Tag Archives: community

We held a TEDx event in the smallest pub in Cardiff. Here’s what happened…

On a hot and sticky Saturday afternoon in May, the very first TEDxCanton event was held in our favourite micro-pub, St Canna’s! A tiny, very special audience attended the main event, and more watched through the day from the viewing party in the Printhaus, and even more caught the Facebook Live stream!

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We had SUCH an amazing day listening to incredible speakers with fascinating ideas. We also drank (a lot) of Pipe’s special ‘From Acorns’ IPA (inspirational pale ale…), ate delectable smoked aubergine canapes made from food waste, and were captivated by beautiful music.

And even on the day of the Royal Wedding AND the FA Cup Final, TEDxCanton was trending in Cardiff on Twitter! Over 600 people watched the live stream on Facebook too.

This week, TEDx have uploaded the talks to YouTube. Here’s a round-up of all the speakers so you can re-live the day all over again!

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton: Ordinary people who do extraordinary things

How do firefighters make decisions in emergency situations? Sabrina explores who protects the protectors, and how our brains work in high stress situations.

“Firefighters are the last thing standing between a dying breath and another day…. Whose job is it to prioritise firefighters’ safety, so they can prioritise yours?”

Follow her @sab_cohenhatton / sabrinacohenhatton.com

Stepheni Kays: Building cohesive communities, beyond the buzzwords

What do we mean by ’empowerment’, ‘citizenship’ and ‘cohesion’? Stepheni tells her story of being a refugee in Wales to explain why welcoming, inclusive communities are better for everyone.

Imagine if you had no alternative but to leave everything behind that is dear to you…. For people looking for a place of safety, citizenship means ‘my humanity is acknowledged’.

Follow her @madamekays

John Parker: Why trees are better than people

Did you know that trees in urban areas can improve child development, reduce violence and boost house prices? John tells us about ‘nature’s air-conditioners’, and why we shouldn’t take them for granted.

The benefits of trees to human health are massive. Pregnant women who spend time close to green infrastructure have bigger, healthier babies. Children exposed to green infrastructure at a young age show less signs of allergies. Patients in hospitals recover more quickly and are discharged faster if they have a view over green infrastructure than a hard landscape or no view at all.

Follow the London Tree Officers Association @LTOA33

Josh Doughty: From west Wales to west Africa

The kora is a 21-string lute-bridge-harp used extensively in West Africa, which Josh learned to play under the Master player Toumani Diabate. Hear his beautiful music and listen to the extraordinary story of how he came to play the instrument.

One of the rules of the kora is that you don’t play it at night by yourself, because the spirits come and listen and corrupt your soul. But if you don’t fear the spirits and you listen to them, they have things to teach you.

Follow him @joshdoughtykora / joshdoughtykora.co.uk

Becca Clark and Lia Moutselou: How we turned a city’s food waste into a supper club

How much food do you put in the bin? Becca and Lia are community food waste trailblazers. Together they run Wasteless Suppers, which bring together local food businesses, food lovers and passionate people to create positive change and reduce food waste.

Our Wasteless Suppers are a collaborative platform of local food businesses to create a food surplus feast. We collect food surplus and our chefs create beautiful dishes from food that otherwise would have been wasted.

Follow them: @greencityevents @liaskitchen @moutselia

Matt Callanan: How to change the world with £10

What would you do if you found a £10 on the floor? Matt introduces us to the We Make Good Happen project, a movement that promotes everyday good deeds.

On Groundhog Day, I hid a number of £10 notes around the city and put photos of their location on social media. It turned into a good deed treasure hunt.

Follow him @matt_4_good / @wemakegoodhappn / mattcallanan.co.uk

Keep up to date with future events on tedxcanton.co.uk and @tedx_canton!

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Cardiff A–Z: Y is for Y Senedd

Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series with an investigation into the heart of Welsh politics. Here’s what she discovered…

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And so I reach my penultimate article. For this one, I chose a landmark with a distinctive Welsh name: Y Senedd. And my reason for this choice? Well if there’s anything that puts Wales on the map, it’s the shifting face of politics, and Y Senedd (Welsh Assembly Building) places Cardiff firmly on the political map of the United Kingdom.

