Digging Communities | Connected Communities Festival Part 3: The Connected Communities Banner Procession

CAERAU: HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE

CAERAU: HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE

In the third of three blog posts, Caer Heritage Project Lead Artist Paul Evans looks back on three creative projects that he was involved in co-curating for the AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2014. 

The Connected Communities Banner Procession arose through a collaborative process involving: Glyn Derw High School & the Healthy Wealthy and Wise Group from Caerau & Ely; St Aloysius School & Dowlais Primary Schools, Merthyr Tydfil; Dr Ellie Byrne, Research Associate for Representing Communities, Cardiff University; Sian Williams, librarian at the South Wales Miners’ Library; Dr David Wyatt from the CAER Heritage Project and Paul Evans, CAER Heritage Project lead artist.

Our designs, which were unveiled during a spectacular procession from Bute Park to Cardiff Bay, were developed during a series of intensive workshops led by Paul Evans in the communities of Caerau & Ely and Merthyr Tydfil. Each workshop was undertaken in the same format, where the young (and not so young) participants first devised a series of circular motifs based on traditional miners’ banner designs – and then invented a powerful slogan to encapsulate a positive message connecting past, present and future.

Banner design workshop with the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise group.

Banner design workshop with the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise group.

 

Glyn Derw's banner - work in progress ...

Glyn Derw’s banner – work in progress …

 

Banner design workshop at St Aloysius, Merthyr Tydfal ...

The banner design workshop at St Aloysius, Merthyr Tydfil …

... and at Dowlais.

… and the one at Dowlais.

Digging Communities | Connected Communities Festival Part 2: Photos & Iolo

Photos & Iolo at St Fagans

Photos & Iolo at St Fagans

In the second of three blog posts, Caer Heritage Project Lead Artist Paul Evans looks back on three creative projects that he was involved in co-curating for the AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2014. 

Photos and Iolo is a CAER Heritage Project exhibition format that was developed and co-produced by artist Paul Evans with pupils from Glyn Derw High School, National Museum Wales staff Loveday Williams, Owain Rhys and Ian Daniel, and CAER Heritage Project directors Dave Wyatt and Oliver Davis.

Consisting of a series of re-usable pop-up banners (the very essence of a ‘pop-up’ exhibition in fact), Photos and Iolo is an interactive experience that encourages viewers to get involved with the images on display by searching for the bard Iolo (or Ian Daniel) – cunningly photoshopped into images of Caerau and Ely that were taken by local residents. Once the participants have found Iolo then they are encouraged to take part in a riddle competition (similar to that which takes place in JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit).

The Riddles in our competition were created by pupils from Glyn Derw High School during a workshop led by Paul Evans and Mel Julian-Jones.

As a reward for getting the riddles correct participants are given either an Iolo t-shirt, carrier bag or a copy of the specially produced booklet featuring images from Caerau and Ely’s recent past. Many of these images come from Nigel Billingham’s remarkable Barnardos project which took place in the 1980s. During this project Barnardos had a Photographer in Residence who worked with local people to create an archive of locally made images.

There are still a few of these beautifully produced publications available – please contact us if you live in Caerau and Ely and would like a copy.

 

 

Digging Communities | Connected Communities Festival Part I: The Virtual Trench

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Every project has its star …

In the first of three blog posts, Caer Heritage Project Lead Artist Paul Evans looks back on three creative projects that he was involved in co-curating for the AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2014. 

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities Festival 2014 took place on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd July. Although based at St David’s Hall, Cardiff Bay and Motorpoint Arena, the festival included a number of off-site events and activities – not least of which was another amazing archaeological dig that took place during the festival at Caerau hill fort. Our challenge was to bring elements of the experience of the dig down to the bay – to create a ‘Virtual Trench’.

The Virtual Trench, which was created and designed in collaboration with Chopshop consisted of a fairly imposing structure that bore a graphic timeline of events around its outer surface:

The Virtual Dig at St David's, Cardiff Bay

The Virtual Dig at St David’s, Cardiff Bay

This structure formed a customised projection booth, within which we projected footage real-time from the Caerau dig as was it taking place on the hill fort:

Footage from the dig taking place at Caerau is projected inside The Virtual Dig ...

Footage from the dig taking place at Caerau is projected inside The Virtual Dig …

Visitors to the festival were encouraged to ‘excavate’ The Virtual Trench and, under the guidance of CAER Heritage Project archaeologists and community volunteers, use genuine tools and specialised techniques to uncover real finds from the real dig.

Special screening of the 'Caeraustock' short films ..

Special screening of the ‘Caeraustock’ short films ..

A special screening of the ‘Caeraustock’ short films – created by local cameraman Viv Thomas and LightTrap films with Michaelston College – added a further layer of visual depth and interaction to the installation. A video of CAER Heritage Project Director Dr David Wyatt discussing The Virtual Trench can be viewed here.

Many thanks to Ian Gracey for invaluable assistance with transport and construction of The Virtual Trench and Paul Kemble and our student helpers: Penni Bestic, Heather Crowley, Cath Horler-Underwood, Melissa Julian Jones, and Aron Williams for welcoming visitors to stand over the duration of the festival.

