in the National Museums of Wales from St Fagan’s, National Museum of History, National Waterfront Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum, National Slate Museum, National Wool Museum and the National Roman Legion Museum.

What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?

The last exciting thing I did? Well at the moment it’s getting up to make another cup of tea. On a serious note though, I would say the last exciting thing I did was when I visited my family back home in Cheshire. Myself and my dad dad took a trip to the Trafford Center to play mini golf. We missed several busses and totally got on the wrong train at one point but the laughs we had will always stay with me. I also won at mini golf twice which was defiantly a bonus!

Thanks for your time Jade.

Topt Tunes with Victoria Rogers

Hi Victoria,  great to meet you, can you tells us about yourself and your work?

Hello – I’m Victoria Rogers, the Manager of The Museum of Cardiff.  We’re the city history museum in the Old Library building in The Hayes.  We’ve only been open for 9 years, so in museum terms we’re a real new kid on the block.  I’ve been there right from the early days, when we were known as the Cardiff Museum Project and starting the first consultations about what the Cardiff public wanted their museum to be, way back in 2006. 

Before we opened, Cardiff had never had its own museum that told its own story, so getting the public involved was crucial.  They worked with us to co-create the museum and hundreds and hundreds of people were involved making the decisions about what stories to tell, what our galleries would look like and donating objects for the collection.

The museum is a real community focussed organisation – not just in the stories we tell but in all our activities.  I’m the strategic lead now, so I do a lot of fundraising and grant applications, and spend lots of time fostering new partnerships with organisations and community groups across the city and county so we can make sure more of Cardiff’s heritage and stories are celebrated.

 This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to? 

Ok, so the first thing to confess is that my musical taste is not at all credible.  My first record was Bucks Fizz (no joke!  Land of Make Believe…closely followed by If You Can’t Stand the Heat… I’ve still got them somewhere…) 

We’re speaking during the Covid-19 lockdown, so like a lot of people I’m working from home at the moment.  So actually, I’m listening a lot to the radio at the moment – partly for the music, partly for the company of a voice chatting to me in the corner of the room – BBC Six Music (not too bad) and Absolute ‘80s (not at all credible…embarrassingly so).  Music and singing have always been important to me and my family.  While my Grandfather was singing with the Pendyrus Male Voice Choir, I’m singing along to ‘80s cheesy pop while washing up…it’s honestly one of my favourite things to do.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list five records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why? 

(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

My all-time favourite song.  No idea when I first heard it, where I would have been, or how old I was but I’ve loved it for a long time.  Just really like the image it conjures up of sitting and watching the sea, again, one of my favourite things to do. 

The Red and Blue albums by The Beatles

Yes, a total cheat this, it’s basically their greatest hits albums – too many great songs to choose from!  I grew up with The Beatles, singing along to them with my father form a big chunk of my childhood memories (he was a massive fan and his record collection was basically their albums and singles).  I used to love looking at these albums, I was mesmerised by the photos of the Mersey-beat Beatles on the Red album and the hippy-era Beatles on the Blue one.  I’m guessing I wasn’t old enough to have any real concept that they had been taken years apart.  I was just fascinated by how they looked like they were the same people but they looked so very different.

Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrissette

This is basically the soundtrack to my final year at University.  Wherever you went in the Student Village or on campus, you’d hear it coming from someone’s window.  It was released 25 years ago this year so I listened to it again not that long ago and it immediately transported me back to a year of spreading my wings, feeling independent for the first time, having my heart broken, fun (so much fun), having my heart mended, hopes and dreams for the future, meeting lifelong friends…

International Velvet by Catatonia

I’ve chosen this because it was the soundtrack to the year I spent in Nottingham doing my Museum Studies masters.  It was the height of Cŵl Cymru and this was my first experience of living out of Wales, so to this ex-pat, having Welsh bands like Catatonia on the radio, playing in bars, in my new friends’ CD collections was comforting and something I was really proud of.  Welsh music finally being recognised.  I’ve moved around a lot for my job and have lived in Nottingham, Somerset and Tyneside.  Music – my Catatonia, Manics and Stereophonics albums – were a big part of helping me feel I was holding on to my identity while living outside of Wales.

Funkanomics remix of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition

Almost as much as I love a good sing along, I love a good dance.  This is perfect – I love Stevie Wonder (who doesn’t?) and this remix is wonderful for feeling like you’ve got no other choice than to get up and get moving.  First heard at my local, The Globe in Cardiff, at Craig Charles’ Funk and Soul show.  It’s also my go-to motivation song in the mornings if I need an extra little something to get me feeling positive for the day ahead.

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this? 

Let’s go with Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles from the Blue/Abbey Road albums.  Think it’s the little bit of positivity we all need at the moment!  And it really is excellent for singing along to…

REVIEW: Caerphilly Castle Visit with Time Credits by Sian Thomas

On January 10th, I took a trip to Caerphilly Castle. Having never been there before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – my knowledge of castles extends to, and ends with, Castle Coch and the sparing glance I give Cardiff Castle when j hustle passed it in the city centre. I paid four Time Credits (per person) to get in, and I’d say it was wholly worth it.