Also, disclaimer – I realise that the ‘Y’ in Y Senedd means ‘the’ in English … but I wanted to get the Senedd in somewhere, and had already done a post for S…

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You could argue that, as I’m born English, how could I possibly understand the unique political situation required by a country like Wales? Indeed, this would be a valid question to ask, as, before I moved to Wales two decades ago, I had little or no understanding of what it is to be Welsh.

However, upon moving to Wales in 1995 to study in Swansea, it didn’t take me long to realize that central governing from Westminster made little sense here. I am a supporter of the steps devolution that commenced in 1997, as I can see how it benefits Wales.

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It’s this devolution that has ultimately led to the creation of this Welsh home of politics, which became fully functional in 2006. The building, with its fully-glazed façade, is designed with full political transparency in mind.

The political debates take place in full-view of the general public thus re-enforcing the all-inclusive nature of Welsh politics. It is possible to watch the Assembly in motion from the Plenary (Public Gallery). You can also go on a guided tour of the public areas of the building. The guided tours and access to the Plenary are both free of charge, and available to the public for most of the year. Advanced booking may be required, and it’s worth getting in touch with the reception before visiting to avoid disappointment.

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I’d been lucky enough to get in touch with Gareth, the Tours Manager, prior to visiting the Senedd. He very generously provided me with a one-to-one tour of the areas open to the public, and I learned some fascinating facts.

Proportional Representation

The Assembly has 60 members. Forty of these represent the 40 constituency areas. The remaining 20 represent the five regions of Wales (four Members are elected within each region). The Regional Assembly Members are elected by semi-proportional representation; this process re-addresses the imbalances of power that often result from first-past-the-post politics. Each person in Wales is thus represented by five Assembly Members, who make laws and ensure that the government is run efficiently.

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Environmental Sustainability

Like the Millennium Centre, the Senedd is built from sustainable materials, which are sourced locally wherever possible. Welsh oak and slate are used throughout the building, although the roof and the funnel are constructed from Western Red Cedarwood sourced from Canada. This was chosen because its natural oils mean that it is low-maintenance, as well as being a stunning feature. The structure is designed to last for 100 years, from the date the building became fully functional.

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The building’s sustainability also factors in environmental concerns. Steel pipes at the front of the roof harvest rainwater to be recycled in the building’s public conveniences. The windows, another environmental feature, are made from reinforced and insulated glass. They open and close automatically, providing a consistent temperature and humidity throughout the building.

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Structural symbolism

In the centre of the Siambr, (debating chamber) is a beautiful glass sculpture. Entitled ‘The Heart of Wales’, it has been created by Swansea-based artist Alexander Beleschenko, and is made from painted glass up-lit by fibre optics. Apparently:

‘The dots symbolise ideas flowing outward from the Assembly and feeding in from the people of Wales.’*

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The funnel, which is the central feature of the Oriel (or Gallery), is meant to symbolise the tree of life. It clearly represents a well-established tree, with roots that delve deep into Welsh traditions and culture. One of my information booklets states:

‘The tree-like shape of the funnel is intended to encourage visitors to meet here and share ideas.’**

It also filters natural lighting into the Siambr through a glass lantern situated at the top of the funnel, another conservation feature.

The Welsh Language

I also discovered that Gareth, my tour guide, is a very committed Welsh-speaker. He enthused to me about the promotion of the Welsh language and the future of devolution in Wales. The information he  provided me with would have been enough to fill five articles. So Diolch, Gareth! I’d say it’s well worth going on one of these guided tours. I certainly learned a lot.

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Refreshments are also provided for visitors, and they have a lovely coffee shop with a good selection of food and beverages. You can also sit on one of the Swan chairs within the Oriel and watch the world go by in the Bay.

Other places of interest

There is a place for art exhibitions within the Neuadd (front-of-house reception area). Exhibitions are free to view and often reflect local themes.

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You can find more information on the Senedd and the surrounding community here:

Senedd Community FB page

Senedd website

I hope you enjoyed reading my article. Until next time!

and ** are taken from the ‘Explore the Assembly’ booklet, which is freely available to visitors.

Can you dig it? Canton community garden opening party!

The bees were partying this morning at the official opening of Canton’s community garden! Canton Grows Wild are a group of residents who are turning various plots around Canton into community gardens, with the permission of the council.

