Showcasing arts and humanities research
30 June 2014
Four Cardiff research projects will be showcased this week at the Arts and Humanities Research Council's (AHRC) 'Connected Communities Festival'.
Visitors to the two-day Festival, which is free and open to the public, will be able to take part in archaeological digs, watch film screenings and musical performances, visit a pop-up community news café, participate in a banner procession, attend workshops and debates and much more.
Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of Research for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, commented : "We're delighted that the Festival is taking place in Wales and that a key focus will be Welsh community life, the rich and vital work of community groups in Wales and their many exciting collaborations with academic researchers."
The Connected Communities programme is designed to help understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the role of communities in sustaining and enhancing quality of life. The programme seeks not only to connect research on communities, but to connect communities with research.
The AHRC 'Connected Communities Festival 2014' takes place on July 1stand 2nd at two main locations – St David's Hotel and Motorpoint Arena - with other fringe venues at the Norwegian Church, the Pierhead Building and Butetown Arts Centre.
The Festival is free and open to the public. A live stream of festival activities will be available for people who are unable to attend the event and you can follow @ahrcpress on Twitter and #ahrccc for regular updates.
Cardiff University projects taking part in the festival are:
Performing Abergavenny (School of Social Sciences)
For the past year 'Performing Abergavenny' has used a pioneering mix of performance, digital media and community consultation to engage the different communities of Abergavenny and has empowered local people so that they can play an intrinsic part in policy making.
In partnership with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the project has utilised theatre performances by professional actors, commissioned a music video featuring people and businesses from across the town, enlisted the help of volunteers to produce large civic artworks and used social media and digital marketing to gain feedback and opinions from residents about the history and future of Abergavenny.
'Performing Abergavenny' will be holding two breakout sessions during the Festival and presenting the research findings to politicians, community groups, third sector organisations and Welsh media using performances, debates, video and digital media.
Creative Citizens (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies)
Media, Community and the Creative Citizen is a research project involving six universities, academics from a dozen disciplines and six partners ranging in scale from Ofcom to South Blessed, a creative studio run by a young entrepreneur in St Paul's Bristol. It aims to explore how creative citizenship generates value for communities against a changing media landscape.
As part of the Festival, there will be a photographic and an artefact exhibition, a breakout session to discuss the role of creative citizens in the future of community life in Wales and the policies needed to support them. Themes will include: the future of community media; planning and communities and the role of creative networks.
There will also be a pop-up Community News Café hosted by community journalists, an interactive wall to capture ongoing interactive discussions and an exhibition stand displaying films on the locations and themes of the project.
Digging Caerau (School of History, Archaeology and Religion)
The Caerau And Ely Rediscovering (CAER) Heritage Project is a collaborative project based around one of Cardiff's most important, but little-known, archaeological sites, Caerau Iron Age hill fort. It seeks to engage local people and school children in their shared history and help challenge marginalisation.
The project recently won the History and Heritage prize as well as the overall national prize at the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement's Engage Competition out of 230 high calibre entries from across the UK.
Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in the archaeological excavations at Caerau hill fort throughout the festival which marks the start of the second season of community excavations taking place over a four week period.
The CAER Team will have a stand at the Festival which will include an interactive virtual dig that brings the off-site hill fort excavation to the heart of the Festival. There will also be an interactive photo exhibition at St Fagans National History Museum and screenings of the 'Caeraustock' film produced from footage gathered at the 2013 excavations (displayed at the exhibition stand, Caerau hill fort and St Fagans).
A shuttle bus from St David's Hotel to Caerau Hill fort and St Fagans will be available every 40 minutes for the duration of the festival.
Representing Communities (School of Social Sciences)
Representing Communities is a three-year research project exploring the role of the arts and humanities as forms of expression that can better represent people's everyday lives, histories and hopes. The focus is on the health and wellbeing of people living in communities often seen only in terms of their negative attributes. The project is based in five case studies in the UK: north Merthyr Tydfil, Butetown in Cardiff, Hodge Hill in Birmingham, Dennistoun in Glasgow and Cromarty in the Scottish Highlands.
At the Festival there will be a banner procession starting at Bute Park and proceeding along the Taff Trail to Cardiff Bay. The banners have been developed through creative workshops with school pupils and a senior citizens group. The procession will be an explosion of song and dance with more than 150 community members taking part. There will also be musical performances in the Millennium Centre by school pupils who have composed a song, plus an exhibition of banners used by communities in South Wales through history.
Festival delegates are also welcome to come along on Tuesday for an evening of performance, reminiscing and sharing at a special event (in partnership with National Theatre Wales) which focuses on older African Caribbean people who live, socialise or have special memories of Butetown.