Arriving there was amazing, it was so much bigger than I thought, and all of the greenery and animals made it feel almost magical. The long stretching bridges and the reflection from the sun off the water in the moat in its glaring way was amazing; the cold day almost turned warm with how picturesque and summery the scene looked in front of me.

The castle itself was winding and really inviting, it leads you through it without you knowing it has. Every room connects to the other with its own feel of secrecy and intrigue. I found myself wondering more than once whether to go up or down a set of rocky, spiral stairs, where I’d end up on the other end of them and how I’d get back to go the opposite way, but that worry was hugely unnecessary as I was always lead back around to discover it all, whether I noticed the decision was made by my own feet or by the castle floors or not.

My favourite parts were the stretching balcony, almost like a corridor in its length but giving you a view of the greenery and moat on one side, and the courtyard below on the other side every few steps, the corridor that felt more like a cave; enveloping and private, and the very top of the towers (it was just a shame that some of the rock had eroded away enough for the actual top to be blocked off – but despite that, being at such a height in such a space of land was honestly incredible).

From the gift shop, I bought a small pink dragon. There was an area right where you start your trail where you can look into an enclosure from above and see a few dragon statues. They’re so bright in colour and give you honest piercings looks (the kind that make you think the eyes are following you).

Sian Thomas

Review The Snowman at The National Museum Cardiff by Rhian Gregory

I love that the National Museum, Cardiff is starting to put on more and more special events. It makes it even more exciting to go along to a trip to the museum. Museum entry is free, with some additional events requiring to buy a ticket beforehand.

I volunteered for the Museum Late Space. It was in evening after official closing time, with multiple entertainment, bar and drinks, DJ and music, lots of different acts on around the building and more! Great night! I noticed there is Museum Late Dippy Dino theme in January, early 2020. I may see if I can volunteer for that too.

Leading up to this Christmas, a weekend in December, the museum has been putting on the classic The Snowman screenings in the Reardon Smith Theatre, located on the side of the museum.

Walking down the side of the museum, I was a bit miffed at first as I saw steps and wasn’t sure how to get to the side door, eventually with some more st’roll’ing around the back of the museum, there was area with no steps to the Reardon Smith lecture theatre entrance. Maybe a sign would have made it more clearer.

We were greeted by cheery helpful staff, pretty lights and trees, and given a popcorn each. They also offered help to carry them to our seats which was very thoughtful. We were given white fluffy snowballs too, which they said to keep for a surprise at the end.

We went into a door that avoided the steps, that led to the very top of the lecture theatre which had an area for a few wheelchair users.

They made the atmosphere so cosy, blue lights to have that cool cold effect, and projected falling snow on the sides, Christmas music playing, on the stage they had it set up with a few Christmas trees and presents, with the big back screen where The Snowman would be shown.

I’m sure everyone enjoyed digging into their popcorn, a lovely space to watch the snowman, some giggles from children when the cat is scared of the snowman and when the snowman makes fruit faces. My children stood up and put their arms out for the ‘Walking in the Air’ song and scene, pretending to fly.

At the end they had a snowman come on stage for a snowball fight and photos.

Definitely a hit with the children and adults alike!

I look forward to more special events at the National Museum of Wales Cardiff.

Thank you for the complimentary tickets.

Theatre Company exports Welsh Hero

Welsh company Theatr na nÓg continue to innovate and increase awareness of Welsh Theatre! The company have just announced that they will present their original play “You Should Ask Wallace” in Indonesia.

The play tells the inspiring story of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was born in Usk and who left Wales in 1854 to document the diverse fauna, flora of the area in Indonesia now known as the Wallacea Region.

Ioan Hefin as Alfred Russel Wallace, credit Simon Gough.

The British Council has invited the award-winning Theatr na nÓg to take part in the Festival of Inspiration, Education and the Arts to celebrate the diversity of the Wallacea region. The Festival will be held in Makassar from the 22nd -28th of November 2019.

We asked the companies Artistic Director, Geinor Styles about the relevance of the work of Wallace today.

With the Welsh Government recently declaring a Climate Emergency the themes of this production seem especially relevant. What do your think Wallace might make of our Climate Emergency and organisations such as Extinct Rebellion if he was alive today?

I think he would definitely be part of Extinction Rebellion.

He was extremely aware of the impact man had on the environment, he certainly didn’t forsee the crisis we are in now. During the Industrial Revolution he was working in Neath as a surveyor for the railways , and although he had a love for nature and in particular beetles  he was conscious of the fact  that  “I was cutting up the land and beneath me a whole new universe teeming with life”.

Also whilst in Indonesia he explains that when he first discovered the King Bird of Paradise he describes it’s fate  as “should man ever reach these distant lands, we can be sure that he will disturb the balance of nature so that he will cause the disappearance, and finally extinction, of this creature.”