Seed bombs, bee hotels and cake were the order of buzzness (sorry, couldn’t resist)this morning, and the garden is already looking great. If you’d like to get muddy, get yourself down to Lansdowne Road, just near the pub, at 10am every Saturday.

Check out Canton Grows Wild’s Facebook page or Twitter to keep up to date with how the garden grows. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with community environmental activist and all-round local hero Gareth Sims garethcsims@gmail.com.

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Photos by Hana & James

Cardiff A-Z: Q is for Queen Street

Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series with revelations about Cardiff’s history. 

 

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Queen Street during a busy lunch hour

There’s more to Cardiff’s central thoroughfare than meets the eye. For instance, did you know that it only became known as Queen Street relatively recently? Perhaps you did –clever you – give yourself a pat on the back if you knew that already!

Well, it certainly came as a surprise to me, and so I decided to investigate further. I uncovered a fascinating history, of which I hope you will enjoy reading.

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A seagull enjoys a bird’s eye view of the street

The obvious question to ask is, if the main shopping street hasn’t always been called Queen Street, what did it used to be known as? In order to answer this question, I will pose another question that is apparently a well-known pub quiz question:

“What are the five towns of Cardiff?” The answer to this question is Butetown and Grangetown, which are still in existence, Temperance Town and Newtown, which disappeared during the first half of the twentieth century, and finally Crockherbtown, whose main road we now know as Queen Street.

Crockherbtown, often abbreviated to Crockerton, means simply “the town of the crock herbs”, a name that is thought to be Saxon in origin. The area gained its name from a 13th Century order of Franciscan Monks known as the Grey Friars, who would trade herbs from the town’s East Gate (now demolished this gate was situated where the Principality Building Society currently has its headquarters).

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The headquarters for Wales’ Principality Building Society

It is perhaps hardly surprising, when you think about it, that Queen Street gained its new name in honour of Queen Victoria. The change took place in anticipation of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Year of 1887. It heralded in a new era for the thoroughfare; one that saw domestic dwellings replaced by retail outlets.

All that remains of the original name for the place is the Wetherspoon’s pub, ‘The Crockerton’ on Greyfriars Street, and its back alley, Crockherbtown Lane, which has featured as a film set for television series Doctor Who.

The newly named street became the crowning feature of the Victorian era of high street commerce. Shoppers could arrive in their droves via the renamed Cardiff Queen Street rail station to enjoy a new feature of the industrial age: leisure time.

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An eye-catching window display

Standing in the middle of the now-pedestrianised shopping street, I can easily imagine the excitement and novelty that visitors would have experienced in that Victorian era. Even today, this street is an exciting and vibrant place to shop. Any day of the week you will find street artists and musicians, market stalls and fun fair machines to entertain the children.

Every day, many, many people pass along this main shopping street, yet despite this, there is undeniably a community spirit to the place. In order to explain what I mean, I will reiterate the challenge as set up by Dicmortimer’s blog:

“A [Cardiffian] standing on the same spot in Queen Street for 10 minutes is guaranteed to see someone they know from the chain of links that is Wales.  Try it.” Go on, I dare you, and if you do, feel free to post the results in the comments section below.

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A panoramic sweep of the West end of Queen street from Cardiff Castle

While you are still contemplating this challenge, I hope you will also enjoy looking at my gallery.

If I’ve made you curious and you want to know more about the history of this important street, you can find further information here:

Dicmortimer’s Blog

Cardiff History

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Time doesn’t stand still in Queen Street
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The street is tidy with flowers blooming all year round
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A dragon motif which is prevalent in Queen Street

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Queen Street at the heart of bilingual Wales
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The Lloyds Bank building displays ornate carvings
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Pedestrianisation has made way for many ‘seating islands’
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A statue of an un-named miner
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An outdoor cafe culture even during the winter

 

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An interesting mural that is worth stopping and admiring
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St John’s towers over the shops as seen from the top end of Queen Street

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Tourist information is readily available
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‘Green’ commuting such as cycling is encouraged
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Aneurin Bevan watches over as volunteers petition to secure the future of the NHS for which he is the founding father
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The view of Cardiff as seen from the Aneurin Bevan statue

 

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