 

Trail Art Part II: Romans to the Races

The second workshop to develop ephemeral artworks for our Romans to the Races heritage trail was devised and led by Caer Heritage Project artist Paul Evans with young artists from Glyn Derw High.

In the classroom we researched Roman motifs and made a series of thumb-nail sketches.

Making thumbnail sketches of Roman motifs from printed hand-outs and Google Images ...

Making thumbnail sketches of Roman motifs from printed hand-outs and a Google search …

We then braved the icy winds blowing over Trelai fields to create an army of buried legionaries emerging from the site of the Roman Villa …

The cardboard legion ...

The cardboard legion …

Back in the warmth of the classroom the young artists made 3D graffiti models to place along the Romans to the Races trail.

Snake based on roman bracelet ...

Snake based on Roman bracelet …

Legionary's shield (part I) ...

Legionary’s shield (part I) …

Legionaries shield (part II) ...

Legionary’s shield (part II) …

More jewels - and a Roman ice-cream ...

More jewels – and a Roman ice-cream …

Mosaic ...

Mosaic …

Caput Equi (horses head)

Caput Equi (Horses Head)

The lost legionary ...

The Lost Legionary …

 

 

Trail Art Part I: Medieval Michaelston

Following on from our day of creative activity at Caerau last summer, pupils from Michaelston Community College (MCC) and Glyn Derw High (GD) created a series of ephemeral artworks for our Medieval Michaelston and Romans to the Races Trails. Both workshops were devised and led by Caer Heritage Project lead artist Paul Evans and were based on the work of Andy Goldsworthy and street artists Slinkachu, Ronzo and Mark Jenkins. The challenge behind the workshops was to create transitory works of art that reflected something of the heritage of the trail – but with a twist of wit …

Stage one of the workshop with pupils from MCC was to make sketches of motifs and shapes from the medieval church at Michaelston.

Sketching medieval motifs ...

Sketching medieval motifs …

We decided that the door of the church would make an excellent ‘portal’ into the past – so we began to make one using interwoven twigs and branches. Care was taken to keep the design symmetrical and to incorporate the three interlocking circles from the apex …

Adding finishing touches to our portal to the past ...

Adding finishing touches to our portal to the past …

The completed 'portal' ...

The completed ‘portal’ …

During the next stage of the workshop the young people made individual ephemeral artworks using modelling clay – again from the preliminary sketches based on Medieval motifs.

A medieval mallet on the church stile ...

A medieval mallet on the church stile …

A shield ...

A shield …

A crucifix ...

A crucifix …

A mysterious figure - and a medieval window ...

A mysterious figure – and a model medieval window …

 

 

Signposting the Past Part II: designing way-marks for our Caerau and Plymouth Woods heritage trails

The visual ideas for our Caerau and Plymouth Woods way-marks were developed during two games of Pictionary led by Caer Heriitage project artist Paul Evans.

The first game took place at our Christmas celebration at Dusty Forge last year, and involved members of the friends of Caerau group. Each member of the group was  asked to think of a word that summed up or suggested Caerau. These words were then written onto Post-it notes that were folded up and put into a hat. Each member of the group then selected a word at random and made a drawing of that word – the rest of the group then had to shout out guesses … The drawings that were identified quickest were clearly the best candidates for  recognisable motifs and were thus used to further develop our trail mark for Caearau.

This procedure was then repeated with a very lively game at Grand Avenue Times.

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A game of Pictionary at Grand Avenue Times …

The finalised trail marks will be revealed at the heritage trails launch day on 3rd May.

Signposting the Past Part I: designing way-marks for our ‘Medieval Michaelston’ and ‘Romans to the Races’ heritage trails

Work in progress on a trail mark design for Medieval Michaelston.

Work in progress on a way-mark design for Medieval Michaelston

In late December 2013 CAER Heritage Project director Dr David Wyatt and project artist Paul Evans visited Michaelston College and Glyn Derw to brainstorm, design and develop the first two way-marks for our HEART of Cardiff trails. These intensive creative workshops focussed on ‘Medieval Michaelston’, a circuit that takes in St Michael’s Church and a deserted medieval village in NW Ely, and the ‘Romans to the Races’ trail that will take in the area around Trelai Park.

After a concise talk by Dr David Wyatt, the young people made a series of quick thumbnail sketches (this part of the workshop was very similar to the first stage of the Tribal Logo Project that we led at St Fagans in March 2012).

Thumbnail sketches for the Medieval Michaelston trail mark

Thumbnail sketches for the Medieval Michaelston way-mark

The young people then selected their favourite thumbnail sketch and were given guidance on how to convert this design into a simple motif, suitable for stencilling.

Romans to the Races - thumbnail sketches

Romans to the Races – thumbnail sketches

We think that the finished designs look great – and we have been talking about our favourites – but we would really like to hear from you: which of these designs will make the best way-marks for our first two heritage trails?

Stencil way-marks for the 'Romans to the Races' heritage trail by pupils from Glyn Derw High School

Stencil way-marks for the ‘Romans to the Races’ heritage trail by pupils from Glyn Derw High School

Stencil way-marks for the Medieval Michaelston Heritage Trail by pupils from Michaelston College.

Stencil way-marks for the Medieval Michaelston heritage trail by pupils from Michaelston College.