Paul Smith, Director of The British Council in Indonesia explained how delighted they are about the collaboration, “Here in Indonesia we are thrilled that the Welsh Wallace is returning to the Archipelago. In our Wallace Week in Sulawesi we are not just exploring biodiversity but also the cultural and ethnic diversities that Wallace encountered. Theatr na nÓg’s production will contribute greatly to the understanding and inspiration of young audiences along The Wallacea Line and we are thrilled that the company will transfer the production to local performers to ensure its own ‘sustainability’ here.

Each year Theatr na nÓg create original productions for over 5,000 young people which integrate live theatre performance with innovative creative learning resources. The organisation will be sharing their successful model of presenting theatre and education in workshops and symposiums in Makassar. The company is grateful to Wales Arts International and British Council Cymru for supporting this exciting opportunity.

Theatr na nÓg’s Artistic Director Geinor Styles said :- “It is an incredible opportunity for us to tell the Welsh story of Wallace to an area that celebrates and recognises this often forgotten scientist who co-discovered the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin, and to be here in the place where Wallace wrote the theory is inspirational.”

Styles together with actor Ioan Hefin, who originated the role of Alfred Russel Wallace, will not only perform the original play but will subsequently work with Indonesian actors and director to enable them to formulate their own version of the drama which they can continue to present to local audiences. “Our first performance of ‘You Should ask Wallace’ was in 2008. At the time I thought we were revisiting an important but forgotten historical figure. I now realise that ARW is very much a voice for today and tomorrow. He was, and still is, a visionary influence”

This terrific opportunity tops a great year for this small Neath based company where they started the year with another British Council invitation to present their hit musical “Eye of the Storm” in Hong Kong and which has just completed a UK tour captivating audiences and receiving rave reviews.

Radio Rhondda Visits The Rhondda Fach By Ann Davies

Music echoed around the valley, the time had come. Radio Rhondda had come to the Rhondda Fach with its supporters and volunteers. The hills surrounding the area, nestled between the villages of Tylorstown and Ferndale were alive with the sounds of people enjoying themselves as the music reached out on the airwaves. Community radio had come to the communities of the Rhondda Fach.

A beautiful sunny day, the pleasant and atmospheric venue of the Scoops & Smiles Diner/Parlour in Oakland Terrace which had been the premises of the former Lockyer and Pacey Garage and forecourt.   How many cars had been bought or stopped to refuel there over the years? Present day traffic hooted as they drove past; water fountains were available to all (as were toilet facilities) plus a cool area inside the Diner or at the rear of the building.

Colourful balloons adorned the area provided by ‘Just for you’ of Ferndale, there were stalls offering information on Cancer Research and Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water as they continue their essential work throughout the area renewing water pipes. Representatives from the Police were also present. The central part of the programme was the Official launch of Radio Rhondda in the Rhondda Fach, which was performed by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Susan Morgans (Ferndale Ward) and Councillor Jack Harries (Maerdy Ward).  The diner offered all the delights and descriptive flavours of ice cream in cones and tubs – marshmallows on crepes – plus their usual food fare. Children dug deep into sweet bottles that were offered to them, finding themselves lucky to receive various extra goodies. Face painting with the logo of the station was available. Free key rings and notices promoted the event. A Raffle was held with prizes donated by local businesses.

Commentators promoted the Radio station, introducing their main programme holders and interviewing local people. There was a miscellany of music provided by their own presenters, including Lorraine Jones and a chat about gardening from Terry Walton. Musical compositions were provided by the group Fiddlers Elbow (where were you, Gerhard Kress?) The Arts Factory Ferndale duo of Ben and Louise provided a melody of songs which received phone calls from people who knew them having tuned into the station. Thanks and appreciation to Louise for mentioning our group RCT Creative Writers.

It was a warm day, which offered entertainment and conversations with people who soon became friends. Sun cream and Sunhats were the essential requirements on this day.

Thank you to Radio Rhondda and all who supported and volunteered for this event. Please come again.

Perhaps like WAM (Mike Church) and Voices from the Bridge (Rob Cullen) you should go “On Tour”  People in the Rhondda Fach are friendly and creative persons although we often feel forgotten!

Free Drama Workshops to celebrate 50 years of Llanover Hall

You can listen to an audio version of the written information below using Sound Cloud below.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Llanover Hall and Arts for All we have an opportunity for eight blind or partially sighted people to take part in a series of six unique drama workshops to be led by John Rowley (Brith Gof, Forced Entertainment, National Theatre Wales) and visually impaired artist Lou Lockwood.

The workshops will commence on Wednesday July 10th from six thirty till eight pm. The venue is Llanover Hall Arts Centre, Romily Road, Canton, Cardiff, continuing each Wednesday for five weeks.

The workshop on Wednesday 14th August will be followed by a presentation of the work to an invited audience. No experience is necessary. Observers and supporters are welcome to participate or observe. To book your place please contact Chris Durnall at the email below

cadurnall@googlemail.com